Isle of Man Amends Laws to Include Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies

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bitcoin image The Isle of Man, one of the major gambling jurisdictions of the world, is rapidly transforming into a digital cryptocurrency hub. In other words, the island is taking the required steps to become bitcoin friendly.

About the Island

Sandwiched between Ireland and England in the Irish Sea, the Isle of a Man is an independent and sparsely populated jurisdiction. Its economic growth has been fast and steady over the past thirty years, particularly as it has wasted no time in embracing the latest technological developments, including cellular services and satellites. Its e-commerce, including Internet gambling, contributes to more than 20% of its annual gross domestic product (GDP) of $6.2 billion or £4 billion.

The Isle of Man licenses and regulates a wide range of online gambling sites all over the world, making sure that they maintain the best industry standards.

Amendments to Include Cryptocurrencies

The Isle of Man is making preparations to accept cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. Early in 2015, it amended its Proceeds of Crime Act of 2008 to include bitcoin exchanges and bitcoin companies that operate from its jurisdiction. Thanks to these amendments, these companies and exchanges now have to comply with The Isle of Man’s Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements and anti-money laundering guidelines. The island also established the Manx Digital Currency Association to serve as a bridge connecting the government and the island’s new cryptocurrency community.

Brian Donegan, who played an active role in this development on behalf of the Department of Economic Development, said: “To keep crime out and protect the consumer is our absolute priority.”

Haven for Cryptocurrency Start-ups

The island decided to accept cryptocurrencies at a time when it is under heavy scrutiny from countries such as the UK just because it is a tax haven for gamblers. It is the favorite of a large number of cryptocurrency start-ups and businesses that choose to accept payments in bitcoins.

The Manx government has also chosen to be the partner of Nick Williamson, who founded a software program called Pythia, which helps customers to create and manage customized blockchains of their own. Williamson, an Illinois Institute of Technology dropout, had later become a professional poker player.

Register for Cryptocurrency Companies

The island is currently in the process of creating a register of its cryptocurrency companies, and on a trial basis, the government will store its register on a customized blockchain made with the help of Williamson’s Pythia.

Williamson said: “The Isle of Man has always maintained a very positive attitude to digital currency and in line with this approach the Government is currently developing a new and wide ranging digital strategy for its own services.”

He says that this move on the part of the Manx government will make the Isle of Man the first jurisdiction to store government information on a blockchain.

Voicing his opinion of this pilot project, Donegan said that it showcases the bona fides of the government and also indicates that the government strikes a balance “between the importance of regulation and being open for business.”

September 11, 2015: • No Comments

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