In this edition of The Daily we cover recent regulatory developments regarding the use of cryptocurrencies and their associated industries from all over the world. Lawmakers in Italy have approved a definitions mandate, Mauritius has created a crypto custody license, and Malta is set to provide cybersecurity guidance to crypto funds, exchanges and ICOs registered in the island.
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Lawmakers in Italy Approve Blockchain Bill
According to reports from Italy, the country’s legislators have approved a bill which has been described as Rome’s first attempt to legally regulate certain aspects of the industry built around cryptocurrencies. As we reported back in January when it was introduced, the bill creates legal definitions for terms associated with the crypto sector such as “smart contract” and “distributed ledger technology” and mandates that the country’s Agenzia per l’Italia Digitale must create specific technical standards these technologies will be expected to meet within a certain time period.
Mauritius Finalizes Crypto Custody Framework
The Financial Services Commission (FSC) of Mauritius announced on Feb. 8 that it has made significant progress in establishing the country as a digital assets technology hub “in and for, Africa.” The regulatory framework for the Custodian Services (Digital Asset) Licence has been finalized, which will soon allow approved companies to provide custody services for crypto assets.
The FSC explains that the framework was developed in reference to international consultations at the level of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and that holders of the license will have to comply with the applicable framework for AML/CFT, “in line with international best practices.” This new regulatory framework will be effective as of March 1, 2019.
Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius, stated: “In revolutionising the global fintech ecosystem through this regulatory framework for the custody of digital assets, my government reiterates its commitment to accelerating the country’s move to an age of digitally-enabled economic growth. As an African country, we look forward to fostering further innovation and bringing more prosperity to the region.”
The Chairman of the FSC, Dr Renganaden Padayachy, added that “The blueprint has identified a number of key opportunities that we have to tap into to foster further value-added activities in our jurisdiction. This new framework is in line with this strategy and we are confident that it is yet another addition that will increase the competitiveness of our jurisdiction.”
Malta to Provide Cybersecurity Guidance to Exchanges
The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) presented to the public on Feb. 8 its proposed strategy on cybersecurity for companies operating in the country’s crypto assets sector. The regulator has launched a consultation regarding Guidance Notes on Cybersecurity, which will be applicable to companies legally defined as professional investor funds investing in virtual currencies, VFA agents, issuers and VFA service providers.
The proposals included are said to be based on a number of international initiatives, such as guidelines by the European Banking Authority. The consultation is open to the public until March 8, 2019 and industry participants are invited to send their responses by then.
MFSA Chief Executive Officer Joseph Cuschieri commented that “the MFSA’s objective is to provide increased certainty in a complex digital world. These guidance notes reflect the authority’s approach towards effective management of risks and the understanding of risk factors directly linked to an entity’s operation in the financial services landscape. Indeed, the newly launched MFSA Vision 2021 identifies the application of a risk based supervisory approach as one of the key pillars of this strategy.”
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