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Omega One paves way for fintech

Cryptocurrency brokerage Omega One (File image)

A financial technology company that pledged to create 20 jobs will use knowledge gained from a six-month learning period to pave the way for its full operation on the island.Omega One was the first firm to be listed as a digital asset business licence-holder by the Bermuda Monetary Authority, but the period of its approval ended last month.Although the New York-based company has an office in Hamilton, it said no one would be recruited for the location until it has obtained a full licence.Kaitlin Archambault, a senior representative for the firm, explained that an application for approval was made before Omega One’s cryptocurrency exchange started operation.The Class M licence, which allowed digital asset business activities for “a defined period”, ran from March to September.Ms Archambault said: “The provisional licence provided us an opportunity to operate within a regulated environment while formalising our operating policies and procedures, including our anti money-laundering and cybersecurity programmes.“Working with the team at the Bermuda Monetary Authority offered a tremendous learning experience, which has brought our standards to a level that we believe would be sufficient for any world-leading jurisdiction.“We have greatly enjoyed our work in Bermuda so far. “It has been helpful to be in regular conversation with seasoned regulators as we all learn, together, how to best secure and regulate the new frontier of digital assets and put regulations into practice.”She added: “We are currently applying our learning from the provisional licence to prepare our application for a full licence.“In the meantime, we are testing with an initial set of clients who have signed up to trade on our platform. “Once we are fully operational and able to operate in Bermuda as a fully licensed entity, we will increase our operations in Bermuda.”Ms Archambault said: “We began conversations with local firms this summer, but will not be formally listing open positions until the date of our full licence draws closer.“Our first open positions will be in compliance and trade operations.”She added that the company will complete testing, which does not require a licence, to make sure its service has “the strongest launch possible”.Ms Archambault said: “We are excited to have had the opportunity to work with such a respected jurisdiction. “In this quickly changing digital asset landscape, we have appreciated the ability of those we have worked with locally to understand and support our needs as a growing tech start-up, so we may have the greatest opportunity to succeed in the future.”A memorandum of understanding was signed between Alex Gordon-Brander, the firm’s chief executive, and David Burt, the Premier, in May 2018.Omega One agreed it would “endeavour to” give favourable consideration to Bermuda residents and businesses as part of its employment and operating practices, “with the expectation of adding 20 local jobs in Bermuda over three years”.The MOU outlined that the company planned to donate 10 per cent of its venture philanthropy to support “community sporting clubs in Bermuda”.It emerged in March that Omega Dark, a subsidiary of Omega One, would become Bermuda’s first licensed cryptocurrency exchange.The company said it would be “the first regulated, fully independent, and institutionally focused dark pool in the digital asset marketplace”.Dark pool is the description given to a private area of the trading marketplace where institutions can deal in large blocks of assets without having the great impact on prices that could be incurred on public exchanges.The company said then that Omega Dark would open the digital asset markets to “an entire new class of participants”.Details on the BMA website showed that fintech firm Circle was awarded a digital assets business licence in July.XBTO was issued with a year-long licence to operate in the sector a week later.