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Cybercurrency ICO Bill passes Senate

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Vance Campbell, the Junior Minister of Finance

Legislation designed to regulate cryptocurrency initial coin offerings was passed this week by the Senate.

Andrew Simons, OBA senator, suggested that the legislation was rushed and did not do enough to protect consumers.

However Vance Campbell, the Junior Minister of Finance, said a great deal of work and consultation had been done to ensure the regulations protect the island’s reputation.

Mr Campbell added that companies had been launching ICO offerings in Bermuda with no regulations.

He said: “You can argue the greater risk is to do nothing.”

Mr Campbell said the Companies and Limited Liability Company (Initial Coin Offering) Amendment Act 2018 puts Bermuda on the cutting edge of the booming financial technology industry.

He said ICOs were “crowdfunding on steroids”, and the island would be one of the first countries in the world to regulate the business.

But Mr Simons said: “This may attract businesses to Bermuda, but there are significant risks for the island that are not addressed in this legislation.”

The OBA senator said he would like to see more in the legislation to protect consumers and to address potential conflicts of interest.

He said: “There is no guidance that will prevent the people sitting on these committees or the Minister from participating in these offerings.

“I think there’s inadequate protection for consumers. I think that’s inadequate protection for our reputation.”

Mr Campbell said that good governance legislation already in place guarded conflicts of interest.

Anthony Richards, a PLP senator, said the Government understood that the island’s regulatory framework was vital to its success.

He added: “No one is going to be so short-sighted that they are going to do something that will damage that reputation.”

James Jardine, an independent senator, said his initial worries had been addressed through discussions with government officials.

He said he understood there were several other pieces of legislation in the pipeline to further build a regulatory framework for the sector.

Mr Jardine said: “There is a plan here. There is consultation with the BMA. There are authorities and committees set up to look at this.

“It’s important that we properly regulate this new industry because Bermuda’s reputation is on the line.”

One Bermuda Alliance Senator Andrew Simons