Gibraltar's Financial Services Commission has published a draft of its upcoming regulatory framework for firms offering blockchain services.
Planned to come into effect from January 2018, the new rules will cover any commercial use of distributed ledger technology (DLT) as a means to store and transmit value. While this would include cryptocurrency exchanges, the word "value" is also defined as including "assets, holdings, or other forms of ownership, rights or interests." Investment services (and other controlled financial offerings) connected to the tech would be covered as well.
Under the framework, DLT service providers will be granted a working license, providing they conform to some regulatory principles.
As defined by the paper, these principles include honesty, integrity, the protection of customer assets and maintaining a high degree of cybersecurity. And once the rulings are accepted by Gibraltar's legislature, the British Overseas Territory will be among the few jurisdictions worldwide to offer a fully regulated framework for firms working with blockchain.
Speaking to the Gibraltar Chronicle, minister of commerce Albert Isola said that this was typical of the countries determination to facilitate innovation while maintain a strong regulatory presence. He said: "We have done this before and will do so again."
Samantha Barrass, chief executive of the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission, said:
"This regulatory framework demonstrates that regulators can keep up to date with technology without stifling innovation, protect consumers and create a well-regulated safe environment in which financial technology can flourish."
Earlier this year, the country's primary securities exchange, the Gibraltar Stock Exchange (GSE), revealed a plan to integrate blockchain into its trading and settlement systems.
And, last month, the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission issued an investor warning on initial coin offerings (ICOs). The risks contained in ICO investments led authorities to consider a complimentary framework for token sales on a DLT, according to the statement.
Today's draft made no direct mention of the blockchain use case.
Gibraltar image via Shutterstock