by: Brett Hershman, Benzinga Staff Writer
Anguilla is moving to become the first regulatory authority on initial coin offerings and utility token offerings.
The government of the Caribbean nation is considering the Anguilla Token Offering Act, or AUTO, which would establish the world’s first registration process for new cryptocurrency offerings.
"We believe this new AUTO Act will help Anguilla become the leader in establishing best practices for cryptocurrency offerings, to protect the people of Anguilla and the participating public,” said Chief Minister of Anguilla Victor Banks in a press release. "We believe the AUTO Act would be a significant step in the right direction to provide clearly defined rules and increased safety for the blockchain community."
A Caribbean Crypto Pioneer
Anguilla’s history within the cryptography space dates long before bitcoin. The British territory hosted the first International Conference on Financial Cryptography in the 1990s, which led to the first wave of cryptocurrency developers living in and working on the island.
The country now views the current environment as the second cryptocurrency wave and is looking to legitimize the rise of new Initial Coin Offerings even further with the AUTO legislation.
“We want to be a conduit. If you see Anguilla is a place of a new registration, investors will know that it is in a good jurisdiction and regulated,” Lonnie Hobson, Anguilla's deputy registrar of commercial activity, told Benzinga in an interview.
Bringing Legitimacy To An Emerging Market
Anguilla’s position as a reputable jurisdiction will ease investor concerns about the legitimacy of ICOs registered within the country, Hobson said. A U.K. territory that's seeking to regulate future ICOs will likely help bring legitimacy to the exciting but murky investing environment, he said.
“We want to be the first regulatory regime of specific categories of cryptocurrency and non-security tokens. There are 1,200-plus ICOs that have come out recently and they want a place that is a strong regulatory regime and is more trusted."
The legislation is not opportunistic, and acknowledges the unknown future of cryptocurrency, Hobson said.
“It’s not a wave we are trying to ride. We are a reputable jurisdiction. We would not want to harm our reputation by creating this act,” he said.
Hobson said he hopes AUTO will pass before January, making Anguilla a blockchain leader. The legislation must first be presented to Anguilla's House of Assembly for debate.
“We are not specifically targeting bitcoin itself, but other individuals who are using ICOs to fund applications that they intend to build. We believe it is a good enough market. We want reputable business and we will scrutinize those who do come in to make sure they are in good standing."
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