In March, Bitcoin Magazinereported that the Isle of Man wants to become a leading Bitcoin hub. The government of the tiny island is pushing forward a new regulatory framework to create a true paradise for digital currencies.
Bitcoin Magazine spoke with Brian Donegan, Head of Operations for Digital Development and eBusiness at the Isle of Man Department of Economic Development. Donegan confirmed that the island, a self-governing British Crown dependency located in the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Ireland, is gearing up to become the ideal environment for digital financial technology businesses, entrepreneurs and developers.
“The Isle of Man is investment-grade and has the perfect business environment to maximize value,” said Donegan. “The Isle of Man has a superior technology proposition, excellent bandwidth, Tier 3 Data Centers and self-sufficient local electricity power supplies.”
Donegan confirmed that, besides the advantages of political stability and a world-class computing and telecom infrastructure, the Isle of Man government intends to offer to digital fintech businesses a clear, rock-solid regulatory environment to foster good business models – and keep dubious ones out.
“We will keep crime out and protect the consumer,” he said.Two relevant pieces of legislation, the “Designated Businesses (Registration and Oversight) Bill 2014” and the “Proceeds of Crime (Business in the Regulated Sector) Order 2015,” are advancing through the approval process and should enter in force in a few weeks.
A decade ago the Isle of Man government recognized e-gaming as a potential strategic growth sector, and established a suitable legal and fiscal framework to attract online gambling and sports betting businesses. As a result, leading operators such as PokerStars flocked to the island and today are an important part of the thriving e-business sector, which accounts for around 19 percent of the Isle of Man economy.According to Donegan, the government now wants to re-use the same “Freedom to Flourish” approach for Bitcoin and digital fintech, and will make efforts to attract and welcome not only Bitcoin 1.0 businesses focused on blockchain-based financial transactions, but also new Bitcoin 2.0 companies that leverage the technology of the blockchain to address other business opportunities.
Donegan edits an e-business blog on the aptly titled “Where You Can” Isle of Man government website. In the latest post, he notes that a powerful blockchain cluster has emerged with some dynamic start-ups in the Isle of Man.
“The recent surge in crypto 2.0 businesses is clear evidence that an Isle of Man blockchain cluster is also on its way,” he says. “This cluster effect creates a formidable peer group of experts that can share their combined knowledge, expertise and resources to the overall economic benefit of the Isle of Man.” Donegan adds that he has been working with various companies in this highly innovative sector to ensure that they have the support and assistance needed to get started on the Isle of Man.
Blockchain entrepreneurs can move to the Isle of Man and take advantage of interesting financial and fiscal incentives. Alternatively, they can stay where they are and set up a virtual Isle of Man corporation through local registered agents and non-executive directors. The Department of Economic Development can assist in the process, and may also be able to provide introductions to local investors and venture capital companies for funding.