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Bermuda: A Rising Hub for Cryptocurrency Firms and Exchanges

Bermuda, a North Atlantic Ocean archipelago, is moving swiftly to become a hub for cryptocurrency exchanges and firms. With its well-known offshore insurance and reinsurance industry, the island nation is flaunting its transparency in digital-asset regulation to attract more crypto projects and players. Bermuda has made efforts to lay down the rules of the road for financial innovators. In 2018, it became one of the first jurisdictions to introduce a regulatory framework for initial coin offerings (ICOs). The Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA) required companies to obtain a license before launching a token sale. The BMA also issued guidelines for digital asset custodians and virtual currency exchanges, outlining the requirements for companies in these sectors.

In 2020, Bermuda further solidified its commitment to crypto by passing the Digital Asset Business Act. This requires all digital asset businesses operating in Bermuda to register with the BMA and comply with strict anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing laws. Bermuda’s efforts have not gone unnoticed by the crypto industry, as the island nation has already attracted several high-profile crypto ventures, including Circle and Binance, among others.

Last week, as part of its plan to expand internationally, Coinbase was granted a license to provide services in Bermuda. The Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA) gave the U.S. cryptocurrency exchange a Class F license, allowing it to operate as a digital asset exchange in Bermuda. Premier David Burt publicly praised the awarding of the license. He stated in an April 19 tweet, “I’m thrilled to see our island leading the ‘race to the top’ for regulation in this industry.”

Regulatory uncertainty at home remains the key reason why some firms choose Bermuda. Of late, crypto exchanges and companies have been leaving the U.S. for jurisdictions that regulate cryptocurrencies in a friendlier way. Another player that could follow is Ripple. At present, the fintech firm remains locked in a legal battle with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), with a ruling potentially coming any day. CEO Brad Garlinghouse warned in July 2022 that the company would move to another country if it lost in its battle with the SEC. Meanwhile, crypto-lending startup BlockFi and crypto exchange Bittrex Inc. all have operations in Bermuda.

Bermuda’s push to become a crypto hub comes as the industry faces turmoil. The value of Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, has experienced severe volatility in recent months. However, Bermuda’s regulatory framework helps it weather the storm by establishing clear guidelines for digital asset businesses. The BMA provides certainty and stability that may be lacking in other jurisdictions, attracting crypto firms looking for a stable regulatory environment, especially as officials in other countries take a more cautious approach to the industry.

“We are aware of the recent devaluation in the price of cryptocurrencies and remain confident that it does not threaten the island’s ability to become a crypto hub,” said Jason Hayward, Bermuda’s minister of economy and labor. “This industry downturn is likely to advance our goal and positively impact our long-term growth and role in this sector.”

Additionally, the region is one of the few jurisdictions worldwide that has enacted a comprehensive framework regulating cryptocurrency. Bermudan regulators say that their understanding of international business, which accounts for about 27% of the island’s economy and a trained local workforce, translates into a base for developing a thriving digital assets industry.

Bermuda’s focus on transparency and regulation may also help it attract institutional investors, who are increasingly interested in the crypto industry. High-profile institutional investors, including hedge funds and asset managers, have started investing in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in recent years. By providing a clear regulatory framework, Bermuda could attract these investors and help drive

Crypto products and NFTs are unregulated and can be highly risky. There may be no regulatory recourse for any loss from such transactions. Crypto is not a legal tender and is subject to market risks. Readers are advised to seek expert advice and read offer document(s) along with related important literature on the subject carefully before making any kind of investment whatsoever. Crypto market predictions are speculative and any investment made shall be at the sole cost and risk of the readers.