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George, Tucker's Town, utilities, water sports, Warwick, weather, wildlife, work permits. Bermuda's banks By Keith Archibald Forbes see About Us exclusively for Bermuda Online While Bermuda is certainly an offshore international business and insurance center, it is not an international banking center.
International banks, which in other offshore locations and also in many onshore jurisdictions, are allowed to register as banks and can operate in those countries, are not allowed in Bermuda to register or operate as banks.
However, see new developments below: A new class of banking licence being introduced in Bermuda could address a hurdle that has crimped the progress of fintech and blockchain business around the world.
What form the solution will take in Bermuda has yet to be established. However, there are clues in a limited number of countries and jurisdictions that have similarly looked to introduce a workable interface between blockchain-based companies, including those involved in digital currencies and tokens, and traditional banking services.
In Switzerland there are about blockchain-based companies in and around the small town of Zug. As a consequence, many of those start-ups have had to look elsewhere for banking services.
Some have turned to the tiny European principality of Liechtenstein, where Bank Frick has introduced direct crypto investment in the leading cryptocurrencies of bitcoin, bitcoin cash, litecoin, ripple and ether. It has also helped more than 20 initial coin offering projects establish traditional bank accounts.
Fidor Bank in Germany, and Swiss private banks Vontobel and Falcon Bank, have also agreed to handle cryptocurrency-based investments. Tokenpay, a blockchain-based payment platform registered in the British Virgin Islands which has banking operations, has partnered with Swiss-based blockchain asset management service company Coinlab Capital.
But generally, there are few options around the world for crypto-related banking, due to regulators and major banks being reluctant to enter the field. The likes of JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs have listed cryptocurrency and related technology as potential risk factors, although Goldman Sachs has also said it is planning a crypto-custody offering.
The high volatility of cryptocurrencies is another reason why many large banks are sitting on the sidelines. In the UK some banks ban customers from using their credit cards to speculate on cryptocurrencies.
In a prelude to the tabling of the Bills, David Burt said: While that is understandable, as given their risk tolerances, to date local banks have been unwilling to offer services to newly incorporated fintech and distributed ledger technology companies.
As of last month Bermuda had 21 fintech companies incorporated on the island, and a similar number are waiting to do so, according to Mr Burt. When the two Bills reached the Senate at the end of last month, Vance Campbell, a government senator, was asked if any banks had been identified that would take advantage of the new class of licence.
The finance director of the Zug canton in Switzerland said it was hoped that the relationship between crypto companies and banks in Switzerland would be clarified by the end of this year.
Mr Burt takes a similar view. For countries it is no different, Bermuda must be nimble or we will be left behind.
David Burt, the Premier and Minister of Finance, told the House of Assembly that the restricted licence would allow fintech companies access to a Bermuda bank account and the chance to be part of the island economy.
This is a problem that we must fix or else Bermuda will not be able to realize the possibility of economic growth that can come from a fintech industry on our shores. It was therefore incumbent on this Progressive Labour Party government to find a solution to this problem.
Jeanne Atherden, the Leader of the Opposition, the One Bermuda Alliance, asked how many banks would be set up under the restricted licence.
Mr Burt said the number of banks would be driven by market demand. He added some interested parties said the concept was right but were not satisfied that all the regulations and safety precautions were in place.
The steps are consultative and they are in keeping with global best practices. Chris Famous, also a PLP backbencher, said innovation was important.Get detailed information on AEM (initiativeblog.com) including stock quotes, financial news, historical charts, company background, company fundamentals, company financials, insider trades, annual reports and historical prices in the Company Factsheet.
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