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Gib poised for ICO legislation

Having established a groundbreaking regulatory framework for companies using distributed ledger technology, Gibraltar is now poised to publish draft legislation for initial token offerings and is setting its sights too on the market for crypto funds. These were among the key messages signalled at a breakfast briefing for fund managers held at the Royal Automobile Club as part of the Gibraltar Day in London events this week.

Albert Isola, the Minister for Financial Services, said the long-awaited token Bill would be published within the next “two to three weeks” and would aim to ensure the highest regulatory standards for the fledgling, fast growing sector. “We believe in safe, regulated business that protects the reputation of our jurisdiction,” Mr Isola told guests. This was not “light touch” regulation, he added, and “we don’t apologise for the high bar we’re setting”. Guests at the breakfast also heard about two new developments that aim to establish Gibraltar as the premier jurisdiction for crypto funds.

One of those developments was publication of the Experienced Investor Funds regulations 2018, which provides an updated legislative framework for directors managing assets including virtual assets. The other development was the publication of the Gibraltar Funds and Investment Association’s corporate governance code for crypto funds. The 15-page GFIA code offers guidance on best practices specific to virtual assets, including identifying challenges that are specific to crypto funds. James Lasry, the chairman of GFIA and editor of the code alongside Aaron Payas, said the code’s core principle was “comply or explain. In other words, the code is not there to say how something must be done,” he said. “The code is there to encourage the licensee to consider certain issues and, where the licensee feels those issues are best dealt with in a different fashion, to document their thought process.”