Bitcoin, blockchain, and fintech.
More than just buzzwords, these high-tech concepts are quickly becoming the new reality, and at Thursday’s (20 June) CyDEC digital economy conference, attendees took a deep dive into what it all means for the financial, legal, and tech sectors here in Cayman.
“The pace of change is increasing the world over,” said Acting Premier Hon. Moses Kirkconnell.
He told CyDEC 2019 attendees that Cayman, like many jurisdictions, is working hard to keep pace with the rapidly evolving technological realm.
“Government has been forward thinking and has created a special economic zone, Cayman Enterprise City which encourages the development of specific industries in the Cayman Islands,” said Mr. Kirkconnell.
He said 60 of the 250 special economic zone companies are using some sort of blockchain technology.
“The collective strength of our financial services industry is underpinned by a legislative framework that allows all of its sectors include all sectors including virtual assets,” said Financial Services minister Tara Rivers.
And as the digital landscape evolves, she explained, so does the framework. Ms. Rivers said recent enhancements like amendments to the Proceeds of Crime Law show the jurisdiction’s commitment to adopting and adhering to standards.
“(Under the POCL amendment) activities related to the sale, transfer, or administration of virtual assets are now considered relevant financial business that is subject to money laundering and countering of terrorist financing laws and regulations,” said Ms. Rivers.
“Fundamentally, this is good for the whole space. It’s forcing regulators to step up,” said CyDEC speaker and blockchain developer Justin Fisher.
Mr. Fisher used his time at the podium to weigh the pros and cons of Facebook’s recently-unveiled plan to create its own digital financial system called Libra.
“When you look at initiatives like Libra, in their case, what they are doing, is essentially very similar to going to a casino and putting your money at the cashier and giving you this poker chip,” he said.
With change as the only constant, CyDEC aims to keep its attendees abreast of the relevant developments.