Antigua and Barbuda pass Digital Assets Regulation Bill in Lower Parliament

Antigua and Barbuda’s House of Representatives passed the Digital Assets Business Bill 2020 on May 27th, 2020. The regulatory framework aims to regulate digital asset companies that establish their operations in Antigua and Barbuda and provide protection for both exchanges and their customers. Among the main clauses of the Bill is the introduction of a tiered licensing system which requires all digital asset businesses to obtain a license for “issuing, selling, or redeeming virtual coins,” operating as a payment service, operating as an electronic exchange and for providing custodial wallet services.

The Bill gives the Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC) oversight to enforce the legal framework among the relevant companies. Fines up to $250,000 may be imposed for failure to comply with the legislation and additionally, there may be criminal charges for errant managers could result in imprisonment.

The Government of Antigua and Barbuda noted that in drafting the Bill, consultations were held with several industry members such as Ayre Group, nChain, Bayesian Fund, and the Bitcoin Association.