The Mauritius International Financial Centre (IFC) claims to be the first jurisdiction globally to offer a regulatory landscape for the custody of digital assets.
This is according to communication from the country's integrated regulator for the non-bank financial services sector and global business, the Financial Services Commission (FSC).
The FSC stated that following the recognition of Digital Assets as an asset-class for investment by Sophisticated and Expert Investors on 17 September 2018, the body issued a consultation paper seeking feedback from the public on the proposed regulatory framework for the Custodian Services (Digital Asset) Licence.
This licence permits the holder to provide custody services for digital assets.
"This regulatory framework will be effective as from 01 March 2019, positioning the Mauritius IFC as the first jurisdiction globally to offer a regulated landscape for the custody of Digital Assets. Holders of the Custodian Services (Digital Asset) Licence will equally have to comply with the applicable framework for AML/CFT in line with international best practices," according to the FSC.
Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius stated: "In revolutionising the global FinTech ecosystem through this regulatory framework for the custody of digital assets, my government reiterates its commitment to accelerating the country's move to an age of digitally-enabled economic growth. As an African country, we look forward to fostering further innovation and bringing more prosperity to the region."
Chairman of the FSC, Dr Renganaden Padayachy added: "The blueprint has identified a number of key opportunities that we have to tap into to foster further value-added activities in our jurisdiction. This new framework is in line with this strategy and we are confident that it is yet another addition that will increase the competitiveness of our jurisdiction."
The Chief Executive of the FSC, Harvesh Seegolam expressed that "The FSC is committed to implementing enabling frameworks which facilitate the development of the Mauritius IFC. We continue to collaborate with our international counterparts and stakeholders in introducing the appropriate regulatory mechanisms. I wish to put on record the active participation of all parties during the consultation phase preceding the introduction of this revolutionary structure for our jurisdiction."
The FSC adds that it has participated fully in discussions at the level of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on the governance and regulation of Digital Financial Assets.
This licence was developed in reference to these international consultations, it says.
Special advisor at the OECD and Shyft Chairman, Joseph Weinberg who worked closely with Mauritius FSC, said: "Blockchain technologies need progressive regulatory systems to thrive. We're thrilled to see Mauritius leading the way as the first jurisdiction globally to regulate the custody of digital assets. We need trustworthy and secure options for the safekeeping of digital assets. Blockchain friendly regulation leads to more companies developing the new economy and tackling complex issues, such as cybersecurity, taxation, financial crimes, privacy, and treat digital financial assets in a way that would build a more inclusive future for everyone."