2014 Crypto Valley Summit


 

This was the official site for the 2014 Crypto Valley Summit held on the Isle of Man. Supported by KPMG, which was the lead sponsor, private-sector representatives and the Isle of Man government, the summit targeted at entrepreneurs interested in opening a digital currency business in a well-regulated jurisdiction.
Content is from the site's 2014 archived pages as well as from other outside sources.

 

The summit attracted a high level of interest, promising to be a signature event in the Island's strategy to become the jurisdiction of choice for this new and rapidly developing sector.

 

 

 

Isle of Man News - POSTED Thu 10-07-2014
by MT / http://www.isleofman.com/

The Isle of Man expects to play host to over a hundred Bitcoin and digital currency specialists in September, for the inaugural Crypto Valley Summit. The event, which is supported by lead sponsor KPMG, local companies and the Isle of Man Government, is aimed at off-island entrepreneurs interested in opening a digital currency business in a well-regulated jurisdiction.
 
The Summit will run for two days on Wednesday 17th and Thursday 18th of September, following directly on from the Inside Bitcoins event in London earlier in the week. Organised by a private sector committee, the event has already attracted significant industry interest from across the world.
 
Industry commentator and lead organiser Paul Davis of the Manx Digital Currency Association, commented: “With the momentum gained by both the formation of the Manx Digital Currency Association and the government’s recent announcement that it is open to registering digital currency businesses, the Island is at the forefront of this burgeoning sector. This event is an opportunity for people with above-board digital currency businesses to find a supportive home.”
 
Peter Greenhill, Director of e-Business Development at the Department of Economic Development, also commented: “The Isle of Man has an opportunity to become a leader in this growing field by welcoming ethical and well-run digital currency businesses to our shores. This Summit is a reflection of the Island’s commitment to this sector and sends a clear message: we aren’t just talking about Bitcoin, we are very much open for business.”
 
Russell Kelly, Director at lead sponsors KPMG, said: ”KPMG is proud to be lead sponsor of the event, following on from our recent roundtable on cryptocurrency, reflecting our ongoing work within this sector. The cryptocurrency sector is moving very quickly and we feel it is important to stay at its forefront. This is a huge opportunity for the Isle of Man and I would like to congratulate the event’s organisers for making it happen.”
 
Registration for the event will be available shortly at www.cryptovalleysummit.com. Attendance for leaders and managers of digital currency businesses is free of charge, with tickets for service providers and other interested parties available for £995.
 
To keep up to date with digital currency developments on the Isle of Man you can follow the Crypto Valley Summit on Twitter @IOMCryptoValley or search for the Crypto Valley Summit group on Linkedin.

 



Featured image of Isle of Man Lieutenant Governor Adam Wood via Crypto Valley Summit

 

Banking Crackdown Dominates Day One of Isle of Man Bitcoin Conference

Joon Ian Wong / www.coindesk.com
Sep 17, 2014 at 22:10 UTC Updated Sep 25, 2014 at 15:19 UTC

Crypto Valley Summit, a two-day conference aimed at launching the Isle of Man as a prime location for bitcoin businesses, kicked off today in the wake of news that threatened to undermine its central goal.

Just one day before the conference of more than 200 attendees began, a firm providing banking facilities to bitcoin businesses on the island announced it would close those accounts under pressure from its partner banks.

Still, the event was opened resiliently by the Isle of Man’s Lieutenant Governor, Adam Wood, who extolled the island’s ability to take advantage of a rising interest in digital currencies.

Wood said:

“The rapid development of digital currencies is leaving legislators and regulators playing catch-up. This is where the Isle of Man’s small size works to its advantage. It’s agile and we can make an appropriate response in record time.”

Banking woes

A panel on banking garnered the most attention, as R Paul Davis, the most visible digital currency proponent on the island, decried the banks’ decision to cut ties with domestic bitcoin businesses.

Davis addressed the crowd and this most recent news head on, saying:

“HSBC closed CTS’ corporate accounts because it objected to bitcoin transactions flowing through it.”

Davis went on to state that banks like Barclays were invited to speak at the event, but demurred following “national discussions”. Davis also announced that a merchant services firm based in the US called Instabill would pick up the slack from CTS’ account closures.

He added:

“[Instabill] would be able to fairly quickly replace everything CTS is offering with the exception of UK Faster Payments. I have warned [Instabill’s CEO] that his only real danger is being killed in the rush.”

Davis also offered his predictions on which banks would recognise the opportunity in digital currencies, and which would fall behind, asserting that Spanish megabank Santander would be first to capitalise on cryptocurrency given its exposure to Latin American markets where remittances and online payments are in demand.

He said banks like HSBC and Barclays, which have faced recent sanctions from regulators, would be last.

Regulatory issues

The regulatory panel, which included David Hodgson, deputy director for authorisations at the island’s financial regulator, the Financial Supervision Commission, was largely positive on the development of digital currencies on the island.

“My view is that where the Isle of Man government has decided to place itself, bringing in the AML [anti-money laundering] regulations is appropriate,” Hodgson said, referring to the island’s requirement that digital currency firms have to register with the FSC for AML oversight.

John Spellman, the island’s director of financial services, likened digital currencies at present to earlier payment systems, which met with initial resistance before widespread adoption.

Drawing comparison to debit cards, Spellman said:

“The idea of validating yourself with a PIN was bizarre. I see digital currencies as being in the same place.”

Gaming and crowdfunding

Simon Dixon, of Bank to the Future, talked up the Isle of Man’s potential to become a prime location for bitcoin firms on a panel he shared with Max Keiser, host of the television programme The Keiser Report.

Dixon threw jabs at London and rival offshore jurisdiction Jersey:

“This is the ideal jurisdiction to disrupt the [banking] market. The jurisdiction that will win is not London [… and] despite the fact that Jersey reactionarily came along after the Isle of Man, it is a banking island, I think there will be a lot of politics involved with a new form of finance.”

The Isle of Man has a large online gambling industry, comprising about 10% of its gross domestic product. Firms like online poker giant Pokerstars are based on the island.

Panellists on the session on gaming and cryptocurrencies welcomed the greater adoption of digital currency globally, with one panellist noting that cryptocurrencies could potentially offer greater profit margins to gaming operators.

On the sidelines, investor Brock Pierce, who is a co-founder of Isle of Man-based GoCoin, was effusive in his praise for the event.

Pierce’s remarks captured the optimism of the event:

“It’s so refreshing hearing from government officials and regulators who are positive about digital currencies. The Isle of Man is the centre of the bitcoin universe now.”

 



INTRODUCTION

Since it first embbacked upon a strategy of economic diversification slose to thirty years ago, the Isle of MAn has established itself as a truly international center of business excellence laed by core principals of financial integrity, consumoer protection, and a p ublic private partnership which recognizes at all tin=mes the importance of international norms and relations.

Today the isk=land is proud to be home to nineteen key business sectors, enjoys thirty years of consistant wconomic growth and looks ahead towards a common, publis private secctor strategy for economic success driven by respomsible innovation.


On 17th and 18th September, 2014,The Palace Hotel and The Sefton played host to what Master of Ceremonies Paul Davis described as a statement of intent for the Isle of Man: the inaugural Crypto Valley Summit. In what has since been celebrated as one of the most well received events in the 2014 crypto calendar, over 170 decision makers and key stakeholders from across the world's crypto sector joined together to discuss the challenges the technology and its industry faces, the vast potential it enjoys, and the practicalities of addingto the Isle of Man's already extensive portfolio of economic achievements. Its most recent moniker, 'the new capital of Bitcoin', aptly describes the jurisdiction as the premiere choice for settingup and maintainingethical crypto-businesses, and as the vanguard articulating to the world the future for decentralised applications.

His Excellency Adam Wood, Lieutenant Governor and HM the Queen's representative on the Isle of Man kindly opened Day 1of the two day event with an opening address which outlined the Island's proposition as an international business centre of excellence with a propensity for responsible innovation and a history of public private collaboration which have secured 30 years of consistent economic growth. Serial entrepreneur, founder of GoCoin.com and pioneer of the sector, Steve Beauregard, then provided a glimpse at the big picture for cryptocurrencies and outlined the importance of utilising the technology to its full potential,and with an optimised commercial approach.

 

The first panel session of the day followed, during which Moderator and leading local sector proponent Paul Davis joined representatives of Cayman National and lnstabill to discuss banking and card processingfor Bitcoin,as well as make a crucial announcement concerning the Isle of Man's banking offering to crypto-businesses. The first debate of the Summit then saw Moderator Peter Greenhill of the  IOM Government Department of Economic Development join representatives of the IOM Government's financial services division, the Financial Services Commission, local business I-Cap and compliance consultancy COINsult to discuss the case for regulation and its impact upon both wider commercial acceptance and innovation within the sector.

 

Noted cryptocurrency evangelists Simon Dixon and Max Keiser then took to the stage to enlighten the audience as to the application of cryptocurrencies in crowdfunding new businesses, after which Colin Tansley of lntelect Solutions took the audience on a guided tour through the 'dark web' to demonstrate the damaging association of Bitcoin with digital crime. The final panel of the day saw Moderator Steve Brennan, CEO of the IOM Gambling Supervision Commission join Mark Rutherford of the Gambling Supervision Commission, Eric Benz of the UK Digital Currency Association, Garth Kimber of Xela Holdings and Warwick Bartlett of GBGC tackle the potential marriage of digital currencies with eGaming. Konrads Smelkovs of lead sponsor KPMG closed day one with a fascinating  presentation on the cryptocurrency eco-system from the perspective of a hacker,after which pioneering advocate  for  the technology  Brock  Pierce entertained guests with an after-dinner  address at the Claremont hotel.        

Day 2 kicked off with a welcome address from John Shimmin, MHK, who has widely been credited with empoweringthe public sector to explore the potential of crypto-businesses on the Isle of Man. Mr Shimmin fondly charted the Island's economic trajectory over the last thirty years in an engaging presentation, before introducing the second programme feature of Day 2, which took the rare form of an expert table session. Over the course of two and a half hours, split into 20 minute sessions, delegates were given the opportunity to choose from one of thirteen tables each chaired by a resident expert in their field.

Delegates were then treated to a surprise and compelling presentation by President of the Bitcoin Association, Bruce Fenton, who kindly stepped up to replace the programme's original speaker, Bobby Lee, CEO of BTC China. Mr Fenton identified a number of parallels between the proliferation of crypto currencies and the role of the internet in supporting education and charity across the globe, affirming his belief that "it [crypto currency] will absolutely change the world as we know it". David Johnston, serial entrepreneur and Managing Director of the Decentralized Applications Fund, provided the day's final presentation which painted an exciting picture of the
future for crypto currencies based on his own philosophy that 'everything that ca n be decentralised, will be decentralised'.A closing address was kindly provided by Chris Corlett, CEO for the Isle of Man Government Department of Economic Development, who reiterated the Island's commitment to propagating the sector by drawing upon a history of responsible investment and innovation, customer protection and steady economic growth.

This report seeks to capture the energy,enthusiasm and impetus generated at the l.aunch of Crypto Valley,and to share the Summit's findings in a bid to educate and inform a wider audience as to the globally transformative potential of cryptocurrencies and decentralised applications.

Boston Group  is an independent, privately owned professional services firm with offices in the Isle of Man and Malta. Our responsible approach to building businesses and protecting wealth stems from our history as a family office with a keen eye for innovation and an international outlook for  growth.

Boston Group would liketo take this opportunity to thank the Crypto Valley Summit's speakers, organisers and all in attendance for contributingto this remarkable event. We are proud to sponsor both this report and Day 1of the Summit, and to be part of what is certain to be a seminal moment in the proliferation of this industry.

OPENING ADDRESS

His Excellency Adam Wood, Lieutenant Governor of the Isle of Man

Adam Wood's hybrid career with the UK Government in international development and diplomacy took him to London, Washington, Nairobi, Brussels and Bangkok before he was appointed British High Commissioner in Uganda between 2002-2005. He subsequently worked as High Commissioner to Kenya (2005-2008} and then as Africa Director in the Foreign Office, before being appointed Lieutenant Governor of the Isle of Man in 2011.

To a room of close to 200 delegates, His Excellency opened Day 1of the inaugural Crypto Valley Summit by welcomingvisitors from countries as far afield as Brazil, the United States, Russia, Switzerland, Ukraine and Ireland to the Isle of Man. Indoingso, His Excellency made particular reference to Steve Beauregard, CEO of GoCoin and keynote speaker,whose company,he explained "was one of the very first to identify the Island as the ideal home for business, and we  sincerely welcome his presence here." Followinga brief overview of the afternoon's proceedings, His Excellency went on to outline the Isle of Man's constitution and relationship with the United Kingdom for those who perhaps know little of its business proposition. The Isle of Man, he explained, is  a self-governing dependency of the British crown. Here, the head of state, Her Majesty the Queen, is referred to as the Lord of Mann, of whom His Excellency is representative. He continued in explaining that the Island has a long and proud history dating back to the Vikings and the establishment of Tynwald; the world's oldest independent parliament. His Excellency emphasised that the Island has never been part of the United Kingdom and enjoys a high degree of domestic, legislative and political autonomy; although the United Kingdom Government  is responsible for defence and international relations, for which the Island makes a financial contribution.

The Island is also not part of the European Union, but a special agreement allows the free trade of agricultural and manufactured products. The key ingredient in the Isle  of Man's success, he explained, is the excellent relationship that the government enjoys with the private sector,"and the Crypto Valley Summit is another part of this", His Excellency added.

The  Isle of Man  is also a  leading centre for financial services, deliveringmany benefits to the global economy, and in particular to the UK. The Isle of Man Government has also taken great strides in recent years to take its position as a responsible and forward thinking member of the global community.It recognised, at an early stage, that the nature of tax cooperation was changing and that automatic exchange was becoming the global standard. By  demonstrating       international        leadership        and responding positively to this agenda, the government has since given its business community a greater degree of certainty  regarding the future.  Indeed, UK Chancellor George Osborne welcomed the signing of a FATCA style agreement  between  the  UK  and  Isle  of  Man  as  a momentous step forward intax transparency.The Island's world-class regulatory environment, which is recognised by the G20, OECD, IMF and other global bodies, has become one of the many attractions of doing business in the Isle of Man.

We have a highly favourable tax regime, a world-class cluster of professional service providers, high quality infrastructure and a government that works closely with business to ensure the clients are put first",His Excellency continued. "The Isle of Man is maintaining its position as a preferred choice for  business  leaders thinking of relocatingtheir operations."

 



Crypto Valley Summit
The Isle of Man Crypto Valley Summit has been one of the most well received events of the 2014 Crypto Calendar. More than 170 C-suite and senior management delegates attended from across the world, the vast majority of them decision makers from within the crypto sector.

Hailed by industry leaders as "the new capital of Bitcoin", the Isle of Man has positioned itself as the premiere choice for setting up and maintaining legitimate, ethical crypto businesses.

 

Isle of Man Clarifies Regulation for Digital Currency Businesses

Isle of Man News - Jul 21, 2014 at 16:44 UTC Updated Mar 26, 2015 at 16:47 UTC
by Nermin Hajdarbegovic / www.coindesk.com/

The Isle of Man Financial Supervision Commission (FSC) has clarified the application of existing regulations on bitcoin.

The FSC indicates that digital currency businesses will not be subject to a conduct of business or prudential regime by the commission unless they engage in activities regulated under the Financial Services Act of 2008, such as money transmission services.

The commission warns that there is no such consumer protection for entrants into the digital currency market. It also notes that it is not the appropriate time to introduce such a regime until the market develops and an international consensus on the matter is reached.

AML/CFT rules may apply

The commission’s view is that market participants who do not understand the risks associated with digital currency are involved in a “high risk area” and need to be aware that there is no government protection in place for them.

However, this does not mean that the FSC is merely taking a wait-and-see approach. Some activities involving digital currencies will be affected in the near future.

The FSC says action is imminent:

“In order to ensure that the Island’s international reputation is maintained, it has been decided that certain activities relating to virtual currencies should be brought within the Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (“AML/CFT”) framework. As a result, certain amendments are currently being planned to Schedule 4 to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2008 which would apply the Island’s AML/CFT legislation to those involved in the virtual currencies market.”

The commission also said it is in the process of drafting a new bill that will provide it with the ability to oversee how digital currency operators comply with AML/CFT legislation.

Industry welcomes regulatory push

The latest FSC announcement is in line with previous statements made by the Isle of Man’s Department of Economic Development and Peter Greenhill, the director of the departments E-Business Development office.

Earlier this year the FSC issued a legal opinion, confirming that bitcoin exchanges are not required to obtain a licence in the country for their activities. The FSC also concluded that money transmission regulations do not cover bitcoin exchange activities.

As a result of the generally positive environment being created for bitcoin businesses, new companies are already starting to appear, with CoinCorner.com recently becoming the first cryptocurrency exchange registered on the Isle of Man earlier this month.

Charlie Woolnough, Chairman of the Manx Digital Currency Association and CEO of CoinCorner.com, told CoinDesk that the statement is just another step toward a regulatory regime that will ultimately benefit the industry.

Woolnough explained:

“It means that crypto-currency businesses already located in the Isle of Man, or those considering establishing businesses there, will gain additional credibility with their clients. It will also no doubt give financial institutions comfort that crypto-currency businesses located in the Isle of Man will be required to have in place similar AML and KYC procedures to themselves.”

Woolnough said the announcement builds on a previous statement from the Isle of Man government and paves the way to the introduction of a regulatory regime that will serve to further legitimise the cryptocurrency sector.

GoCoin’s Eric Benz welcomed the latest FSC announcement, saying it is “in line with their previous statements” in respect to providing a friendly environment to bitcoin businesses.

“The Isle of Man wants digital currency businesses to be there, as it is a safe and secure environment for them to showcase their technology while not engaging in activities which are criminal or damaging to the public. The Isle of Man Government is looking at creating a regulatory regime for digital currency and for this to happen requires primary legislation, which will take time. As it stands now, digital currency related businesses are able to obtain rulings on how they need to comply and operate direct from the Financial Supervision Commission,” said Benz.

He added that GoCoin has been working with Isle of Man authorities to advise and assist them in creating a bitcoin-friendly business environment.

 

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