Isle of Bitcoin: Jersey to take on Bali as best place for cryptocurrency

Guy Bentley
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(Source: Reuters)

Jersey is set to take on the tropical island of Bali in a race to become the most attractive jurisdiction for Bitcoin businesses.

Campaign group Bit.Coin.Je is hoping to solidify Jersey's reputation as a hospitable regulatory environment.

Oscar Darmawan, CEO of Bitcoin Indonesia, recently launched a new initiative called ‘Bitislands’ in the hope of turning Bali into a Bitcoin paradise island.

Not to be outdone, co-founder of Bit.Coin.Je Robbie Andrews has high hopes for the crown dependency's prospects as go-to jurisdiction for Bitcoin businesses.

Speaking to digital currency news site Coindesk, Andrews said: “We feel that Jersey is perfectly positioned to become a cryptocurrency-friendly jurisdiction. We’ve got a very highly-regarded finance industry with world class AML/KYC expertise. Although not part of either, we’re located between the UK and the EU with good communication links to both”.

Andrews believes that Jersey's high rate of smartphone ownership and forthcoming 4G connectivity, as well as an accommodating regulatory environment could induce the rapid take-up of Bitcoin. The group is aiming make it as easy as possible for residents to get involved with the world's favourite cryptocurrency.

To that end, Bit.Coin.Je is hoping to launch a Lamassu ATM within the next few weeks. Andrews, who has been interested in cryptocurrency since 2010, organised a fortnightly Bitcoin meetup along with his colleague Jon Day.

“Being able to gather these parties and communicate as a single voice is something we’ve already seen benefits from,” he told Coindesk.

Jersey authorities have also shown their support for digital currencies, with the Treasury and Resources Minister, Senator Philip Ozouf, saying Bitcoin businesses are "a sector that could hold significant opportunities for Jersey. We are keen to support local businesses by helping to create a well-regulated and responsive environment for investment in the sector".

However, Jersey is not the only crown dependency vying to be seen as the most attractive jurisdiction for Bitcoin.

Digital currencies have received a ringing endorsement from the government of the Isle of Man, which announced it will be taking specific measures to protect businesses and customers utilising digital currencies.

"Our stance is intended to welcome those who can meet the necessary standards while also preserving the Island’s good reputation as a financial centre", said director of E-Business Development, Peter Greenhill.

The government has instructed departments and statutory bodies to ensure there is a regime that promotes business opportunities but also adheres to anti-money laundering requirements.

The minister for Economic Development, John Shimmin MHK, commented: "The Isle of Man is synonymous not only with innovation, but for a regulatory environment that is both effective and pragmatic".

Shimmin believes the move will bolster the island's status as a business friendly jurisdiction. "We will work with the business community in the coming months to ensure that a proportionate and appropriate regime is implemented that meets international standards," he added.