Deputy Premier and Minister for Financial Services, Labour, and Trade, Honourable Lorna Smith, OBE delivered a keynote address at the BVI Arbitration Week 2024 on March 12, highlighting the significant milestones in the evolution of the BVI as an expanding hub for digital assets.

In her address, Honourable Smith, detailed the role that the BVI is poised to play in the global digital assets landscape and stated the importance of establishing a robust regulatory framework to govern this growing sector, accenting the need for a balance between innovation and adherence to the rule of law.

Acknowledging the transformative nature of digital assets, Honourable Smith, outlined the challenges and opportunities associated with their emergence. She stated that the necessity of collaboration among global jurisdictions to address regulatory complexities and mitigate risks associated with financial crime.

“The implementation of the Virtual Assets Services Providers Act (VASP) stands as a testament to the BVI's commitment to fostering a safe and conducive environment for digital asset businesses. Through extensive consultation with industry leaders, the VASP framework was crafted to accommodate the dynamic nature of the sector while prioritizing stringent regulatory requirements to mitigate risks effectively,” said Honourable Smith.

Notably, Honourable Smith also highlighted recent developments in global efforts to regulate the digital assets sector, including initiatives such as the FATF, the Crypto-Asset Reporting Framework (CARF) from the OECD and the Markets in Crypto-Assets regulation (MiCA) in Europe. She stated the importance of international cooperation in addressing cross-border challenges and ensuring regulatory alignment across jurisdictions.

The BVI's proactive approach to digital asset regulation has already garnered significant interest, with over 60 license applications under VASP received to date. Honourable Lorna Smith, OBE, expressed confidence in the BVI's potential to emerge as a leading global hub for digital assets, leveraging its expertise in financial and professional services, coupled with a world-leading legal framework.

Hon. Smith concluded stating that as the digital assets market continues to mature, the BVI remains committed to fostering innovation while upholding the highest standards of regulatory compliance. “With a clear vision and unwavering dedication, the BVI is poised to shape the future of digital asset innovation and regulation on the global stage,” said Hon. Smith.

BVI Arbitration Week was curated by the BVI International Arbitration Centre (BVI IAC) as a biennial week of events centered on arbitration enrichment, global networking, and promotion of the British Virgin Islands as a premier location for international arbitration.

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