Digital Isle of Man Unveils Blockchain Office and Sandbox

Isle of Man (IoM), a self-governing British Crown dependency, has recently launched a blockchain hub in an effort to promote the development of the nascent technology, according to a report published February 5 by FinTech news agency FStech.

Led by IoM’s advisory body for the state’s economic growth, Digital Isle of Man, the new Blockchain Office was established to serve as a global blockchain hub, providing an environment that is conducive to the development of blockchain-based projects.

Concomitant with establishing the Blockchain Office, the executive agency has also launched an Isle of Man Sandbox to help blockchain startups navigate through the state’s prevailing and future regulatory framework anchored on existing regulations and legislation. As detailed in the report, applications for the IoM Blockchain Sandbox will be open to blockchain firms until March 2019, with its office expected to be fully functional by spring.

Clarifying the impetus behind the sandbox launch, the IoM government explained that it has no intentions of regulating “blockchain in isolation,” but instead aims to provide maximum flexibility to blockchain innovations and other emerging technologies.

As indicated in the report, early participants will not be charged any fees for utilizing the facility, allowing them to use the infrastructure to develop and trial blockchain platforms at no cost.

Highlighting the launch of the Blockchain Office and Sandbox, Digital IoM CEO Lyle Wraxall views these initiatives as a testament to the country’s commitment to providing a favorable and supportive jurisdiction for the blockchain industry, adding that:

“We are looking to attract premium blockchain businesses and the world’s top exchanges to the Island, and we will be creating new tech-agnostic regulation inspired by best practice that we’ve seen from other high-quality jurisdictions around the world.”

According to Digital IoM Political Member Daphne Hilary Penelope Caine, Isle of Man is among the few territories to introduce a legislative and regulatory framework encompassing digital assets, housing multiple large-scale crypto exchanges as well as major blockchain startups since 2013, including Quanta, Qadre, CoinCorner, and Luckbox.

In December 2018, the United Arab Emirates has similarly disclosed plans of establishing a regulatory sandbox that would support live testing of innovations piloted by the FinTech industry, as part of the middle eastern country’s broader initiative to develop regulations for the ICO sector.

More recently the International Monetary Fund has scrutinized Malta’s proactive stance on the crypto industry, claiming that the “blockchain island’s” involvement in the active development of blockchain initiatives poses a number of “significant risks” that could potentially result in money laundering and terrorist financing.