A government official said Cyprus has written its own legislation to deal with crypto assets and it is likely that Europe will adopt it before it completes a unified regulatory directive.
Kyriacos Kokkinos, Deputy Minister for Research, Innovation and Digital Policy, presented this at a Larnaca meeting with the local fintech community.
The conference was hosted by Kendris, a Swiss consulting firm with offices in Cyprus and other countries.
Kokkinos said Cyprus’ focus on research has had success in the field, but not without the country learning a few lessons along the way.
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Legislation governing the handling of crypto assets has been drafted in Cyprus (Entrepreneur).
Cyprus supports the use of encryption
The Cyprus Mail reported on Thursday that Kokkinos is drawing a tight line between welcoming innovation and complying with the law when it talks about the future of Cyprus’ digital assets, including cryptocurrencies.
Quoting from an English daily newspaper, Kokkinos elaborated:
“We can confirm that Cyprus supports the use of digital and crypto assets, but we have to be very careful and respectful of the current laws as well as the absence of restrictions.”
Since the island nation was a member of the European Union, Kokkinos stressed the need for prudence. He observed that it doesn’t matter whether it matches Europe or not.
Instead, he said, the country’s choice is whether to wait for the ECB to establish its own regulatory framework or to proceed independently.
“My answer is to follow the rules and go alone,” he said.
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Functional evaluation of cryptocurrency
As the Deputy Minister disclosed, the bill was published and stakeholders are encouraged to evaluate it. The Cyprus government has also invited a New York-based company to help with the implementation of the law.
Regarding the banking industry as a whole, Kokkinos has been more pessimistic, lamenting the very conservative approach adopted by commercial banks since the 2013 financial crisis.
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“Banks should be more accommodating to businesses and individuals wishing to do business in Cyprus,” he said, noting that although improvements have been made over the past 18 months, there is still room for improvement.
Two Invest Cyprus representatives, CEO George Campanellas and Vice President Spyros Vassilou, also spoke at the event.
Meanwhile, the G7 finance directors have urged countries to introduce comprehensive regulations on cryptocurrencies. According to Reuters, the team released a draft statement to this effect during a meeting in Koenigswinter, near Bonn (Germany).