Isle of Man launches blockchain sandbox

The Isle of Man has announced the formation of a Blockchain Office and the launch of an Isle of Man Sandbox.

These initiatives form part of a new commitment from the self-governing British dependency to become an international hub for blockchain businesses. The island’s authorities stated that they will not regulate blockchain in isolation, giving businesses the flexibility to best use this emerging and transformative technology.

The primary function of the Blockchain Office will be to facilitate a dialogue between businesses and regulators, and to help platforms design and future-proof their concepts in accordance with relevant legislation and regulation. It will also provide expertise, guidance and marketing support, as well as facilitate and encourage collaboration between companies.

Through the office, businesses will be able to apply to participate in the Isle of Man Blockchain Sandbox.

Applications for the sandbox will be open from March, with the office fully functional in the spring. Early participants will not be charged fees for the facility, which will provide them with access to an environment where they can develop and test blockchain platforms.

The sandbox will benefit from the expertise garnered from future participation in other international forums and sandboxes that encourage cross-border testing.

Lyle Wraxall, chief executive of Digital Isle of Man, commented: “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.”

Interaction between blockchain and the e-gaming sector is already evidenced in Isle of Man legislation that allows virtual currencies to be deposited, withdrawn and gambled with e-gaming operators, and the island is home to the first blockchain-enabled lottery platform run on Ethereum using smart contracts.

Daphne Caine, political member for Digital Isle of Man, explained: “The Isle of Man - which was among the first jurisdictions in the world to establish a legislative framework for virtual currencies - has been home to leading exchanges since 2013, and is the headquarters of blockchain businesses including CoinCorner, Quanta, Luckbox and Qadre.”

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