Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 19, 2021 (SKNIS): In support of the Virtual Assets (Amendment) Bill, 2021, Honourable Wendy Phipps said that when the amendment is compared to the parent legislation, it provides more soundproof of the Government’s objective to ensure that virtual assets and virtual assets markets would be as comprehensively covered as a well-regulated traditional money market asset system that is already prevalent in the region.
“It is important and it is progressive given the global trends that are already taking place in terms of the trading of goods and services via the use of these digital currencies and virtual assets,” she said, speaking at a Sitting of Parliament on March 18.
Minister Phipps said that St. Kitts and Nevis would be left behind if the amendment was not tabled.
“If we didn’t do what we are doing now, we would be left behind for reasons…including the fact that we look to the safe introduction of digital currencies in the use of trading in goods and services as a means for us to improve our national competitiveness, regional competitiveness, since we are talking about the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) and at the same time improving the way we do business, recognizing of course that with the introduction of technologies there are also risks that come with it,” she said.
She added that “this is relative to those who might want to use their technical skills for the wrong purposes and as such safeguards would have to be put in place.”
Minister Phipps highlighted the point that is listed at the end of the definition of a virtual asset in the parent legislation.
“You refer to anything of that nature, a representation digital in nature, to deal with transactions, transfers, investments, but of course it does not include digital representation of Fiat Currency,” she said. “Fiat Currency simply means you are not referring to the extension of the definition for a virtual asset to anything that is not backed by a commodity. So that is a clear distinction.”
Minister Phipps noted that “it may not mean too much for us right now because our securities exchange is still relatively young in our parts of the world, but it is worthy of note nonetheless.”
She stated that the digital currencies, which are referred to throughout the amendments to the Bill, “while they are catching on more and more and we are seeing a lot of global developments pointing to such, I want to make mention of the fact that the proponents and the promoters of digital currencies would continue to speak about their advantages, but then at the same time we may unguardedly be optimistic that while you are reliant on technology to ease business, expedite business, to transact business in a safe manner, we recognize at the same time that as well as the speed you have to be sure about the safety of the transactions.”