UN Meeting: Gibraltar Lawyers Call For A Global Regulatory Framework For Cryptocurrencies

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Gibraltar legal firm partner Joey Garcia from ISOLAS LLP has called for a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies at a recent UN meeting in Japan.  The Gibraltar lawyer participated in the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Cryptocurrencies Working Group meeting, supported and sponsored by the Government of Japan.

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Garcia said: 

“Cryptocurrencies are set to keep transforming the international financial services sector with recent initiatives such as the JP Morgan and Facebook Libra projects escalating those discussions. Benefits will no doubt be wide-ranging, however, a robust and appropriate regulatory framework that is purpose-built is key to facilitating this growth.

“Having new technologies operate within legacy frameworks can create a number of issues and easily stifle innovation. At the same time, no regulation or basic registration requirements can have the opposite effect and bring the wrong players into the market. Panels and groups, where experts from across the world gather to share and refine ideas, is crucial and itis exciting to be able to help shape future policy like this.”

“This meeting also highlighted the importance of global co-operation as we continue to discuss the next steps for the international community in this space.”


Held in Singapore last month, The UNODC Cryptocurrencies Conference: 2nd Southeast Asia Cryptocurrencies Working Group Meeting discussed efforts to tackle cybercrime, money laundering and organised crime, with participants including most of the Regulators from the Asia Region, as well as Australia, as well as law enforcement agencies from around the world.

The UNODC initiative lead by Alexandru Caciuloiu and Himal Ojha, continues to work with governments and international organisations in Southeast Asia, providing technical capacity building and assistance to investigators, prosecutors and judges along with enhanced cooperation between transnational borders.


The Gibraltar lawyer moderated the session for Cryptocurrency trading platforms and exchanges with panellists from Coinbase, Binance, Bitfiniex, CEX.io and Local Bitcoins, as well as the session for Blockchain Analytics solutions which included Chainalysis, Coinfirm, Elliptic, Ciphertrace and Merkle Science. He also presented during the session on Criminal Justice with a focus on the importance of the appropriately built out and tailored regulatory regimes for Virtual Asset Service Providers following the recently finalised recommendations from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), and co-chaired the roundtable session with the UNODC on global challenges with potential mitigation measures.

Garcia’s attendance reaffirmed the status of ISOLAS LLP as a market leader in the cryptocurrency space, but also Gibraltar’s reputation as a jurisdiction of choice for fintech developments and digital assets as the firm has also taken the lead in advising authorities around the world on appropriate and purpose-built Virtual Asset regulation. ISOLAS LLP clients Xapo and Huobi also participated in the ‘Financial Service Providers’ session alongside JP Morgan Chase.

Garcia co-chairs the Gibraltar Government working group/think tank on digital currencies. He currently forms part of the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (FSC) working group on MiFID II examining the implementation of MiFID II and other post Brexit implications for Gibraltar. He currently co-chairs the Gibraltar Government working group/think tank on digital currencies which is seeking to recommend a policy and framework in respect of Gibraltar’s position on digital currencies, as well as the Gibraltar Fintech Think Tank (thinkFinTechGi).

He was also involved in the preparation of the regulatory Guidelines for the establishment of a special purpose vehicle (SPV) under the Insurance Companies (Special Purpose Vehicles) Regulations and has been involved in advising a number of blockchain startups and businesses crossing over from the blockchain into the financial services space.

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About Richard Kastelein

Founder and publisher of industry publication Blockchain News (EST 2015), a partner at ICO services collective Token.Agency ($750m+ and 90+ ICOs and STOs), director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) – Vancouver native Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He sits on the advisory boards of some two dozen Blockchain startups and has written over 1500 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published pioneering articles on ICOs in Harvard Business Review and Venturebeat. Irish Tech News put him in the top 10 Token Architects in Europe.

Kastelein has an Ad Honorem - Honorary Ph.D. and is Chair Professor of Blockchain at China's first Blockchain University in Nanchang at the Jiangxi Ahead Institute of Software and Technology. In 2018 he was invited to and attended University of Oxford's Saïd Business School for Business Automation 4.0 programme.  Over a half a decade experience judging and rewarding some 1000+ innovation projects as an EU expert for the European Commission's SME Instrument programme as a startup assessor and as a startup judge for the UK government's Innovate UK division.

Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain technology in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Beijing, Brussels, Bucharest, Dubai, Eindhoven, Gdansk, Groningen, the Hague, Helsinki, London (5x), Manchester, Minsk, Nairobi, Nanchang, Prague, San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara (2x), Shanghai, Singapore (3x), Tel Aviv, Utrecht, Venice, Visakhapatnam, Zwolle and Zurich.

He is a Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Métis) whose writing career has ranged from the Canadian Native Press (Arctic) to the Caribbean & Europe. He's written occasionally for Harvard Business Review, Wired, Venturebeat, The Guardian and Virgin.com, and his work and ideas have been translated into Dutch, Greek, Polish, German and French. A journalist by trade, an entrepreneur and adventurer at heart, Kastelein's professional career has ranged from political publishing to TV technology, boatbuilding to judging startups, skippering yachts to marketing and more as he's travelled for nearly 30 years as a Canadian expatriate living around the world. In his 20s, he sailed around the world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Seas' travelling by hitching rides on yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently lives in Groningen, Netherlands where he's raising three teenage daughters with his wife and sailing partner, Wieke Beenen.

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