DARE Act upgrade

Amendments ensure Bahamas one step ahead of potential pitfalls in emerging digital assets industry

Critical amendments to the Digital Assets and Registered Exchanges (DARE) Act not only strengthen the country’s anti-money laundering framework, but ensure The Bahamas is one step ahead of potential pitfalls in the emerging digital assets industry, Prime Minister Philip Davis said yesterday.

The Digital Assets and Registered Exchanges (Amendment) Bill, 2022 provides for the monitoring and sanctioning of persons carrying on or purporting to carry on digital asset business activities without the requisite registration pursuant to DARE.

Davis said the amendments are also necessary to support The Bahamas’ re-rating application to seek a compliant rating for Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendation 15.

“While we recognize the extraordinary opportunities digital assets offer, we also recognize the risks, thus emphasizing the importance of effective regulation. We will attract the best companies and keep out bad actors. In addition, digital assets companies associated with our jurisdiction must operate fairly and in the interests of customers,” he said in the House of Assembly yesterday.

“We must ensure that customers’ money and assets are adequately safeguarded and that measures are in place to detect and prevent financial crime. In doing so, at the same time, The Bahamas will be meeting its international obligations, upholding our reputation, and mitigating the inevitable risks associated with the introduction of new technologies.”

Amended in late 2021, FATF Recommendation 15 requires that virtual asset and virtual asset service providers (VASPs) be regulated for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) purposes; that they be licensed or registered, and subject to effective systems for monitoring or supervision.

“As minister of finance, I have made it extremely clear that government’s policies are designed to facilitate and encourage growth while ensuring we keep bad actors out of the jurisdiction,” the prime minister said yesterday.

“Additionally, as we continue to make policies to advance in the digital assets industry, we are focused primarily on making sure that this industry succeeds in The Bahamas, awarding opportunities for Bahamians to play their role as consumers and investors.”

Last month, Attorney General Ryan Pinder said the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) would be working toward its submission for a re-rating of the final two of the 40 FATF Recommendations on which this jurisdiction remains non-compliant – Recommendations 8 and 15.

In December, The Bahamas was deemed compliant or largely compliant in 38 of the FATF’s 40 recommendations, following an assessment by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) last May, and as a result was removed from the European Union’s list of third-country jurisdictions which have strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regimes.

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Paige McCartney

Paige joined The Nassau Guardian in 2010 as a television news reporter and anchor. She has covered countless political and social events that have impacted the lives of Bahamians and changed the trajectory of The Bahamas. Paige started working as a business reporter in August 2016. Education: Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2006 with a BA in Radio and Television News

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