Isle of Man launches blockchain office and digital sandbox

Pedro Gonçalves
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Isle of Man launches blockchain office and digital sandbox

The Isle of Man is aiming to attract more blockchain companies to the island with two initiatives designed to help firms overcome the emerging regulatory hurdles in this area of technology.

The Isle of Man has announced the formation of a blockchain office and the Isle of Man Sandbox. The move, in partnership with the Digital Isle of Man, was made in hopes of making the self-governing British dependency an "international hub for blockchain businesses."

The blockchain office will facilitate a dialogue between businesses and regulators, and help blockchain 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.

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"

Through the new office, blockchain firms will be able to apply to participate in the sandbox, which will benefit from the expertise garnered from future participation in other international forums and sandboxes that encourage cross-border testing.

The sandbox will provide participants with access to an environment where they can develop and test blockchain platforms. Companies will be able to apply to join the sandbox from March 2019, with the office expected to be fully functional in the spring.

The idea, according to the local government, is not to regulate the sector in isolation, but to be flexible and look at how the blockchain technology is being regulated around the whole world in order to do it in the Isle of Man.

"The Isle of Man is making a firm commitment to be a fully supportive jurisdiction for the blockchain industry. 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," Lyle Wraxall, chief executive of Digital Isle of Man, said.

The Digital Isle of Man is an executive agency for the country's governmental department for enterprise, working to establish "the Isle of Man as a centre of international excellence for the digital economy."

Most recently, in June 2018, the the agency became a member of the British Blockchain Association (BBA). The BBA is a non-profit organization that works to promote the education and adoption of blockchain technology.