Overview of crypto regulations

Is the issuing of tokens/ICOs regulated in the BVI?


  • Very likely that licence or registration with the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) will be required, the specifics of which will depends on the nature of the token being issued. If the token is considered a security, it may be subject to further regulation under the Securities Investment Business Act (SIBA).

    "[T]he issuance of virtual assets [...] if being carried out by a Cayman Islands entity as a business on behalf party, will likely constitute virtual asset services and require a licence or registration with CIMA under the VASP Act.
    Under the VASP Act, any issuance of virtual assets requires CIMA's prior approval. For this purpose, an issuance means the sale of newly created virtual assets to the public in exchange for fiat currency, other virtual assets or other consideration. "Public" is not defined in the VASP Act so should be interpreted broadly for this purpose; however, helpfully the VASP Regulations distinguish a "private sale", broadly defined as a sale that is not advertised and is sold to a limited number of persons by private agreement from a sale to the public (meaning that registration under the VASP Act may not be required for certain sales). The sale of virtual service tokens will also be excluded from this requirement and any transfer that is not for consideration (e.g. a bonus or "airdrop") should be excluded.

    Securities Investment Business Act

    Pursuant to SIBA, an entity formed or registered in, or that is operating from, the Cayman Islands that engages in dealing, arranging, managing or advising on the acquisition or disposal of digital assets, may come within the ambit of SIBA and be required to obtain a registration or licence from CIMA thereunder (which may be in addition to a registration or licence required under the VASP Act). This applies to the extent that the relevant digital assets constitute "securities" for the purposes of SIBA."
    Source: Global Legal Insights, last revised 2022

    According to the British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission (Legislation)
    last revised 1 January 2020

    Securities and Investment Business Act 

    “security”—
    (a) for the purposes of Part V, has the meaning specified in Schedule 5; and
    (b) for the purposes of any other provision of this Act, means—
    (i) a share of any kind;
    (ii) a debt obligation of any kind;
    (iii) an option, warrant or right to acquire a share or debt obligation; or
    (iv) an interest or right specified in the Public Issuers Code as a security, but excludes an interest or right that the Public Issuers Code specifies is deemed not to be a security;