FinTech/Blockchain – clear regulatory parameters set by Mauritius Financial Services Commission

The Financial Services (Custodian services (digital asset)) Rules 2019 (the “Rules”), effective as from the beginning of March 2019, brings regulatory certainty to the FinTech/Blockchain space. The Rules provide that a person carrying out custody services in relation to digital assets in Mauritius should apply to the Financial Services Commission (“FSC”) for a Custodian services (digital asset) licence.

Blockchain regulations update in Mauritius
Photographer: Dmitry Moraine | Source: Unsplash

As per the Rules affecting blockchain industry, a digital asset:

(a) means any token, in electronic or binary form, which is representative of either the holder’s access rights to a service or ownership of an asset,

(b) includes a digital representation of value which:

(i) is used as a medium of exchange, unit of account, or store of value but which is not a legal tender, even if it is denominated in legal tender;

(ii) represents assets such as debt or equity; or

(iii) provides access to a blockchain-based application, service or product;

(c) excludes –

(i) any transaction in which a business, as part of an affinity or reward programme, grants value which cannot be exchanged for legal tender, bank credit or any digital asset; or

(ii) a digital representation of value issued for use within an online gaming platform.

Some key requirements of a licensed digital asset custodian:

– maintain a minimum unimpaired stated capital of MUR 35 million (USD 1 million approx.) or an amount representing 6 months’ operating expenses as reported in the audited financial statements submitted to the FSC, whichever is higher;

– Board to comprise of a minimum of 3 directors, of which at least one is resident in Mauritius and 30% is/are independent director(s).

– should at all times perform its core functions from an office in Mauritius and maintain up to date transactional records;

– should file with the FSC as soon as possible, but (i) no later than 45 days after the closing date of the relevant quarter, its quarterly financial statements, (ii) no later than 90 days of its balance sheet date, its audited financial statements.

The digital asset custodian licence application to the FSC is subject to a one-off processing fee of USD 5,000 and a fixed annual fee of USD 10,000.

Why Mauritius?

* thriving International Business Centre of sound reputation – 1st in Africa, 20th worldwide – World Bank Ease of Doing Business Report 2019

* OECD Compliant/ White List Jurisdiction

* Reasonable cost of doing business as compared to other international business centres/ IFCs, without any compromise on quality

* Highly skilled workforce comprising of local and expats

* Convenient time zone: GMT +4

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