- The Qatar Financial Centre Authority (QFC) and the Regulatory Authority have introduced the QFC Digital Assets Framework, a proposed draft legislation aimed at creating a secure digital assets ecosystem.
- The framework aims to establish a legal and regulatory structure for digital assets within the QFC, ensuring legal certainty and a secure technological setting.
- It also aims to grant legal recognition to digital assets, addressing issues like ownership, custody arrangements, trading, and smart contracts.
In an exciting and pioneering step towards establishing a robust and secure digital assets ecosystem, the Regulatory Authority and the Qatar Financial Centre Authority (QFC Authority) have introduced the QFC Digital Assets Framework. This framework, outlined in a proposed draft legislation, aims to tackle various aspects of digital assets, including legal aspects, ownership, custody arrangements, trading, and smart contracts. Its ultimate goal is to create a reliable technological environment that adheres to international standards while instilling confidence in digital assets, the market, and service providers.
The Qatar Financial Centre Authority (@QFCAuthority) and QFCRA today issued a joint Consultation Paper (CP) seeking public comment on proposals to introduce a QFC Digital Assets Framework.
— QFC Regulatory Authority هيئة تنظيم مركز قطر للمال (@QFCRA) October 4, 2023
The QFC Digital Assets Framework sets out ambitious objectives
1- Legal and Regulatory Framework: A primary objective of this framework is to establish a legal and regulatory structure for digital assets within the Qatar Financial Centre. It includes the creation of a tokenization framework that ensures legal certainty and a secure technological setting for digital assets.
2- Legal Recognition: The framework aims to grant legal recognition to digital assets, addressing crucial issues like the ownership of underlying assets, custody arrangements, transfer of ownership, and the trading and exchange of digital assets. It also covers the realm of smart contracts and related matters.
3- Trusted Technology Infrastructure: To build trust and confidence among consumers and attract high-quality service providers, the framework places a strong emphasis on developing a trusted technology infrastructure that adheres to essential standards.
4- Certainty and Confidence: The overarching goal is to provide certainty and foster trust and confidence in digital assets, the market, and service providers. This will create an environment conducive to innovation and growth.
International Benchmarking played a significant role in shaping the QFC Digital Assets Framework. The Regulatory Authority and the QFC Authority carefully studied legal and regulatory benchmarks from around the world, including jurisdictions like Liechtenstein, Switzerland, the European Union, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and various state and offshore financial centers within the GCC and other regulatory benchmarks. This international perspective ensures that Qatar’s framework aligns with global best practices.
Recognizing the importance of diverse perspectives, the QFC Authority has formed an advisory group comprising industry experts from various fields. Their valuable feedback on the legal framework and potential use cases has played a crucial role in shaping this initiative. Additionally, the Regulatory Authority has encouraged public participation in the framework’s development. They invite individuals to provide comments on any aspect of the proposed draft legislation, and all responses will be made available to the public.
It’s important to note that the proposed draft legislation is subject to change and may differ from the final version published by the QFC Authority. The final document will serve as the definitive version for legal and regulatory requirements.
The introduction of the QFC Digital Assets Framework reflects Qatar’s commitment to upholding international standards in the financial sector while actively participating in the global digital economy. The proposals outlined in this Consultation Paper align with the State of Qatar’s vision for a thriving digital economy and the continued growth of the Qatar Financial Centre as a leading financial and business hub in the Middle East.