In the bid to get Bermuda on the top list of leading jurisdictions in the world’s digital assets sector, the Premier put residents on notice to get ready for the launch of Jewel Bank.

With 16 licensed digital asset businesses already registered in Bermuda so far, he said: “Bermuda’s only weakness in terms of attracting more companies, a limited banking market, will be addressed by the launch of Jewel Bank.”

Six new companies were registered last year, and that number is expected to grow this year.

“Early indications are that 2023 will be a strong year of growth with more companies getting licences as Bermuda has become more attractive to those players seeking to differentiate themselves through strong regulatory oversight,” said Mr Burt.

And there is growth in the digital asset insurance business.

What does it all mean in terms of the services offered by local banks now?

According to Mr Burt, a new – revised model must come into play, as some banks here “may be unable to service some Economic Recovery Plan initiatives”, without threatening existing banking relationships.

“Bermuda’s only weakness in terms of attracting more companies, a limited banking market, will be addressed by the launch of Jewel Bank,” said the Premier.

The island now has 16 licensed digital asset businesses with six issued in 2022.

He also noted that the island’s flagship Bermuda Digital Bank was “progressing” and would become a reality “in the near term”.

Ultimately, he said: “The aim is to develop and implement a revised banking model for our country that reflects its uniqueness and is consistent with our reputation as a quality international financial centre.”

The report by the Bermuda Monetary Authority includes:

• Domestic/ (full-service banks) banks, which would be required to offer services that meet the full range of domestic and retail customers’ needs

• Narrow-purpose banks, which would be permitted to service sectors that are currently associated with higher reputational risk, such as gaming

• Specialised international banks, which would be permitted to focus solely on providing global solutions internationally, including to underserved areas

• Credit unions providing services under the Credit Unions Act

“The Government is fully supportive of the introduction of these initiatives; and while incumbent banks have the competitive advantage of being more familiar with regulatory requirements, it is accepted that different innovations are required to enhance the banking experience in Bermuda,” said Premier Burt.

“Additionally, the Government will support the Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA) in advancing open banking standards in Bermuda to provide better services to local consumers while enabling new digital banking services to be offered.”

On that note, he said the Ministry of Finance and BMA are working “to determine the best path forward to execute this project in the near term while ensuring the bank meets the standards for being licensed in Bermuda”.

Reaffirming the Government’s position, he said: “The Bermuda digital bank is critical as it is not only in keeping with the Government’s pledge of building a nation of owners but also aims to diversify the banking services and products available on the island.”