Taiwan Takes Proactive Stance on Cryptocurrency, Set to Create “FinTech Sandbox”

Taiwan will not regulate cryptocurrencies or initial coin offerings, following pro-Bitcoin Japan in fostering the growth of blockchain technology and encouraging economic growth.

In a joint session of Parliament and the Cabinet on October 6, 2017, chairman Wellington Koo of Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission announced that Taiwan would move to support the adoption of cryptocurrencies within the country and adopt a friendly stance toward blockchain technology development.

The announcement came in response to a request for clarification from Nationalist Kuomintang Party congressman Jason Hsu, who had queried Koo regarding Taiwan’s official stance on cryptocurrencies. In the address, Koo stated that Taiwan would refrain from following in the footsteps of China and South Korea, which have both implemented outright bans on cryptocurrency activity.

Koo’s statements echo Congressman Hsu’s recent suggestion that embracing blockchain technology could assist Taiwan in encouraging economic growth and catalyzing innovation. Hsu has indicated that Koo’s declaration could pave the way for the successful passing of the Financial Technology Innovation Experimentation Act, a legislative proposal designed to create a deregulated “FinTech sandbox” for cryptocurrency and blockchain startups.

“Just because China and South Korea are banning, doesn’t mean that Taiwan should follow suit – there is a huge opportunity for growth in the future. We should emulate Japan, where they treat cryptocurrency as a highly regulated, highly monitored industry like securities.”

The proposal appears to be the legislative realization of a 2016 white paper released by Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission that argued for increased “efforts in the research and development of blockchain technology application” in both the public and private sectors.

Taiwan’s rapidly developing blockchain and cryptocurrency technology industries are set to benefit greatly from the impending legislation. Maicoin, Taiwan’s only digital currency exchange platform, currently boasts more than 25,000 users — or almost one in 1,000 citizens of the island nation.

Maicoin’s sister company, AMIS, has entered into a partnership with Microsoft to create Asia’s first blockchain consortium, which has already established relationships with Taipei Fubon Bank and Taishin International Bank. Recently, a number of offshore cryptocurrency exchanges have positioned themselves to enter Taiwan’s emerging market, including Japan-based Bitpoint and Hong Kong’s Tidebit.