Sri Lanka appoints committee to implement crypto mining and blockchain

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Sri Lanka joins the global crypto adoption drive after setting up a committee for exploring and implementing blockchain and crypto mining technologies.

A letter shared on Oct. 8 by Sri Lanka’s Director General of Government Information, Mohan Samaranayake, shows that the authorities have approved a recent proposal that aims to attract investments in the country’s blockchain and cryptocurrency initiatives.

According to Samaranayake, the Sri Lankan authorities have identified the need of developing “an integrated system of digital banking, blockchain and cryptocurrency mining technology” as a means to stay on par with global partners and international markets. He added:

“This committee will be mandated to study the regulations and initiatives of other countries such as Dubai, Malaysia, Philippines, EU and Singapore etc, and propose a suitable framework for Sri Lanka.”

The proposal was made by Namal Rajapaksa, Minister of Project Coordinating and Monitoring, which requires the committee to report its crypto and blockchain-related findings to the Cabinet of Acts, Rules and Regulations.

Out of the eight members in the committee, two members represent international fintech giants including Mastercard’s Sandun Hapugoda and PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) Sujeewa Mudalige. Members from traditional finance include Colombo Stock Exchange CEO Rajeeva Bandaranaike and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Director Dharmasri Kumarathunge.

The remaining four members represent various national authorities including Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Readiness Team (SLCERT), Department Of Government Information, Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) and the President’s Council.

Supporting this initiative, the committee will also monitor laws and regulations implemented by other nations to establish rules against Anti-Money Laundering (AML), terror financing and criminal activities.

Related: Crypto transactions surge 706% in Asia as institutional adoption grows — Chainalysis

A recent Cointelegraph report highlighted a 706% surge in Central and Southern Asia and Oceania between July 2020 and June 2021. Based on data shared by Chainalysis, the value of the transactions in the region amounted to 14% ($572.5 billion), with India representing the highest global transaction value.

Back in April, Sri Lanka’s central bank issued a public notice against the risks associated with cryptocurrency investments, citing a lack of legal or regulatory recourse. However, just a month after the notice, the central bank shortlisted three banks for developing a proof-of-concept for a shared Know Your Customer facility using blockchain.