Qatari government consults on new regulations for blockchain technology

Out-Law News | 24 Aug 2022 | 11:40 am | 1 min. read

The Qatari government has published a new consultation on wide-ranging plans to encourage the development of blockchain technology through both “regulation and innovation”.

According to the National Blockchain Blueprint (23 pages / 1.12MB PDF), blockchain technology can help to build “an innovative and growing IT sector” in Qatar that increases domestic and foreign investment. The blueprint identifies key requirements for blockchain’s development, including the creation of an “efficient regulatory foundation” for the technology, and establishing a “supportive environment for creativity and innovation” in Qatar.

The Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA), Hamad Bin Khalifa University and Qatar University, which produced the blueprint, said new regulations were important not only to “protect users and ensure security”, but also to “provide the adequate legal framework that allows blockchain innovation and adoption.” They added that new regulations were needed to identify the “different domains of blockchain-based services, their associated regulatory requirements and appropriate regulatory approach to serve each domain.”

Under the proposals, the Qatar Central Bank would regulate cryptocurrencies, financial transactions and initial coin offerings (ICO) – a method of raising capital for start-ups using cryptocurrencies - while the Qatar Development Bank would scrutinise blockchain investment activity.

The Ministry of Justice would formalise a new legal framework for the technology that would then be enforced by the National Cybersecurity Agency. The blueprint also recommends establishing a government-led industry consortium to coordinate the development of these regulatory activities.

Tom Bicknell of Pinsent Masons said: “The blueprint represents a meaningful foundation for the growth of this key technology sector in Qatar. The collaboration between the CRA and two of Qatar’s leading universities shows the initiative is aimed at both regulation and innovation.”

He added: “We anticipate Qatar will take further formative steps to build out its domestic blockchain sector so as to foster the significant entrepreneurial talent they have in their young workforce.”

The Qatari government’s consultation on the blueprint will close on September 15, 2022.