SAN FRANCISCO — Hedge funds go to the Cayman Islands to incorporate. Big companies are generally domiciled in Delaware. And online poker companies often set up their bases in Gibraltar and Malta.
Now the race is on to become the go-to destination for cryptocurrency companies that are looking for shelter from regulatory uncertainty in the United States and Asia.
In small countries and territories including Bermuda, Malta, Gibraltar and Liechtenstein, officials have recently passed laws, or have legislation in the works, to make themselves more welcoming to cryptocurrency companies and projects. In Malta, the government passed three laws on July 4 so companies can easily issue new cryptocurrencies and trade existing ones. In Bermuda this year, the legislature passed a law that lets start-ups doing initial coin offerings apply to the minister of finance for speedy approval.
“We are 65,000 people, and 20 square miles, but we have a very advanced economy,” the premier of Bermuda, E. David Burt, said in an interview at a cryptocurrency conference in May in New York, where he was trying to pitch companies on the island’s charms. “We want to position Bermuda as the incubator for this industry.”