QFC Issues Qatar Digital Assets Framework Proposal with Open Invitation for Public Feedback

In a groundbreaking move towards establishing a robust and secure digital assets ecosystem, the Regulatory Authority and the Qatar Financial Centre Authority (QFC Authority) have jointly unveiled the QFC Digital Assets Framework.

This framework, detailed in the proposed draft legislation, aims to address various aspects of digital assets, including legal certainty, ownership, custody arrangements, trading, and smart contracts.

It also endeavors to create a trusted technology environment, aligning with international standards while promoting confidence in digital assets, the market, and service providers.

A New Horizon for Digital Assets in Qatar

The QFC Digital Assets Framework has ambitious objectives:

1. Legal and Regulatory Framework: A fundamental goal of the framework is to establish a legal and regulatory framework for digital assets within the Qatar Financial Centre. This framework includes the creation of a tokenization framework designed to provide legal certainty and a secure technological environment for digital assets.

2. Legal Recognition: The framework seeks to provide legal recognition for digital assets, effectively addressing critical issues such as the ownership of underlying assets, custody arrangements, transfer of ownership, and the trading and exchange of digital assets. Additionally, it covers the realm of smart contracts and other pertinent matters.

3. Trusted Technology Infrastructure: To ensure trust and confidence among consumers and garner support from high-quality service providers, the framework emphasizes the development of a trusted technology infrastructure that incorporates essential standards.

4. Certainty and Confidence: The overarching goal is to deliver certainty and promote trust and confidence in digital assets, the market, and service providers, fostering an environment conducive to innovation and growth.

International Benchmarking

In crafting the QFC Digital Assets Framework, the Regulatory Authority and the QFC Authority have closely examined legal and regulatory benchmark jurisdictions worldwide. These include notable names such as Liechtenstein, Switzerland, the European Union, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and various State and offshore financial center frameworks in the GCC and other regulatory benchmarks.

This international perspective ensures that Qatar’s framework is aligned with global best practices.

Industry Collaboration and Public Feedback

Recognizing the importance of diverse perspectives, the QFC Authority has also convened an advisory group comprising industry practitioners from various disciplines. Their feedback on the legal framework and potential use cases has been invaluable in shaping this initiative.

Moreover, the Regulatory Authority has encouraged public participation in the development of the framework. Respondents are invited to provide comments on any aspect of the proposed draft legislation, and all responses to formal consultation will be made available to the public.

The Road Ahead

It’s essential to note that the proposed draft legislation is subject to change and may differ from the final version published by the QFC Authority. The final document will serve as the definitive version for legal and regulatory requirements.

The introduction of the QFC Digital Assets Framework reflects Qatar’s commitment to maintaining international standards in the financial sector while actively participating in the global digital economy. The proposals outlined in this Consultation Paper support the State of Qatar’s vision for a thriving digital economy and the continued development of the Qatar Financial Centre as a leading financial and business hub in the Middle East.

All interested parties and stakeholders are invited to submit their comments and feedback on the proposed framework by January 2, 2024.

To submit your feedback to the QFCRA, contact consultationpapers@qfcra.com.

To submit your feedback to the QFCA, contact consultation@qfc.qa.

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