Malta wants to be the world’s crypto and blockchain hub – everyone already knows this. So far, it is well on its way, already attracting several major exchanges and blockchain-based enterprises to its landscape, and also by becoming one of the first countries to introduce crypto legislation. Joseph Muscat, the Mediterranean island nation’s prime minister, recognizes all too well the important role crypto is playing in the evolution of currency, and recently told the United Nations (UN) that crypto is unequivocally the currency of the future.
During a meeting of the UN General Assembly, Muscat asserted, “I passionately believe technology revolutionizes and improves systems. This is why in Malta, we have launched ourselves as the blockchain island. By being the first jurisdiction worldwide to regulate this new technology that previously existed in a legal vacuum. Blockchain makes cryptocurrencies inevitable future of money. More transparent it helps filter good business from bad business.”
Muscat also explained that the country’s government is passionate about blockchains and their ability to completely eliminate the need for third-party providers in financial transactions. He suspects that the blockchain will ultimately evolve to include solutions that can replace the entire infrastructure of a number of industries, including charities and healthcare.
Muscat told the UN, “Blockchain can provide solutions to health care systems where patients have real ownership of their medical records. Emissions trading systems can be taken to the next level. We can help verify that humanitarian assistance is reaching its intent destination. We can make sure that nobody is deprived of their legitimate property because of compromised data.”
Malta has been almost singularly driven to convert itself into the prime destination for any company in the crypto and blockchain ecosystems. The world’s largest crypto exchange, Binance, has its headquarters there, as do several others. Binance has approximately 10 million customers and around $200 million in quarterly profit.
Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao is investing heavily into the Malta market. He asserts, “After reviewing a proposal bill, we are convinced that Malta will be the next hotbed for innovative blockchain companies and a centre of the blockchain ecosystem in Europe. Binance is committed to lending our expertise to help shape a healthy regulatory framework as well as providing funds for other blockchain start-ups to grow the industry further in Malta.”
In addition to Binance, the OKEx is headquartered there, as are Neufund, Tron and Oroundo, among others.
Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
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While many countries are still deciding how to introduce laws to the cryptocurrency and blockchain spaces, Malta is already set to move forward. The country has announced that it will implement a range of laws this year to cover digital assets. Given Malta’s desire to be seen as the global crypto hub, it’s not too surprising that they are pushing forward faster than almost everyone else.
The country has established a range of statutes, included in the Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFA) and the Innovative Technology Arrangement and Services Act (ITAS), which are designed to offer a detailed framework for the crypto industry. Those statutes have already been ratified and will become effective as of November 1.
The VFA establishes guidelines and policies for initial coin offerings (ICO), including the obligation to include a complete financial history behind any project. The ITAS creates an in-depth foundation for regulations of both cryptocurrency and the blockchain. It specifies that it will over “innovative technology arrangements and innovative technology services,” as well as the issuance of certificates to technology providers.
The bills were initially approved by Malta’s government last July, making the Mediterranean island nation one of the first in the world to introduce specific legislation for the cryptocurrency industry. The move should also help the industry flourish more on the island, as regulations have the potential to garner much more support from mainstream investors.
What kind of impact the legislation has on the country’s crypto status could be seen soon after the laws become active. On November 1-2, Malta will host the Malta Blockchain Summit (MBS), a meeting of a number of cryptocurrency and blockchain experts from around the world.
Eman Pulis, the CEO of the MBS, said, “We’re delighted that the timing coincides so perfectly. We’ve always said that we’re here to support the conscious efforts being made at the national level to make Malta the primary jurisdiction for blockchain and [distributed ledger technology]. We’re hoping that the Malta Blockchain Summit will serve as a showcase for the ecosystem, and will justify the efforts made by the Maltese government on the legislative front.”
Malta is already home to a large number of crypto and blockchain industry players. BitBay and Binance are both headquartered there and the OKEx exchange has launched a partnership with the country to introduce a crypto exchange. Malta has also signed a memorandum of understanding with Binance to launch the Blockchain Charity Foundation, an organization that will create blockchain-powered solutions for local and regional issues.