Government of Malta Passes New Cryptocurrency Legislation
Malta’s embrace of digital currency came full circle Tuesday after lawmakers passed three separate crypto-related bills that could transform the island nation into a blockchain powerhouse.
‘First in the World’
CCN broke the news Wednesday that all three bills have gone through Malta’s legislative process, putting them on track for full implementation. The second reading of the bills was carried out Tuesday night in a plenary session that began at 6:00 p.m. local time, parliamentary records show.
The approved bills include the Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFA), the Innovative Technology Arrangements and Services Act and the Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act (MDIA).
VFA deals specifically with the regulation of initial coin offerings (ICOs), ordering new token projects to publish whitepapers and detailed descriptions of the entire project.
The Innovative Technology Arrangements and Services bill governs blockchain startups and other businesses looking to leverage distributed ledger technology.
MDIA will effectively serve as an industry-specific governing body that will support the development and implementation of blockchain-based regulations.
Parliamentary Secretary Silvio Schembri said the bills were a ‘first in the world’ development and also announced the person heading the newly created MDIA:
“Today Maltese Parliament unanimously approved 3 bills on DLT/blockchain, a 1st in the World. Honored to have driven these bills. Announced that Mr Stephen McCarthy will be the CEO of the new #Malta Digital Innovation Authority.”
Malta has quickly emerged as a prominent player in the blockchain industry, having already lured major exchanges and businesses to its borders. Binance has announced plans to relocate to the tiny Mediterranean nation and earlier this month disclosed that it has opened a bank account in the country. OKEx, another prominent exchange, has also announced plans to make Malta its new home.
Binance and OKEx are the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges by trading volume, each processing more than $950 million in daily transactions.
Binance’s decision to relocate was largely driven by its desire to enable fiat-to-crypto deposits and withdrawals, something Malta says it will accommodate through local bank partnerships.
Changpeng Zhao, Binance’s CEO, has described Malta’s regulatory stance toward blockchain and cryptocurrency as “logical, clear and forward-thinking,” adding that “dozens” of similar exchanges are planning to relocate to the country.
Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.
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