Malta Tells Crypto Companies To Step On The Brakes

As nations around the globe roll out crypto regulations and tax schemes, blockchain startups eagerly eye the next crypto-friendly destination. Malta has modeled itself as exactly that and firms have been flocking there in droves. So much so that the government has told them to hold their horses while it rolls out a regulatory framework.

According to local media the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) issued a statement on Friday saying that it was still developing the framework underlying recently passed cryptocurrency laws. It added that operators need to wait for a public announcement from the agency before filing a request for approvals and authorizations.

The Virtual Financial Assets (VFA) Act, passed earlier this month, comprised of three bills, one of which is focused on new regulations for the blockchain sector. The act makes Malta the first country to provide a legal regulatory framework for custom blockchain projects and companies.  The VFA act included the creation of the Malta Digital Innovation Authority, a regulatory body responsible for overseeing the industry. Another law as part of the act was Innovative Technology Arrangement and Services Act which focuses on cryptocurrency exchanges and companies specifically.

Until these frameworks are complete the MFSA notified operators that they would have to wait. In the meantime they should monitor the official webpage for announcements for updates and developments. The announcement noted that the bill will not take effect until “such date as the Minister for Digital Economy may establish by notice in the Government Gazette.” The Authority has been gathering stakeholder opinion on regulations relating to the VFA Act over the past two weeks.

There has been no timeframe given for this limbo period but when over it is expected that the MFSA will start issuing regulations and rules for the VFA Act in preparation for bringing it into force. Then Maltese doors will be officially open to the world’s crypto and blockchain organizations, many of which have already opened offices there in anticipation.

“Blockchain Island” has already attracted huge names in the industry such as Binance which will be working towards the launch of the first Maltese “decentralized and community-owned bank” dubbed the Founders Bank. Just this week OKEx also announced that it was partnering with the Malta Stock Exchange to launch a new securities trading platform called OKMSX.