Business 5 July 2018

Gerald Fenech

3 crypto, blockchain bills sail through Maltese Parliament

Malta continues to stake its claim to being the “blockchain island” in the crypto space. On Wednesday, the Maltese Parliament unanimously passed three blockchain and cryptocurrency-related bills into law via a third reading. These bills are the Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act, the Innovative Technological Arrangement and Services Act, and the Virtual Financial Asset Act.

Silvio Schembri, junior minister for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation within the Office of the Prime Minister of Malta, tweeted the announcement, noting that the island nation continues to be a pioneer in providing a solid legal framework for blockchain companies to operate on the island.

In a separate tweet, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced the latest development, which he said makes Malta “officially the first country worldwide to have holistic legislative framework regulating blockchain & DLT technologies.”

The Parliament’s move will give companies the legal tools to operate in a regulate environment, which, in turn, will put investors’ minds to rest. Schembri is also hopeful that this will pave the way for more companies that will make Malta their base of operations, given that the republic now has a stable system to enable “further economic growth.”

Speaking to CoinGeek, WH Advocates partner Dr. Joseph F. Borg said after the passage of these bills, the onus was now on the Malta Financial Services Authority to ensure that there would be smooth procedures put into place.

“Now that the laws have been adopted we turn our eyes to the MFSA and the newly set up MDIA to issue the relevant rules and procedures. The MFSA has in fact today issued a consultation on the regulations that will be published under the VFA Act. Let’s all together make Malta the hub for blockchain and cryptocurrency businesses,” he said.

Malta has consistently been in the crypto and blockchain news of late with several companies and exchanges relocating to the island. Major cryptocurrency exchanges such as Binance, OKEx and DQR are already in Malta setting up their operations. There have also been other partnerships announced, such as the one between Omnitude and Malta Public Transport for a blockchain ticketing solution.

The Malta Financial Services Authority has also issued a consultation document on the new bills and will await feedback from financial service providers for the best ways to begin implementing this important legislation.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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