Business

Gerald Fenech

Decentralized Founders ‘Bank’ still awaiting Malta license

Founders Bank has been marketing itself as the world’s first decentralized and community-owned bank, yet the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) said it wasn’t aware that the company has been publicly—and illegally—calling itself as a “bank.”

Founders Bank promises to provide what it describes as “progressive fintech solutions to the world of innovation and blockchain.” The company plans to launch in the first half of 2019. However, the Maltese financial services regulator said Founders Bank is still awaiting license—meaning it cannot market itself as a bank without a written permission from the MFSA.

According to Malta’s Banking Act, “… save with the written permission of the competent authority, no person other than a credit institution with a current licence may use the word “bank” or any of its derivatives or other words as may indicate or purport to indicate the carrying on of the business of banking in any language in the description or title under which such person is carrying on business, or make any such use on any letter paper, in any notice or advertisement, or in any other similar manner.”

A spokesperson for the MFSA told The Times of Malta: “What we are aware of are media articles mentioning their plans to set up a blockchain-based bank servicing technology and cryptocurrency businesses…Any application for this type of bank will have to follow all the MFSA’s on-boarding procedure.”

In a blog post, Founders Bank said once its fully operational, users can access their accounts via mobile and desktop web applications and use them directly with credit cards issued by the bank.

Founders Bank is a collaboration between Binance, considered to be the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by turnover, and blockchain-based equity fundraising platform Neufund. According to the companies, the project will be focused on providing services to crypto customers, who, in turn, will be the shareholders of the bank through an initial coin offering (ICO).

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