Spencer Kellogg | United States
Malta, one of the smallest countries in the entire world, is taking measures to make it the most friendly cryptocurrency regulatory ecosystem on the planet. This month, Binance and OKEx, two of the largest crypto exchanges, picked up and moved their offices from Hong Kong to Malta in hopes of providing fiat-crypto on ramps for their customers. With political and financial organizations aligned to create a ‘safe haven’ for cryptocurrencies, Malta is establishing itself as the future of crypto.
— OKEx (@OKEx_) April 12, 2018
The news electrified the crypto Twitter-sphere as Malta’s political class and leading innovators in blockchain technology tweeted encouragingly at one another. Malta’s Junior Minister for Financial Services, Silvio Schembri, gushed over the recent Binance news as he shared a statement from Binance CEO ChangePeng Zhao:
— Silvio Schembri (@SilvioSchembri) April 13, 2018
Malta’s insular and economically progressive political environment have allowed the nation to accelerate its loosened financial regulations. In April, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat called cryptocurrencies “the future of money.” Later, he went further and questioned the value system of paper money:
Have any of you ever thought about what gives paper money its value when it’s ultimately just pieces of paper? It is because society attributes value to it. Now some people, who in my opinion are geniuses, are arguing that value can similarly be attributed to virtual currencies.
IGaming, a multi-billion dollar online gaming industry in Malta, recently issued a whitepaper on the use of cryptocurrency in the digital gaming landscape. The Malta Gaming Authority have begun creating standards for digital payments, hosting wallets and gaming systems built on blockchains. Further adoption on the island has included a notarial platform that will provide real-time transaction lists of property in Malta.
Malta’s plan to become the financial crypto highway is reminiscent of the success tiny Singapore had in building its port into one of the greatest import/export exchanges on the globe. Speaking with Cointelegraph earlier this month, Malta Blockchain Member Leon Sigmund was adamant that Malta will soon be the single most progressive cryptocurrency nation in the world:
Entrepreneurs in the Blockchain field need a business environment and clear, simple rules that are long-term guaranteed. Binance delivers a service trusted by millions of users worldwide and provides high-quality employment of which the Maltese economy will benefit. Ultimately, it is undoubtedly clear that blockchain and Bitcoin are beyond the stage of being just a hype or underground experiment with millions of people investing – it will bring decades of prosperity.
Every day, the news pouring out of Malta suggests a full speed ahead approach on digital tokenization and regulation. Today, April 16th, the Malta Financial Services Authority (FSA) has introduced a test that will define when ICO’s are securities. While the American SEC seems clueless as to crypto’s inherent functionality and bogged down by the usual beltway lag, Malta is moving forward with defining and establishing the appropriate vocabulary and instrumentation for cryptocurrency in their country.
— DELTA Summit (@Delta_Summit) March 28, 2018
Earlier this month, the first major cryptocurrency summit in Malta was announced. On October 3-5 2018, industry leaders and the political elite of Malta will meet to discuss potential applications of blockchain technology. Along with cryptocurrency venture capitalists and blockchain innovators, Prime Minister Muscat is scheduled to speak.
I understand that regulators are wary of this technology, but the fact is that it’s coming. We must be on the frontline in embracing this crucial innovation, and we cannot just wait for others to take action and copy them. We must be the ones that others copy. – Muscat
With some of the most powerful exchanges moving to the island and a political climate that seems happy to provide friendly regulatory incubation, Malta could very well see an explosion of business and immigration. Instead of fearing the rise of digital assets, Malta has embraced new technologies and the culture that comes along with it.
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