On Tuesday, the Maltese Parliament unanimously voted to approve three cryptocurrency and blockchain bills designed to fulfill the country’s ambition to become “blockchain island.”
Parliament secretary for financial services and digital economy and innovation Silvio Schembri, presented the three bills during a conference earlier this week.
“We believe that the emergence of cryptocurrencies is here to stay and as a government we are anticipating the changes that cryptocurrencies may bring about in our daily lives,” Schembri said at the event.
He added that the aim of the government was to create the right environment for blockchain and cryptocurrencies to evolve.
The three bills regulate the use of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies across the country with each of them prioritizing market regulation or registration. These are aimed at protecting cryptocurrency investors, blockchain-based companies and financial transactions that occur on the island, the government said.
The Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act details the tasks and responsibilities of the newly established Digital Innovation Authority Department. The agency will be accountable for certifying distributed ledger technology (DLT) and blockchain platforms, ensuring their credibility as a technology, and to manage the legal protection of users engaging within these certified platforms.
The Virtual Financial Assets Act targets the financial transactions and sales within Malta’s cryptocurrency market. The bill will regulate all initial coin offerings (ICOs) launched in the nation, as well as any service-provider involved in activities related to ICOs. Additionally, the Virtual Financial Assets Act details a regulation outline that will strictly apply to all cryptocurrency trades and exchanges.
The Innovative Technology Arrangements and Services Act will be responsible for the registration of technology providers and their services, while certifying their system arrangements. This particular act will implement the registration process through the use of administrators and auditors.
In the past months, Malta has rapidly emerged as a blockchain and cryptocurrency hub as the government works towards developing a thriving fintech ecosystem.
Several companies in the space have already announced plans to expand into the so-called “blockchain island” with leading cryptocurrency exchange operator Binance to begin with followed by Poland’s largest cryptocurrency exchange BitBay, and Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange OKEx.
Others such as the Bitfury Group and Omnitude, have signed partnerships with Maltese companies and public agencies to develop and implement blockchain technology in varied areas.