On 26th June, the Maltese Parliament unanimously voted to approve three cryptocurrency and blockchain bills designed to fulfill the country’s ambition to become “blockchain island.” Silvio Schembri, Junior Minister for Financial Services, Digital Economy, and Innovation within the Office of the Prime Minister of Malta, has recently announced that the Maltese Parliament unanimously approved 3 bills on DLT/blockchain.

The Bills are the following:

  1. The Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act: This is the first bill which will give wide scope to the regulation of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain space. The Bill establishes the Malta Digital Innovation Authority (“the Authority”) and will focus on internal governance arrangements. The affairs and business of the Authority will be carried out by a Board of Governors.
  2. The Innovative Technology Arrangements and Service Act: It deals with the possibility for registration of Technology Service Providers and certification of Technology Arrangements (“TA”) with the possibility of having the TA being granted separate legal personality. This bill is mostly concerned with the setting up of exchanges and other companies who operate in the crypto market.
  3. The Virtual Financial Assets Act which introduces a legal framework for the regulation of ICO's and Exchanges: The third and final Bill focuses on the regulatory regime applicable to Initial Coin Offerings (“ICOs”) and the regulation in respect of certain service providers which will be involved in activities related to ICOs. The Bill will also outline the regulatory regime which will be applicable to cryptocurrency exchanges.

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 Malta, 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.

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