Malta Financial Services Authority Addresses The Challenges With Security Token Offerings


On Tuesday, Malta's Financial Services Authority (MFSA) published a document providing answers to questions relating to security token offerings (STOs) in the country.

The watchdog released a summary of a combined 2 months of feedback sent by market participants. The feedback referred to how STOs could be leveraged in a way that didn't impede innovation. The consultation process had kicked off in July of last year.

It aimed to determine legal certainties and challenges of blockchain-based securities from the Maltese market perspective. Eighteen industry participants provided their feedback through September 2019. These participants included technology providers, national agencies, law and consultancy firms.

EU Legislation Looms Large Over Study

What featured heavily within the report were the implications of the broader EU legislation, specifically, the Market Abuse Regulation and the Markets Financial Instruments.

The MFSA concluded that digital ledger settlement could be utilized. But many of the respondents to the consultation argued that EU rules on central securities depository (CSD) present stumbling blocks to implementing it.

MFSA: Binance ‘Not Authorized' in Malta

The release of this feedback comes just days after the MFSA announced that it wouldn't provide the crypto exchange Binance with a license to operate in Malta.

There's speculation that the feedback report was in response to Binance's announcement that it still has its headquarters in the country.

Malta has tried, for some time, to lose its reputation as a money-laundering hub. With the resignation of Malta's prime minister under facing allegations of involvement in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, the MFSA also underwent a leadership change.

UK Specialists Working for the MFSA

The leadership of the MFSA now includes 3 UK nationals with experience in conduct supervision, financial crime compliance, and banking supervision.

According to a press release, the Maltese watchdog is trying to comply with European Central Bank (ECB) recommendations, especially after being warned by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that it may be put on its grey list for legal sanctions.

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