The Government of Malta has passed three cryptocurrency-related bills that are designed to make the EU country more attractive to ICO issuers and other blockchain based businesses.
The new law will regulate the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT or blockchain) and each bill is said to prioritizes market regulation or registration, working to protect investors, blockchain-based companies, and financial transactions that occur on the island.
The Government of Malta said in a release it chose to pursue three, separate cryptocurrency-related bills that would bring legal certainty and integrity to the growing market in Malta. By regulating ICO’s, monitoring the registration of service-providers, and certifying blockchain-based platforms, the Maltese Government says it is able to provide a safe space for crypto investors and companies launching from its nation as they also take part in the banking system safely.
The Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act details the tasks and responsibilities of the newly established Digital Innovation Authority Department. The Department will be accountable for certifying DLT 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 ICOs launched in Malta territory, 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.
Silvio Schembri, the Junior Minister for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation within the Office of the Prime Minister of Malta, tweeted about the passing of the bills yesterday, referencing Malta’s moniker as a “blockchain island”
“Today Maltese Parliament unanimously approved 3 bills on DLT/blockchain, a 1st in the World. Honored to have driven these bills. Announced that Mr Stephen McCarthy will be the CEO of the new #Malta Digital Innovation Authority. #BlockchainIsland -SS”
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.