Malta May Become Challenging to Crypto Exchanges

The island country hosts Binance and OKEx, and may soon introduce a licensing regime.

Crypto exchanges may leave Malta, based on the latest predictions. The island country, compliant with EU law, is offering favorable regulations, and hosts some of the largest crypto market operators.

But expectations arose of a stricter policy toward exchanges, with the potential that some firms will leave for another country of registration. Most recently, Bittrex switched from Malta to Liechtenstein, in a reinvention of its global exchange business.

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For now, 21 leading exchanges are based on the island country of Malta, waiting to complete their licensing requirements. Among them are the leading exchanges Binance and OKEx. Binance’s CEO, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, mare a show of pronouncing Malta a ground for crypto innovation.

But recent reports of government corruption and the murder of a journalist raised doubts about the qualities of Malta. Still, some dismissed the news as FUD, and not a potentially serious blow to the crypto sector.

The island nation is preparing for the official resignation of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, which may bring an end to a crypto-friendly local climate. The long list of leading exchanges was invited in part due to the efforts of the Prime Minister’s Finance Secretary Silvio Schembri.

Muscat’s name was also found within the Panama Papers, leaked and publicized by the murdered journalist Daphne Galizia.

At this point, it is uncertain if the shift in government will mean Malta is no longer the crypto-friendly background. Exchanges constantly seek favorable offshore conditions to perform their business. In 2019, most large spot trading exchanges switched to an international business, only leaving smaller partners to take care of their US-based business.

Europe remains one of the preferred spots for crypto trading, as EU rules allow banks to serve most exchanges and clients. But it is uncertain if Maltese banks would continue to be so favorable to crypto exchanges.

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