Malta Yet to Enforce Cryptocurrency Framework

Malta's recently-passed cryptocurrency regulatory framework has not taken effect yet.

Malta's recently-passed cryptocurrency regulatory framework has not taken effect yet, the island’s financial watchdog said on Friday.

Earlier this month, Malta’s Parliament announced the final approval of three blockchain and cryptocurrency-related bills. However, one of the new laws — the Virtual Financial Assets Framework, which will complement The Virtual Financial Assets Act — is still under development, according to a press release issued by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA).

The regulator noted that blockchain companies have to wait for a public announcement before filing requests for approval and authorization. The MFSA did not specify when the framework will take effect. The only indication provided was that it will happen “on such date as the Minister for Digital Economy may establish by notice in the Government Gazette”.

The Virtual Financial Assets Framework targets financial transactions and sales on Malta’s cryptocurrency market. The bill will regulate Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrency trading by establishing rules for brokers, exchanges, wallet providers, asset managers, investment advisors and market makers.

The framework, combined with the other two laws — “The Innovative Technology Arrangements and Services Act” and “The Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act” — aims to bring market integrity, consumer protection and industry protection in Malta, as explained by the government earlier this month.

Malta has been setting foot in the crypto world at a fast pace. Last year, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat revealed his ambitions to establish the archipelago as a ‘Blockhain Island’. Living up to this nickname, Malta has already attracted several large cryptocurrency exchanges, including two of the biggest platforms by trading volume Binance and OKEx.

Most recently, Malta unveiled the world’s first blockchain and cryptocurrency stock exchange as the Malta Stock Exchange (MSX) created a new subsidiary to take charge of the island’s digital asset and fintech transactions. The creation of MSX’s Fintech and Digital Asset arm followed news of the MSX signing a deal with OKEx to develop a new security tokens trading platform. In addition, Binance revealed earlier this month its participation in a Malta-based decentralized crypto bank project, dubbed Founders Bank.