This tiny island nation of Malta sitting in the middle of the Mediterranean who a lot of us didn’t even know existed, suddenly came to the forefront when Binance, the biggest Cryptocurrency trading exchange by volume, decided to move its operations there. The blockchain island as it has popularly become known as, has been on a rip ever since with a host of other blockchain based businesses making it their home base.
Following in the footsteps of Binance, OKex and BitBay Crypto exchanges have set up operations in Malta as well. Soon after a Blockchain-based, equity fundraising platform Neufund also set up shop in the tiny blockchain island. This was just the impetus the government of this European island nation needed as it started to work on forward thinking lines to provide a Blockchain/Crypto friendly atmosphere to attract further investment. Let’s look at how Malta’s raced towards potentially becoming the Blockchain Capital of the World unfolded in the past few months.
- Binance announces to move its operations to Malta in March 2018, followed by OKex in April & BitBay in May. These were significant moves for not only these Crypto exchanges and Malta itself which quickly began working on providing a regulatory framework to provide a stable system which would ensure growth & Economic progress
- The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) published a document in March outlining the guidelines for Blochchain/Crypto based applications in the gaming industry. This was on the back of the announcement last year in November to test a blockchain based system to record Academic certificates.
- In April it was announced that Malta Digital Innovation Authority (MDIA) will be created which will serve as the regulatory body for all the blockchain based businesses who decide to make Malta as their hub. MDIA will have a similar role as the SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission) has in the U.S.
- Neufund, a Berlin based startup, which allows the tokenization of shares on its platform announced in April that it would establish a significant presence and actively support the Government’s efforts to establish a vibrant Ecosystem.
- The Transport Minister announced in May of a joint venture between the Maltese government & the British Startup Omintude to improve the overall reliability & efficiency of the Maltese transport system based on the blockchain based Logistics platform
- In a landmark decision on July 4th. 2018 the Maltese Parliament passed the Blockchain regulatory framework by approving the three bills namely: “Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act”, “Innovative Technology Arrangements and Services Act” and the Virtual Finances Assets Act”. By passing these laws Malta has effectively become the first jurisdiction in the world to establish a comprehensive regulatory regime for Blockchain-based businesses.
- Maltese based Palladium announced on July 10th its intention to launch the World’s first ICCO (Initial Convertible Coin Offering) in partnership with two companies including Bittrex – an ICCO is different from an ICO that you can convert the tokens into company shares, which is 3 years in Palladium’s case. The distribution of the 150 million tokens is scheduled to begin on July 25th.
- On the same day of the launch of Palladium, it was announced that the University of Malta would start offering a blockchain degree & making it mandatory for the civil servants to be trained in the field as well.
- And the biggest news of them all was the announcement today that Binance would be one of the investors (5% stake) supporting a formation of a decentralized bank by the name of Founders Bank in Malta. All the systems of the bank would be based on the blockchain technology partnering with Neufund. If the bank is able to obtain the license from the EU to officiate its business it would be the first community based Decentralized bank.
- Finally to top it all off Malta Blockchain Summit will be held from Oct. 31 – Nov. 03, 2018 with an expected attendance of 5000 delegates. With its regulatory framework in place, this a reflection of the blockchain momentum gathering pace in Malta.
Malta has made ground breaking progress in blockchain in a short period of 3 months & has set an example for all the other countries specially the developed economies who are reeling to put some kind of regulatory enforcement in place. Maybe they need to be more open & receptive to the needs of new digital economy because sustainable ecosystems based on inclusiveness is the only way forward. Malta has certainly shown the way!