1) A Shift In National Strategy
In 2017, Joseph Muscat, prime minister of Malta, released the first draft of a national strategy to promote Bitcoin and Blockchain technology. Muscat has expressed that he intends for Malta to become one of the first countries in the world to embrace Bitcoin and distributed ledger technology (DLT).
“I understand that regulators are wary of this technology but the fact is that it’s coming” — Joseph Muscat (Prime Minister, Malta)
Muscat is actively pushing Malta to spearhead the shift towards a decentralised national economy and become a front-runner in attracting blockchain companies to the island.
Moreover, this only makes up a fraction of his grand vision to convert the entire of the EU into a hub of Blockchain technology and advancement: “the Bitcoin continent”.
3) Legal Certainty In A Sea Of Unregulation
Despite blockchain being one of, if not, the fastest moving industries to ever exist, regulatory bodies are still playing catch-up.
That being said, Malta has taken a much more proactive approach to regulation, and have already set the wheels in motion in their quest for ‘legal certainty’ in the Blockchain industry.
To this date, Malta have put forward three bills that have already found their way to second hearing in Parliament:
The ‘Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFA)
Seeks to regulate Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) by laying out the required steps to become legally compliant.
The ‘Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act’
Focussed on innovative technology arrangements and their associated use cases.
The ‘Innovative Technological Arrangement and Services Act’
Provides blockchain-based enterprises with legal definitions to render them as recognizable entities in the eyes of the law.
With Malta quick to lay down the legal framework, it puts investors and enterprises at ease knowing that companies will have the liberty to operate in a regulated environment.
3) Home Of The World’s First Tokenized Bank
Binance is working closely with the Maltese government to create the world’s first decentralised and blockchain-based bank with tokenized ownership.
Dubbed the “Founders Bank”, it will run Blockchain-based operations in an effort to fill the gap between traditional banking and the cryptocurrency economy.
The entity will be community-owned by digital token investors and based in Malta. Owners will be issued with “legally-binding equity tokens” in exchange for their investment, and will be executed via the equity fundraising platform Neufund.
“Malta is the fusion ground for traditional and blockchain finance now. A lot can happen in 3 short months.” — Changpeng Zhao (CEO, Binance)
This works in tandem with Binance’s plans in March to set up operations in Malta and build a local fiat-to-cryptocurrency exchange there.
Last month also saw Binance announce the backing of Malta Stock Exchange’s MSX Fintech Accelerator program, which aims to support entrepreneurs and new businesses working in the blockchain and fintech sectors.
With Asian blockchain adoption fast on the move, which Asian country do you suspect will play their cards similar to Malta in regards to supportive regulation for blockchain? Singapore? Malaysia? Thailand? Let us know!
With a raft of respected blockchain thought-leaders from Malaysia and around the world set to feature, Blocfest’s focus will be on blockchain’s immense potential in the Southeast Asian region, where the technology has already made great headway.
Sean’s unequivocal passion for all things blockchain blossomed in late 2016. Starting off his journey as a daytrader, he found himself quickly immersed in the projects and their visions of a decentralised future economy. He is Content Director at Blockchain Asia Connect, and publisher of blockchain blog Channel 3.0. When he’s not busy writing about and exploring the world of blockchain, he’s running his music blog passion project: Producer Hive.