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Malta’s ‘Blockchain Island’ is facing a huge setback, no license granted

Image by Nathan Hughes Hamilton from Flickr

Tue, 28 Apr 2020, 07:38 am UTC

Malta’s futuristic “Blockchain Island” is facing a setback.

In 2018, Malta announced its intention to regulate virtual financial assets by initiating legislation. The European country also invited several companies to operate on the island during the transitory phase, after which they were supposed to register their business.

However, it’s been six months since the deadline and 57 of the 83 companies (70%) which responded to the call have not applied for licensing. Also, only 26 companies have applied for licensing and none has been granted one.

The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) has received the application and is still reviewing it that’s why it hasn’t issued any license yet. However, on Friday, it published a list of 57 companies that didn’t file for a license six months after the deadline and despite the multiple reminders sent to them since November 2019.

MFSA is under the Virtual Financial Services (VFSA) Act and regulates crypto exchanges, initial coin offerings, and wallet providers on the island.

Among the companies that didn’t file for a license are crypto exchange Binance and Palladium. Binance was the face of the campaign while Palladium was with Prime Minister Joseph Musca when it launched the first-ever “Initial convertible coin offering.”

According to reports, the majority didn’t file for licensing because VFSA’s requirements were too demanding.

In March, MFSA issued a statement rejecting Binance by saying that the exchange is not authorized to operate in the country. It also denied the claims that Binance was based in Malta.

“Following a report in a section of the media referring to Binance as a ‘Malta-based cryptocurrency’ company, the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) reiterates that Binance is not authorized by the MFSA to operate in the crypto currency sphere and is therefore not subject to regulatory oversight by the MFSA,” MFSA wrote.

Changpeng “CZ” Zhao also confirmed that Binance never moved or operated in Malta. Even if MFSA has rejected Binance, the government is still interested in blockchain.

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