The Malta Independent 26 September 2018, Wednesday

Muscat meeting investors in cryptocurrency sector as Malta becomes ‘global pioneer'

Sunday, 25 March 2018, 12:00 Last update: about 7 months ago

Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange by traded value, is not the only company in the sector interested in making Malta their home. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat this morning said that he is currently meeting with many investors who are interested in investing in and bringing their cryptocurrency businesses to Malta as Malta "takes the first step" in regulating the sector wordlwide. 

Speaking at a political event in Mqabba this morning, Muscat told those present that Malta will be the first country in the world to "take the first step" and regulate the sector, describing the venture as "going into unchartered waters, where we don't have a map to work with, but we will walk, learn, and be in front."

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Referring to Parliamentary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation Silvio Schmebri, Muscat said "our diaries are currently filled with meetings with these investors."

Last Friday, Bloomberg reported that Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange by traded value, is seeking a fresh start in Malta. Founder Zhao Changpeng described Malta as "very progressive when it comes to crypto and fintech."

"The most exciting part is that they (Binance) are not the first," Muscat said today. "They hit the headlines because they are the biggest ones."

"They are not saying that they are coming to Malta because they can do what they want," he continued. "They are saying they are coming because Malta is ready to regulate us, and we are bringing the consumer the peace of mind that there are people regulating this system."

Muscat said that sector will be on par with Malta's financial sector and Igaming sector though the progress to achieving that growth "won't be linear". "Although we may have problems along the way, we will be pioneers in the world doing this. Our direction is clear," he said.

"They are not coming for the tax benefits," Muscat said, |but because we are going to have a regulators which, so far, are going to be the first in the world, and I can assure you it will be the best in the world."

He added that the companies will create many jobs in the sectors, and talks are currently underway by the education ministry to see hot to encourage people to pursue careers related to the sector.

In the article announcing Binance's move, it was also reported that regulators from China to the U.S. have been cracking down on cryptocurrency exchanges and businesses since last year, "leaving many like Binance struggling to find a permanent base." 

The Malta angle comes as policy makers look to promote Malta as a leader in the digital assets field, the article reads.


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