Poland’s largest cryptocurrency exchange has announced that it will be suspending its activities. Due to lack of cooperation from Polish banks, the BitBay exchange operations will be conducted in the Republic of Malta.
In a 29 May press release, BitBay revealed that the last Polish bank that the exchange was able to work with had unilaterally decided to cut those ties. At the end of May, this decision will come into effect, meaning that BitBay will be terminating the user contract to provide services, with an observance of the one-month notice period which expires on 17 September.
After 31 May, users will lose access to their accounts in Polish złotys (PLN); however, all other functions of the exchange will remain active. After 17 September, users can only withdraw funds, bringing to close all trading activities on the exchange in Poland.
The announcement may come as a confusion, considering the seemingly positive inroads being made in Poland. Firstly, the Polish government had lifted cryptocurrency taxes temporarily to further review and prepare for a “system solutions regulating this economic space, including in the tax context”, according to a government announcement as reported by Bitcoin News.
Bitcoin News also reported that banks in Poland were increasingly seeking to implement blockchain solutions into their systems, one major bank announcing its partnership with Coinfirm in late March.
Poland isn’t particularly famed for having a positive stance on the nascent technology, with government-backed social media campaigns against cryptocurrencies facing a backlash from the community. Furthermore, increasing suspicions arose in April when Bitfinex was allegedly involved in a scandal when a EUR 400 million account was seized under suspicion of being tied to Colombian drug cartels.
Moving to Malta
For blockchain and cryptocurrency businesses, Malta is a solid ‘Crypto-Capital’ contender; the Mediterranean island came third in Blockshow’s ratings of the 48 most crypto-friendly countries.
This is partly thanks to the bullish comments of Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat who sees digital currencies as an “inevitability” and who said, “We cannot just wait for others to take action and copy them. We must be the ones that others copy.”
Malta had made proposals for cryptocurrency investment rules in 2017 and had managed to approve three critical bills that further facilitate an open-minded regulatory approach, which is proving to be appealing to companies from all over the world including the crypto-exchange behemoth, Binance.
In late March, Binance announced it would be setting up shop in Malta, which has caused waves for the industry and blockchain companies around the world.
The press release concludes: “BitBay has been conducting analyses for many months within the scope of the most friendly jurisdiction for cryptocurrency in the European Union. Productive discussions with the government of Republic of Malta and friendly business environment provide BitBay assurance that the choice of Maltese jurisdiction is the best solution.”
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