Maltese prime minister Joseph Muscat’s claim of the “inevitability” of cryptocurrency reflects the Mediterranean island’s attitude regarding the digital future.
“I understand that regulators are wary of this technology but the fact is that it’s coming. We must be on the frontline in embracing this crucial innovation, and we cannot just wait for others to take action and copy them. We must be the ones that others copy”, said Muscat.
If cryptocurrencies are to form the foundation of the future global economy, as Muscat suggests, then Malta is well placed to play its own part in embracing fintech developments. Malta has always believed that defined but fair rules would be essential in order to create an environment where cryptocurrency and its underlying blockchain technology could flourish.
The reason that Malta has become increasingly appealing to Bitcoin companies conducting business there is not only due to the island’s positive spin on blockchain technology and its open-minded approach to regulation, but also the island’s strong economy. Currently, Malta also enjoys an enviable tax rate of as little as 5% for international companies.
The announcement that crypto exchange giant Binance has now made Malta home, followed by similar plans from rival exchange OKEX, German blockchain firm Neufundand and gaming platform The Abyss, have received recent media attention, causing over-regulated companies to consider their options.
Malta’s location is another reason for its potential as a crypto haven due to its competition with exchange-rich countries such as Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong. So far, out of these players, only Japan has made significant inroads towards successful regulation and development. Malta is already well positioned to take advantage of other countries’ reluctance to embrace consumer protection measures and development.
Tron founder, Justin Sun, recently commented that he was considering a move to Malta. Many other companies may follow – according to Ian Gauci, Malta-based partner at GTG Advocates, the interest will be “on a wider spectrum and not only crypto”.
Following in the footsteps of Malta is Gibraltar, which has also lured Binance to its shores. Like Malta, it is keen to attract new and existing fintech companies with its positive outlook for the future of blockchain and cryptocurrency. Its stock exchange subsidiary has launched what it believes to be the first blockchain exchange to be regulated by an EU financial watchdog.
Malta hosts the Malta Blockchain Summit 2018 at the beginning of November. The summit expects 4,000 delegates with Prime Minister Muscat as keynote speaker.