The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) has approved 14 agents for cryptoassets, 17 weeks after the first applications were filed.
The approval of the agents is the first step in setting up clients in this sector. The agents will be able to assist issuers and services providers under the Virtual Financial Assets Act which came into force on 1st November 2018.
The MFSA said that the agents would be the first level of defence as they would be obliged to evaluate their clients’ business plans and ensure that they were fit and proper, before submitting an application.
This will require a robust due diligence process on the clients – as the agents are themselves ‘subject persons’ under anti-money laundering regulations.
MFSA's Head of Securities and Market Supervision Chris Buttigieg said the first batch of approvals was an important milestone in the regulation of cryptoassets.
“We have worked actively since November 2017, when we started out regulatory journey in the field of cryptoassets, and today, we have a complete framework that caters for all key areas of risk, being inter alia the risks to consumers, market integrity, financial crime and cyber-security,” he said.
Last week the MFSA and FIAU jointly published a consultation document on guidance for credit institutions, payment providers and electronic money institutions which have the capacity to open accounts for entities using financial technology.
The guidance document is designed to assist companies operating in the fields of financial technology (fintech), artificial intelligence, distributed ledger technology, the internet of things and cloud technologies in their application for a bank account. The consultation is open to the public until 30th April 2019. Industry participants and interested parties are invited to send their responses via email to firstname.lastname@example.org