Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that Malta was taking a ‘calculated risk’ in becoming the ‘blockchain island’, by cutting ‘layers of bureaucracy’ and fast-tracking approvals for digital companies to set up operations locally.
"In the same way that we came up with our regulation when it came to online gaming, we are trail blazers in all this," Dr Muscat told the Sydney Morning Herald. "I think we can replicate this in this area too, where the EU will at the end of the day be doing what we are very much doing right here today."
Dr Muscat said he saw blockchain as a technology that could solve some of the problems related to due diligence and anti-money laundering procedures. "We're quite aware of AML issues all across Europe and I don't think it can be pinned down on one particular country such as Malta."
Besides passing laws to ease the trading and issuance of cryptocurrencies, Malta's stock exchange is also in talks with companies to list digital assets. And these measures appear to be working, with research from Morgan Stanley showing that the island is capturing an outsize share of crypto trading.
Furthermore, crypto exchange Binance, one of the largest in the world, announced in March that it was moving to Malta. This which was followed by a slew of similar announcements from other crypto and digital asset companies. It is also working with other investors to create Founders Bank – an institution servicing digital clients registered in the island.