On Friday, 23 March 2018, the Prime Minister of Malta posted a tweet welcoming Binance to the country. Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange platform in terms of market capitalization according to Coinmarketcap is seeking to set up establish a new office in the tiny Mediterranean nation of Malta. This comes after intense speculations arose with regards to the operations of the platform in Japan due to a reported regulatory spat with the Financial Services Agency (FSA) of Japan.
In the midst of the stellar heights that Binance has risen to, it is almost inconceivable to imagine that the cryptocurrency exchange platform was established in Hong Kong, less than a year ago. In such a short space of time, the platform has been able to become the largest crypto exchange platform as well as the fastest ever crypto unicorn (a startup company valued at $1 billion and above). Despite all of these remarkable growth, its operations haven’t been exactly smooth sailing all the way. The Chinese crypto crackdown forced the company out of China and now it has begun to draw the ire of Japanese authorities as well.
In an interview, Zhao Changpeng, the CEO of Binance said that the company is looking to establish an office in Malta, a country he described as being progressive in the area of cryptocurrency and fintech. He also went on to express confidence that his company will be able to foster useful partnerships with local Maltese banks. For Binance, the move to Malta is more of an opportunity for a fresh start away from the regulatory troubles of Asia, America and Mainland Europe.
Even with the plan to establish an office in Malta, the platform is still in talks with regulatory officials in Hong Kong. According to Zhao, the talks haven’t yet reached an advanced stage. The platform recently received an official warning letter from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission stipulating that the platform should not trade in cryptocurrencies that are designated as securities under the financial laws in Hong Kong.
Malta, for their, part is fast becoming a cryptocurrency hub. For a number of years, the Island nation has nursed the ambition of being a global hotspot for cryptocurrency and blockchain technology ventures. According to the country’s Prime Minister, Malta aims to become a global frontrunner in the regulation of blockchain-based enterprises.
The country’s government has held a number of public consultations geared towards developing modalities regulating ICOs, cryptocurrency exchange platforms, as well as cryptocurrencies themselves. The Malta Independent on February 2018 reported that the government was making plans to establish the Malta Digital Innovation Authority, a body that will be mandated with the task of certifying and regulating blockchain-based enterprises. The body will also be tasked with creating the necessary framework that will oversee ICO campaigns in the country. As part of its desire to make Binance feel at home in Malta, the government has invited the platform’s CEO to a meeting in order to discuss a new piece of legislation that is reported to be favorable to cryptocurrency business enterprises.