1st of November – Maltese Regulation Comes into Force

Since March, the Maltese government has begun discussing the ways to regulate the Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and the related digital space, including Initial Coin Offerings (ICO), cryptocurrency exchanges, Blockchain based companies, FinTech and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Through this progressive approach taken by the authorities, many big corporations namely, Binance, OKEx and Neufund have chosen Malta to be the place for business relocation. These companies have also helped the Maltese government to draft such progressive laws, encouraging more businesses to transfer their operations to the island. Prime Minister Dr Joseph Muscat tweeted that “[Malta’s] aim [is] to be[come] the global trailblazers in the regulation of blockchain-based businesses and the jurisdiction of quality and choice for world-class fintech companies”.

On the 4th of July 2018, the Maltese parliament unanimously passed three laws, namely: Malta Digital Innovations Authority (MDIA), Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFAA) and the Innovation Technology Arrangement and Services Act (ITAS). This was a success, making Malta a leader in this ever-growing industry, hence dubbed as “The Blockchain Island”.

The industries had been waiting for these laws to be implemented for a long time. Regarding the Innovative Technology Arrangements and Services Act, 2018 (ACT No. XXXIII of 2018) the Minister for the Digital Economy has established the 1st November 2018 as the date on which the provisions of the said Act shall come into force. In exercise of the powers conferred by article 1(2) of the Virtual Financial Assets Act (ACT No. XXXIII of 2018), 2018, the Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation, in consultation with  Malta  Financial  Services  Authority,  has  established  the  1st November 2018 as the date on which the Act shall come into force.

The MDIA, which falls under the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA), has already been in operation.

What do the VFA Act and the ITAS Acts change?

One of the most important acts is the VFAA, as it regulates the whole Initial Virtual Financial Assets Offering and Virtual Financial Assets ecosystem and increases transparency requirements. The high-level principles and means of prosecution are applied to those who abuse market regulations, for example, by not adhering to the 5th anti-money laundering directive.

The VFAA covers the following; offering of VFAs, regulation of all services providers operating on the VFA space; licencing of all requirements and obligations of ICO issuers or those companies providing any kind of services to ICOs; structuring and implementing the financial instrument tests, identifying the minimum disclosure requirements for ICO whitepapers, control on marketing and advertisement of VFAs.

The law attests that every ICO better named by law as “initial virtual financial asset offering” or “initial VFA offering” needs to pass the Financial Instrument Test to be presented to the MFSA. The Financial Instrument Test is led by VFA Agents, which have to undergo a test to obtain a license from the respective authority. The law states that the VFA Agent is to be a source of guidance between the VFA issuer or the VFA service provider applicant, acting as a contact person between the MFSA and the client.

On the other hand, the ITAS is defined as “a regulatory framework which will be set up for the registration of Technology Service Providers (System Administrators and Auditors) and the certification of Technology Arrangements.” Its role is to “provide for the regulation of designated innovative technology arrangements referred to in the Act, as well as of designated innovative technology services referred to in the Act, and for the exercise by or on behalf of the Malta Digital Innovation Authority of regulatory functions with regard thereto.”

The ITAS provides a liaison with the MDIA. Its purpose is to seek all relevant authorisation by the MDIA.

Operating in Malta, E&S Group adheres to the Maltese laws with regards to ICOs, cryptocurrency exchanges and tokenomics. If you require further information contact us by sending an email on [email protected]. We make things happen!