Malta Financial Services Authority Launches Consumer Portal

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Welcome to the Malta Financial Services Authority

The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) is the single regulator of financial services in Malta. The MFSA regulates banking, financial institutions, payment institutions, insurance companies and insurance intermediaries, investment services companies and collective investment schemes, securities markets, recognised investment exchanges, trust management companies, company services providers and pension schemes. Since 2020, it is also responsible for regulating Virtual Financial Assets. The MFSA was set up through an Act of Parliament (Chapter 330 of the Laws of Malta) and its main functions include the protection of consumers, integrity of financial markets, financial stability and the supervision of all financial services activities. The MFSA also holds an advisory role to Government in the formulation of policies on matters relating to the financial services industry. In the carrying out of its functions, the MFSA collaborates closely with local and international institutions.

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Malta Financial Services Authority Says Binance Is Not Authorized by the Regulator to Operate in Country’s Crypto Industry

February 23, 2020 @ 5:48 pm By Omar Faridi

The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA), the nation’s financial regulator, released a statement on February 21, claiming that it never actually regulated Binance, the world’s largest crypto-asset exchange in terms of adjusted trading volume.

To quote the MFSA:

Following a report in a section of the media referring to Binance as a “Malta-based cryptocurrency” company, the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) reiterates that Binance is not authorised by the MFSA to operate in the crypto currency sphere and is therefore not subject to regulatory oversight by the MFSA. The Authority is however assessing if Binance has any activities in Malta which may not fall within the realm of regulatory oversight. Admission of virtual financial assets to trading and/or for offering virtual financial assets to the public in and from Malta requires an MFSA licence in terms of the Virtual Financial Assets Act (CAP 590) of 2020.

The MFSA added that Binance did not have to leave to establish operations in the island country’s nascent digital asset industry.

The regulator pointed out that reports from the media may have incorrectly assumed that Binance is a “Malta-based cryptocurrency company.” The MFSA clarified that Binance “is not authorized by the MFSA to operate in the cryptocurrency sphere and is therefore not subject to regulatory oversight by the MFSA.”

Binance’s management said it would establish a business office in Malta in March 2020. This was after the exchange ran into issues with Japan’s regulatory authorities, when it tried to launch its operations in the country.

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Maltese prime minister Joseph Muscat had proceeded, at that time, to welcome Binance to the island nation. Muscat had noted via Twitter that Malta was interested in supporting the exchange’s goal to offer crypto trading services across the globe, while becoming the “global trailblazers in the regulation of blockchain-based businesses.”

Binance’s management had noted, back in September 2020, that the company would work cooperatively with the Malta Stock Exchange (MSX), in order to offer security token trading. There had also been an announcement last year that the firm would provide the capital needed to establish a new crypto-friendly bank in Malta.

At present, it’s not clear whether Binance still has a business office in Malta.

Changpeng Zhao, CEO at Binance, has tweeted that “this is old news and has always been the case.”

Binance has sent press releases (as recently as February 11, 2020) and news updates to CoinDesk in which it noted that its headquarters are based in Malta. However, the exchange operator has not clearly stated where exactly its head offices are based.

Josh Goodbody, director for growth and institutional business at Binance, has noted previously:

“As we run such a decentralized operation, there isn’t a clear answer for that – where we operate regulated businesses (e.g. Binance Singapore, Binance U.S. etc), we have teams based there.”

The MFSA noted in its Friday announcement that it was presently “assessing if Binance has any activities in Malta which may not fall within the realm of regulatory oversight.”

The MFSA also confirmed that after introducing the Virtual Financial Assets Act of 2020, crypto and blockchain firms had to be fully licensed.

Malta’s Financial Services Authority Reportedly Received 21 Requests from Digital Asset Exchanges Interested in Acquiring Operational Licenses

November 2, 2020 @ 11:29 am By Omar Faridi

The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA), the financial regulator of Malta, has reportedly received 21 requests from digital asset exchanges that are interested in acquiring operational licenses under the island country’s Virtual Financial Assets (VFA) Act.

As noted in a November 1 announcement on MFSA’s official website , the 21 digital currency exchanges are among the 34 prospective VFA service providers that submitted letters of intent to the nation’s regulatory authorities in order to obtain a VFA Services Licence.

The MFSA said that, until the end of last month, digital asset service providers had been conducting business operations under the transitory provisions outlined in Article 62 of the VFA Act.

These crypto-related firms will now have to obtain authorization from the MFSA, if they want to continue providing products and services in Malta, the announcement stated.

As reported by Finance Magnates, the MFSA will ensure that applicants are placed into one of four categories that outline the requirements that license holders must satisfy. Malta’s financial regulator also intends to enforce various administrative penalties in cases of non-compliance, the report noted.

The official announcement stated that the MFSA said it plans to contact the applicants in order to conduct an initial meeting. Following the consultation, applicants will be given 60 days to complete and send an application to the MFSA.

As mentioned in the announcement, the MFSA received 30 registration applications of VFA Agents, with 18 of them that have already completed the registration process.

A list of the registered agents can be found on the MFSA website.

The VFA Act came as part of Malta’s blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) legislation that was passed last year. The island nation also introduced the Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act and the Innovative Technological Arrangement and Services Act.

In September 2020, the MFSA released a strategic plan that aims to monitor and reduce or eliminate potential business-related risks that blockchain startups might encounter.

On October 31, that MFSA issued a warning , stating that there’s a new Bitcoin-related fraudulent scheme, called “Bitcoin Future.” The regulatory agency said it appears to be somewhat similar to a previously identified scam, known as the “Bitcoin Revolution.”

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