Three Laws Would Regulate Malta’s Blockchain Space, Encourage Innovation

Three laws aimed at regulating and promoting innovation within the blockchain space are expected to be submitted to the Maltese Parliament in early March.

  • On February 16, a three-week-long period of public consultation began for three blockchain-related bills in Malta. At the end of the period, the legislation is expected to be presented to Parliament.

    Silvio Schembri, the Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation, predicted that the laws would help the island-state become a “world leader in economic innovation,” and would allow the government to ensure “market integrity, market stability and investor protection.”

    The three laws are the MDIA bill, which would establish the Malta Digital Innovation Authority (MDIA); the TAS bill, which would lay the groundwork for technology service providers to register with the government; and the VC bill, which would establish a framework for the regulation of ICOs and other cryptocurrency-related services.

    The MDIA, according to Schembri, “will promote government policy that favours the development of Malta as a hub for new and innovative technologies.” Eventually, he said, the agency’s mandate would be expanded to include AI and IoT.

    The TAS bill will pave the way for operators of platforms based on distributed ledger technology to be certified by the government. The VC bill would apply to a range of entities, including cryptocurrency exchanges, wallet providers, digital asset managers, and investment advisors who offer guidance on navigating the virtual currency market.

    In a speech marking the beginning of the public consultation period, Schembri related that the “purpose of these laws will be to provide legal certainty to a space that is currently unregulated. It will provide an environment conducive to this technology, and it will make Malta the natural destination for businesses working in this field.”

    The proposed legislation would apply to three different types of distributed ledger technology platforms: private networks for internal use within a company, private networks that are accessible to certain entities outside the company that deployed them, and public blockchains.

    On September 15, 2017, Malta’s government announced the formation of a taskforce to contribute to the creation of a national roadmap for blockchain development.

    That same month, the permanent secretary of the country’s Ministry for Education and Employment signed a memorandum of understanding with Learning Machine Technologies to bring the company’s Blockcerts system, which puts records of educational credentials on the Bitcoin blockchain, to Maltese schools. 

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