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MFSA approves 14 Virtual Financial Asset...

MFSA approves 14 Virtual Financial Asset agents

Published on April 05, 2019

Bitcoin’s bull run has been one of the highlights of the cryptosphere this week. Now, according to reports, Malta’s Financial Services Authority [MFSA] has announced its approval for 14 Virtual Financial Asset [VFA] agents. The MFSA added that the 14 applications for VFA agents were submitted back in November 2018.

Dr. Christopher Buttigieg, Head of Securities and Markets Supervision at MFSA, stated,

“The issuance of these in-principle approvals is an important milestone in the MFSA’s effort at becoming a regulator of excellence in the field of the regulation of crypto assets.”

The approval is a significant way forward in Malta’s cryptocurrency and blockchain regulatory framework.

The country’s Virtual Financial Assets Bill came into effect in June 2018.  Any company that appointed a VFA agent had to confirm and ensure, through a joint signing, that the company didn’t violate any financial services or crypto regulations. The approved agents are obliged to evaluate their customers’ business plans to ensure they get appropriately prepared before submitting applications to MFSA.

Additionally, they have to undertake due diligence with clients to check whether they comply with Anti-Money Laundering [AML] as well as counter-terrorism financing guidelines.

The announcement is indicative of the MFSA’s intention to protect public interest of users and investors investing in cryptocurrencies.

Dr. Buttigieg continued,

“We have worked actively since November 2017, when we started our regulatory journey in the field of crypto assets, we have worked actively since November 2017, when we started our regulatory journey in the field of crypto assets.”

According to sources however, banks in Malta have declined such businesses as they believe them to be above their “risk appetite.”

Silvio Schembri, the Parliamentary Secretary of Finance Services, went on to mention that banks were waiting for operators to obtain MFSA license before they opened their doors.

Malta is also home to two of the world’s top 5 exchanges, Binance and OKEx, accounting for around $19 billion and $17 billion of the total monthly trade volume. The cumulative share volume made Malta the country with the highest virtual exchange trading volumes.