Joseph Muscat, Malta’s Prime Minister, has personally welcomed the biggest crypto exchange, Binance, publicly stating on twitter:
“Welcome to Malta Binance. We aim to be the global trailblazers in the regulation of blockchain-based businesses and the jurisdiction of quality and choice for world class fintech companies,”
That statement was signed as JM, which means Muscat himself personally wrote it, with Changpeng Zhao, Binance’s CEO, replying:
“Malta is very progressive when it comes to crypto and fintech. We think it is a good place for other crypto businesses to look into as well.”
Binance announced they are setting up operations in Malta and will soon start offering fiat-to-crypto services, with the exchange currently looking to secure a bank account in the country.
“We are very confident we can announce a banking partnership there soon,” Zhao said according to an interview with Bloomberg.
As a member state of the European Union, the small island nation allows for passporting whereby being regulated by one national FCA gives access to the entire EU market, the biggest in the world.
It’s unclear whether Malta’s regulators have granted them a license or whether they are planning to do so, but Zhao was invited by the Maltese government to to review an upcoming bill that was favorable to crypto businesses.
The warm welcome by the Prime Minister further suggests they will be very accommodative, with the green light by one regulator likely being sufficient to allow them to legally perform across the world.
They seemingly sought such green light from Japan’s FSA first, but something appears to have gone wrong, with Japan’s FSA publishing a warning today to cease operations in Japan or comply with AML/KYC requirements.
It is probable Malta’s regulators would likewise require AML/KYC processes, which Binance does not currently seem to have in place, suggesting there might have been more to it where FSA is concerned.
The move, more widely, further shows just how global crypto is, allowing exchanges to shop across the world for the most favorable regulatory jurisdiction, but if Zhao doesn’t carefully navigate those regulatory waters, he might attract attention by other regulators, such as FinCEN.