Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange with a $1.7 billion daily trading volume, is moving its headquarters to Malta due to challenging conditions in other countries.
Both China and the US have been cracking down on cryptocurrency exchanges, making it difficult for companies like Binance to find a permanent base.
But the pro-blockchain attitude of Maltese authorities has given Binance the confidence to relocate its business and workforce to the Mediterranean island.
Binance Chief Executive Officer Zhao Changpeng and Malta’s Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy & Innovation Silvio Schembri have both expressed their excitement over the move.
Reasons behind Binance’s move to Malta
Seeing as Binance has continually received warnings from regulators in Hong Kong and Japan, its move to Malta comes as no surprise to many.
In recent months, Binance was one of seven crypto exchanges to receive a letter from Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission telling firms not to trade digital assets defined as securities under city law.
On Friday, Japan’s Financial Services Agency also issued a warning for operating without approval, despite the fact Binance was trying to get a license.
However, Malta is looking for ways to become a hub for digital-asset ventures, with the government holding several public consultations on regulating virtual currencies, token sales and crypto-exchanges.
Commenting on the move, Zhao said: “After reviewing a proposal bill, we are convinced that Malta will be the next hotbed for innovative blockchain companies and a centre of the blockchain ecosystem in Europe.
“Binance is committed to lending our expertise to help shape a healthy regulatory framework as well as providing funds for other blockchain start-ups to grow the industry further in Malta.”
Approval from the authorities
In an interview with the Binance team, Schembri said the exchange’s presence would allow Malta to become the ‘Blockchain Island’.
As Schembri explained: “This is a clear vote of confidence in our country and the work being done in this sector, mainly by the latest policy launched to offer a regulatory framework of DLT operations.
“It is obvious that Malta has become a natural point of reference on the international sphere and companies such as Binance will continue to look into Malta to further expand their operations or establish a base. Binance’s presence in Malta sustains our vision, that of making Malta ‘The Blockchain Island’.”
Schembri was behind the new Malta Digital Innovation Authority, which is aiming to certify blockchain platforms and verify crypto transactions. This will give companies using these technologies peace of mind to cut out central authorities and banks when performing financial transactions.
Increasing European support for crypto and blockchain
Whereas several countries are establishing crypto and blockchain roadblocks, a number of European nations want to recognise and capitalise on its potential.
Along with Malta’s backing of Binance, Estonia has been toying with the idea of launching its own cryptocurrency. Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar also met with blockchain start-ups to discuss the technology, while the city of Kranj unveiled a three-ton monument to Bitcoin.
Authorities in the Swiss towns of Zug and Chiasson have even experimented with accepting Bitcoin for taxes and municipal services.