Malta Passes Bills to Make the Country the First 'Blockchain Island'

The three bills were enacted into law today making the country the first in the world to have a comprehensive legal framework for blockchain.

Malta's Parliament passed three bills into law today written to establish the world's first comprehensive regulatory framework for blockchain technology in the country.

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The bills are the Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act, the Innovative Technological Arrangement and Services Act, and the Virtual Financial Asset Act.

Malta's Junior Minister for Financial Services Digital Economy and Innovation within the Office of the Prime Minister of Malta Silvio Schembri confirmed the announcement in a tweet.

The post saw much local and international support. 

A harbour for blockchain

Industry professionals worldwide replied congratulating the ministry on its new innovative laws. Followers said Malta was on its way to becoming an 'epicentre' and a 'safe, hub & harbour' for the blockchain industry.

Speaking to Malta Today, Schembri said that the new regulatory framework was certain to attract more blockchain-related investment in the country. “I am optimistic that further companies will choose Malta to operate from with a system that offers stability and that will eventually result in further economic growth”, said the minister.

A first in the world

Maltese law firm Chetcuti Cauchi released a statement on their website praising Malta for becoming "the first jurisdiction in the world to have laws which comprehensively cover the treatment of cryptocurrencies, the launch of initial coin offerings and subsequent treatment of assets offered to investors as well blockchain/DLT service providers and services which they offer, including the setting up of cryptocurrency exchanges." The statement further said that Malta "had truly become the Blockchain Island." 

The Innovative Technological Arrangement and Services Act and the Virtual Financial Asset Act will cover the regulation of digital ledger technologies and virtual financial assets to be supervised by the Malta Digital Innovation Authority. This authority will, in turn, be regulated through the Malta Digital Innovation Authority Bill, the third bill enacted today.

The bills had been approved unanimously by Malta's parliament on June 26 and a CEO had even been appointed to the new authority. Stephen McCarthy was announced to take over the role, leaving his previous position as CEO of Malta’s Housing Authority.

The introduction of these bills has led to the #BlockchainIsland hashtag that has been making the rounds in social media and has been widely used by Malta's political figures. Today's news saw Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat tweet solely the catchy hashtag with a news article on the bill's enactment.