On Wednesday (4 July 2018), the Parliament of Malta, an island nation that is part of the European Union, unanimously approved three bills that regulate Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), making Malta the first country to provide legal certainty in this space.
The three bills passed by "The House" on Wednesday evening, just before summer recess, are the Innovative Technology Arrangements and Services Bill (Bill No. 43), Virtual Financial Assets Bill (bill No. 44), and the Malta Digital Innovation Authority Bill (Bill No. 45).
This is how Joseph Muscat, Malta's Prime Minister, announced the news on Twitter:
#Malta 🇲🇹 officially the first country worldwide to have holistic legislative framework regulating #blockchain & #DLT technologies. We will be the #global hub for market leaders in this new sector. Now for the implementation of #BlockchainIsland -JM @SilvioSchembri— Joseph Muscat (@JosephMuscat_JM) July 4, 2018
The man he refers to in this tweet, Hon. Silvio Schembri, is the Junior Minister (or Parliamentary Secretary) for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation.
Before these bills were approved, several crypto exchanges, including Binance, BitBay, and OKEx, had announced their intention to move their base of operations to Malta.
Silvio Schembri said in a press release:
"This marks an important milestone through which companies will be provided with the necessary tools to operate in a regulated environment. This will put minds at rest for investors and whoever uses this new technology that is likely to change the world. 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."
"We now have a comprehensive framework for the blockchain industry to grow and flourish in Malta. This is a momentous milestone for Malta as a forward-looking economy, truly confirming Malta as the 'Blockchain Island'. We now have ample legal certainty for existing and new DLT projects. The larger crypto operators we have been speaking to in the last months are more comfortable committing to further investment and they are setting up in Malta."