Category Archives: Malta

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Koinex, India’s Largest Crypto Exchange, Shuts Down

Koinex shuts down amidst unclear regulations

Earlier today, India’s largest digital asset exchange, Koinex dropped a bombshell on the crypto enthusiasts in India by announcing its closure. After a long period of regulatory uncertainty with a draft bill proposed to impose severe punishments for any kind of crypto dealings, the wings of another avenue for speculation of the crypto space has been clipped as trading volumes saw a sharp decline.

Set up in 2017, Koinex managed to provide Indians with full-fledged trading facilities with international counterparts. The company’s popularity escalated within four months and it witnessed a record-breaking USD 265 million in trading volume in December.

In April 2018, the RBI issued a circular, thereby prohibiting all financial institutions from maintaining relationships with companies and individuals dealing with virtual currencies. Although this decision was challenged in the Supreme Court, the status quo continues till today with no adequate clarification. Crypto advocates like Nischal Shetty defended the industry as he said:

“It’s not that we are resisting regulation. We don’t feel that a blanket ban is the way to go. No democratic country has banned cryptocurrency. The US, UK, Japan and European Nations have allowed its use even as they continue to frame regulations around it.”

Rahul Raj, the co-founder of Koinex said that after the RBI ban, Koinex faced a lot of issues with respect to a smooth operation due to closure of bank accounts holding user deposits.

“We took on immense financial burden to continue trading of digital assets and allow law-abiding Indians to participate in the decentralized revolution that has swept across the globe. Multiple delays by the government agencies in clarifying the regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies despite our pending writ petition in the Supreme Court of India, coupled with regular disruption in our operations, the final decision has been taken after duly considering all the latest developments in the crypto and blockchain industry in India.”

What happens to India’s Future?

The press release provides insight into Indian government’s remiss in continuously delaying clarification of the regulatory framework. The Indian community has been petitioning the government for faster regulations as a feeling of insecurity and discomfort has enveloped the citizens which will lead to the inevitable stifling of the economy.

Last year, another major crypto exchange, Zebpay had to shut down following RBI’s ban on virtual currencies. Having lost 3 million investors, Zebpay moved to Malta. The Indian government’s regulatory stance seems so unclear that even the major crypto entrepreneurs do not see positive regulations coming their way, at least not anytime soon. Raj said:

“We have stayed away from disclosing details to the public in the larger interest of mindfully steering the industry towards positive regulations, but unfortunately we’re not too hopeful that things will change for the better in the near future.”

One of the biggest challenges that these companies have to face is establishing economic feasibility to operate smoothly as they are continuously subjected to the government’s scrutiny. The cost of operation of the platform is substantially high. With this comes a plethora of expenditures to take care of legal and customer support to conduct business in a country which is not so crypto-friendly.

Shetty, the CEO of WazirX expressed sadness at the shut down of their only competitor. This represents the unity of the crypto advocates in India standing by their belief that decentralization has the potential to create a revolution in the Indian economy. is committed to unbiased news and upholding journalistic codes of ethics. For more information please read our Editorial Policy here.

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Malta to Register Rent Contracts on Blockchain

Malta to Register Rent Contracts on Blockchain

In a move that will deeply ingrain blockchain in every citizen’s life, Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, announced last Sunday during an interview that every rental contract in Malta will have to be registered on a decentralized ledger.

The Prime Minister revealed that the cabinet approved these reforms in the rental laws after a lengthy consultation and discussion period.

He stated the benefits of the project would include enhancement of security and safety against record tampering while ensuring that only authorized persons can access the records. In particular, storing data on the distributed ledger means there is no possibility of creating fake contracts of places without any public record.

He added:

“We will now be showing people the added value of this technology by applying it to something which they will use in their daily lives. This shows how the digital transformation will affect their lives.”

Malta, dubbed “blockchain island” courtesy its highly favorable policies towards crypto, was one of the first countries to adopt crypto and blockchain back in July 2018, when the government agreed upon a relaxed regulatory framework to encourage the implementation of distributed ledger technologies. Since then, financial instruments, electronic money, financial instruments, and virtual financial assets have been granted legal legitimacy.

In addition to the tolerant regulatory environment, EU membership and an educated workforce have assisted Malta to become a booming hub for blockchain activities.

The PM added that the full details of the rental reforms would be revealed in the coming days. is committed to unbiased news and upholding journalistic codes of ethics. For more information please read our Editorial Policy here.

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Binance on the Move with “No FUD” $81 Million BTC Transfer

Binance on the Move with _No FUD_  Million BTC Transfer

Malta-based cryptocurrency exchange Binance raised a few eyebrows this week when it announced that a USD 81 million Bitcoin transaction was soon to be en route.

The world’s biggest exchange assured users that there was “no need to FUD”, but it took some criticism from market analysts at its boast. David Tawil, president of crypto hedge fund ProChain Capital, said this was not the way exchanges normal conduct business and the Twitter announcement probably wouldn’t go down too well with the SEC. Of Binance’s “atypical” big transfer announcement, Tawil suggested that with SEC approval still awaited by the exchange giant, “it’s best if crypto industry players conform to already established norms”. He detailed:

“Within long-established Wall Street norms, its Twitter announcement is unusual, exchanges, such as the NYSE or the CBOE, don’t typically broadcast future block trades and don’t announce them via Twitter.”

Binance is clearly on the move, putting their travails behind them, such as last months USD 40 million hack, recently introducing its own blockchain. It also has plans to raise a reserve of 9,001 Bitcoin to cover a Bitcoin-pegged coin backed by a native coin which will trade on its platform. On the new tokens, the company commented that sales would experience a boost, commenting, “With the increase in the selection of tokens available on Binance DEX, there should be an increase in trading volume and liquidity.”

In the past, Bitcoin-derived assets have been faked, or tokens produced with a similar ticker, but the exchange claims that Binance Chain will take care of such issues to make sure such problems don’t occur. Binance also recently announced the launch of a trading platform, Binance US, specifically for US customers. This platform comes as a comfort to facilitate fiat-to-crypto exchange to serve full-fledged trading abiding by the market regulations.


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IMF Talks Up Fintech’s Disruptive Potential

lagarde, IMF, fintech

Reuters reports that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde has issued warnings over the increasing impact and presence of global tech giants who are using big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and fintech, possibly disrupting the global financial system.

Lagarde, in her address to the G20 finance leaders meeting in Fukuoka, Japan, specifically pointed to the rapid development of financial technology (fintech) resulting in cheaper payment and settlement systems for emerging economies where traditional banking networks are bare.

She said that this development could force policymakers the world over to reconsider the way they see banking and financial settlements should be regulated and made to comply:

“A significant disruption to the financial landscape is likely to come from the big tech firms, who will use their enormous customer bases and deep pockets to offer financial products based on big data and artificial intelligence.”

She admitted that financial markets would benefit from innovation but they could centralize and make vulnerable a small system controlled by a few tech giants: “This presents a unique systemic challenge to financial stability and efficiency, and one I hope we can touch on during the G20, and address in a cooperative and consistent fashion.”

She also pointed to China as a glaring example of fintech’s various benefits and shortcomings, showing how tech growth there has been extremely successful

Lagarde said China presents an example of the trade-off between benefits and challenges posed by financial technology, where millions now benefit from access to financial products and high-quality jobs, but where only two firms now control over 90% of the mobile payments market.

The IMF has had its past run-ins with the global community with its views and stance on fintech and emerging technology such as blockchain and crypto. It has its own quasi-crypto called Learning Coin but has warned the Republic of Marshall Islands over plans to launch their own crypto and told Malta there were significant risks of terrorism with blockchain.


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Malta Offers 19 DLT Scholarships in Bid to Push Blockchain Education

Malta Offers 19 DLT Scholarships in Bid to Push Blockchain Education

Blockchain-friendly Malta is never slow to come forward with new crypto innovations and is now launching further into the education sector to prepare for the future with 19 students recently being awarded DLT grants.

Dubbed “Blockchain Island” by both the prime minister Joseph Muscat and Silvio Schembri, the Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation, the DLT Scholarship Grants to University of Malta students show the intent to keep blockchain expertise on the island and not lose innovation to overseas employers.

Both Schembri and University of Malta rector Alfred Vella are working in tandem to ensure the island nation continues on its current path to make Malta the place for blockchain companies to call home, with local expertise supporting the industry on the island. Schembri commented on the latest move:

“These 19 awardees are a symbol of courage to embrace change and we definitely need more like them. I thank the and MITA’s future-looking mind-set and for their commitment in preparing future generations for the necessities of future industries, as well as the building blocks of Malta The Blockchain Island require everyone’s involvement, from the ground up.”

The Parliamentary Secretary went on to point out that the rate of change in the areas of ICT engineering and legal work needed blockchain to keep pace with technology, as it takes more of a central role across all of the professions.

The scholarships were given the green light back in 2018 which paved the way for a grant of EUR 300,000 (USD 330,000) which will allow for a three-year period enabling students to continue studies in blockchain and distributed ledger technology at both masters and doctorate levels.

The successful students will read for a Master’s degree in Blockchain, DLT as well as Law and DLT, Finance and Business, and ICT and DLT.


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Could IMF’s “Learning Coin” Mean a Shift from Fear and Loathing to Acceptance?

Could IMF’s “Learning Coin” Mean A Shift From Fear and Loathing to Acceptance

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank’s recent announcement suggest that they are not quite going crypto, but are nonetheless launching a private blockchain complete with a coin. And this could have major implications for world finance.

Although the “Learning Coin” may be a new concept that the two financial giants have carefully designed to carry no monetary value, but with plenty of stored intellectual content, this could be seen as an indication that change is in the air when it comes to the financial establishment’s tolerance-come-actual-interest in cryptocurrency as 2020 approaches.

When these two agencies make a murmur, the financial establishment pricks up their ears. The intention seems clear when the IMF states that “the development of crypto-assets and distributed ledger technology is evolving rapidly, as is the amount of information (both neutral and vested) surrounding it”, without accompanying it with the usual criticism of abuse and misuse. That said, IMF chief Lagarde’s concerns are still clear. Her views indicate that it is very much about treading carefully and testing the water at this stage:

“…we don’t want innovation that would shake the system so much that we would lose the stability that is needed.”

Of course, the IMF is always ready to cast one keen protective eye across the global financial landscape, such as in the agency’s recent warnings to Malta regarding its rate of blockchain and cryptocurrency adoption, saying that unchecked proliferation carries “significant risks” for money laundering and terrorism. during a recent financial assessment carried out on the island.

Another hint that the financial establishment may be leading from the top in its softening attitudes towards cryptocurrency can be seen in its recent online poll, on its own website, asking the question asking “How do you think you will be paying for lunch in 5 years?”  — a clear attempt to measure public feelings on cryptocurrency.

This needs to be balanced with the IMF’s stance regarding state cryptocurrencies. To date, it has come down hard on countries considering the move. There is a critical view held by economists in some countries whose governments may be considering moves to adopt a national cryptocurrency, that a mass decentralization of financial power may result in the diminishing of IMF’s authority.

A warning by IMF deputy director Dong last year clearly suggests that the organization may be secretly worried at the movement towards global digital currency adoption. While admitting that cryptocurrency had an advantage over banks when it comes to speed, anonymity, and divisibility, Dong claimed then that Bitcoin’s fixed supply was a disadvantage since that would lead to deflation, which is theorized to reduce economic activity due to money hoarding. According to him, a stable monetary system must protect against deflation.

It remains to be seen how long the IMF can tread this middle path of warnings and dabblings, caught between fear and acceptance of what many in the crypto space see as the inevitable global adoption of cryptocurrency. What of its latest toe in the water; its so-called “hub for knowledge”? It could be just a possible novelty or distraction for the agencies’ Washington-based employees at first glance, but although the two giants watching over the world’s monetary control are not predicting a permanent place for blockchain anytime soon amongst the worlds banking system and even less for cryptocurrency, they are nonetheless peeking under the carpet; not quite fear and loathing, but apprehension with interest.


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Malta Banks Deny Blockchain, Crypto Operators Custody Service

Malta Banks Deny Blockchain, Crypto Operators Custody Service

In the past year, the Island of Malta made a name for itself as it strived to become the go-to-hub for blockchain and cryptocurrency businesses. However, it now appears that startups are encountering problems with account opening in local banks, as banks say cryptocurrency businesses are outside their risk appetite.

Last week, Times of Malta was able to gather information from crypto-related businesses setting up shop in Malta, following the trends of moving from toxic jurisdictions to more a friendly one. According to the news outlet, the sources confirmed that banks were politely declining their businesses.

While risk appetite may have been one of the reasons provided by the banks, another possible one is that the banks may be waiting for more clarity from Malta’s Financial Service Authority (MFSA) before attending to cryptocurrency startups. More so, it seems the banks are having a hard time distinguishing between cryptocurrency and blockchain-related ventures, and are lumping them up as a sum.

According to the Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, upon investigating the problem further, he discovered:

“The general understanding is that when it comes to crypto operators, banks are waiting for operators to obtain an MFSA license before opening their doors – which is understandable.”

The MFSA had said earlier that all crypto ventures aiming to operate from the Island should obtain licenses, and while it had said the first licenses would be issued in the first quarter of this year, the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) interference with the process may have throttled the process, thereby creating a bureaucratic bottleneck.

The IMF expressed worry about the speed in which the blockchain industry in Malta had been developing and wanted more cautionary steps to be taken. In a report enumerating its risk assessment on the financial stability involving virtual-assets, it recommended immediate action on some critical gaps in Malta’s supervision for combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML). The report further urged gradual enforcement of the laws and regulations.


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Malta to Store Education Certificates on Blockchain

Malta to Store Education Certificates on Blockchain

Local English publication Malta Today has reported that the country will now store all education certificates on a blockchain-based platform.

According to the report, the latest move came after the successful implementation of a two-year-old pilot project. Now, the pilot project will be upgraded to include all schools in Malta, whereby secondary school certificates issued by independent schools, state or church will be stored on the blockchain. A two-year contract has been signed by the Maltese government with software company Learning Machine, which will upgrade the present system, noted the report.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat remarked during the signing ceremony that Malta was the first country to adopt to blockchain-based education certificates. He added that in 2017, his government decided on a policy to make the nation a haven for blockchain and gradually it has been successful in achieving that. Malta remains one of the most progressive countries when it comes to blockchain and crypto regulations. In July 2018, a set of bills was passed by the Maltese government in order to provide legal certainty for the crypto sector.

Malta may be the first country to take such a grand step but in January, the University of Bahrain also announced that it would issue diplomas on the blockchain. As part of a pilot program, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) had also decided to issue blockchain based education certificates to more than 100 graduates.  A special app was used to issue those certificates which will enable students to share a verifiable certificate with their employers and other parties.

In December 2016, media reports came out claiming that the Kenyan government has decided to use IBM’s enterprise-grade blockchain solution in order to create a tamper-free and transparent education management system.


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Malta Warns Traders About Global “Bitcoin Revolution” Scam

Malta Warns Traders About Global

The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) warned of a global scam called “Bitcoin Revolution” which is currently being advertised on social media platforms.

The scheme had been in circulation since 10 January and used images of local celebrities maintaining that they have become wealthy through prescribed crypto investments found on site and others.

The MFSA has confirmed that Bitcoin Revolution has no registration or license in Malta and as such has no legal right to offer financial services. The scam is thought to be of the get-rich-quick type, promising wealth within minutes. Local personalities had reported the scheme to the authorities as their images had been used for promotion without permission. A local TV star David Tucci was claimed to have turned a 250 euro deposit into 430 euros in eight minutes using the scheme. He later confirmed that this was simply a generated media hype:

“Please note I have nothing whatsoever to do with this, I have never engaged in such tradings, never did I authorize or approve of such material being published or advertised. This is clearly a scam and click-bait, please don’t buy into this.”

Articles and ads on Facebook had been published to the effect that Tucci had used Bitcoin Revolution to amass a fortune of 2.3 million euros after becoming bankrupt.

The scam may well be new to Malta but it has clearly been doing the rounds for some time, previously known in other guises, more recently as the ‘Online Profit Generator,’ a system created by Anders Thomsen capable of earning its users as much as USD 2765.25 per day through automated online trades.

Recently, TV Chef Jamie Oliver fell foul of the scam when Bitcoin Revolution marketing material said that he was closing down his Barbecoa and Fifteen Restaurant in order to “take over the Bitcoin market,” adding that he had hooked up with Billionaire Virgin entrepreneur Richard Branson to “change the definition of money.”

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IMF Cautions Malta on “Significant” Terrorism, Laundering Risks Due to Blockchain Growth

IMF Inspection Reveals Malta Needs More Regulatory Oversight for Blockchain

The government of Malta has received cautionary notes from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) regarding its rate of blockchain and cryptocurrency adoption, warning that unchecked proliferation carries “significant risks” for money laundering and terrorism. during a recent financial assessment carried out on the island.

According to English daily The Times of Malta, IMF made this statement after a recent financial assessment carried out on the island. Reporting on the situational analysis put forward by the IMF, it said that the growth of blockchain in Malta has created significant risks of financial systems directed towards the likelihood of increased money laundering and financing terrorist activities.

Malta has in recent times been recognized as one of the leading countries in Europe and the world that has favorable policies towards the development of blockchain enterprises. The rate of development has set Malta on the map as one of the go-to places for anything blockchain and crypto-related businesses.

While efforts towards accelerating the development of the industry are being lauded, the IMF showed concerns about the supervisory system currently in place and suggested emphatically that the authorities should improve their understanding of the risks and employ adequate sanctions in case of breaches.

The IMF also thought there was a need for improvement in staffing and formulate a long-term guaranteed financial and operational independence supervisory system as according to it, Malta’s Financial Services Authority was experiencing strain in operation due to an increased number of fintech operators with extensive new products and evolving regulatory environment.

Malta’s declaration of being a blockchain island was underlined by its recently-enacted policies covering new technology and digital assets. This may have caused a positive development for the industry but also increased the risks involved that may result from a lack of proper oversight. The IMF assessment should enable the authorities to re-evaluate their current situation and ensure that the systems put in place are foolproof.

Perhaps, this development brought about by the IMF will also stir up other jurisdictions working towards harmony with the blockchain industry to further improve their policies and regulatory framework to ensure a healthy crypto ecosystem.


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