Over the past year, the main stakeholders of Malta, including its political parties, parliament, government, and the financial, corporate and technological sectors have shown increasing interest in developing the Maltese islands into a global hub for blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology industries. In July 2018, the Maltese parliament passed into law three bills to regulate the DLT sector, thus setting up the regulatory environment that is crucial for the sector.
The three new acts are the Malta Digital Innovation Authority act (MDIA), the Innovative Technology Arrangements and Services act (ITAS) and the Virtual Financial Assets (VFA) act. The MDIA act came into force on 18 July 2018 and through its powers the Malta Digital Innovation Authority was set up to promote government policies related to DLT and technological innovation, to carry out regulatory oversight and ensure compliance with international obligations while offering support to users and other parties interested in the sector. The ITAS act focuses on innovative technology arrangements and services, with particular reference to blockchain, DLT, and smart contracts and works hand-in-hand with the MDIA act to allow for MDIA oversight over the industry. The VFA act, on the other hand, is concerned with the regulation of virtual financial assets and related matters, including cryptocurrencies, exchanges, ICOs, and services related to these activities.
After agreement by the MDIA, the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) and the Junior Minister for Financial Services, Digital Economy & Innovation, the Hon. Silvio Schembri, the Government of Malta has now announced that the ITAS and VFA acts will come into force on 1 November 2018. Once these two acts come into force, Malta will have a tripartite legislative structure to support, oversee, and regulate all activity in the sphere.