Binance, the cryptocurrency exchange giant, is moving its operations to Malta, an island in Southern Europe. It looks to be a warm welcome, as Malta’s Prime Minister has already personally welcomed Binance to the island.
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Previously based in Hong Kong, Binance is just a year old and has already become one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges by daily trade volume.
Now, the exchange is seeking a change of scenery, as Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao has announced the exchange will start operations in Malta and begin a “fiat-to-crypto exchange.”
Zhao revealed that they are in talks with the Maltese banks to facilitate smooth transactions. For now, a timeline has not been provided by the company as to when they plan to start operations in Malta, but the shift will presumably take place over the coming months.
Zhao told Bloomberg, “We are very confident we can announce a banking partnership there soon. Malta is very progressive when it comes to crypto and fintech.”
The news was also confirmed by Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat on Twitter.
Welcome to #Malta 🇲🇹 @binance. We aim to be the global trailblazers in the regulation of blockchain-based businesses and the jurisdiction of quality and choice for world class fintech companies -JM @SilvioSchembri https://t.co/3qtAQjOpuQ
— Joseph Muscat (@JosephMuscat_JM) March 23, 2018
Last month, the Southern European island country revealed its plan to launch a legal government body — the Malta Digital Innovation Authority — to license crypto-related businesses. Recently, the Maltese government also notably invited Zhao to provide inputs to an impending bill relating to crypto businesses.
In response to Maltese PM’s tweet, Zhao retweeted back:
“Honored, sir! Part of my original quote to Bloomberg that was left out of the article. ‘Malta is very progressive when it comes to crypto and fintech. We think it is a good place for other crypto businesses to look into as well.'”
Binance’s Regulatory Hitches
While governments of other countries like China have been clamping down on crypto businesses, small European countries like Malta, Lithuania, and Belarus are capitalizing on the opportunity. Lately, Binance has been experiencing legal issues from regulators in China and Japan.
After Chinese regulators cracked down on crypto businesses, Binance moved its operations to Japan. However, the cryptocurrency exchange giant recently received a letter from the nation’s financial watchdog JFSA, and now Europe seems to be the next stop.
Accordingly, Binance’s entry into Malta will likely encourage other crypto exchanges to migrate to the crypto-friendly country.
Will crypto businesses help the economy of these smaller European countries? Let us know your views in the comments section below.
Images via The Telegraph, Medium