According to Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) April 2 announcement, the country’s first 14 crypto asset agents have received official licensing.
The 14 approved Virtual Financial Assets (VFA) Agents applied for licensing back in November 2018. They will be operating under Malta’s Virtual Financial Assets Act by providing assistance to issuers and service providers in the cryptocurrency filed, as well as filing applications to MFSA on their behalf.
The newly-licensed agents will be the first line of defense of Malta’s “markets integrity and public interest” and it will be their responsibility to evaluate their clients’ business plans prior to submitting an application with the FSMA. “The VFA agent will need to perform thorough due diligence on their clients and would need to continues supporting MFSA by providing the necessary information during post-registration supervision,” reads the statement. The agents would also be subject to existing Prevention of Money Laundering and Funding of Terrorism Regulations.
“The issuance of these in-principle approvals is an important milestone n the MFSA’s effort at becoming a regulator of excellence in the field of regulation of crypto assets” Dr. Christopher P Buttigieg, MFSA’s head commented on the development. “We have worked actively since November 2017 when we starter our regulatory journey in the field of crypto assets and today we have a complete framework that caters for all key areas of risk, being inter alia the risks to customers, market integrity, financial crime, and cybersecurity,” he added.
The licensing process follows the last year’s implementation of three blockchain bills designed to move the country closer to its stated goal of becoming a “blockchain island.”