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EU To Pressure Malta Into Revamping Its AML Framework

01 July 2019 14:08, UTC
Konstantin Rabin

After years of trying to develop the blockchain industry on their small Island, Malta is finally starting to face some issues in controlling the market due to its massive growth.

Thanks to Malta’s notoriety in the European Union as a hub for financial, gambling and cryptocurrency companies, it is starting to face some pressure from the European Union to implement much more manageable anti-money laundering frameworks to ensure the security of the overall financial landscape of the continent.

Help from the EU

Thankfully, Malta will not be alone in its task to better regulate its financial landscape. The European Union has already created a sizeable budget to support the island nation in its efforts to guarantee financial safety to all of its abroad customers in all three industries of Finance, gambling and cryptocurrencies.

However, the issue that Malta is facing is not with the budget of the project, but the manpower it so desperately needs. The commission does see some positives in the development of Malta’s regulatory landscape but also sees issues in the mass understaffing of the project.

Issues for Europe

Having poor anti-money laundering laws in a financial hub such as Malta is guaranteed to have an effect of European countries, especially those that have different laws in the financial as well as gambling fields when compared to Malta.

For example, according to norskecasino.casino, the biggest support for Malta should be coming from Norway, as it is in their primary interest to prevent any rogue Malta-based gambling companies to cater to their local population. This is due to the ban on online gaming activities.

Same can be said for most of the EU member states, that are starting to place cryptocurrencies under a strict regulatory framework, something that is not mutual with Malta.

Past attempts

This is not the first time that Malta has seen support from the European Union as it has been trying to implement a much more manageable framework of governing crypto and financial industries on the island.

For example, in May 2019, the country’s financial regulator, Malta Financial Services Authority announced that it will be integrating the CipherTrace framework as insurance of spotting and removing any unlicensed or unlawful crypto activities from the country.

According to the MFSA, the tool allows them to decrypt blockchain addresses and make tracing much easier should the local police agencies require direct contact with the criminal. Otherwise, the country still has quite a lot of preparation to do in terms of anticipating large market players as well. OKEx and Binance, two of the largest crypto exchanges in the world have already decided to open offices on the Island, however, this was decided during a time where strict regulations were unheard of.

Should Malta give up on its friendly approach to the blockchain, it’s likely that it will lose the newcomers, which would be a massive hit to the nation’s budget.

Overall, the country is under constant pressure to cater to EU demands, but it seems like the only issue right now is the staffing. Should Malta be able to “import” some major market experts as counsellors, they’d be able to introduce arguably the most crypto friendly AML policy in the European Union.

Image courtesy of Cryptocentral