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Malta Upscales Its Anti-Money Laundering Policy After Pressure from the EU

September 7, 2019
Ross Peili


Malta Upscales Its Anti-Money Laundering Policy After Pressure from the EU

New regulations and policies regarding anti-money laundering acts are to be deployed in Malta after multiple notices by the European Union, and the International Monetary Fund, which pressured, what some refer to as the most blockchain-welcoming country in the world, to upscale its process on tracking and fighting money-laundering activities within the country’s network. 

In a recent announcement, Malta’s Financial Services Authority (MFSA) revealed a three-year strategic plan to fight money-laundering among other illegal activities that used to rely on the country’s flexible laws when it came to cryptocurrencies and distributed ledger technologies. 

Malta is known for its approach to crypto and blockchain startups, who moved their operations to the European Island due to the friendly taxation plans, and almost non-questioning protocols offered by the country. 

Some notable distributed ledger companies operating from Malta include but are not limited to the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange platform, Binance, which struggled with the regulations back in China, Japan, and Singapore, where it previously attempted to settle, before ending up in Malta. 

The crypto island’s financial regulator MFSA is said to be establishing close ties with the Financial Intelligence Unit of the country, as well as the Malta Digital Innovation Authority in order to fight money-laundering activities generated by malicious actors who take advantage of the country’s welcoming attitude towards digital assets, such as Bitcoin, for their own self-centered purposes. 

Malta’s three-year (2019-2021) strategic plan was a response to showcase the country’s commitment to anti-money laundering acts, professionalism and integrity towards international monetary authorities who started to doubt Malta’s role in the global financial system.

According to MFSA, not only new policies will be tailored and deployed to fight cyber-crimes linked to illegal monetary activities such as money-laundering or terrorist financing, but also new technologies will be developed and used to help with the job. 

SupTech is an AI-backed monitoring technology that will help Malta’s governing ecosystem to identify and prevent users from participating in illegal activities, whether directly or indirectly linked to them or their respective transactions. 

In addition, similar to recently announced Swiss, and Dutch financial regulations, Malta will be auditing a series of blockchain-powered companies to ensure transparency between the regulators and the legal entities. 

New operation licenses will be also required by some already established companies and all new companies trying to enter the island’s traditional monetary and/or crypto-scenes. 

According to the official statement, Malta’s mission is “to be an independent, proactive and trustworthy supervisory authority whose purpose is to safeguard the integrity of markets and maintain stability within the financial sector for the benefit and protection of consumers.” 

It seems that we live in a world, where cryptocurrencies are not being judged in a negative way, as we used to see a couple of years ago, but instead they’ve been adopted, used, promoted, and now secured even more by governmental agencies, central banks and financial authorities on a global scale. 

Malta is just one more “open-minded” country in Europe to submit its faith into technological advancement and its fruits, such as blockchain technology and artificial intelligence, to ensure the integrity of accurate information flow within the country’s digital governing body.