On 16th February 2018, the Government of Malta launched a consultation period on the establishment of an Authority to be known as the Malta Digital Innovation Authority (MDIA) and the framework for the certification of Distributed Ledger Technology Platforms (DLTPs) and related service providers. The scope of the proposed legislative enactments is to create legal certainty in a space that is currently unregulated.
Malta has always been on the forefront of technology and innovation. In the past months, a number of initiatives have been launched, aimed at establishing an innovative and attractive regulatory framework for entities operating in blockchain (and distributed ledger technologies), virtual currencies, cryptocurrencies, and for those entities interested in raising finance through an ‘Initial Coin Offering’ (ICO). An Initial Coin Offering (ICO) is an innovative way of raising finance from the public by issuing ‘coins’ or ‘tokens’, usually in exchange for other digital tokens such as Bitcoin or Ethereum’s Ether.
The Consultation document presents a conceptual framework through which DLTP will be subject to certification in Malta. This framework also takes into account the need to oversee the principal service providers to DLTPs. The framework also extends to issuers of ICOs and certain service provides dealing in virtual currencies. In the wake of the surge in the number and popularity of ICOs, the Maltese regulator is also proposing an efficient regulatory framework which will provide investor protection and market integrity without stifling technological innovation.
The consultation period is open until 9th March 2018.