In a recent interview, a Malta parliamentarian has sought to clarify the legal status of top cryptocurrency exchange Binance within the island country.
Malta’s Junior Minister for Financial Services and Digital Economy, Bartolo Clayton, reaffirmed that Binance has never been licensed in the jurisdiction:
“As informed by the Malta Financial Services Authority, which is an autonomous body not a state entity, until the time of writing, Binance has never been in possession of an official license by MFSA. Such statement has been further corroborated by Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance, on his personal Twitter account where he also stated that Malta has not changed its position.”
The minister also sought to dispel notions that Malta has retreated from its permissive stance toward business operating with cryptocurrencies:
“This therefore DOES NOT mean that the Government has in some way or another introduced a harsher or more stringent stance towards cryptos, but merely an authority stating facts. On the contrary, the Government of Malta is committed to consolidate blockchain together with other niche sectors. It is the Maltese government’s belief that we believe that more synergies between these emerging sectors should be explored and encouraged in order to reap and exploit their benefits. Moreover, the Government of Malta is opting for an overarching and holistic strategy for the Digital, Financial and Innovative services in Malta. More details about the new strategy will be disclosed in the coming months.”
Clayton’s remarks follow from a public statement published by Malta’s financial watchdog, the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA), on Feb. 21 stating that “Binance is not authorised by the MFSA to operate in the crypto currency sphere and is therefore not subject to regulatory oversight by the MFSA.”
The next day, Binance’s CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) took to Twitter to address concerns expressed by the cryptocurrency community. CZ described the announcement as “old news,” adding that Binance “has a number of regulated entities around the world, either operated by our partners or by Binance.com directly.”
“Binance.com has always operated in a decentralized manner as we reach out to our users across more than 180 nations worldwide. As well as pushing the envelope in experimenting how to become a true DAO (decentralized autonomous organization).”
According to Malta Today, Binance is registered in the Cayman Islands.
On Feb. 25, the MFSA published its responses to feedback received from industry stakeholders regarding the draft guidelines for security token offerings (STOs) that it circulated last July.
Respondents disagreed with the regulator’s proposal to categorize security offerings different if they issue tokenized assets, arguing that a tokenized security meets the definition of a transferable security under European law.