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Malta Starts Reviewing its Crypto Regulations as per MiCA

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Malta Starts Reviewing its Crypto Regulations as per MiCA
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While many nations were skeptical about crypto, some embraced it with open arms since the very beginning. Malta is one of those countries. It enacted the Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFAA) and opened gates to limitless possibilities for digital assets. It is also one of the few countries that made Bitcoin and other cryptos legal. Right now, the nation is up for another nationwide exercise in this arena. 

Malta to Tweak its Regulations as Per MiCA

Europe is going to implement Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) by December 2024. Some European nations including Malta already had plenty of regulations in place. So, all these countries are now making changes in their crypto structures as per the new guidelines. For that purpose, Malta is conducting a public consultation till September 29.

As the name suggests, the government is asking for suggestions from people. Since the citizens will be the bearers of all these rules, the move certainly makes sense. However, some reports divulged what these changes are all about. According to them, the changes will be done in portfolio management, custodianship, and exchange functions. 

But it seems that the Maltese regulator will be making some more alternations in their rulebook. They are:-

  • The VFA license holders will no longer go through the systems audit requirement.
  • The Class 3 and 4 license holders will now have to maintain a capital of $133,000 (125,000 euros) and $159,000 (150,000 euros) respectively.
  • The Maltese crypto holders won’t have to hold indemnity insurance anymore.
  • Some outsourcing requisites will also change as per MiCA. Reports are not clear on whether it’ll make things easier or tougher. 
  • The guidelines related to client sustainability, order execution, and VFA exchanges will also change. Notably, the service-specific rules of MiCA have already been incorporated in VFA.
  • Earlier, VFA had a client categorization criteria which has been eliminated now. 

The requirement of Internal Capital Adequacy and Risk Management have been nullified as per new rules. Since the formation of the European Union, most of the regulations have worked the same way for all nations. Countries could bring some exceptions based on their specific needs as well. Yet the motto here is to keep all the European countries on the same page. 

Moreover, it should be noted that Malta was given two options in terms of implementation. It could either wait for 18 months for the MiCA laws to come into effect. In this case, it had to replace its own guidelines by MiCA’s or it could make changes to the existing rules and align them as per MiCA regulations. It went for the second option as it favored the citizens more. 

Upshot

Last year, some regulators got together and discussed the modifications. They deduced that making changes in the existing regulations would not cause any problems for the VFA license holders. Furthermore, they noted that the VFA framework already had many factors that favored MiCA’s new guidelines. Thus, it didn’t take the Maltese regulator to make amendments. France is another nation that went through the same exercise.

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