Justin Sun, CEO of Tron, a blockchain firm aiming to develop a worldwide free content entertainment system, on Monday shared his interest to invest and operate from Malta.
Sun’s Twitter message comes in reaction to an unusually welcoming greeting that Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat extended to Binance after the exchange voiced its intention to move its headquarters and operations to the European island.
#TRON strongly supports the great foresight of PM @JosephMuscat_JM and hopes to build up Blockchain Island with Malta gov. We are seriously considering invest and operate in Malta in the following weeks with announcement by our strategic partner @binance @cz_binance #TRX $TRX
— Justin Sun (@justinsuntron) March 26, 2018
Malta, a small island nation in the European Union, is aiming big to become a blockchain hub by attracting the blockchain-based firms from across the world within its borders. The recent decision taken by Binance, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, has given the country’s ambitions a massive boost.
Welcome to #Malta 🇲🇹 @binance. We aim to be the global trailblazers in the regulation of blockchain-based businesses and the jurisdiction of quality and choice for world class fintech companies -JM @SilvioSchembri https://t.co/3qtAQjOpuQ
— Joseph Muscat (@JosephMuscat_JM) March 23, 2018
Malta’s welcoming nature to blockchain-based businesses already attracted the attention of other major firms as well. Only an hour before Sun’s tweet, Only a few days after Binance’s announcement, Kris Marszalek, CEO of Monaco Card, a cryptocurrency wallet platform, announced a similar interest to invest in Malta.
@Monaco_card supports the bold vision of PM @JosephMuscat_JM and Malta’s vision of the Blockchain Island. Looking into an investment in Malta following last week’s announcement by our strategic partner @binance @cz_binance
— Kris Marszalek (@Kris_HK) March 26, 2018
Malta is also enjoying the influx of several other blockchain-based firms from across the world to its jurisdiction. Prior to Binance’s announcement, an Isle of Man-based firm called CasinoCoin Foundation, revealed that it has opened a second office at Malta.
Regulations are about to come
The lack of any proper recognition of blockchain-based firms by authorities across the world has so far kept them in a regulatory grey area. Even in progressive countries like Japan, these firms are operating as a special type of e-commerce firms.
The government of Malta plans addressed this particular issue and is on its way to draft a regulatory framework to impose on the blockchain firms.
Speaking at a political event in the south of Malta, Muscat revealed his government’s intention to “take the first step” and regulate the new blockchain sector, describing the venture as “going into uncharted waters, where we don’t have a map to work with, but we will walk, learn, and be in front”.
Muscat said: “the most exciting part is that they (Binance) are not the first. They hit the headlines because they are the biggest ones.”
“They are not saying that they are coming to Malta because they can do what they want. They are saying they are coming because Malta is ready to regulate us, and we are bringing the consumer the peace of mind that there are people regulating this system,” he added.
Tee Maltese PM is very optimistic as the growth of a new sector of industry in the tiny region will help to create tons of jobs from its citizens.
Moreover, as quoted by The Times of Malta, Silvio Schembri, Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services in Malta, said: “A few weeks ago, Malta became the first country in Europe and possibly in the world to come up with a regulatory framework on DLT technology. The framework was very well-received and the feedback from the public consultation was encouraging. We now hope to go through the parliamentary process with the Bill that will set up the Malta Digital Innovation Authority and offer legal certainty to this space.”
Binance’s founder and CEO Zhao Changpeng even branded Malta to be “very progressive when it comes to crypto and fintech”.
A similar strategy by tiny nations
Other small and independent European jurisdictions, infamously known as tax-havens, are now bidding to lure in the firms from the nascent blockchain sector. Only earlier this year, Gibraltar became the first jurisdiction worldwide to impose regulatory rules for blockchain firms and the controversial fundraising instrument associated with the sector, called ICOs.
However, mainland European countries are still hostile towards cryptocurrencies. Earlier this month, Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, called for a crackdown on Bitcoin by using the very technology on which the digital currency is based.