Binance, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange by traded value, has announced plans to open an office in Malta.
Founded last year in Hong Kong, the company is now seeking a fresh start on the Mediterranean island. Chief Executive Officer Zhao Changpeng said in an interview to Bloomberg that Binance will soon start a “fiat-to-crypto” exchange in Malta. He added that the company is close to securing a deal with local banks that would provide its almost 8 million users access to deposits and withdrawals of funds from the platform.
“Malta is very progressive when it comes to crypto and fintech.”
Zhao Changpend, Binance CEO
The company’s announcement came following a warning that was issued to the exchange by Japan’s Financial Services Agency for operating without approval. Regulators across the globe have been cracking down on cryptocurrency exchanges over the past year. Binance has an office in Japan, where they have been trying to get a license to operate, but decided to remove its staff there in order to avoid clashes with Japanese regulators.
In contrast, Malta has been looking for ways to attract fintech start-ups to the country, with the aim of driving the European island nation towards becoming a hub for digital-asset ventures. Zhao further told Bloomberg that he had been invited by the Maltese government to review an upcoming bill intended to create a favourable climate for cryptocurrency companies.
The Maltese government has held several public consultations on regulating virtual currencies, crypto-exchanges and token sales. Plans to establish a Malta Digital Innovation authority, which would certify and regulate blockchain businesses and create a framework to oversee initial coin offerings, were announced in February.
Binance has also announced plans to launch a decentralized exchange in the near future.
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