The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) released a statement on Tuesday saying that it has given its approval to 14 Virtual Financial Asset (VFA) agents.
In its statement, the MFSA said that all 14 of the entities had applied for VFA agent status in November of last year.
The firms have also not yet fully completed the application process as they have only been granted in-principle approvals for agent status.
“The issuance of these in-principle approvals is an important milestone in the MFSA’s effort at becoming a regulator of excellence in the field of the regulation of crypto assets,” said Dr. Christopher Buttigieg, head of securities and markets supervision at the MFSA.
VFA agents are an important component of Malta’s nascent cryptocurrency and blockchain regulation.
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Any firm which is based in Malta that wants to sell its tokens to investors will have to get a mix of legal and financial approval and advice.
That’s where VFA agents come in.
Under Malta’s Virtual Financial Assets Bill, which was introduced in June of last year, a company must appoint a VFA agent to ensure and confirm, via a joint signing, that it is not in violation of any financial services or cryptocurrency regulations.
The MFSA’s intention in establishing such a requirement seems aimed at protecting anyone interested in investing in cryptocurrencies.
“We have worked actively since November 2017, when we started our regulatory journey in the field of crypto assets,” continued Dr Buttigieg, “and today we have a complete framework that caters for all areas of risk, being inter alia the risks to consumers, market integrity, financial crime and cyber security.”
Malta is, along with Gibraltar, fast becoming a hub for the cryptocurrency industry. Along with the British overseas territory, the small island-nation is one of the only countries in the world to have put in place some form of regulation to govern the cryptocurrency and blockchain industries.