The Bittrex cryptocurrency exchange has left Malta due to the Maltese government’s stricter anti-money laundering rules.
Last week, it was announced that Bittrex is closing its office in Malta and opening a new headquarters in Liechtenstein. This may be due to the fact that the Maltese financial regulator (MFSA) announced an update to the rules for regulating cryptocurrencies. In order to prevent money laundering, the financial regulator will more closely monitor the activities of exchanges and any other companies involved in cryptocurrencies.
According to the MFSA, changes to the regulatory policy will take effect by 2021. According to the strategic plan published by the MFSA, the steps taken by the Maltese government to introduce cryptocurrencies and blockchain into the country’s regulatory framework may create difficulties in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. Therefore, the MFSA will review its approach to regulation and make the necessary changes, given that the cryptocurrency industry is constantly changing.
Previously, Malta was one of the countries with the highest loyalty to cryptocurrencies, which is why it became known as the “island of blockchain”. In September, the University of Malta launched a master’s program in blockchain and distributed Ledger technologies, and in June, the Prime Minister of Malta approved the registration of lease agreements in the blockchain.