Although we have seen the phrase; ‘Malta – The Blockchain Island’ coming up many times on our mobile and computer screens of late, the process appears to have hit a snag. Crypto disrupt can reveal that there are considerable issues stalling the process, the main one being that local banks are extremely reluctant if not outwardly hostile to open accounts for companies that have anything to do with the crypto space.
Sources who spoke to this website confirmed that the situation regarding banks is a very dire one. Operators who work in the service providing industry are constantly lamenting that as soon as they present a client who deals with the crypto or blockchain business, all sorts of obstacles are produced, and nothing is done.
This contrasts heavily with the Maltese government’s attitude towards the blockchain and crypto industries. Parliamentary Secretary for Finance and Innovation Silvio Schembri has constantly touted the efforts made by the island to attract more business from the crypto world.
“Malta aims to be the global trailblazer in the regulation of blockchain-based businesses and the jurisdiction of quality and choice for world class fintech companies”, Schembri was quoted as saying in The Malta Independent.
The PS has remained bullish on Malta’s prospects in the crypto currency space stating that government is actively discussing with banks to relax their current rigid attitude.
With the recent announcements by mega exchanges Binance and OKEx revealing that they intend to move to Malta soon, this development seems to be quite worrying. Perhaps, the bad press regarding ICO’s which are more often than not, scams, has created this situation for crypto companies who are constantly facing new regulatory hurdles.
Writing in a closed Facebook Group, Bitcoin Malta, the CEO of Malta based Intelliblock, James Catania said that the situation was dire.
“Many clients are getting very frustrated. The word is spreading that it is almost impossible to successfully open a bank account in Malta when blockchain and cryptocurrencies are involved. Having the blockchain island plastered everywhere and no one can open a bank account is useless”, Catania fumed.
This topic has been on the lips of many industry operators as more companies and businesses are mentioning Malta as a possible location for their operations. If this situation with the banks persists however, Malta will be facing dire consequences and possible losing out on hundreds of millions of Euro in revenue and economic growth.