The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) has approved its first 14 crypto asset agents, which applied for registration in November 2018, after the nation passed the Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFA).
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“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.
“We have worked actively since November 2017 when we started our regulatory journey in the field of crypto assets and today, we have complete framework that caters for all key areas of risk, being inter alia the risks to consumers, market integrity, financial crime, and cybersecurity. We have now, 17 weeks after receipt of the first set of applications, started to authorize entities in this sector.”
VFA Agents will be assisting issuers and service providers under the new act and will be making applications to the MFSA on their behalf.
The VFA agents will serve as a first line of defense for market integrity and public interest as these agents are required to evaluate their clients’ business plans and fitness prior to submitting an application to the MFSA.
The VFA agents are also subject persons under the Prevention of Money Laundering and Funding of Terrorism Regulations.
The MFSA is the single regulator of financial services in Malta, covering banks, insurance companies, investment services, trusts, and pensions.
As of last year, the MFSA became the first European regulator to develop a framework to regulate virtual financial assets.
The MFSA’s mission, as enshrined in its Vision 2021, is to enhance its position as an independent, proactive, and trustworthy supervisory authority with the main purpose of safeguarding the integrity of markets and maintaining stability within the financial sector, for the benefit and protection of consumers.
Over 2,300 entities are licenses by the MFSA to operate in Malta’s financial services sector, which makes up 11 percent of Malta’s Gross Value Added (GVA).