Blockchain Island Dream Is ‘Calculated Risk’ Says Malta Leader

Malta’s prime minister is doubling down on the booming blockchain industry in a bid to diversify the European Union’s smallest economy — and to even fight corruption – reported Bloomberg.

“We’re taking a calculated risk,” Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said in an interview on Monday, by cutting “layers of bureaucracy” and offering fast-track approvals for digital players to set up shop on the island.

With tax rates as low as 5 percent, the government recently passed laws that seek to ease the trading and issuance of cryptocurrencies. Malta’s stock exchange is also in talks with companies to list digital assets.

The aggressive steps to become one of world’s friendliest jurisdictions in the industry appear to be working.

“We have tourism, we have the service industry, we have finance and gaming,” Silvio Schembri, parliamentary secretary for financial services, digital economy and innovation, said. The country is working with auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers to launch blockchain licenses for regulated entities, which will be issued in November, he said.

Regulatory scrutiny around the world over digital-trading platforms continues, thanks in part to concerns regarding customer protection. So too has scrutiny over Malta’s recent economic success, overshadowed by money-laundering concerns.

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