The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) said it had received letters of intent from 34 prospective Virtual Financial Asset (VFA) Service Providers, 21 of which related to crypto-asset exchanges.
The applicants had been operating under transitional provisions that were contained in the Virtual Financial Assets Act, which came into force in November 2018. When the transition period expired on 31 October, any entities wishing to continue their operations, in or from Malta, were required to apply for authorisation with the MFSA.
The Virtual Financial Assets Act sets out a comprehensive framework targeting operators within the crypto-asset industry and seeks to regulate entities providing services in relation to crypto-assets, an area which remains largely unregulated throughout the European Union.
The letters are the first step of the authorisation process in respect of a VFA Services Licence. The MFSA will be contacting the applicants in order to set up a preliminary meeting. Once this meeting is held, applicants will have 60 days to submit a full application pack.
The MFSA said it had also received 30 applications for registration of VFA Agents, of which 18 have now been registered. The list is available on the MFSA website. When the first VFA Service Providers are authorised, a full list will also be published on the MFSA website.