Clyde Caruana, Malta’s Finance and Employment Minister disclosed that the country’s intention to become a “blockchain island” was struggling because the local banks have denied to collaborate with innovative firms.
Caruana stated while addressing a local media outlet, Lovin Malta, that hardly any local businesses have been successful in securing banking partners. He added that, “Traditional banks have written off blockchain at its early stages.”
“The banks must be convinced that this is something that can really happen; unless banks are on board it will be very difficult.”
Caruana put emphasis on the necessity of investing into developing the skills required locally to back a budding blockchain field, noting, “There’s always the potential [to be a blockchain island] but if we want to make it happen, there must be more work.”
What Cuarana perceives as “retail banking skepticism” affects both blockchain and other upcoming businesses like the islands plan to back medical cannabis. On top of the obvious banking disinterest, the minister stresses that the lack of localised skills was preventing the budding on new industries in the nation.
“It’s not just about whether the industries are new or old, but rather a question of skills. [If] investors don’t find what they require, they may think twice. If we want to keep on attracting investment to Malta, we must make sure we have what it takes in terms of skills.”
In 2018, Malta’s parliament passed blockchain-friendly stipulations in an effort to emerge as a global hub for cryptocurrency and DLT. This would be beneficial because the island was quickly becoming a base for Binance and OKEx offices, which were the largest crypto exchanges by volume then.
Nevertheless, when former Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat resigned in February 2020, it was discovered that the Malta Financial Services Authority had not given any licenses to cryptocurrency firms.
While progress is slow, Malta’s new administration has publicly reiterated its dedication to demonstrate Malta as a worldwide cryptocurrency hub. However, on November 24, Crypto.com, a debit card provider and exchange platform became the first organisation to get a licence from the country’s local financial regulator.