Malta reinforces island’s blockchain credentials with new framework

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Malta has reinforced its status as a blockchain hub by launching phase one of its two-part ‘sandbox framework’ which will oversee the use of Distributed Ledger Technology as well as acceptance of Virtual Financial Assets within the gaming industry.

In the initial phase, the Maltese Gaming Authority will accept applications for the use of DLT assets by its respective licensees, both directly or via third-party service providers.

In phase two, the framework will be extended to include applications for the use of Innovative Technology Arrangements within the key technical equipment of licensees, to coincide with developments launched by the Malta Digital Innovation Authority.

Announcing the new framework in October, MGA chief executive Heathcliff Farrugia commented: “The MGA’s strategic mission is to be at the forefront of gaming regulation whilst embracing innovation.

“This, coupled with the rapid rise in interest from gaming operators to incorporate VFAs and DLT into their operations, were the main drivers behind the proactive approach taken by the Authority to issue a sandbox framework for the use of these technologies within a controlled regulatory environment.”

The Mediterranean nation began to style itself as the ‘blockchain island’ in 2018 after introducing new regulatory framework for the use of DLT, cryptocurrencies and blockchain.The island subsequently held its inaugural Malta Blockchain Delta Summit, which established opportunities to solidify Malta’s position as a regulated virtual currency and ICO Centre, and as the perfect platform for the Authority to outline details of its sandbox framework to all interested parties.

Approval to participate in the framework is conditional on applicants possessing the correct licensing issued by the MGA. It is expected to run until October this year but, if fit for purpose, may be subject to an extension by the Authority.

Farrugia added: “This framework is intended as a live document and will therefore be subject to feedback and potential updates during its duration, whilst also keeping in consideration any technological or regulatory developments which may occur.”