The spearhead of Malta's new three-pronged legal regime on innovative technology arrangements and cryptocurrencies, the Malta Digital Innovation Authority Bill (the "Bill"), was presented to Parliament for its second reading, marking a fundamental step towards a new legislative milestone in Malta's efforts to become a trailblazer in the global blockchain revolution.

Once promulgated, the new Act will lay down the guiding principles of the soon-to-be-formed public body charged with the duty of promoting and developing Malta's new born innovative technology sector.The Malta Digital Innovation Authority ("MDIA") will be responsible for the certification of innovative technology arrangements and service providers in the field of distributed ledger technology, smart contracts and related arrangements.

Meanwhile, the essential criteria for the certification of these arrangements, as well as the licensing requirements for the creation of virtual financial assets, have been laid down in the other two pillars of the new legal regime:

The Innovative Technology Arrangements and Services Bill, once approved, will regulate the creation of innovative technology arrangements and services.Further details on this statute can be found here.

The Virtual Financial Assets Bill, once approved, will regulate Initial Virtual Financial Asset Offerings and VFA Exchanges, which encapsulates the creation and circulation of virtual financial assets such as Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies Further details on this statute can be found here and here.

In an industry which remains largely unregulated across the world and strongly resisted in others, the new regime affords much-needed legal structure designed to give legitimacy to a budding digital industry, as well as taking great strides in consolidating safeguards against abuse to which the industry is presently vulnerable for want of regulation worldwide.

The MDIA, apart from being the main supervisor of blockchain regulation, shall also be responsible for the creation of new policy and regulation which is yet required to flesh out the skeletal framework that has been laid down in the Bill. This process will continue to be overseen by the Government, working in close tandem with all stakeholders in the tech and finance fields.