Malta’s Minister of Finance and Employment, Clyde Caruana, recently disclosed something rather interesting. While becoming a ‘blockchain island’ is part of the strategy of the island nation, it appears that the plan is losing steam pretty fast because the local banks in Malta are just not willing to cooperate with blockchain companies. A local media outlet, Lovin Malta reported what Caruana had said and it was further revealed that a number of local businesses have the capability of entering into partnerships with local banks. He elaborated that the traditional banks in Malta had chosen to write off the blockchain space when it was still in its initial stages, and now, they are not interested in correcting themselves.
Caruana explained in the statement that they need to convince the local banks of the nation that blockchain is an innovation that’s here to stay. If the banks don’t cooperate, it would become immensely difficult to fulfill the ‘Blockchain Island’ plan that was decided for Malta. He went on to say that the most vital aspect of establishing a growing blockchain sector within the country is to invest in the development of skills locally that would be required in the space. According to the Finance and Employment Minister, Malta does have the potential of becoming a blockchain island, but they need to put in some effort if they want it to happen.
As far as the reluctance of the local banks is concerned, Caruana said that it was just ‘retail banking skepticism’ and stated that it wasn’t just the blockchain space that was affected by it. He said that it was a problem that most emerging industries have to deal with, such as the plan to begin supporting the use of medical cannabis in Malta. Other than the distrust shown by bankers for the blockchain space, the Minister said that there was another problem and that was the lack of local skills, which is not going to help in ensuring the growth of the new industry in Malta.
Caruana stated that investors need to discover what they require in a particular space that makes them feel safe, or else they will start looking at other options. Hence, Caruana said if Malta wants to bring investments into the blockchain space, then they have to prove to investors that they do have the required skills for it. Back in 2018, the pro-blockchain regulations had been passed by the parliament in the country. It had been part of the country’s bid to become a world crypto hub.
Indeed, some of the largest crypto exchanges back then had begun their expansion into Malta and these included prominent names, such as OKEx and Binance. However, after the former Prime Minister of the country, Joseph Muscat had tendered in his resignation in February of this year, it was disclosed that not even a single crypto license had been issued to any of the country’s companies by the Malta Financial Services Authority, which means that things don’t seem to be going as planned.