Binance Launches New Security Token Exchange in Malta

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The Malta Stock Exchange’s fintech and digital asset subsidiary, MSX PLC, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with crypto exchange Binance to jointly launch a new security token digital exchange, according to a press release on September 11.

The press release pitches the forthcoming trading platform as being poised to benefit from the Malta Stock Exchange’s “26-year track record of operating as a regulated stock exchange,” with the dynamism and international scope of Binance’s business model.

As previously reported, Binance has steadily been expanding its business presence in Malta, a country whose pro-crypto regulatory stance has earned it the moniker of “Blockchain Island.” Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, also known as CZ, is quoted as saying:

“Malta […] has become a global hub for blockchain technology through active and transparent crypto regulations. This partnership will allow Binance and MSX to host traditional financial assets on blockchain technology through security tokens.”

The chairman of the Malta Stock Exchange, Joe Portelli, has for his part said the initiative represents a “new market opportunity [to] develop and push the boundaries of the Maltese financial sector.”

Binance first announced the opening of its office in Malta at the end of March after receiving a warning letter from Japanese financial authorities about its unregistered status.

Earlier this summer, CZ told Cointelegraph in an exclusive interview that the exchange had opened a bank account on the island, paving the way for the introduction of fiat-crypto pairs. Company representatives subsequently hinted at the exchange’s plans to open a Malta-based platform to this end.    

Binance is currently the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by 24-hour adjusted trading volume, seeing almost $822 million in trades on the day to press time. In July, CZ told Bloomberg he “expects” the exchange — which has also recently extended its international operations to Uganda — to reach $1 billion in profits in 2018.

Binance, the world’s second largest cryptocurrency exchange platform, is planning to create a blockchain based bank with token ownership according to Bloomberg on July 12.

The “Founders Bank” would will be based out of Malta and owned by several digital token investors. Finances already invested in a 5% stake along with other investors at a $155 million valuation.

The aim of the project is to become the world’s first decentralized community own bank. The owners of the bank would be issued a legally binding equity tokens in return for their investment. All investment capital would be handled through the blockchain based equity platform Neufund.

A license from Maltese regulators, in accordance with European financial walls, we need to be issued before launch operations. The office of the Prime Minister of Malta, Silvio Schembri, has stated he “is honored to have Malta chosen as the location for the first global community owned bank”.

The Maltese Parliament has just recently approved three DLTs (Distributed Ledger Technologies) and crypto related bills, to remain at the forefront of blockchain innovation.  These operations continue to define Malta as the “blockchain island” and further solidifies their stance as a profound cryptocurrency advocate.

Malta’s Parliament passed three bills today in order to establish a regulatory framework for blockchain technology as reported by local news outlet Malta today on July 4.

The junior minister for financial services, Silvio Schembri, stated that the island nation is a pioneer in providing legal framework or future blockchain companies. This is the first world jurisdiction to provide legal certainty within this space.

The move taken by Malta’s Parliament would put investor minds at ease as companies now have the necessary legal tools to operate in a regulated environment. The government now offers a stable system which will result in further economic growth for blockchain companies.

Numerous blockchain and cryptocurrency businesses have already moved to Malta, as the country has taken many regulatory steps become the “blockchain island”.  Many cryptocurrency exchanges, including Binance, BitBay, and OKex have set up operations in Malta due to their blockchain development and cryptocurrency friendly space.

The Malta gaming authority also issued a document of guidelines on blockchain and cryptocurrency applications within the gaming industry. The goal of the group is to apply standards to games that use cryptocurrency in blockchain technology.

The government of Malta announced that they would soon be developing a project in which the use of blockchain technology would be used for recording academic certificates and diplomas.

The Philippines, Thailand, and South Korea are moving towards creating the next crypto valley, after recognizing the success of Malta and Zug, Switzerland in creating crypto and blockchain friendly environments.

Most countries in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam and Thailand, have cracked down on crypto trading and blockchain-related developments over the past year. A few months ago, Thailand disclosed its intent to heavily tax both cryptocurrency investors and trading platforms.

However, possibly due to the outrage of local investors and the increasing efforts of the Philippines, South Korea, and Japan to support cryptocurrency-related businesses, Thailand have also recently vowed to create an environment with friendly regulatory frameworks geared towards crypto startups.

Philippines and South Korea are Leading the Pack

The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), a government-operated economic zone in the northern tip of the Philippines, has decided to issue 25 cryptocurrency exchange licenses to enable cryptocurrency startups to operate with tax exemptions and among many other benefits.

Lito Villanueva, the chairman of FintechAlliance, said in an interview with Nikkei that the country has been trying to create the next “crypto valley in Asia” through the establishment of a $100 million blockchain hub.

“With these startups come huge investments in their portfolio. Surely, each country would want to take a piece of the action. Taking blockchain and fintech players in with enabling regulations and potential investment incentives would surely make the game more exciting,” Villanueva said.

Philippines
The Philippines has already established a crypto-friendly hub in an state-controlled economic zone.

Already, some of the startups in the Philippines including Coins, which closed a $10 million Series A funding round from Naspers and Quona Capital, have become the most popular platforms in the Philippines, outside of crypto and finance.

At its peak, Coins.ph, the Philippines arm of Coins, became a top 10 mobile applications in the Philippines market.

South Korea has also put in significant efforts to legitimize the cryptocurrency and blockchain sector by drafting the country’s first cryptocurrency and blockchain legislation. In the next 12 months, the government has also agreed to invest $4.4 billion in emerging technology companies, setting its focus on big data and the blockchain.

Uniquely, regional governments in South Korea such as Seoul, Busan, Jeju Island, and Sejong have vowed to become the blockchain capitals of Asia by welcoming cryptocurrency and blockchain companies with various benefits.

Won Hee-ryong, the governor of Jeju Island, who recently invited Roger Ver to demonstrate the use case of cryptocurrencies, said that the blockchain is a valuable opportunity for South Korea to take the lead in global internet development, an area which it has fell behind China and Japan in the past decade.

“Blockchain is an opportunity for Korea to take the lead in global internet platform [development,]” he said.

Growth of the Asian Market

With Japan as the largest cryptocurrency exchange market ahead of the US, Asia has already become the biggest cryptocurrency and blockchain market. Increasing efforts and initiatives by countries like Thailand, South Korea, Japan, and the Philippines to develop the blockchain sector will positively impact cryptocurrencies in the long-term.

Cryptocurrency exchange giant Coinbase might, as market research firm Bernstein recently said, be on the cusp of assembling an “unassailable” market share in the U.S., but that doesn’t mean that the San Francisco-based firm isn’t struggling to maintain consumer activity during the current downturn.

Citing data from CoinApi, cryptoasset research firm Diar reports that USD-denominated cryptocurrency trading has plunged in 2018, even as large cryptocurrency-to-cryptocurrency exchanges headquartered in other parts of the world have seen stable or even rising volumes.

According to the publication, Coinbase — the most well-known cryptocurrency trading platform in the U.S. — has seen volumes plunge by 83 percent from their all-time high in January. In July, Coinbase processed an estimated $3.9 billion worth of trades, down from a peak of nearly $21 billion. Bitstamp and Kraken, both of whom offer USD trading pairs, have also experienced significant declines, though they have been less-pronounced than those seen on Coinbase.

coinbase trading volume binance cryptocurrency exchange
Source: Diar

Binance, the world’s largest order-book cryptocurrency exchange, has also seen a moderate decline in volumes in its BTC, ETH, BCH, and LTC markets (the four cryptocurrencies that have been available on Coinbase throughout 2018), from $17.5 billion in February to a low of $9.4 billion in June. However, Binance volume jumped 21 percent the next month, reaching $11.3 billion in July.

okex cryptocurrency exchange volume
Source: Diar

Meanwhile, OKEx, generally the second-largest cryptocurrency exchange, attracted a surge in trading volume among these four-large cap coins between June and July, from to $5.7 billion from $2.9 billion. That not only signifies a month-over-month increase of 97 percent but also, Diar reports, represents a new monthly record for OKEx.

That’s particularly notable since volume on Coinbase and Bitstamp decreased between June and July, albeit slightly. Incidentally, neither Coinbase nor Bitstamp supports USD-pegged stablecoin Tether(USDT), while both OKEx and Binance do. Tether, whose solvency and credibility have been the subject of much debate within the cryptocurrency community, has issued hundreds of millions of dollars worth of new tokens over the past few weeks, which could help explain the discrepancy in volume between exchanges that support USDT and those that do not.

Additionally, both Binance and OKEx, are planning to set up shop in Malta after pro-industry regulations go into effect in the self-described “Blockchain Island” later this year. Binance, which heretofore has only offered crypto-to-crypto trading, has also unveiled plans to partner with a Liechtenstein-based company to begin offering its first fiat trading pairs.

The CEO of cryptocurrency trading platform Binance Changpeng Zhao announced a demo of the platform’s decentralized exchange in a tweet today, Aug. 9.

In a six-minute video attached to the tweet, Zhao presented a “casual, early, pre-offer”  demo of the decentralized exchange. The CEO said not “to expect too much” for now, adding that it currently does not have a graphical user interface:

“A first (rough, pre-alpha) demo of the Binance Decentralized Exchange (DEX), showing issuing, listing and trading of tokens.  All cli based, no GUI yet. A small step for #BinanceChain, a big step for Binance.”

Zhao showed three essential features of the planned exchange, those being the creation, listing, and trading of tokens. As Zhao did not disclose the launch date, it remains to be seen when the exchange will be marketed and what volumes it will be able to handle.

Decentralized exchanges are lauded as more secure than their centralized counterparts, which are more vulnerable to hacks. Decentralized platforms are set up in a manner which allows users to retain ownership of their coins using private keys. This solution reportedly prevents cryptocurrencies from being accumulated in one centralized “honeypot,” or point of attack.

Earlier this month, Binance bought Trust Wallet, an open source, anonymous, and decentralized wallet that supports Ethereum and over 20,000 different Ethereum-based tokens. Zhao then said that Binance plans to list Trust Wallet as a default wallet on its decentralized exchange.

Binance, which moved its operations to Malta this spring, is the number one crypto exchange by trade volume, according to Coinmarketcap. In July, the exchange supported plans to create a blockchain-based bank with tokenized ownership. The future “Founders Bank” will reportedly be owned by digital token investors and be based in Malta, known for its robust and transparent crypto regulatory climate.

Binance, one of the world’s two largest cryptocurrency exchanges, has just completed its first-ever acquisition.

According to TechCrunch, the Malta-based exchange operator acquired Trust Wallet, creator of the eponymous mobile Ethereum wallet that includes support for ether, as well as ERC-20 and ERC-223 tokens. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but Binance confirmed that it included a mixture of cash, Binance stock, and Binance tokens (BNB).

Trust Wallet is not one of the better known Ethereum wallets. It has about 50,000 downloads on Android through the Google Play store, earning a 4.6 out of 5 star rating from 1,138 reviewers. Download statistics were not immediately available from Apple’s App Store, but the wallet had a comparable rating from a similar number of reviewers. For comparison, imToken, the most popular Ethereum wallet, has more than 5 million monthly active users, most of whom are based in Asia.

“The Trust Wallet team shares the same values as us and the products are very complementary,” Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao told the publication. “For users who like to withdraw funds into a wallet now we have a product they can use.”

Zhao said that Trust Wallet will continue to operate independently, with Binance providing some administrative and marketing support and otherwise serving as a “godfather” to the wallet service.

By offloading those functions to Binance HQ, Trust Wallet’s development team will have more time to focus on its core product offering, perhaps hastening its planned support for other cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, EOS, and NEO.

The Trust Wallet acquisition comes as Binance is actively working on building a decentralized exchange(DEX), complete with its own public blockchain. Such platforms, which have also been announced by several other major exchanges, will allow users to trade cryptocurrencies without entrusting their funds to a centralized custodian and placing them at risk of hacks and exit scams.

Zhao said that Trust Wallet will serve as one of the Binance DEX’s default wallets, though it’s not clear when the platform will go live.

Binance’s centralized exchange currently ranks as the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency trading platform, with a daily volume of $1.3 billion. Only OKEx, which, like Binance, has created its own crypto token, opened an office in blockchain-friendly Malta, and unveiled plans to create a DEX, has processed more trading volume over the past 24 hours.

The blockchain story in Malta continues unabated with yet another announcement in relation to the sector, this time on the charity front.

Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges by daily trading volume and a marked presence in Malta, has teamed up with the President’s Trust to create the Blockchain Charity Foundation.

This foundation which was announced through an MOU signing ceremony, will supposedly use the technology that underlies cryptocurrencies to ‘empower vulnerable communities and enhance transparency in charitable work.

The said Memorandum of Understanding was signed with Helen Hai, a goodwill ambassador of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Maltese President, H.E. Marie Louise Coleiro Preca and Dr. Michael Bianchi, a trustee of the President’s Trust at the Presidential Palace in Balzan, Malta.

Speaking during the signing of the MOU, Dr. Michael Bianchi who is also involved in the world’s first crypto bank, said that the foundation should empower socially disadvantaged people and would be changing the face of charity work in the coming years.

“We are very happy to be starting a collaboration with Blockchain Charity Foundation enabling the use of blockchain technology to provide a social and economic impact. This is a world first and will have a major impact on how social issues and charity work is done in future years.”

Binance, has been a prominent supporter of “blockchain for social good,” the mandate of its new Blockchain Charity Foundation.

Hai, who was appointed to head the foundation earlier this month, was considered to be best positioned for the job due to her experience in developmental economics. She reiterated that the Blockchain Charity Foundation would be addressing the most pressing social issues globally, in attempts to contribute towards reaching the UN Agenda 2030 and its sustainable development goals.

The key objectives of the MOU are as follows:

  • To advocate about blockchain technology and its application to address issues of sustainability in a humanitarian and environmental setting to empower, especially youth and children.
  • To improve public awareness of the comprehensive usage of blockchain and its impact on society and economy.
  • Jointly establish a work force targeting local and regional issues by implementing pilot projects and other initiatives with a blockchain technology component.

President Coleiro Preca was invited to chair the Foundation’s Senior Advisory Board. Preca, along with other heads of state, will strategically advise the management and give direction to the new charity foundation.

“I am truly pleased that we have come to the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding with the Blockchain Charity Foundation. This foundation, the first of its kind in the world, will develop humanitarian projects to effectively address the United Nations Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals.

Through this agreement, The President’s Trust and the Blockchain Charity Foundation will aim to develop socio-economic projects in Malta, to address social challenges. Moreover, Blockchain technology will be used to increase efficiency, transparency and to measure the social impact of the respective projects.”, the President added.

The Malta based blockchain company, Palladium, just announced that they will be launching the world’s first initial convertible coin offering (ICCO). The platform will be powered by the Bittrex cryptocurrency trading platform technology. The official announcement was announced on the Bittrex support blog on July 10.

Palladium plans to distribute hundred $150 worth of their tokens towards building a regulated cryptocurrency exchange in Malta. The initial development of the exchange is scheduled to begin on July 25

The cryptocurrency exchange will reside within the crypto friendly jurisdiction of Malta, famously known as the “blockchain island”. The remaining funds left over from the initial round of investor capital will be used to acquire a controlled interest in the European bank. Other strategic investments in blockchain companies and financial services will also be purchased with the remaining investor capital as to complement Palladium’s future business model.

The project is expected to be a for stork landmark which bridges the gap between traditional finance services and cryptocurrency. It is also expected to create more than 100 job opportunities within the budding economy of Malta.

The New World of ICCO

ICCO’s will essentially allow investors to convert their cryptocurrency into company shares which they can cash in at a later date. In Palladium’s case, three years after the initial sale.

The creation of an ICCO is considered to be a solution to the cryptocurrency industry’s biggest obstacle as it will help bridge the gap between cryptocurrency trading and traditional stock trading services.

The creators of the ICCO consider it to be one of the most innovative and unique investment opportunities of the year. Institutional investors who were concerned with the volatile and unregulated climate of cryptocurrency will be able to freely invest in ICCO’s due to their compliance and regulations by trustworthy governments.

Bittrex Powered ICCOs

The Bittrex cryptocurrency platform currently has over 25 million users as well as 250+ altcoins available or trade. In order to purchase ICCO tokens, investors will need to sign up for the Bittrex trading platform.

The technology that currently powers the Bittrex trading platform will provide the same security, scalability, and reliability for the sales and trade of ICCOs as it provides for its current trading platform users. According to the CEO of Bittrex, this will most likely help the company progress as a leader in cryptocurrency trading and further advance its power in blockchain technology.

Huobi, the Chinese cryptocurrency exchange confirmed today that they’ll be opening an office with over-the-counter (OTC) trading set to begin in the third quarter of this year.

The crypto exchange, which claims to have a global user base of over 5 million, continued its narrative to expand into Europe as a priority, establishing London as its new base of operations.

Huobi set its sights on London as being the major location getaway above all others.

A representative from the exchange stated, “London was deliberately selected as the first office in Europe due to its authority as a global financial center. The region has an active blockchain community in fast developing market”.

This move follows similar decisions with other major industry exchanges like Binance, who decided to relocate one of their offices to Malta back in April.

Huobi’s presence in London will also provide improved access to European financial markets as well as enable UK-based blockchain in crypto startups to benefit from their Huobi Labs and the Huobi Ecosystem Fund.

At the time of this release, Huobi is the third largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world trading over 500 million in daily trade volume according to CoinMarketCap.

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