OKEx Technology Company Ltd. announced today that its newest initiative would be expanding operations to the island nation of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea.
During initial meetings with the Maltese government, OKEx – one of the world's largest digital asset exchanges with millions of customers in over 100 countries – provided Maltese regulatory officials with "written feedback" and "open dialogue" outlining common enthusiasm for blockchain technology.
"We look forward to working with the Malta government as it is forward thinking and shares many of our same values," said OKEx CEO Chris Lee in a press release, "the most important of which are protection of traders and the general public, compliance with Anti Money Laundering and Know Your Customer standards, and recognition of the innovation and importance of continued development in the Blockchain ecosystem."
OKEx states that it will participate in the DLT Delta Conference sponsored by the Maltese Government later in October 2018.
This is just the latest in a string of blockchain-related developments on Malta. Earlier this year, the European Union (EU) member state announced plans for the Malta Digital Innovation Authority (MDIA), which directs its efforts to provide innovators with "legal certainty" surrounding the use of blockchain technology. The MDIA hopes that getting regulatory specifics ironed out for blockchain could eventually speed similar regulation for cryptocurrencies.
OKEx's motivation to embrace Malta might be best represented by a speech earlier this year in which Silvio Schembri, the Maltese Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation, described Malta's deep interest in blockchain. Referencing new legislation favorable to blockchain development, Schembri stated how the new laws can "provide legal certainty to a space that is currently unregulated," as well as "provide an environment conductive to this technology." He added that "it will make Malta the natural destination for businesses working in this field."
Schembri's comments were echoed today by OKEx's Chief Risk Officer and Head of Government Relations Tim Byun: "Malta's Virtual Financial Asset Act is a solid foundation for the industry and the government to work together in fostering the nascent blockchain/digital asset industry. More specifically, Malta's sound risk-based approach will help cultivate a responsible, compliant, and healthy ecosystem."