‘We are deal­ing with it,’ says BOV chair­man on crypto cur­rency de­vel­op­ments

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - NEWS - He­lena Grech

We are tak­ing all steps to speak with peo­ple in the crypto cur­rency world and banks to see how to man­age the sit­u­a­tion

Bank of Val­letta chair­man Deo Scerri stressed that Malta’s most in­flu­en­tial bank is “deal­ing with” cur­rent de­vel­op­ments in the crypto cur­rency in­dus­try as well as the Dis­trib­uted Ledger Tech­nol­ogy (DLT) in com­ments to The Malta In­de­pen­dent on Sun­day.

He spoke with this news­room after BOV held its an­nual gen­eral meet­ing where the record profit of €174.4 mil­lion for the year 2017 was an­nounced.

The year 2017 was de­scribed as be­ing one of chal­lenges and suc­cesses, due to sev­eral de­vel­op­ments both bol­ster­ing and chal­leng­ing the bank’s po­si­tion.

Last Novem­ber, BOV had abruptly blocked all trans­ac­tions from ac­count hold­ers to cryp­tocur­rency ex­changes, frus­trat­ing many who had leaped to in­vest in this new area.

Cur­rently, those op­er­at­ing in the cryp­tocur­rency sphere as well as com­pa­nies mak­ing use of DLTs are op­er­at­ing in an un­reg­u­lated mar­ket. Malta is one of the coun­tries that have been the quick­est to put for­ward leg­is­la­tion in or­der to bring some form of reg­u­la­tion, cre­at­ing le­gal cer­tainty in a cur­rently un­reg­u­lated world.

Par­lia­ment is ex­pected to de­bate three Bills put for­ward by the gov­ern­ment which reg­u­lates the rel­e­vant as­pects of DLTs, cryp­tocur­ren­cies and rais­ing fi­nance through vir­tual cur­ren­cies: the Malta Dig­i­tal In­no­va­tion Author­ity Bill, the Tech­nol­ogy Ar­range­ments and Ser­vices Bill and the Vir­tual Fi­nan­cial As­sets Bill.

Sto­ries have emerged about lo­cal banks’ re­luc­tance to set up bank ac­counts for com­pa­nies cen­tred on cryp­tocur­ren­cies. Par­lia­men­tary Sec­re­tary for the dig­i­tal econ­omy Sil­vio Schem­bri, in com­ments to this news­room, ex­pressed his con­fi­dence that many ques­tions will be an­swered through the in­tro­duc­tion of the afore­men­tioned Bills.

Asked about how much rel­e­vance these Bills will have for BOV’s strat­egy in terms of cryp­tocur­rency, Scerri said “ob­vi­ously, a lot, be­cause these Bills will reg­u­late how these com­pa­nies will op­er­ate in Malta”.

“As a bank, we have formed a strate­gic com­mit­tee to deal with the crypto world; we are deal­ing with it. We know there might be prob­lems with cor­re­spon­dent banks for us to trade these cur­ren­cies on the open mar­kets.

“We are tak­ing all steps to speak to peo­ple in the cryp­tocur­rency world and banks to see how to man­age the sit­u­a­tion. We are act­ing on it to see how to move for­ward. Ob­vi­ously we need to see the Bills and the reg­u­la­tions so that we will know how to take the mat­ters for­ward.”

He con­firmed that the main con­cerns cen­tre on vir­tual cur­ren­cies rather than DLTs.

Cryp­tocur­ren­cies re­fer to vir­tual to­kens which can be used to ef­fect pay­ment. They can be traded on cryp­tocur­rency ex­changes sim­i­lar to how stocks and shares are traded, with the value go­ing up and down.

DLT is a con­sen­sus of repli­cated, shared, and syn­chro­nized dig­i­tal data ge­o­graph­i­cally spread across mul­ti­ple sites, coun­tries, or in­sti­tu­tions.

Bank of Val­letta chair­man Deo Scerri

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.