IMF Urges Malta to Beef Up Enforcement against Crypto Money Laundering

By Warren Hayes | January 29, 2019
IMF Urges Malta to Beef Up Enforcement against Crypto Money Laundering

Considered one of the most blockchain-friendly territories in the world and a mecca for crypto companies and investments, Malta has even earned itself the nickname “Blockchain Island”.

Crypto exchange industry leaders such as OKEx and Binance, which easily move over a billion dollars a day in trades, have expanded their presence into Malta. Binance is also reportedly working with the Malta Stock Exchange to start the world’s first ever decentralized bank.

Malta has passed three laws on July 4 last year that set a regulatory framework for blockchain, crypto, and distributed ledger technology (DLT), establishing it as the first country in the world, noted Forbes, to have an official set of regulations for these sectors.

Nonetheless, it could be precisely this which has made the International Monetary Fund (IMF) sit up and taken notice of Malta. According to local media in Malta, the IMF has highlighted how the burgeoning of the blockchain industry in the country could lead to “significant risks” in money laundering and terrorist financing.

While IMF commended Malta’s Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit in its efforts to implement a 50-point action plan to ensure crypto firms stay away from money laundering, it also called Malta to take “immediate action” to plug gaps in its enforcement and supervisory systems.

The IMF was also reported as saying that authorities needed to improve their knowledge of the risks and ensure adequate measures are in place to tackle breaches.  

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