The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) has begun a public consultation on changes to its crypto regulations to align with the European Market in Crypto-Assets (MICA) regulations that will come into effect in December 2024. The public consultation period is open until 29 September.

this Revise The rulebook proposes changes to rules for exchanges, custodians and portfolio managers to align with the EU’s MiCA. Malta first established a crypto framework in 2018 with Virtual Financial Assets (VFA).

Some notable changes to the VFA rulebook include:

  • The MFSA has removed the system audit requirement for VFA license holders.
  • Capital requirements for Level 3 and Level 4 license holders are reduced to US$133,000 (€125,000) and US$159,000 (€150,000) respectively.
  • Professional indemnity insurance requirements removed.
  • Outsourcing requirements have been updated according to MiCA.
  • MiCA’s service-specific rules have been incorporated into the VFA rulebook, in which the requirements applicable to VFA exchanges, order execution and client suitability will be modified.
  • Requirements related to customer classification have been removed.
  • Requirements for reporting on risk management and internal capital adequacy assessments have been removed.

With the adoption of the MiCA regulations, all existing regulations in EU countries will be replaced by universal MiCA laws. Malta, as an EU member state, has two options: either wait 18 months before the MiCA law comes into effect, or amend existing regulations to bring them into line with general EU law. Regulators chose the second option.

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In an interview last October, the regulator said early changes to its existing encryption regulations would help VFA licensees seamlessly transition to MiCA-based laws and obtain EU licenses. Malta’s VFA framework is based on the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) principles, with MiCA drawing a number of principles from the same rulebook.

In addition to Malta, EU member France has also revised its existing cryptocurrency regulatory guidelines to align with MiCA, which will take effect in early 2024.

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