Industry Update /
Ganado Advocates

Maltese Parliament approves updates to the VFA Act ahead of MiCA

May 6, 2024

The Maltese Parliament has just approved updates to the Virtual Financial Assets Act (Chapter 590, Laws of Malta) (“VFA Act”) to ensure further alignment with the Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation (MiCA).Malta’s decision to be at the forefront of blockchain innovation and distributed ledger technology by creating a legislative framework for crypto-assets under the VFA Act in 2018, under the supervision of the Malta Financial Services Authority (“MFSA”), encouraged several crypto-asset services providers to set up in Malta. The VFA Act – in a manner similar to MiCA – draws its inspiration from the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive. This means there are very few discrepancies between the VFA regime in Malta and MiCA.The updates to the VFA Act, which were approved by the Maltese Parliament via the Virtual Financial Assets (Amendment) Act, 2024 (“VFA Amendment Act”), principally focused on the removal of the requirement to appoint a VFA agent. Effectively, in line with MiCA, this means that:

  • any issuer who would like to register a whitepaper under Article 3 of the VFA Act; and
  • any person who would like to apply for a licence to provide a VFA service per Article 14(1) of the VFA Act,

may do so directly with the MFSA – and no longer requires the appointment of a VFA agent in Malta to coordinate the licensing process.The VFA Amendment Act also updates terminology, and certain obligations of issuers, in line with the provisions of MiCA. The jurisdiction, with the overall guidance of the MFSA, intends to keep up the pace to ensure that Malta is prompt and ready for the implementation of MiCA.