Maltese Finance and Employment Minister Clyde Caruana has revealed that the nation’s plan to become a “blockchain island” is faltering due to the reluctance of local banks to partner with innovative companies.
Speak to local media Lovin Malta, Caruana noted that few local businesses have been able to find banking partners, claiming, “Traditional banks have written off blockchain at an early stage.”
“The banks must be convinced that this can really happen; unless there are benches on board it will be very difficult. “
Caruana stressed the need to invest in building the skills needed locally to support a thriving blockchain industry, arguing, “There is always the potential [to be a blockchain island] but if we are to make it happen, there must be more work. ”
What Caruana calls “ retail banking skepticism ” is affecting not only the blockchain but other emerging industries, such as the island’s plan to support medical cannabis. In addition to the apparent disinterest of the banking industry, the minister stressed that the lack of local skills was hindering the growth of new industries in Malta:
“It’s not just about whether the industries are new or old, but rather a question of skills. [If] investors don’t find what they need, they may think twice. If we are to continue to attract investment to Malta, we need to make sure we have what it takes in skills. “
The Maltese parliament passed blockchain-friendly regulations in 2018 as part of its effort to emerge as a global hub for crypto and DLT, with the island House to offices of the world’s then largest crypto exchanges by volume, Binance and OKEx.
While Malta’s new government has publicly reaffirmed its commitment to establishing Malta as a global crypto hub, progress remains slow – although the debit card provider and exchange platform Crypto.com became the first company to receive a license from Malta’s local financial regulator on November 24.