Malta made headlines earlier this year when it suddenly became the country with the highest volume of cryptocurrency trades in the world. The boom in volume was caused by the relocation of Binance, the world’s largest exchange by volume, to the tiny nation.
Now, Binance is seeking to use Malta as the base for a new bank that will be owned entirely by cryptocurrency investors–the world’s “first decentralized, completely community-owned bank,” according to a Bloomberg report.
Binance has already secured a five percent stake (worth roughly $133 million) in the so-called ‘Founders Bank’ along with other investors. The bank will hold its official token sale in collaboration with the Berlin-based tokenized funding platform Neufund; the token sale will reportedly be held under German regulations on an unspecified German exchange.
It’s still unclear whether the Founds Bank will be granted the necessary licensure from the Maltese government to be legally allowed to move forward.
However, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao is hopeful. “Malta is the fusion ground for traditional and blockchain finance now. A lot can happen in 3 short months,” he Tweeted. Zhao believes that Binance will turn a profit of anywhere between $500 million and $1 billion this year.
Malta is the fusion ground for traditional and blockchain finance now. A lot can happen in 3 short months. https://t.co/byUbqmUMN5
— CZ 🔶 Binance (@cz_binance) July 12, 2018
The news comes several weeks after Malta announced the passage of three bills that established the country as one of the most crypto-friendly jurisdictions in the world. Among other things, the acts make ICOs safer for investors, established the Malta Digital Innovation Authority, and provided certification guidelines for tech providers.
Junior officer for financial services, digital economy, and innovation in the Maltese Prime Minister’s Office Silvio Schembri told Bloomberg that “We are honored to be chosen as the location of the first global community-owned bank.”
A growing number of cryptocurrency and blockchain-related firms are attempting to bridge the gap between the crypto industry and the banking sector. Earlier this week, Litecoin and TokenPay confirmed the formation of a strategic partnership to purchase a 9.99 percent stake in a German bank, a move that would give both firms a seat at Germany’s regulatory table and aid in the formation of cryptocurrency debit cards, along with other things.