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Malta could host the first decentralised bank in the world

Crypto exchange Binance backs plans for a new bank that will serve tech and crypto businesses while offering top-tier banking solutions provided the bank receives a licence from the Maltese financial services regulator.

Malta could become the home of the world’s first decentralised bank owned by crypto investors. Founders Bank seeks to provide what it terms as ‘progressive fintech solutions to the world of innovation and blockchain’.

Founders Bank will conduct an offering through the blockchain-based equity fundraising platform Neufund and issue its own legally binding equity tokens, with Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, as the first and major investors in the company. The bank would need a licence from the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) and approval from the European Central Bank.

A Fertile Environment

The news comes shortly after Malta passed three laws aimed at encouraging blockchain-based businesses to set up in the country. Binance said in a statement that the bills “created a fertile environment for blockchain companies and cleared the uncertainties surrounding the market for decentralized assets.” Bloomberg reports that Binance has taken a 5% stake in Founders Bank while other supporting investors have staked $155 million (pre-money valuation).

“We welcome Founders Bank with utmost excitement and hope that their fintech solutions will attract even more world-class companies to our blockchain island and contribute to our ecosystem. We are honoured to be chosen as the location of the first global community-owned bank that cares deeply about transparency and regulation”, Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation Silvio Schembri said, adding that the decision by the companies involved in Founders Bank is a result of the legal certainty Malta now offers.

Founders Bank expects to be operational from the first half of 2019. The new bank seeks to fill a gap in the market, as the majority of local banks have, so far, been reluctant in servicing this sector, with crypto companies reporting difficulties in gaining access to bank accounts.

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