The Virtual Financial Assets Act came into force on Thursday, making a splash in time to be noticed by the thousands of people attending the Malta Blockchain Summit.

The Act regulates the registration of whitepapers by issuers of virtual financial assets, VFA service providers and VFA agents.

This means that the MFSA will now be able to accept requests for applications, authorisations and approvals through the designated online portal.

Initially, the MFSA will be processing applications only in relation to persons seeking to be registered as VFA Agents under the Act.

Malta has dubbed itself "Blockchain Island", and has taken proactive measures to regulate this innovative - but mostly uncharted - territory.

The aim of the Act is to achieve investor protection, market integrity and financial stability through regulation that is proportionate and which supports innovation and new technologies. The Act also aims at ensuring that money laundering and financing of terrorism risks in this field are addressed by inter alia designating the mentioned entities as subject persons in terms of PMLFT regulations.

In the coming weeks the MFSA will launch its FinTech Strategy which will outline the paradigm shift in the way financial services providers interact with their customers, establishing a holistic and robust sector for both start-ups and industry incumbents, MFSA’s CEO Joseph Cuschieri remarked.