Malta, the tiny island nation in the middle of the Mediterranean, is fast becoming a hub for some of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges.
OKEX Technology Co., whose virtual currency venue is ranked No. 4 by traded value on Coinmarketcap.com, has “decided to make Malta a foundation” for its growth, the Hong Kong-based company said on its website Thursday. It’s at least the second major crypto exchange to embrace the country after Binance, the world’s largest, announced plans to open an office there last month.
Malta is trying to build a digital economy and position itself as a “natural destination” for businesses in the space. Its welcoming approach toward cryptocurrency firms contrasts with regulatory clampdowns from the U.S. to India. Even crypto-friendly Japan has turned more cautious on the industry this year after one of its exchanges lost about $500 million of client assets to hackers.
Malta’s government is “forward thinking,” OKEx Chief Executive Officer Chris Lee said on Thursday. His venue handled about $1.1 billion of cryptocurrency trades in the past 24 hours, according to Coinmarketcap.com.