Digital-coin exchanges have found a new haven in an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea.
Most cryptocurrency trading now happens on marketplaces based in Malta, the European island nation that’s seeking to boost its fortunes by becoming one of the world’s friendliest jurisdictions for a sector that’s caused concern among other regulators.
“Many exchanges may have users in a particular country, but this is often not where the company has chosen to legally register,” Morgan Stanley strategist Sheena Shah said in a report to clients Wednesday. “The majority of cryptocurrency trading volumes operate out of companies legally located in Malta.”
The country would be further down on the list if it weren’t for a recent move by the world’s largest crypto exchange, Shah noted. Binance, founded last year in Hong Kong, said in March that it’s moving to Malta after regulators in Asia cracked down on virtual money.
While a big chunk of trading volume is moving to Malta, most crypto exchanges are still located in the U.K., Hong Kong and the U.S., Morgan Stanley said.