Binance to offer fiat-to-cryptocurrency trading with its move to Malta
Binance's arrival in Malta will be the first fiat link for many cryptocurrencies.
Binance, one of the world's highest volume cryptocurrency exchanges, is opening shop in Malta where it aims to introduce fiat currency trading pairs, the exchange announced on 23 March.
Malta hopes to position itself as a fintech hub and the fiat pairs come courtesy of Malta's progressive regulatory environment.
This will be the first fiat link for many of the cryptocurrencies traded on Binance, and might be a substantial step in opening up the cryptocurrency markets as a whole. This will allow people to buy a much wider range of cryptocurrencies directly with fiat currency, rather than going through bitcoin or Ethereum.
Malta's prime minister, Joseph Muscat, took the opportunity to welcome Binance to the island on Twitter.
"We aim to be the global trailblazers in the regulation of blockchain-based businesses and the jurisdiction of quality and choice for world class fintech companies," he said.
"It is obvious that Malta has become a natural point of reference on the international sphere and companies such as Binance will continue to look into Malta to further expand their operations or establish a base," agreed Silvio Schembri, Malta's secretary for innovation. "Binance's presence in Malta sustains our vision, that of making Malta 'The Blockchain Island'."
The official announcement did not mention which currencies would be traded, but some have speculated that US dollars and euros are on the cards. Malta is an EU member, and US dollars are the world's number one international currency, so these are the likely options.
It's not a done deal yet, but Malta is committed to providing a welcoming environment, and Binance CEO Zhao Changpeng seems confident that it will go to plan.
"We are very confident we can announce a banking partnership there soon," said Changpeng in an interview with Bloomberg. "Malta is very progressive when it comes to crypto and fintech."
Binance is also aiming to open up a decentralised exchange in the near future as a counterpart to its current centralised exchange, but it's not yet clear whether it will have all the same crypto and fiat options.
Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author holds ETH, IOTA, ICX, VEN, XLM, BTC and NANO.