Initial Coin Offering ICO

Setting up an ICO in Malta

Initial Coin Offerings ICOS

Malta has established itself as a prime fintech hub for over more than a decade by attracting to the island a large number of electronic money institutions and payment service providers, as well as having developed into the world’s largest iGaming hub. 

This led Malta to invest heavily in its IT infrastructure and has drawn a large proportion of senior IT talent to the island. This experience in a tech based, high-risk industry positioned Malta perfectly to capitalise on the rise of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). 

Malta’s progressive attitude towards DLTs and cryptocurrencies has already attracted some of the world’s largest crypto exchanges who have either relocated to or commenced additional operations in Malta. 

Malta has sought to create a regulated framework for innovative technology that is built upon three pillars: consumer protection, market integrity and financial stability. Therefore, token issuers and providers of Virtual Financial Assets Services (‘VFA Service’) rely on the reputability of the Malta’s legal framework in this sector, guaranteeing investor protection, whilst at the same time enjoying the stable environment of raising funds through an ICO or providing VFA Services in or from within Malta.

Country Highlights

GDP GROWTH: 6.6% in 2017 REGULATOR: Malta Financial Services Authority
TIMEZONE: Central European Time Zone (UTC+01:00) FINANCIAL SERVICES FRAMEWORK: EU and OECD approved

Legal Basis

The legal framework specifically designed by the Government of Malta to regulate Virtual Financial Assets (VFAs) and Virtual Financial Assets related services (‘VFA Services’) including the operation of a crypto exchange comprises a series of three laws: 

  •     the Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act (MDIA Act) establishing the Malta Digital Innovation Authority (MDIA); 
  •     Innovative Technology Arrangements and Services Act (ITAS Act) providing for registration of technology service providers and the certification of technology arrangements; and 
  •     the Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFAA) mainly regulating initial coin offerings (ICOs), VFA service providers and VFA agents. 

Under the VFAA, no person can provide a VFA service in or from within Malta unless licenced by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) prior to commencing operations. The VFAA regulates a whole range of service providers and services provided in relation to VFAs covering reception and transmission of orders, execution of order on behalf of others, dealing on own account, portfolio management, custodian and nominee services, investment advice, VFAs placements and the operation of a VFA exchange. 

The MFSA is the lead regulator for VFAs and VFA service providers. However, certain innovative technology arrangements, including DLTs and smart contracts may be referred to the MDIA for further certification.


  • Clear Regulatory Requirements
  • Rules and Documentation in English
  • Consumer Protection, Market Integrity and Financial Stability
  • Reputable Jurisdiction
  • Attractive Corporate Tax Regime



  • Fit & Proper Test by VFA Agent
  • Appoint a VFA Agent
  • Undertake Financial Instrument Test
  • Register Whitepaper with MFSA

Process & Timeline

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Key Contacts

Dr Priscilla Mifsud Parker

Senior Partner, Corporate, Tax & Immigration

+356 22056122

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