The Isle of Crypto: Is Binance moving to Malta?

Apr 01, 2018  David Kieve, Cryptopunk

People’s Republic of Binance

While Coinbase may be dominating the “I just heard about Bitcoin and want in” way of buying cryptocurrencies, those interested in buying any of the 1,500 or so cryptos that are not Bitcoin (aka, the alt coins or alts) need more sophisticated exchanges. And the one exchange that has recently become a powerhouse for buying hundreds of most sought-after alts is Binance. Binance got founded in China and has come to dominate the global crypto exchange market alongside a few other big ones. Go China!

Chi-no crypto

Of course, the Chinese government is nothing if not cautious. So when the crypto market got really hot around October 2017, China started playing the ban game: Let’s ban exchanges! Let’s ban mining! Let’s ban lambos! (*Some of these may be exaggerations by the author.) If Binance stayed in China, it would have to shut down. So what’s an exchange to do?

I think I’m turning Japanese

So right before China banned exchanges, Binance moved offices to Japan - because of Japan’s much crypto-friendlier regulations (and because okonomiyaki are yummy, duh). In the Spring of 2018, just in case Japan doesn’t work out (or to stick it to the PRC), Binance also established an office in Taiwan. Ok, at least all that is pretty close to home for Binance.

Malta for my crypto alt(a)

So why did Binance go all the way to Malta (which is in the middle of the Mediterranean and not in any way Chinese - I Googled all that just in case)? The obvious answer is that Malta’s laws are very crypto-friendly. Plus, being so far from Chinese regulators may be a good thing. Or maybe Malta just has amazing beaches - crypto entrepreneurs are people too.

Island Life?

The bigger question now is whether other crypto companies and exchanges will move to remote island paradises. Gibraltar, for example, has a friendly and really clear regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. But why stop at known crypto islands? I can see every tropical island becoming a crypto hub. The Bahamas can become the Bahama Mama of Crypto. Turks and Cryptos? Would you like some Ethereum with your Fiji water?

Floating crypto islands?

Why stop at actual nature-created islands then? With the rise of seasteading (building floating islands on open seas to avoid national jurisdictions), there is definitely a natural (or human-made?) fit for crypto. No jurisdictions mean no country can shut the exchange down, right? Of course, unless every crypto investor also moves outside of national jurisdictions, the crypto market will still not be immune to government regulations. But hey, all that can be pondered while paying for a beachfront bungalow with PinaColadaCoin. Though you may first want to check which coins are real, not just fun. Run a coin through a crypto simulator to see if it stands up to rough waters of the crypto market.