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Panel discussion at FinanceMalta Annual Conference 

At the 2019 FinanceMalta Annual Conference held recently, the Malta Bankers' Association was invited to participate in a panel discussion entitled "Mitigating Bank Fears in Cryptocurrency". MBA Chairman Marcel Cassar took part with the other panelists being: Loretta Joseph - Advisor, OECD, Dimitris Litsikakis - Global Head of FinTech, deVere Group, Ian Gauci – Managing Partner, GTG Advocates and Schuyler Weiss - Chief Digital Officer, REYL & Cie Ltd. The panel was moderated by Mark Curmi - Director, Banking, FI and VFA Services, KPMG.

Mr Cassar's intervention focused on critical areas of concern for banks in the area of cryptocurrencies and the challenges banks are facing when requested to service this new and largely untested activity. He emphasised that these concerns are not unique to Maltese banks as can be seen from the fact that correspondent banks also look at the crypto space as presenting heightened AML & CFT risks. However he urged for more education and communication between banks and practitioners, noting that the development of a regulatory framework since 2018 and work being done by MFSA to strengthen its supervisory approach is helping to increase the confidence of banks. In particular Mr Cassar referred to the first licences of VFA agents issued by the MFSA and the Guidance Documents for Banks on-boarding Fintechs as being critical steps in this journey.