Only 39 Percent Pass Malta’s Cryptocurrency Exam for Financial Services Practitioners

Only 39 Percent Pass Malta’s Cryptocurrency Exam for Financial Services Practitioners

Regulation

The pass rate for the exam developed by the Maltese government for financial services practitioners seeking to obtain cryptocurrency agent certification is reportedly only 39 percent. The exam is part of the requirements mandated by the country’s newly established Virtual Financial Assets Act.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Low Pass Rate

Only 39 Percent Pass Malta’s Cryptocurrency Exam for Financial Services PractitionersUnder Malta’s Virtual Financial Assets (VFA) Act, practitioners who wish to act as agents in the field that includes cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs) must successfully complete a short training course and pass an exam.

Noting that the first exam took place in September, the Times of Malta reported on Thursday:

Nearly two-thirds of those applying for cryptocurrency agent certification failed the official assessment process despite last-second changes intended to boost the pass rate.

Only 39 Percent Pass Malta’s Cryptocurrency Exam for Financial Services PractitionersThe exam was set by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) and administered by the Institute of Financial Services Practitioners.

The news outlet quoted sources revealing that about 250 lawyers, accountants, and auditors took the exam, which consisted of a series of multiple choice questions. “Once the exam papers were graded, it became clear the pass rate was extremely low,” the publication conveyed, adding that “Even after the changes the pass rate was just 39 percent.”

License Required

According to the MFSA’s consultation document for VFA service providers, “any person who is providing a VFA service … shall within twelve months apply for a license with the competent authority in terms of Article 14 to the Act,” the CBS Group described.

Only 39 Percent Pass Malta’s Cryptocurrency Exam for Financial Services PractitionersThe MFSA wrote, “It has also become evident that certain industry players are not sufficiently prepared to register as VFA agents.” The regulator, therefore, proposes a number of additional rules for them to comply. They include increasing the initial and ongoing capital requirements as well as regulatory fees. In addition, the MFSA proposes “introducing a rigorous competence assessment” and “a mandatory requirement for Continuous Professional Education.”

The Times of Malta elaborated, “The VFA Act is one of three new laws forming part of the government’s ‘Blockchain Island’ strategy and which seek to regulate the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector,” adding that “It will enter into force in November.” Other than trading cryptocurrencies and issuing ICOs, the publication explained:

Companies looking to provide other virtual financial asset services, such as portfolio management or investment advice, also need an agent to apply for a licence.

What do you think of the low pass rate for the Maltese cryptocurrency agent certification exam? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and MFSA.


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Gibraltar Gov’t Launches Advisory Group to Develop Blockchain-Related Educational Courses

The Government of Gibraltar in collaboration with the University of Gibraltar have created an advisory group focused on the development of blockchain-related educational courses, national news outlet the Gibraltar Chronicle reported Oct. 19.

The New Technologies in Education (NTiE) group is reportedly a joint initiative between the government, the University of Gibraltar, and a number of the leading technology firms based in the country. Following the expansion of new technologies in Gibraltar, the NTiE will address the demand for related skills both in the private sector and at the governmental level.

The courses — which are expected to be launched later this year — will also be backed by “significant input” from industry players who are in the process of becoming licensed by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission.

“Providing access to innovative courses with expert input from those using this technology in the private sector is a vital component in the development of a sustainable distributed ledger technology (DLT) commercial community in Gibraltar,” stated Gilbert Licudi, a Queen’s Counsel and the minister with responsibility for the University of Gibraltar.

Within the initiative, the university will reportedly develop and enhance expertise in new technologies, including DLT, coding, and smart contracts, subsequently issuing a Professional Certificate of Competence within this area. The government stated:

“The launch of the NTiE advisory group continues to build momentum for Gibraltar as a hub for new technologies, following the announcement in January 2018 that Gibraltar would be the first jurisdiction globally to introduce legislation around Distributed Ledger Technology.”

Per Minister for Education John Cortes’ statement, only 27 percent of universities around the world offer blockchain-related courses, whereas half of the top 50 international universities provide related courses, meaning that interest in the subject is growing.

A Coinbase study conducted in August shows that blockchain- and crypto-related courses are most popular in the U.S. Only five of the 18 universities reviewed that operate outside of the U.S. offer at least one class in these topics.

In September, New York University (NYU) through the NYU Stern School of Business became the “first” university in the U.S. to offer students a major in blockchain technology. Following the increasing number of students interested in the new offer, NYU reportedly doubled its course offerings this school year.

Russian Draft Bill Lacks Core Crypto Terms After Recent Edits

Russian deputies have removed the definition of crypto mining from a draft bill on digital currency regulation ahead of its next reading in the State Duma, major local news agency Interfax reports Oct. 19. Consequently, the new law will not clarify tax issues for miners.

The chairman of the Duma Committee on Financial Markets Anatoly Aksakov briefly explained the reason behind the deputies’ decision to eliminate a core crypto term from the bill:

“Earlier we had some thoughts on Bitcoins, on their integration into our economic system. But as we decided we don’t need them, these ambiguous Bitcoins, therefore we don’t need mining as well.”

If the law were to define crypto mining, it consequently would also need to define cryptocurrencies, Aksakov told Interfax. He further added that it would be “senseless” to include mining in the regulation proposed by the government. He said mining should be brought under tax watchdog jurisdiction if needed.

It is not immediately clear whether definitions for tokens and Initial Coin Offerings (ICO), and rules for crypto exchanges — which were included in the initial draft — remain in the current version. The present draft law will proceed to the second of three readings in the Duma.

The bill “On Digital Financial Assets” was first introduced in January by the Russian Ministry of Finance. In March, a group of deputies headed by Aksakov proposed a modified version that established know your customer (KYC) regulations for customer identity verification on crypto exchanges, echoing current requirements in the U.S. A draft of the bill was approved by the State Duma in first of three hearings in May.

However, before the second hearing scheduled for the Duma’s autumn session, a definition of “cryptocurrency” was removed from bill. Mining then was defined as the “release of tokens to attract investment in capital.”

In September, a lobby group from the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) started working on an alternative crypto regulation bill. According to RSPP vice-president Elina Sidorenko, the new bill will divide digital assets in three groups and help eliminate contradictions in the state bill that she calls “unfinished and fragmented.”

Aksakov spoke to Interfax at Finnopolis 2018 — a fintech event that was held in the Russian city of Sochi this week. During the conference, state officials discussed crypto and its role in the country’s economy.

The head of the Russian central bank, Elvira Nabiullina, compared interest in crypto to a “fever” that was “fortunately” over. Herman Gref, CEO of Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, predicted that governments will not abandon centralized control of monetary policy and currencies to allow cryptocurrencies to flourish within the next ten years.