Apr 19 / 2019

Malta leads the way: The Blockchain Island dominates Q1 trading volumes

by Christopher Attard

Malta, the small island nation that has gained the title of ‘Blockchain Island’ for its clear and welcoming approach to cryptocurrency-related businesses has completely dominated the markets in the first quarter of 2019.

The country, which was the first jurisdiction to establish a comprehensive regulatory framework for distributed ledger technology (DLT), saw an influx of top cryptocurrency exchanges flock to its shores last year, with Binance, OKex, BitBay, Alphaex and Nebula all having registered there in 2018.

The trend of crypto exchanges establishing their operations on the island has now started spilling into the broader cryptocurrency markets. According to data from CryptoCompare’s March 2018 exchange review, monthly trading volume from the Maltese-based exchanges increased by 56% since February.

Trailing behind Malta were Hong Kong and South Korea, with the exchanges registering an influx of 54% and 21%, respectively. The report notes that in March, Malta-based exchanges traded $56.1 billion as opposed to Hong Kong’s $53.1 billion and South Korea’s $40.2 billion.

While major exchanges such as Binance and OKEx pushed the blockchain island to snatch the first place in trading volume, various medium-sized exchanges such as LBank, BitZ, and HitBTC helped Hong Kong to get second place – i.e. not first place. Similarly, South Korea’s volume was driven by UPBit and the notorious Bithumb exchange.

In stark contrast to the top performers, most countries in the rest of Europe notably lingered at the bottom of the pack.

As per comments by Malta’s Prime minister, Joseph Muscat:

Blockchain makes cryptocurrencies the inevitable future of money.

Malta’s pro-crypto approach has also allowed the country to become a central hub for blockchain education and meetups, with prominent faces in crypto like Tim Draper, Tone Vays and cryptographer and Bitcoin evangelist Adam Back frequently gracing the island, among others.

This comes as questions of suspicious trading volumes driven by small exchanges loom over the cryptocurrency sector.

The Prime Minister will be inaugurating the Malta A.I. & Blockchain Summit on May the 23rd. Get your tickets here.

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