WATCH: Blockchain Companies Decry Malta's Banking Sector As Their Main Struggle
Banks are not accepting clients in the cryptocurrency space
Banking is a major struggle for Blockchain and cryptocurrency companies in Malta, with many of them saying that traditional banks
"Banking is weak. Banking is bad in Malta. And that needs to change," said Alexandre Dreyfus, CEO of Chiliz and Socios.com.
He told Lovin Blockchain there were efforts by both the government and private companies to change the system, but Malta's size meant banks could not take certain risks which bigger countries could take.
Stephen McCarthy, the chief executive of the Malta Digital Innovation Authority, also confirmed that companies in this space were listing this as a major pain point, "because banks are not accepting clients, especially those in cryptocurrency".
"This has been a trend across Europe really," said Paula Pandalfino from Founders Bank, which has been set up to counter these challenges.
"You have governments bending over backwards to attract tech companies and then you have a banking system that’s been so resistant to change just because it’s seeing a seismic shift happening under their foundations," she said, adding that Blockchain was here to stay and much be embraced.
Lovin Blockchain also spoke to Dimitris Litsikakis, country manager of Revolut, who said his company believed it could have a sustainable and profitable business model without ripping off customers.
"We are helping a lot of new companies who are coming to Malta to open bank accounts super easily and fast. I know this is a frustration from a lot of business owners. They are having issues to open a bank account. In the traditional banks. I don’t know why it takes days, weeks or even forever. With us it’s just a simple registration online," he said.
His view was shared by Crypto.com's Kris Marszalek, who said: "We love competing against banks because they are big, slow and their technology sucks. And in terms of the treatment of customer they have a lot of space to improve."
Lovin Blockchain also spoke to FinanceMalta's Kevin Farrugia who spoke about all the efforts Malta was making to attract Blockchain businesses and create a home for them.