Bitcoin is big. It is in every newspaper and news programme, and even the Government of Malta have announced their intention to legislate in support of cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology and ICOs.
There is no doubt that its future is looking bright and its popularity will continue to increase, but what if you want to buy Bitcoin from Malta?
If you are a beginner, how on earth do you get into this new, exciting, and disruptive industry?
In this article we will discuss:
- Bitcoin In a Nutshell
- Is Buying Bitcoin In Malta Legal?
- The BOV Limitations On Investing In Cryptocurrencies
- Buy Bitcoin With Credit Card
- Buy Bitcoin With, Cash
- Trade Another Crypto For Bitcoin
- Other Options
- Invest In a Reliable Cryptocurrency Wallet
Bitcoin In a Nutshell
So, for those that don’t know or are not that clear, I thought it best to provide a little information about exactly what Bitcoin is and what its purpose is.
Bitcoin is cryptocurrency that was created back in 2009 by an unknown developer, or team of developers known as Satoshi Nakamoto.
The currency is digital, decentralised and transactions are made without the need for an intermediary or any middle man, i.e. banks.
You can use Bitcoin for a variety of purposes – trading, buying, selling and more and it functions much in the same way as a fiat currency, except any central government or authority do not control it.
Bitcoin records and verifies all transactions over what is known as the blockchain.
The blockchain is a platform that keeps a record of all transactions to create a block.
Once a block is completed, it is added to the chain and forms a part of a string of blocks – or the blockchain. It is impossible to tamper with or reverse any transactions on the blockchain, so it functions as a secure recordkeeping platform.
Is Buying Bitcoin In Malta Legal?
When it comes to purchasing Bitcoin in Malta, it is at the moment completely legal.
You can buy, sell, trade, and invest in Bitcoin and all the other cryptocurrencies that are available on the market.
The legal status of Bitcoin does vary from country to country, and it is considered in many different ways such as a legal tender, an asset class, a payment method, a commodity, and a unique technological platform.
However, in Malta it is unregulated, and the trading of the coins are considered in the same light as commodities trading.
At the moment, a company dealing in cryptocurrencies is not required to obtain a license from the Malta Financial Services Authority, and they are not considered as investment instruments and therefore do not trigger any licensing requirements.
Instead of imposing harsh and restrictive regulations on the industry, the bills aim to support its growth and development while ensuring they protect all stakeholders and comply with due diligence and AML legislation.
When these bills are enforced, Malta will become the world’s first jurisdiction to create a supportive legal framework in favour of the blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and ICOs.
While there are restrictions and considerations around ICOs, the actual possession and trading of currencies are entirely legitimate although there are still a couple of obstacles in your way.
The BOV Limitations On Investing In Cryptocurrencies
Unfortunately, one of Malta’s leading banks, BOV, does not share the optimism for the success of the cryptocurrency industry.
The Bank of Valletta has implemented a total ban on any clients who wish to buy any cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin. Any transactions that are made for such a purpose will be reversed with no further information given.
The bank has come under fire for changing its policy with no warning and no elaboration on the reasons why they have decided to do this.
When contacted, any responses were suspiciously guarded, and a standard response was rolled out, namely that the banks position on cryptocurrency transfers is governed by:
“Its own risk appetite, regulatory directions, and the exigencies of its correspondent banking network.”
While they have said that they will keep reviewing this policy, it does seem a bit of an odd decision for them to have taken.
BNF has also said that it does not accept cryptocurrency transactions, but HSBC is still allowing and facilitating them.
It will be interesting to see how the banks will react once the proposed bills concerning the regulation of the industry are enforced. Perhaps this will give local banks more confidence and will result in these bans being lifted, or perhaps not, let us wait and see.
Buy Bitcoin With Credit Card
If you are in Malta and you want to purchase Bitcoins with your credit card (as long as you aren’t with BOV or BNF of course!), then you have a couple of options available to you.
These are BitPanda and Coinbase, and we will give you a little bit of information about each one.
This is Bitcoin broker that specialises in both buying and selling Bitcoin within the European Union. Founded in 2014, it has grown rapidly to become one of the leading platforms for the purchase of Bitcoin in Europe.
The exchange rate is a little higher than some other exchanges out there, but this is because they accept payment methods that many other platforms do not accept such as credit cards and Skrill.
The payment option that you opt for will decide how much you pay in fees for the transaction.
For example, SEPA, EPS, Giropay and Sofort have very low fees on transactions, e-Wallets such as Neteller charge much higher prices.
If you want to buy Bitcoin on BitPanda, you will need to have base-level verification which only requires a number.
This means that you can buy EUR 50 of Bitcoin a month with a maximum limit of EUR600 To transact higher volumes, you will need to verify your identity with a government issued ID such as a passport.
Read more in our BitPanda Review.
Coinbase is a digital currency exchange which has its headquarters in San Francisco, California.
The company brokers the exchange of Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin as well as the fiat currencies of around 32 countries.
It also facilitates Bitcoin transactions and storage in 190 countries globally. Founded in 2011 by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ersham it quickly became popular had had one million users by 2014.
It has a sterling reputation, and it is considered as one of, if not the best cryptocurrency exchange in the world. It offers clients the ability to purchase Bitcoin in a variety of different ways and methods and its fees are considerably less than BitPanda.
Other pros include the fact it has high liquidity and buying limits as well as offering instant buy with your credit card as a backup.
One of the downsides is that some believe they track the way in which a user spends their Bitcoin – something that goes against the primary foundation of Bitcoin, which is its anonymity.
Read more in our Coinbase Review.
Buy Bitcoin With Cash
If you live in Malta and you want to buy your Bitcoins with cash, then there is only one real, reliable option available to you and that is a handy website called Localbitcoins.com.
This is a website where you get a free and secure online Bitcoin wallet, and you are then able to purchase coins in the local vicinity, or at least, the country of residence.
Once you have signed up, you then go to the search function and fill in the amount you want to buy and the payment method that you wish to use. If you aren’t sure, then you can just select “all online payment methods” as the option and it will list all the Bitcoin traders in your location.
Then depending on the reputation score and number of trades that each offer as, you will select the one that is most appealing to you, and click buy. It really is that simple.
Trade Another Crypto For Bitcoin
If you want to up your cryptocurrency game a bit, you can consider trading another crypto for Bitcoin, but be aware that this is a bit more complicated and advanced that your standard trade.
These are two platforms you can check out for more information on how to do this, and they are called eToro and Bitfinex. Remember it is best to get the hang of standard trading before you delve deeper into this more complicated method.
eToro is a social trading and multi asset brokerage that is registered in Cyprus, Israel and the UK.
It offers to trade in a variety of assets such as fiat currency, cryptocurrency and assets and commodities such as oil and gold.
It has a great social trading feature which allows less experienced traders to copy the trades and strategy of professional traders, therefore increasing their chances of success.
You cannot, however, buy or send your Bitcoins to eToro, but you can practice trading with a free demo account.
Read more in our eToro Review.
This is a cryptocurrency exchange as well as a currency storage platform. It is the worlds largest Bitcoin exchange platform and accounts for 10% of all trades that are made.
Bitfinex allows trading between fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies, and it remains one of the best choices when it comes to Bitcoin trading and exchanging.
Read more in our Bitfinex Review.
Revolut is a great FinTech app that has become extremely popular in recent months.
It allows the storage of different currencies, issues users with a Mastercard, and offers free cross-border transfers, exchanges, and withdrawals with no fees.
It also allows people to buy, sell, exchange and hold cryptocurrency on its platform and it provides a very easy way to purchase with the funds in your Revolut account.
You can also buy Litecoin and Ethereum as well. Be aware that there are exchange rates and fees that you will need to consider so weigh up the options before you dive right in.
Invest In Reliable Cryptocurrency Wallet
If you are going to bite the bullet and invest in Bitcoin, you need to have somewhere secure to store it. Keeping all of your currency in an e-Wallet or an online exchange is not going to cut it.
Instead, you need to invest in a sturdy and reliable cold storage wallet such as the Ledger Nano S.
It is one of the most secure and reputable digital currency wallets on the market, and it offers unrivalled protection against hackers, malware, and unauthorised access to your funds.
The best bit about it is that it is also a great price and is significantly less than many of its competitors who don’t even offer any better functionalities.
You can read more about the wallet in our Ledger Nano S Review.
While a couple of banks may have made things a little bit difficult, there are still ways that you can get involved in the cryptocurrency industry.
Using Coinbase is a great way to get started- it is an easy to use and well respected platform which some of the lowest fees around.
Just don’t forget to get a Ledger Nano S to keep them in – you should never keep large sums of currency in online storage as it is more susceptible to hackers this way.
Bitcoin is an exciting industry to be a part of and whilst its value is fluctuating wildly at the moment, there is no doubt that Bitcoin will continue to be something that is a big part of our lives.
While you may not make your fortune from investing in Bitcoin, holding some of the currency could be a pretty savvy move.
Who knows where the world of cryptocurrency is taking us next, so it is better to be safe than sorry and to stock up on some coins when you have the chance.
After you learned how to buy Bitcoin from Malta, don’t just take our word for it, why not give it a go?
Read more on the best cryptocurrency exchanges.