Back in november of last year, Joseph Cuschieri, executive chairman of the Malta Gaming Authority said that the MGA had refused all requests for bitcoin gambling licenses because he saw cryptocurrencies as a risk. Cuschieri and the MGA seem to have had a change of heart as they now plan to regulate and licence crypto currency gambling sites in the immediate future. In a recent white paper, the Malta Gaming Authority recognises that challenges still lay ahead and that they will need to put in place crypto regulatory safeguards to protect their players and their reputation. Despite these worries, the white paper states that the MGA has chosen to embrace crypto currencies because they offer a “fast and cost-effective alternatives to traditional payment mechanisms”. There is stiff competition between the various gambling jurisdictions to attract business, so their recent change of heart may have had something to do with the fact that the Isle of Man’s Gambling Supervision Commission is currently in the process of regulating bitcoin gambling operators and the UK Gaming Commission has already permitted licensees to accept bitcoin deposits. Antigua has also said they will soon accept crypto-currency operators so it seems likely that Malta didn't really have a choice if they want to remain competitive and continue to attract investment. The white paper even states that "the Authority is cognizant that the rise of crypto-currencies is inevitable". While the MGA didn't offer an exact timeline for when the necessary regulatory framework will be in place, the tone of the paper suggests that we will see the first licensees within months.