Malta may be a small island nation located just off the coast of Sicily, yet it is one of the most attractive technology hubs in the world. For ICOs, it is the perfect haven, as Malta promises a safe, secure, and transparent environment for crypto startups looking for a home to begin their operations. However, a recent test has shown that 61% of the country’s crypto agents are still not qualified to support this industry in a professional capacity.
In November 2017, the Maltese government announced the introduction of the Virtual Assets Act 2018 (VFA). This act entails compulsory training courses for those working as so-called “crypto agents” within the blockchain technologies sector. At the end of their training, all agents are required to pass an exam. Reports indicate that only one-third of those that took the test has actually passed.
The term ‘agents’ has been used to identify any practitioners that may be involved with any initial coin offering (ICO) or relaying information to and from the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA). This means the testees were made up of highly skilled professionals, such as auditors, accountants, and lawyers.
61% Of Participants Have Reportedly Flunked The Test Despite Changes Made To Ease The Failure Rate
According to the Times Malta, two-thirds failed the cryptocurrency agent exam. Around 250 people were tested in an exam that used a multiple choice questioning format. After the results were handed over to the examiners, they soon realized that the negative style marking system that was in place was going to produce an incredibly low overall pass rate.
As a result, the examiners restructured the marking schematics of the test in an attempt to improve how many individuals pass the exam. In spite of their efforts, the eventual outcome was still quite poor, with only 39% of participants being awarded their crypto agent license.
IFSP Have So Far Declined To Give The Times Malta An Explanation
Marie Huillet from the Times Malta has said that there has been no forthcoming information on the matter from the Institute of Financial Service Practitioners (IFSP) exam coordinator. With the lack of transparency (from a nation that prides itself on a transparent crypto economy), this means that we can only speculate what may have gone wrong.
Now, as the term ‘agent’ refers to individuals (lawyers, accountants, auditors) that have presumably had to study very hard to become qualified within their profession, the question that springs to mind is this:
“Could the high failure rate be due to the curriculum?”
To become a lawyer, for example, the bar is no easy feat to achieve, so how are individuals so well versed in passing complicated tests failing?
The IFSP will need to look closely at how the training and the exam questions correlate. One thing we can be fairly certain of is that more training time is required for the 61% that failed.
On a positive note, if the training curriculum is sound, then it is good to see that the exams are not a doddle to pass. The conclusion then would be that the government is actively taking the necessary precautions to ensure anyone that falls under the Virtual Assets Act 2018 is being fully scrutinized and not just being given a free pass for the sake of promoting the country’s crypto friendly image.
Whatever the issue is, for a country that is touting itself as a crypto-secure and friendly safe haven for ICOs, this latest report does not do it justice. The IFSP obviously needs time to figure out what exactly has happened before being able to release an official statement.