Binance, one of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchanges, has invested in Malta-based upcoming Founders Bank. Once licensed, the Founders Bank would be the first decentralized and community-owned bank in the world, signaling the possible future of the banking industry. Malta, a small island country in Europe, is emerging as a hotspot for crypto and blockchain industry. Binance recently set up its headquarters in Malta and also registered a bank account there last month.

Founders Bank will focus on serving tech and crypto businesses and will offer top-tier banking solutions. Users will be able to access their accounts from both the mobile and desktop web application and use them directly with credit cards issued by Founders Bank. Binance has reportedly bought a 5 percent stake in Founders Bank, along with other anchor investors, at a $155 million pre-money valuation.

Changpeng Zhao, Founder & CEO, Binance said:

“We are not only excited to be one of the first investors of this inclusive community for this pioneering initiative, but also look forward to explore the full range of its banking services. We continue to be delighted by the vibrant blockchain opportunities in Malta, and look forward to launching more partnerships in the region.”

Founders Bank estimates its launch to be in the first half of 2019 and will host its Equity Token Offering through Neufund’s platform later this year.

Silvio Schembri, Junior Minister for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation within the Office of the Prime Minister of Malta said:

"We are honoured to be chosen as the location of the first global community-owned bank that cares so deeply about transparency and regulation."

Earlier this month, Malta also passed three blockchain bills into law - Malta Digital Innovation Authority, Innovative Technological Arrangement, and Services Act, and the Virtual Financial Asset Act.