Changpeng Zhao, the CEO and founder of Binance, revealed the company has set up a bank account in Malta, in an exclusive interview with Cointelegraph Wednesday, June 6th.

Binance is currently the world’s largest crypto exchange with $1.47 bln in trade volume, according to Coinmarketcap data.

The move brings the exchange one step closer to its plans to offer fiat-to-crypto deposits and withdrawals on its platform, a feature that would further improve the exchange’s liquidity and facilitate new investors entering the space with fiat purchases.

Zhao, better known as CZ, described the new bank account as a “very significant” development since the exchange first revealed it was relocating its headquarters to the island. Malta is fast establishing itself as a haven for blockchain companies, given its robust and transparent crypto regulatory climate.

CZ told Cointelegraph he hoped fiat-crypto trading on Binance would launch in Malta “within the year,” also indicating plans to offer the service in Uganda and potentially Asia as well.

More broadly, the CEO reflected on Binance’s progress in Malta, which he affirmed is going “very well,” revealing that the company is also in talks with Malta’s traditional equities stock exchange about a possible future collaboration.

CZ considers that Malta is “one of the best places” for blockchain firms - deserving of its ‘Blockchain Island’ nickname - and praised the “very welcoming and reasonable” stance of local regulators towards the crypto sphere. He noted that “a few dozen” blockchain companies have already established themselves on the island since late March alone.

When it comes to fictional crypto-paradisal islands, however, CZ dismissed the outlandish sci-fi-esque rumors that Binance had allegedly bought a private island that it hoped to nurture into a blockchain-powered microstate.

“Conceptually it’s definitely possible, but it’s not... [an] easy feat, establishing a company is already hard enough,” the CEO responded, laughing.

Dismissing the idea as “simplistic and idealistic,” he nonetheless said he was interested to see people’s responses to the rumor, which suggested “serious interest” in the concept.

CZ said Binance is now working on developing a decentralized exchange, which is currently a big, “high priority” project.

Just last week, Binance revealed its plans to create a major $1 bln cryptocurrency-based fund to support blockchain and crypto startups, seeking a total of twenty ‘heavyweight‘ partners for the project, each of which is required to have at least $100 mln under asset management.

The full interview with CZ will soon be available to read on Cointelegraph.