Malta’s Blockchain Strategy will attract Fintech companies to the island
Malta has been praised for its commitment towards building and supporting the crypto ecosystem. Acting as a global trailblazer within the industry, it is proving itself to be the jurisdiction of choice and quality for various Fintech companies wishing to make their way into the cryptocurrency world. Malta Blockchain is providing investment opportunities and incentives allowing it to become the World’s first Blockchain Island. Due to the fact that this industry is rapidly developing every day, the government of Malta is being cautious on how to regulate the area without posing any unnecessary restrictions, with the hope that Malta Blockchain will be a global success.
To properly understand the way in which the Maltese government plans on adopting Malta Blockchain, one must comprehend the use and effect of Blockchain itself. As the underlying technology for Bitcoin cryptocurrency and other Fintech solutions, Blockchain’s use is quite widespread.
Blockchain presents a method of recording and confirming transactions through a system based on a secure ledger that operates on an accepted protocol. Participants make use of technology based on peer to peer verification and hold complete records of all transactions. This creates a de-centralised clearing house, with the disintermediation of banks, financial institutions, verification authorities and so on. Blockchain’s potential centres around areas such as record keeping, trade verification, clearing, and settlement. The global effect these technologies will have is said to be quite significant, with commentators upholding that this industry will ‘disrupt’ other sectors, including education, banking, healthcare, banking, and cybersecurity.
Draft Malta Blockchain Strategy
In April 2017, Malta’s Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, revealed that cabinet has approved the first draft of a national strategy to promote blockchain, the Malta Blockchain Strategy. This Malta Blockchain Plan has the single purpose of making Malta one of the first countries in the world to embrace blockchain. The draft strategy will soon be forwarded for public consultation.
Promoting the work that is being done towards making Malta Blockchain Island a reality, Muscat has upheld that this is not merely about Bitcoin, but other blockchain technologies will also be implemented on a national level, including the Lands Registry as well as the National Health Registries. The plan is for Malta to pioneer a change at EU level, with the goal of dubbing the EU as the “Bitcoin continent”.
Malta has been presenting itself as the jurisdiction of choice for all sorts of innovative and avant-garde technologies, as it is doing with Blockchain. The Prime-Minister emphasised that “We should aim to have the world’s best environment for the development and commercialisation of Fintech models and disruptive innovation. The government should ensure that Malta has the appropriate regulatory framework, the right tax system and the best infrastructure to support this ambition”.
Malta makes use of its strategic geographical position, weather conditions, strong skills base and entrepreneurial spirit to serve as a test-bed for new sectors and foreign firms to test their new technology and products locally. Marking themselves as world-leaders within this industry, Malta Blockchain hopes to revolutionise the perspective governments will adopt towards such innovative technologies.
Malta Blockchain Initiatives
Recognising the capabilities these technologies offer, various blockchain-related incentives have been proposed by government entities. One of the most important is the creation of the Blockchain Committee by the Malta Stock Exchange. This will consist of members of the Exchange’s Board, its Chairman and Chief Executive and outside experts who will assist in the formulation of a strategy geared towards addressing this emerging technology. The Exchange will also soon unveil the Malta Stock Exchange Blockchain Consortium, a think tank which will bring together experts from the Exchange’s stakeholders as well as from other organizations throughout Malta to share knowledge and perhaps joint venture on the design and implementation of blockchain applications.
The Ministry for Education and Employment (MEDE) has also recognised the potential blockchain has to offer when it signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Learning Machine Group (LMG), a technology firm focused on delivering digital social infrastructure at a sovereign state scale. The MOU coincided with the conclusion of “The State of Digital Education: Engaging with Connected, Blended and Open Learning”—a conference held between the 19th and 20th of January as part of Malta’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
The executive chairman of Malta Gaming Authority, Joseph Cuschieri, also intends on using Blockchain to their advantage within the gaming context. He confirmed that plans are also being developed to set up a national betting exchange where bets can be hedged. The inception of a European Gaming Institute that will provide targeted and sector-specific training is also being discussed.
It is envisaged that in terms of popularity the use of blockchain technology will soon explode, equivalent to what the internet did in the 1990s when web browsers were introduced. By investing in such initiatives, Malta Blockchain will be a pioneer within the industry.
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