Boasting what the organizers claim are 5,000 delegates attending the huge event in a few days time, hundreds of investors, around 100 speakers and some 300 sponsors and exhibitors, the Malta Blockchain Summit will set the stage to announce the new crypto, ICO and blockchain regulations for Malta, as well as host debates surrounding the potential applications of blockchain across a myriad of industries such as entertainment, government, and banking.
Well, that is the tune being disseminated from the island in recent weeks by the organizers.
One delegate who I spoke to at CoinAgenda Europe (2018) on the island ventured in relation to the best – or perhaps the “right” – jurisdiction for crypto or blockchain businesses and regulation ventured: “Everyone decides to pick what they think is the right country. And, right now it clearly looks to be here [Malta]. We will see whether that lasts. I think it has a good chance of lasting here. But my motto is: Jurisdictional Diversification.”
It is the Maltese government’s forward-thinking approach to blockchain regulation, their low corporate-tax, being part of the European Union (EU)-zone and the warm climate that allures the vast number of various blockchain related companies to escape to Malta and the migration trend is incremental.
Indeed, when I was last in Malta this June for the CoinAgenda 2018 event during which Joseph Muscat, the Prime Minister of Malta, gave a Keynote address, you could be forgiven for thinking one was in paradise.
Siim Õunap, the COO for Celerexx, a new exchange launching in 2019, commenting on the jurisdictional landscape said: “The Maltese government has been seeking to get crypto-related companies to boost their economy for quite some time and they been successful in their approach.”
The Estonian added: “While their governmental services and legal procedures are behind e-countries such as Estonia or Lithuania, special regulations allow Celerexx to offer lower prices and better services to our customers, which makes [for us] the move to Malta worthwhile.”
It is not just the exchanges that choose a more contributing environment in Malta for their operations. Coinvest, the crypto investment trading firm, announced a new collaboration with the Maltese government to establish a blockchain council. In addition, the new regulatory framework also supports ICO companies in their financial products, attracting many new and innovative projects to set up their base camp on Blockchain Island.
Malta Blockchain Summit & New Bills
During the Malta Blockchain Summit, three new decentralized ledger technology bills will come into force: (1) The Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act; (2) The Innovative Technological Arrangement and Service Act; and, (3) The Virtual Financial Asset Act.
Together these will provide what are being described as a “clear and navigable” framework for innovative technology businesses in a way that rules and governance are not the roadblocks to innovation. Blockchain and crypto pundits out there contends that the current indecisiveness and half-hearted regulation of most of the national regulatory bodies are just as inhibiting and near-sighted – as is the outright prohibition of innovative solutions.
The Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act establishes the governance body to regulate the Distributed Ledger Technology, or DLT, industry with its principal goals to ensure businesses accepted as Technology Service Providers and the services they provide are in accordance with the principle of being honest and transparent to protect the consumers and financial markets.
The Innovative Technological Arrangement and Service Act is created as the futureproof regime for the registration and certification of Technology Service Providers and Technology Arrangements as it envisages the possibility of unforeseen technology developments.
The Virtual Assets Act is a framework within there is Financial Instruments Test that provides clear indication whether cryptocurrency or token issued in an ICO would qualify as a financial instrument that needs to be regulated as a security or virtual token that falls outside of the scope of regulation.
If the asset cannot be classified as either, it will be considered as a Virtual Financial Asset and regulated by the new law once it has enforced. ICOs and crypto exchanges can now breathe easy knowing that they are in compliance with the authorities and do not have to worry about being shut down.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who will inaugurate the regulatory conference, in giving a keynote speech on July 16 at the CoinAgenda Europe (2018) event at the Westin Hotel, St Julian, described the enactment of the three new laws as a “sweeping round” of legislation (i.e. covering the blockchain, crypto and digital asset space), saying: “This is not the end but just the start and the Maltese Government had to be innovative.”
One of the most keenly anticipated speakers at the conference is Dr W. Scott Stornetta who co-authored a paper that described for the first time a digital hierarchy system that utilized digital time-stamps for ordering transactions, the solution that entity called Satoshi Nakamoto later used in his Bitcoin protocol. This has earned Dr Stornetta the recognition as the founding father of blockchain technology.
The Winklevoss twins are attending as VIP investors and John McAfee, the famous British-American programmer and businessman, who I bumped into on a Blockchain cruise from Barcelona to Monte Carlo this September organized by Coinsbank, is now confirmed as a speaker for the developer’s conference of the summit.
In 1987, he founded McAfee Antivirus, and under his leadership the company executed a meteoric rise to the top of the computer security industry. If his keynote to delegates on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship is anything to go by delegates at the Malta Blockchain Summit are unlikely to feel short changed.
And not to be outdone by her human counterparts, Sophia, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) humanoid robot has been confirmed as a speaker at the upcoming Summit. The Saudi Arabian citizen will join her creator in a fireside chat during proceedings. It all brings back memories of IPsoft’s Amelia, a digital personal assistant, who I saw in action earlier this summer in New York’s financial district at Cipriani.
The Hanson Robotics’ creation has become something of a media darling, appearing on popular late-night talk shows, gracing magazine covers, and taking up sought-after seats on plum panels and high-level conferences. Her status as a cultural icon has allowed her to ignite advanced conversations on how robotics and artificial intelligence will permeate people’s lives.
The event has already attracted hordes of investors to witness an ICO battle that provides a highly valuable opportunity for thirty blockchain-based companies to get support for the next step in their roadmap.
One of those ICOs to pitch at the Malta Blockchain Summit is Zelectrix, a team of talented specialists that will change the way electric vehicles (EVs) and their own EV rental fleet are powered with improved chargers utilizing renewable energy and underpinned by the state-of-the-art Thought AI blockchain.
Raido Lensment, CEO of Zelectrix, commenting said: “As part of the service to our customers using our chargers and renewable energy grid, we are looking at creating financial products as part of Zelectrix payment scheme.”
He added: “Our research is showing that Malta may be the right choice for our company and the opportunity to pitch our project at the Malta Blockchain Summit is greatly anticipated by our team. We just hope the Winklevoss brothers will be listening.”
The Malta Blockchain Summit, is already on its way to becoming an annual landmark event in the global blockchain calendar. And, when I spoke to one of the organizers, Dennis Avorin, a Swedish national, at the start of October it was pretty certain that the event will see a repeat in 2019.
The organizers are also inviting “C-level” executives and investors from within the sphere to exclusive invite-only dinners throughout the year under the Maltese-themed title ‘Knights of Blockchain’.
Eman Pulis, Founder of the Malta Blockchain Summit, said: “I wish to welcome every blockchain enthusiast to the Malta Blockchain Summit, a melting pot for global influencers in technology, civil society, democracy promotion and innovation.”
Pulis amongst others said that we can “expect riveting discussion” about the world-changing potential applications of blockchain across multiple verticals. “But also, some good, old fashion networking under the sun of the Blockchain Island,” he added. And, given the scale of the event, if they had motto it would be that “Business is not made between companies – it is made between people.” Time will tell.