27 Aug Malta: blockchain strategy in six new projects
In recent weeks, Malta has made history as the first country in the world to pass a complete regulatory framework dedicated to operators in the field of cryptocurrencies, blockchain and DLT (distributed register technology). This announcement has strengthened Malta’s reputation as a crypto-friendly nation and it is no coincidence that some of the world’s major exchanges, such as Binance and OKEx, have moved their activities to “Blockchain Island“.
The three laws in question are the Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act (MDIA Act), the Innovative Technology Arrangement and Services Act (ITAS Act) and the Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFA Act). Together they provide guidelines for the regulation of ICOs and exchange and provide a supervisory authority for the DLT sector.
These latest developments in Malta are the expression of the National Blockchain Strategy, the approval of which by part of the government dates back to April 2017. The stated goal is “to turn Malta into an economic superpower in the emerging crypto-economy” and to ensure that blockchain technologies represent “10% of GDP by 2027“.
The author of this strategy, who is also one of the people responsible for its implementation, is Steve Tendon, head of the consulting firm ChainStrategies, has illustrated in more detail the six projects that comprise it:
• Public registers/services on the blockchain
• Research & Development and educational projects on the blockchain
• Create a regulatory infrastructure and appoint a specific regulating entity for the blockchain
• Regulate cryptocurrencies/tokens, including exchanges and ICOs
• E-Residency and digital identity (of individuals and legal entities) on the blockchain
• Smart governance
Points 3 and 4 have already been addressed by the regulatory framework approved by the Maltese Parliament on 3 July. Points 1 and 2 are, instead, actions that in one way or another have already taken the first steps.
In September, the Maltese Ministry of Education and Employment announced that it will place all academic documents in the blockchain. This initiative is part of a larger project aimed at improving the provision of all public services in general, and that could expand to cadastral registers and electronic health records.
Point 5 (an E-residency program based on the Estonian model, but to be expanded in conjunction with the Internet of Things) is still under preparation, while point 6 (Smart Governance) has not yet been launched.
The latter is certainly the most ambitious of all the objectives of Malta: to replace some elements of public service and public functions (tax collection, licensing) with smart contracts.