Earlier this week at the UN’s 73rd general debate, Joseph Muscat – Malta’s Prime Minister – praised blockchain technology and highlighted its power to help solve a number of key global issues. Muscat and his government cabinet have been instrumental in passing crypto-friendly legislation into law that will help protect investors, making it easier for companies to achieve a regulated status.
Unfortunately for Muscat, his speech suffered from poor attendance and representatives from Australia were poking fun at Muscat between themselves. Many nations are still skeptical about blockchain technology and cryptos, but Muscat believes it’s the way forward.
Join the Blockchain Revolution
Muscat’s battle cry that he kept reiterating throughout his speech was that in order for the world to become a better place, more nations need to join together and collaborate. While he didn’t directly use blockchain as the solution, he hinted very clearly that it’s what he believes to be the uniting technology.
Towards the end of his speech, Muscat claims that Malta is the first country to have blockchain related laws and regulations. However, a much smaller island actually takes the crown for that achievement. Gibraltar launched its distributed ledger technology (DLT), blockchain technology, and crypto regulations back in January 2018, making it the first country to implement these new laws. In addition to this, Malta’s laws are still not yet live – meaning the blockchain industry is still not yet regulated on the “blockchain island”. In fact, the Malta Financial Services Agency (MFSA) has repeatedly told firms to stop applying for regulation, as the new laws are not yet active.
A Fresh Look at Blockchain
Despite Muscat’s false claims, it is refreshing to see a government embracing blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies with open arms. Governments around the globe are trying their hardest to shut out cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology either by refusing to implement regulations or by banning it all together.
The Chinese government is hellbent on wiping out all crypto activity by officially banning all commercial crypto activity. Over in America, a group of lawmakers has sent a strong letter to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) claiming it’s killing the American blockchain industry. For these reasons, we are happy to let Muscat’s false claims slide – just keep loving blockchain.
Malta Still Has Hurdles
Malta is still in a slight position of weakness compared to other crypto-friendly jurisdictions, in the sense that it’s still lagging behind technologically. It’s trying to implement blockchain tech in every facet of the country’s infrastructure, but it just isn’t ready. Once you move away from the touristic areas of the country, the majority of shops, bars, and public services still don’t accept card payments. When we questioned Jonathan Galea – a Maltese self-confessed blockchain expert – about this issue, he said: “Malta still has to make the transition from physical to digital. Hopefully, we’ll be able to leap-frog the transition to credit cards and proceed immediately to crypto.” This is a very ambitious step, but it’s necessary in order for Malta to become the blockchain island.
A number of high profile blockchain companies have moved to Malta to take advantage of these upcoming new laws. Malta is pushing to become the blockchain island and everyone is getting involved to help out. The University of Malta has set up a scholarship fund to help students studying blockchain related subjects, and Bittrex has invested €15 million into a Maltese blockchain startup. The future is bright for Malta’s blockchain industry, just stick to the facts, Muscat!