Malta wants to become 'Blockchain Island'

The small European island of Malta is becoming a blockchain hub.Striving to turn the Mediterranean nation into...

Posted: Jul 19, 2018 1:02 AM

The small European island of Malta is becoming a blockchain hub.

Striving to turn the Mediterranean nation into "Blockchain Island," the government is opening its doors to blockchain and other so-called distributed ledger technologies.

These technologies allow transactions to quickly be carried out between people without interference or control by third parties. Blockchain promises to improve security and reduces transaction costs.

Malta believes the island can become a haven for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin -- the most well-known application of ledger technologies -- but it also believes blockchain can help transform the country's transportation and education systems.

Legislative action

On July 4, the Maltese parliament passed three bills to set a regulatory framework and drive innovation in blockchain-like technologies. The government hopes these laws will attract foreign financial tech companies to establish themselves in the country.

The legislative win made Malta "the first world jurisdiction to provide legal certainty to this space," the Maltese junior minister for financial services, digital economy and innovation, Silvio Schrembi, said in a tweet.

Analysts say the move shows Malta's trailblazing approach to blockchain.

"Malta has accepted the fact that blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies are inevitably going to become more popular," said Joseph Borg, head of blockchain advisory at the WH Partners legal firm. "By taking this step, Malta is destined to become a hub for innovative technology startups and established blockchain-based businesses to thrive, while creating economic growth on the island."

Within the European Union, Malta is ahead of the curve in establishing a legislative framework for blockchain, though it's not the first European nation to embrace it. Lithuania is also becoming a cryptocurrency hub, and Estonia was close to introducing a national digital currency called Estcoin. Outside of the EU, Switzerland has designated its canton of Zug as a "Crypto Valley."

Broader application of blockchain

But Borg said the difference lies in the approach. Although other countries are focusing on cryptocurrencies, Malta's attention is on the blockchain technology itself and its wider application.

"Blockchain technology is a key part of our overall national technology strategy that will see us transform different sectors across government," said the Maltese minister for transportation.

In May, the government announced a partnership with a British blockchain platform, Omnitude, to improve the island's public transportation network.

Since 2017, it's been collaborating with Learning Machine Technologies on a pilot program to allow Maltese higher-education and vocational students to access and retrieve educational transcripts and records using blockchain technology.

And the country knows there's yet more potential in other sectors. In an official regulation, the office of the prime minister said blockchain could be used for voting on smartphones and protecting the privacy of health care information.

Related: What is blockchain?

Welcoming fintech

The innovative drive has made the island appealing for fintech companies, as well. Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, recently moved its headquarters from Hong Kong to Malta, following regulatory obstacles in the Far East.

And plans are currently underway for Malta to be the home of the world's first decentralized bank. Founders Bank won't have any central authority. Instead, it will be community-owned by all its customers. Binance is backing the bank, serving as one of its first investors.

Joseph Borg said that it's too early to tell whether this pioneering venture will be successful. But he's optimistic.

"If successfully implemented, the concept will certainly enhance the blockchain ecosystem within the Maltese jurisdiction."

Terre Haute
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 30°
Robinson
Clear
35° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 28°
Indianapolis/Eagle Creek
Partly Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 28°
Paris
Clear
32° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 32°
Mattoon/Charleston
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 27°
Terre Haute
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 30°
Terre Haute
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 30°
Clear & Cold
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

Two women facing charges in Capitol violence appear virtually for court

Image

Offering women the much needed care they deserve

Image

House passes stimulus bill

Image

Overnight: Clear and cold. Low: 22°

Image

Recent Trends in the Local Real Estate Market

Image

Dangers at Wallace Ave.

Image

Knox County plans two seperate COVID-19 vaccine outreach clinics

Image

Rick's Rallies

Image

ISU Hoops

Image

Zoe Stewart

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1186613

Reported Deaths: 22735
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook4743979359
DuPage767651196
Will65037893
Lake59517921
Kane50746717
Winnebago28340439
Madison27987455
St. Clair25440466
McHenry24315265
Champaign18105126
Peoria16897262
Sangamon16128217
McLean14601157
Tazewell13521240
Rock Island13065286
Kankakee12496189
Kendall1105986
LaSalle10798219
Macon9457185
Vermilion8564116
DeKalb8265112
Adams8003114
Williamson6796121
Whiteside5926147
Boone592371
Clinton557189
Coles519691
Grundy512063
Ogle502073
Knox5017132
Jackson461060
Effingham449269
Macoupin435079
Henry432956
Marion4262111
Livingston419877
Franklin414566
Stephenson409675
Monroe406583
Jefferson3976115
Randolph396378
Woodford367560
Morgan358776
Montgomery349568
Lee335243
Logan331053
Bureau330773
Christian330568
Fayette306452
Perry305457
Fulton285244
Iroquois277160
Jersey249646
Douglas244432
McDonough232740
Saline229747
Lawrence229624
Union218536
Shelby213934
Crawford200723
Bond190924
Cass188822
Pike169150
Clark168630
Wayne167448
Hancock167129
Warren166444
Richland163538
White160825
Jo Daviess160522
Ford158445
Washington158323
Carroll157634
Edgar154237
Moultrie149124
Clay142841
Greene137932
Johnson134712
Piatt132714
Wabash130012
Mason128641
Mercer128033
De Witt127922
Massac127133
Cumberland119218
Jasper110917
Menard10368
Marshall83815
Hamilton78815
Schuyler6775
Pulaski6706
Brown6636
Stark54122
Edwards52310
Henderson49814
Calhoun4782
Scott4491
Alexander4488
Gallatin4374
Putnam4153
Hardin34412
Pope2823
Out of IL00
Unassigned02219

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 661673

Reported Deaths: 12573
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion906391639
Lake48389876
Allen35806635
Hamilton32056396
St. Joseph29947512
Elkhart25376414
Vanderburgh21245378
Tippecanoe20000201
Johnson16336359
Porter15957270
Hendricks15813300
Clark11946181
Madison11741316
Vigo11595229
Monroe10328161
Delaware9836179
LaPorte9761196
Howard9055197
Kosciusko8561109
Bartholomew7448147
Warrick7412150
Hancock7404131
Floyd7200169
Wayne6631191
Grant6424157
Morgan6084125
Boone608288
Dubois5903111
Dearborn547067
Cass544399
Marshall5423104
Henry542093
Noble509078
Jackson464566
Shelby460290
Lawrence4180112
Gibson401281
Harrison399663
Clinton395453
Montgomery386783
DeKalb385178
Knox357285
Miami357263
Whitley349136
Huntington343976
Steuben338155
Wabash331176
Putnam329759
Ripley327061
Adams323149
Jasper315943
White297352
Jefferson294873
Daviess285396
Fayette271556
Decatur270888
Greene261280
Posey260831
Wells258274
Scott250350
Clay241044
LaGrange240870
Randolph225576
Spencer217130
Jennings215044
Washington211027
Sullivan203239
Fountain201442
Starke188051
Owen182153
Fulton178237
Jay177728
Carroll176518
Perry173235
Orange171250
Rush164722
Vermillion160442
Franklin159435
Tipton146341
Parke139216
Pike127632
Blackford120627
Pulaski106444
Newton96531
Brown94939
Benton91913
Crawford90613
Martin80114
Warren75814
Switzerland7537
Union67110
Ohio53311
Unassigned0431