After the Maltese government had already promoted its goal of positioning itself as “Blockchain Island” with the organisation of the Delta Summit in October, the big Malta Blockchain Summit followed. From November 1st to 2nd more than 5000 crypto enthusiasts, blockchain developers, start-ups and investors gathered at the Intercontinental Hotel in St. Julian’s.
The Maltese government around Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Junior Minister Silvio Schembri used the media attention for several important announcements. While Muscat spoke about the success of the Blockchain Island and inspired start-ups to choose Malta as their home, Schembri announced the establishment of a task force on Artificial Intelligence to follow the example of the Blockchain Island initiative. At the same time, on November 1, 2018, the 3 legislative initiatives that will create the world’s first DLT framework came into force.
Among many keynote speakers and experts were the legendary John McAfee, Jon Matonis from the Bitcoin Foundation. The Malta Blockchain Summit was supported by industry portals such as Crunchbase, CryptoCompare and CoinTelegraph. We from Dr. Werner & Partner were also represented with our own booth and were happy about exciting conversations and long queues of visitors who lined up to test Birdly’s Virtual Reality Simulator at our booth.
John McAfee: Blockchain Must Remain Permissionless, Decentralized and Independent
One of the eagerly awaited highlights was the keynote by crypto legend John McAfee, who has achieved cult status in the crypto scene with his sometimes scandalous and provocative statements. In his opening speech for the Malta Blockchain Summit, he first thanked the Maltese government for organising the congress and inviting him to participate in this important event. Congresses like this would help the Blockchain community to exchange ideas and gain more visibility.
At the same time, the well-known libertarian also found very critical and warning words concerning what an increasingly legalized and regulated blockchain and crypto world could entail. In essence, the crypto scene must remain trustless and permissionless, as this is the only way to guarantee its decentralized character and the equality of all participants. Efforts by governments to bring legal clarity to the wild west of the crypto world would be nice, but in the long run the crypto world would retain its permissionless character. The initially idealistic core idea of the scene would have to be preserved and should not be abolished by excessive regulation.
Silvio Schembri Announces Foundation of a Task Force around Artificial Intelligence
One of the biggest news of the congress came from Malta’s Junior Minister for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation Silvio Schembri. In his 10-minute keynote on the 2nd day of the congress, he announced the establishment of a task force on Artificial Intelligence. The expert group, currently made up of 10 renowned experts from business, research and politics, is to develop initiatives and framework conditions with the aim of positioning Malta as one of the 10 most innovative and attractive locations for AI technology. The aim is to build on past successes in positioning Malta as the first choice location for companies in the iGaming or Blockchain sector. With the establishment of the task force, the portal malta.ai was also launched. The portal will inform interested parties from all over the world about the development of Malta’s national strategy for AI.
DLT Framework Comes into Force with Start of Congress
With the start of the congress — November 1, 2018 – three important Acts establishing Malta’s DLT framework came into force, including the introduction of Virtual Financial Asset (VFA) licences. Of course, legal advice was also a hot topic at the congress. At the same time, the MFSA announced that persons who wish to make use of the transitional provision in the sense of Article 62 of the Act, but have not yet submitted a registration form, have until 12 November 2018 to submit a complete registration form.
Prime Minister Muscat Welcomes Participants on the Blockchain Island
The Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat also did not miss the opportunity to welcome the participants in his keynote speech and to discuss in more detail his government’s efforts to attract and support blockchain start-ups. Using the analogy of a seed grain, he illustrated the role of his government in preparing fertile soil for seed (= blockchain technology), watering it regularly and promoting its growth in an appropriate environment. At the same time, he also emphasized the many open questions and issues surrounding Blockchain, which call for a global dialogue and exchange. Will crypto currencies become equivalent to conventional fiat currencies? Will they even replace traditional paper money at some point?
Questions such as these must be clarified in an open, global discussion. Blockchain technology would offer the opportunity to create more transparency at a time when other countries increasingly started building walls and wanted to isolate themselves economically. Similar to his speech to the UN General Assembly in September, he reiterated the proactive approach that Malta has chosen to explore the potential of blockchain technology. Finally, he addressed the participants directly and underlined his government’s willingness and desire to engage in more intensive dialogue with them and receive their concerns.
Dr. Werner & Partner Also Present at Malta Blockchain Summit
We as Dr. Werner & Partner were also represented at this great and exciting congress with our own booth. During the two-day event we were able to talk to many committed founders and passionate entrepreneurs and learn about their innovative, visionary business ideas as well as consult on the advantages of settling on the Blockchain Island Malta. At this point we would like to thank you for all the exciting encounters and discussions during the congress!
Especially interesting and entertaining was our cooperation with the start-up company Birdly, which has developed a virtual flight simulator that congress visitors could experience at our booth. With its virtual reality solution and intuitive operation, it allows users to fulfill their dream of flying — or at least to experience it in a captivatingly real way. Similar to a bird, you can control speed, altitude and navigation by flapping your wings while enjoying the flight experience through VR glasses.
If we did not have the chance to meet you personally at the Malta Blockchain Summit, but you would like to learn more about the benefits of Blockchain Island Malta and our consulting services, then click here. As a licensed VFA agent, we can also assist you in licensing your DLT model or performing your ICO in Malta.