Deep Diving with Blockchain at the Malta Summit
Authored by Daniel van de Ghinste
The Malta Blockchain Summit was just held at the Intercontinental hotel from 1–2 November. The summit saw over 5,000 attendees, with unofficial estimates ranging up to 8,500 people (an estimate I find to be credible based on my experience at the conference). In attendance were the full gamut of blockchain related companies, from dApp solutions and crypto wallets, to competing blockchains and service providers. Legal service providers and consultants were out in full force, with a range of offerings on setting up a company in Malta with local bank accounts and legislative guidance.
The Summit was opened by Maltese prime minister, Joseph Muscat, setting a good general tone for the conference, and establishing the country’s eagerness to blaze the regulatory trail in favor of blockchain. This involvement by the highest levels of government reaffirms Malta’s favorable stance with regards to establishing early and progressive regulatory frameworks since the MDIA, ITAS and VFA Acts was passed for ICOs just a few months ago. The conference was not just well attended by Malta’s big names, but also those from the crypto world, with influential figures such as Charles Hoskinson (co-founder of both Ethereum and Cardano) sitting on a technical industry panel on the second day of the conference, as well as judging contestants in a hackathon which ran over the course of the conference. Other notable attendees were security expert (and founder of the globally known anti-virus software company) John McAfee and Skycoin founder Brandon Smietana.
The event was pleasantly well run, with registration being a smooth process (not always the case at big affairs), and talks, pitches and panels on the main presentation stage running in a timely manner. Both days featured a ‘pitch day’ window in which over 30 companies pitched their ICOs to a panel of judges. 2 winners were selected from the ICO pitches on each day, and each winner was awarded a $25,000 prize for their business. The winners of the pitches were:
· Rise — A marketplace for books and tutor services
· AEToken — An affiliate platform using smart contracts to ease payments
· Tatau — A GPU network geared to provide computational power for training AI
· GoMama — A cross border payment platform focused on the Latin American market
Each pitch was given 6 minutes on stage including time for questions, so few ICOs covered all the pertinent points of their project to the judges’ satisfaction. The pitches winning the day were, naturally, clear and concise.
The one criticism of the conference echoed by many is the lack of space the conference provided for chance meetups. Projects finding a potential investor struggled to find any space out of the thoroughfare to sit down and have an in-depth discussion. This is far from a disaster, but pitching an investor while sweating a swimming pool in the crush of the crowd, and under the heavy humidity of Malta’s island climate, was less than ideal. All in all, however, the summit was a well-organized, well attended and enjoyable event.