Government of Malta Passes Three Bills Aimed to Promote Blockchain

Malta, a tiny European archipelago sandwiched between Sicily and Libya in the Mediterranean Sea, is making a play at becoming a blockchain incubator.

Following in the footsteps of Bermuda, Malta recognizes the massive untapped potential of the blockchain industry. Individuals, companies, foundations, schools, and other institutions around the globe are working to solve compelling problems via the blockchain, with the end goal of cutting out centralized systems and putting power in the hands of the people. And probably also to make as much money as possible.

Every country wants the next big thing in tech to come from their native shores, but even if a major technological breakthrough isn’t in the cards, a welcoming attitude towards blockchain can put a country on the map (literally) in 2018. The stance makes clear economic sense for smaller nations looking to bolster both their international profiles and industry bonafides.

Marsaxlokk fishermen village in Malta

So, what did Malta do that was so groundbreaking? The nation’s parliament passed three (!) bills regarding cryptocurrency, blockchain, and distributed ledger technology. The idea is to provide the government with a framework of how to properly embrace the emerging fintech landscape they hope will come to Malta. One of the bills will establish the Malta Digital Innovation Authority, which will oversee the development of the general blockchain industry.

The regulations will also outline the proper handling of ICOs in an effort to stamp out scams and proactively protect investors. Small nations like Malta and Bermuda have an opportunity afforded them by their size: If a manageable number of companies register with the local government for admission to Malta’s shores, the vetting and subsequent monitoring becomes much more reasonable. And while government oversight might interfere with decentralization conceptually, the ICO landscape over the past few years has taught us that bad actors exist and will continue to run rampant without proper controls in place.

The Malta Stock Exchange announced earlier this month it will be accepting up to twelve fintech startups to join the MSX Fintech Accelerator, an ecosystem aimed to create and support the wider blockchain scene. Presumably, more applications will be accepted in the future, should the project continue. If the accelerator and the regulations are successful and show promise for Malta’s future in tech, we will likely see other small nations hungry for new revenue opportunities following suit.

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