The Maltese government has started revealing details of an ambitious plan to turn the island into one of the first countries in the world to embrace the blockchain technology.
iGaming, Digital Economy Junior Minister Silvio Schembri said that the plans are twofold – for blockchain to be rolled out across the board in the public sector and for Malta to become a hub for international companies that operate on the technology.
“We already have all the elements in place to embrace blockchain – a gaming sector and a robust gaming authority, a strong financial services sector, a reliable ICT infrastructure, an attractive taxation system, and a flexible and pro-business government,” he said in an interview with MT.
“We’ve heard enough about the opportunities posed by blockchain and it’s now time to put words into action to create new opportunities for both citizens and the economy. It’s my priority to turn this vision into a reality.”
The plan is to implement blockchain across the public sector, most notably in the Lands Registry – which will be made public – and the national health registries.
Hon. Schembri added that a project to promote blockchain in the education sector will also be announced by the education ministry in the coming days.
has said it is his priority to pioneer Malta into embracing blockchain.
‘Blockchain is the new iGaming’
On a macro-level, Schembri said the government plans to turn Malta into a hub for businesses that operate on blockchain, in a similar fashion as it had attracted iGaming companies.
These will include companies that offer services in smart contracts, which use blockchain technology to verify and enforce business contracts quickly and in a manner that is non-tamperable – essentially cutting out the lawyers.
To this end, a new authority will be set up to regulate the new industry and to hand out licences to them as the Malta Gaming Authority does to gaming companies.
As with iGaming, the aim will be for these companies to boost the Maltese economy through taxes, licence fees, and economic consumption of their Malta-based employees.
“There are many of these companies out there who are itching to have a proper licence under which to operate, and we could be the first in Europe – if not the world – to provide them,” Schembri said. “Some oil companies are interested in shifting to blockchain – can you imagine how much money we can earn through taxation if they register in Malta?”
He added that Malta would have an edge in attracting these companies because the Labour government is particularly business-friendly – ministers and even the Prime Minister often agree to meet up with businesspeople only a few days after receiving an e-mail request.
“This government is very accessible and it doesn’t shy away from taking decisions, even controversial ones, if they are in the country’s best interests.”
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