Connect with us

Latest News

Malta: The Jurisdiction Of Choice For Blockchain Businesses?

George Miller

Published

on

The Jurisdiction Of Choice For Blockchain Businesses?
Dr Joseph F. Borg, WH Partners - Photos credits: Alan Carville
Reading Time: 5 minutes

The below interview has been conducted by Jo Caruana (MaltaChamber.org.mt) – View original source here.

Dr Joseph F. Borg, an advocate and partner at WH Partners, talks through the history of Blockchain and highlights its potential path for the future.

There is an absolute buzz about cryptocurrencies at the moment, as well as whether to invest in them, or to put them down to a scam. Either way, the business world is fascinated.

One expert on the subject is Dr Joseph F. Borg, an advocate and partner at WH Partners, who heads the Blockchain Advisory and the Gaming and Gambling Advisory sections of the firm. On top of that, he is the Vice-President and Co-Founder of BitMalta, which is a non-profit organisation that promotes and stimulates discussion about Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies in Malta.

“Let’s begin by explaining what a cryptocurrency actually is,” Dr Borg says. “Essentially, it is a type of convertible virtual currency secured by cryptography that is built on top of the Blockchain – a type of distributed ledger technology which does away with the need for a third-party clearinghouse and central issuer. As a result of their underlying decentralised technology, cryptocurrencies have introduced much-needed competition in the digital payments industry and have the potential to contribute positively to citizens’ welfare and economic development, including in the financial sector. Some of the most popular touted benefits of cryptocurrencies are their ability to lower transaction and operational costs, to promote financial inclusion, to enhance the resilience and speed of payment systems, and to increase users’ security and privacy, among others.”

Nevertheless, the idea presented by cryptocurrencies – the first of which was Bitcoin – was not in fact new. A number of similar virtual currency systems including e-Cash, Bit Gold and RPOW, were introduced in the 1990s.

“The true innovation of cryptocurrencies following the ‘Bitcoin model’ is their innovative approach to addressing the ‘double spending problem’,” Dr Borg continues. “This refers to the inherent difficulty of sending money or anything valuable over the internet since a digital asset essentially comprises a digital file that can be duplicated or falsified.”

Pre-Bitcoin, existing virtual currency systems required the use of an intermediary or clearinghouse to manage and verify the transaction (and ensure that the same money was not spent twice). The Blockchain, which underlies cryptocurrencies, does away with the need for such an intermediary by keeping a record of every transaction on a time-stamped database that is dispersed among the different users of the network. “Blockchain’s solution to the ‘double spending problem’ has been described as its ‘revolutionary promise’ and the hype factor surrounding the technology has now led multiple companies to unveil a multitude of Blockchain initiatives,” the advocate continues.

“The hype is really about Blockchain and not cryptocurrencies per se. Cryptocurrencies are really the very first application of Blockchain technology, and which have the potential to disrupt the payments industry, once they have achieved the level of mainstream use.”

On the other hand, Blockchain has more widespread potential applications, in myriad industries, including but not limited to the spheres of finance, healthcare, energy and entertainment. “The buzz surrounding Blockchain technologies continues to grow, and this is most evidently illustrated by the rapid increase in the creation of not only new cryptocurrencies (the so-called ‘altcoins’), but also by the creation of self-executing digital contracts (smart contracts), intelligent assets which may be controlled over the Internet (smart property), and decentralised autonomous organisations (DAOs) which can operate over a network of computers without human intervention, among many other applications,” Dr Borg says.

Locally, Government approved its National Blockchain Strategy in April 2017 and, just a few months later, launched a Blockchain Taskforce with a view to establish the Maltese legal system as the leading international hub for digital technology innovation.

“Currently, the only concrete step undertaken by Government towards achieving a comprehensive regulatory framework for operators wishing to provide services incorporating Blockchain technology is the Supplementary Rules for Collective Investment Schemes Investing in Virtual Currencies, issued by the local financial regulator, the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA),” Dr Borg says.

Following on from this, a consultation document was published on 16th February 2018 proposing three legislative instruments: the Malta Digital Innovation Authority (MDIA) Bill, the Technology Arrangements (TAs) Bill and the Virtual Currency (VC) Bill. The MDIA Act is envisaged to provide for the establishment of a national regulatory body that will oversee the voluntary certification of TAs such as smart contracts and cryptocurrency platforms, and the registration of Technology Service Providers (TSPs) including the auditors and administrators of TAs. The MDIA will be responsible, inter alia, for the protection of users and consumers which interface or use DLT, the harmonisation of practices and the adoption of standards in the Maltese sector, and the promotion of legal certainty in the application of laws to DLT businesses, in both a national and a cross-border context.

“Mindful that the disruptive nature of Blockchain technology renders it apt to have spill-over effects in an array of sectors, the MDIA Act is proposed to prescribe a Joint Coordination Board with the responsibility of fostering effective cooperation between National Competent Authorities like the MFSA and the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA),” Dr Borg continues. “The consultation document also proposes a VC Act which will largely follow the principles laid down in the MFSA’s discussion paper on ICOs, virtual currencies and related service providers. It is projected that the VC Act will provide for a Financial Instruments Test which will determine whether a particular cryptocurrency, within the context of an ICO or on a stand-alone basis, constitutes a ‘financial instrument’ which must comply with applicable local and EU investment services legislation.

“With this in mind, Government evidently looks favourably upon Blockchain-based businesses and is actively seeking to create a workable regulatory framework to further promote this nascent industry and to become a pioneer in regulating DLT and Blockchain technology. While other jurisdictions have chosen to regulate Blockchain-related operations in a piecemeal fashion, focusing only on the areas that the respective governments/states consider to be of importance (such as issues of taxation or money laundering), the Maltese Government is considering a holistic, all-encompassing regulatory approach to creating the most attractive environment for Blockchain start-ups to choose Malta as their base. Evidently, the recent announcement by cryptocurrency exchange Binance (the largest cryptocurrency in the world in terms of volume) is proof that Malta is indeed becoming a melting pot for Blockchain businesses, start-ups and industry giants alike.”

Finally, Dr Borg assesses the main challenges that lie ahead of making Malta the jurisdiction of choice for companies engaged in Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.

“While the debate surrounding the possibility for centralised rules to regulate decentralised technologies remains unsettled, there seems to be consensus by the stakeholders and market players of the Blockchain and cryptocurrency industry that some form of regulation (especially in the form of guidance) is important,” he says.

“The greatest challenge to make Malta the jurisdiction of choice for Blockchain-based businesses therefore rests in any proposed regulatory framework not falling prey to over-regulation. The test for local policymakers and regulators will be the development of a regulatory system which addresses the primary policy concerns of Blockchain technologies (such as money laundering and illicit activities), without smothering the benefits which the new technology and its various applications are poised to provide to legitimate users, including companies.”

 

Source:  MaltaChamber.org.mt

 

George Miller started his career in content marketing and has started working as an Editor/Content Manager for our company in 2016. George has acquired many experiences when it comes to interviews and newsworthy content becoming Head of Content in 2017. He is responsible for the news being shared on multiple websites that are part of the European Gaming Media Network.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Comments

Latest News

Record Loss for Russian Bookmakers In The World Cup Final

George Miller

Published

on

Record Loss for Russian Bookmakers In The World Cup Final
Photo Credits: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
Reading Time: 1 minute

In the 2018 World Cup final, France defeated Croatia and won the world championship for the second time in its history. Deputy General Director for Trading BC “League of Stakes” Maxim Afanasyev said that the match was a record loss for Russian bookmakers.

“We recorded a record for the loss – 3.5 times more than at the Champions League final. They played all the outcomes, which were mostly put by the clients: the victory of France, the handicap (-1.5) for the French, both will score, goals in both halves, and, of course, all conceivable and inconceivable totals, ” said Mr. Afanasyev.

He also noted that the final match was probably the most record on payments in the entire bookmaker industry.

“The loss on the Russian market from one final match, according to my estimates, is about $ 100 million,” the expert believes.

In the final match of the 2018 World Cup, France defeated Croatia 4: 2.

Continue Reading

Eastern Europe

Roundtable discussion on Romania’s current gambling issues

George Miller

Published

on

Roundtable discussion on Romania's current gambling issues
Photo credirs: casinoinside.ro
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Association of Distance Gambling Organizers (Asociația Organizatorilor de Jocuri de Noroc la Distanță) and Casino Inside offered an exciting event

 

The Association of Distance Gambling Organizers (Asociația Organizatorilor de Jocuri de Noroc la Distanță), a representative association of the largest and most respected authorized gambling operators in Romania, held the first working meeting last month in the Fortuna Hall of the Intercontinental Hotel, Bucharest dedicated to the latest developments in the countries gambling regulation.

The meeting was honored by the presence of several officials:

  1. Liliana Kleininger, Vice-President of the Competition Council
  2. Daniel Staicu, President of ONPCSB
  3. Lilian Onescu, Secretary General ANAF
  4. Rodica Tuchilă, ARB Executive Director
  5. Mihăiţă Ruiu, Director of Authorization Division, ONJN
  6. Tudor Simota, Director of Control Department, ONJN
  7. Alexandru Enăchescu, Chief Commissioner, Economic Police
  8. Dana Cristina Matache, GDPR Expert, lawyer
  9. Iulian Matache, GDPR Expert, lawyer
  10. Monica Gubernat, Member of CNA
  11. Odeta Nestor, President of ADGO
  12. Dr. Sorin Constantinescu, gambling expert

The Roundtable discussion was a good opportunity for authorities, gaming operators and media outlets to be together and to discuss and share information, ideas and opinions about the latest and upcoming trends in the industry.

“There is a need for industry to continuously participate in debates and to support authorities in improving the regulatory framework,” said Odeta Nestor, ADGO President. “We are a success story at European level, and the effects are particularly good, reflected by players’ satisfaction and the contribution of the field to Romania’s economic development,” added Nestor.

Organized in partnership with CasinoInside, the event approached subjects such as:

  • Competition in the gambling industry
  • Problems encountered by gaming operators in relation to banking institutions in our country
  • Latest Tax Changes in Gambling
  • Draft Law on the Prevention and Combating of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing on Transposition of
  • EU Directive 2015/849 into national legislation
  • The CNA Order on Gambling Advertising
  • Implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation.

In conclusion, the event organized in June at the initiative of the Association of Distance Gaming Organizers (ADGO) was a majir success and arose from the continued need of our gaming industry to discuss and debate the stringent issues of this moment and willingness to support state authorities to improve the current regulatory framework.

The gaming industry has reached a high level of transparency and regulation precisely because of this type of events.

 

Source: casinoinside.ro

Continue Reading

Latest News

Northern Cyprus to remove casino gambling ban on residents

Niji Ng

Published

on

By

Northern Cyprus to remove casino gambling ban on residents
Photo Credits: shutterstock.com
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Northern Cyprus authorities are planning to remove a long-standing ban on its Turkish Cypriots to engage casino gambling.

Discussions are believed to have been triggered by the recent opening of a casino in the Republic of Cyprus’ city of Limassol. According to media reports, Northern Cyprus officials have expressed concerns that Turkish Cypriots could feel tempted to cross the Green Line (the United Nations Buffer Zone that separates the two parts of the island of Cyprus) and visit the new gambling venue.

While it was only last month that the Republic of Cyprus opened its first legal casino, Northern Cyprus has long been home to flashy gambling facilities.

However, residents of the northern portion of the island are prohibited from visiting and gambling at the local casinos.

Hong Kong-listed gaming and hospitality giant Melco opened late last month its temporary casino in Limassol, while a larger integrated resort is under construction in the city. The facility features 242 slot machines and 33 gaming tables. Melco said yesterday that Cyprus Casinos or C2 as the property is branded welcomed more than 34,000 unique visitors during its first three weeks of operation to beat owners’ expectations.

According to reports from Turkish Cypriot news outlet Haberal Kibrisli, Northern Cyprus Finance Ministry Serdar Denktash has revealed that discussions over the potential lifting of the casino gambling ban have been taking place.

However, in a separate rollout of reports, Kudret Ozersay, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Northern Cyprus, has denied the move on social media. The official has pointed out that there were no such plans and that there was no need for such reports to be spread around.

Mr. Ozersay further explained that instead of offering residents of Northern Cyprus a free entry into casinos, the government should introduce stricter controls at the gambling venues and stricter license conditions as well as increased taxes.

Another local news outlet, Vatan, has cited the leader of the United Cyprus Party, Izzet Izcan, saying that Turkish Cypriots should not be encouraged to gamble at casinos and that the Prime Minister of the republic should clarify the ongoing debate.

Aside from its temporary casino in Limassol, Melco is also set to open four satellite facilities across the Republic of Cyprus, with the first two of these likely to be launched by the end of the year.

 

Source: casinonewsdaily.com

Continue Reading
Advertisement
NSoft
Advertisement
BetConstruct

Subscribe to our News via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to our news and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Latest by author

Trending

We are constantly showing banners about important news regarding events and product launches. Please turn AdBlock off in order to see these areas.