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Malta: The Jurisdiction Of Choice For Blockchain Businesses?

George Miller

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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.

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eSports

“The Godfather of Esports Racing” Takes Top Step at Millennial Esports

Zoltan Tundik

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https://www.nissanusa.com/gt-academy.html
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Darren Cox, Founder of Nissan’s famed GT Academy, now behind the wheel as CEO

Millennial Esports Corp. (“Millennial” or the “Company,” TSX VENTURE: GAME, OTCQB: MLLLF), has appointed Darren Cox as company CEO and President, effective immediately. The founder of Nissan and Sony’s GT Academy, Cox previously served as Nissan’s Head of Global Motorsport. Also the man behind World’s Fastest Gamer, Cox has spent more than two decades immersed in the automotive, motorsport, and gaming industries, earning the moniker “The Godfather of Esports Racing.”

“Darren has proven throughout his career and during his time with Millennial that he is an innovative thinker with an innate ability to get things done,” said Board member Peter Liabotis. “In appointing Darren as CEO, we have not only secured the best man for the job, we have also reaffirmed our commitment to esports racing and marketing data for the growing esports industry.”

Cox made his mark in the motorsport industry as Global Motorsport Director for Nissan and head of Global Sales and Marketing for the Nissan Motorsport Brand. During his time with Nissan, Cox was responsible for the ground-breaking GT Academy program between 2008 and 2015, which took PlayStation gamers and turned them into international racing drivers for the Japanese manufacturer.

Previously, during his 18-year tenure at the Renault Nissan Alliance, Cox held several senior positions including Digital Marketing Director for Europe where he was responsible for, amongst other areas, customer data for marketing. It was in this role that Cox first realized the incredible value of data collection and analysis.

“I have seen the potential of Millennial Esports from day one and am excited to shape the company’s future with the talented group of people we have assembled,” said Cox in welcoming his move from Global CMO and President to CEO and President.

“That future is an unwavering focus on esports racing and data provision for the esports industry as a whole. These are still white spaces with a huge upside in terms of revenue that we can exploit through a combination of my background and our assets, such as our in-house gaming studio Eden Games and our data experts at Stream Hatchet.”

Cox replaces hospitality and technology industry veteran Steve Shoemaker, who has successfully completed his work in restructuring the company. “Steve has done a tremendous job leading the company to focus on its core esports racing and data analytics assets while reducing its overhead cost structure and moving the company towards profitability. We would like to thank Steve for his efforts in positioning the company for its next phase of growth and wish him well in his next endeavour,” said Board member Bryan Reyhani.

About Millennial Esports Corp.
Millennial Esports Corp. (MEC) recently restructured its business and leadership team. MEC now focuses exclusively on two areas – esports racing and esports data provision. With publishing, IP, content, and data expertise in its portfolio, combined with a new board and management team, MEC is ready to lead the rush to profitability in the esports industry.

MEC aims to revolutionise esports racing and the racing gaming genre via its industry-leading gaming studio Eden Games (Lyon France) which focuses on mobile racing games and its unique motorsport IP, including World’s Fastest Gamer (created and managed by wholly-owned subsidiary IDEAS+CARS, Silverstone UK).

Building on the leading position of Stream Hatchet (a Barcelona, Spain-based wholly-owned subsidiary) MEC provides robust esports data and management information to brands, sponsors, and industry leaders. This data allows the esports industry to use this data to monetize the huge number of eyeballs in the gaming and esports space.

SOURCE Millennial Esports Corp.

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Industry News

bwin Selects Fresh8 Gaming to Support Advertising across Germany and Austria

Niji Narayan

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bwin Selects Fresh8 Gaming to Support Advertising across Germany and Austria
Reading Time: 1 minute

 

German sports betting company bwin has selected with Fresh8 Gaming to support their advertising across Germany and Austria.

bwin will use Fresh8 across their marketing channels including programmatic, display and social. The deal will see bwin adverts pushed automatically across tier 1 publishers including Bild and other big German sports news sites.

Fresh8 creates optimised marketing assets automatically from an operator’s event and CRM data. This optimises bwin’s marketing spend through real-time creative decisions and minimises the time and overhead of producing, and distributing, digital marketing assets by hand.

“We are thrilled to enter the German and Austrian market with the region’s market leader. Such an iconic brand backing our product and technology is a big win for us. They really understand how automation in marketing departments can be the next big driver of revenues for their business,” Andrew Sharland, CEO at Fresh8 Gaming said.

“bwin differentiates itself from the competition in its marketing through its deep customer understanding. We analyze target group behavior and generate as many touchpoints as possible across channels (digital, TV, out-of-home, print, sponsoring, social) on the fans’ way to match day. Thanks to the partnership with Fresh8 we are able to bring this difference home in real time and personalized for our customers. It also enables us to do this automatically and on a large scale across all our advertising channels,” a spokesperson of bwin said.

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Latest News

IBIA Report Reveals Decline in Suspicious Activity Alerts in Q2 2019

Niji Narayan

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IBIA Report Reveals Decline in Suspicious Activity Alerts in Q2 2019
Reading Time: 1 minute

 

The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) has reported that the number of alerts for suspicious wagering activity fall 17% year-on-year for Q2 2019.

Tennis, which has generated the most alerts in recent quarters, remained the main concern in Q2. Football ranked second. IBIA also raised two alerts each for volleyball and esports and one each for table tennis, pool, basketball and ice hockey.

Europe accounted for 25 alerts, with the continent generating the most reports of suspicious activity around football, with 13. Asia, meanwhile, accounted for 13 alerts, including ten for tennis. Eight of these ten were flagged for suspicious activity in Uzbekistan.

Four alerts were generated from activity in South America– two each for tennis in Argentina and football in Brazil – with three tennis alerts for North America.

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