STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Malta wants to become 'Blockchain Island'

The small European island of Malta is becoming a blockchain hub.Striving to turn the Mediterranean nation into...

Posted: Jul 19, 2018 1:02 AM

The small European island of Malta is becoming a blockchain hub.

Striving to turn the Mediterranean nation into "Blockchain Island," the government is opening its doors to blockchain and other so-called distributed ledger technologies.

These technologies allow transactions to quickly be carried out between people without interference or control by third parties. Blockchain promises to improve security and reduces transaction costs.

Malta believes the island can become a haven for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin -- the most well-known application of ledger technologies -- but it also believes blockchain can help transform the country's transportation and education systems.

Legislative action

On July 4, the Maltese parliament passed three bills to set a regulatory framework and drive innovation in blockchain-like technologies. The government hopes these laws will attract foreign financial tech companies to establish themselves in the country.

The legislative win made Malta "the first world jurisdiction to provide legal certainty to this space," the Maltese junior minister for financial services, digital economy and innovation, Silvio Schrembi, said in a tweet.

Analysts say the move shows Malta's trailblazing approach to blockchain.

"Malta has accepted the fact that blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies are inevitably going to become more popular," said Joseph Borg, head of blockchain advisory at the WH Partners legal firm. "By taking this step, Malta is destined to become a hub for innovative technology startups and established blockchain-based businesses to thrive, while creating economic growth on the island."

Within the European Union, Malta is ahead of the curve in establishing a legislative framework for blockchain, though it's not the first European nation to embrace it. Lithuania is also becoming a cryptocurrency hub, and Estonia was close to introducing a national digital currency called Estcoin. Outside of the EU, Switzerland has designated its canton of Zug as a "Crypto Valley."

Broader application of blockchain

But Borg said the difference lies in the approach. Although other countries are focusing on cryptocurrencies, Malta's attention is on the blockchain technology itself and its wider application.

"Blockchain technology is a key part of our overall national technology strategy that will see us transform different sectors across government," said the Maltese minister for transportation.

In May, the government announced a partnership with a British blockchain platform, Omnitude, to improve the island's public transportation network.

Since 2017, it's been collaborating with Learning Machine Technologies on a pilot program to allow Maltese higher-education and vocational students to access and retrieve educational transcripts and records using blockchain technology.

And the country knows there's yet more potential in other sectors. In an official regulation, the office of the prime minister said blockchain could be used for voting on smartphones and protecting the privacy of health care information.

Related: What is blockchain?

Welcoming fintech

The innovative drive has made the island appealing for fintech companies, as well. Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, recently moved its headquarters from Hong Kong to Malta, following regulatory obstacles in the Far East.

And plans are currently underway for Malta to be the home of the world's first decentralized bank. Founders Bank won't have any central authority. Instead, it will be community-owned by all its customers. Binance is backing the bank, serving as one of its first investors.

Joseph Borg said that it's too early to tell whether this pioneering venture will be successful. But he's optimistic.

"If successfully implemented, the concept will certainly enhance the blockchain ecosystem within the Maltese jurisdiction."

West Lafayette
Cloudy
56° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 56°
Kokomo
Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 55°
Rensselaer
Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 57°
Fowler
Partly Cloudy
56° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 56°
Williamsport
Partly Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 55°
Crawfordsville
Mostly Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 55°
Frankfort
Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 55°
Delphi
Mostly Cloudy
56° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 56°
Monticello
Partly Cloudy
56° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 56°
Logansport
Mostly Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 54°
Welcome rain will continue, followed by a nice end to the week..
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 937221

Reported Deaths: 15239
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1276111977
Lake631621093
Allen53394752
Hamilton43720447
St. Joseph41805587
Elkhart33451489
Vanderburgh30262444
Tippecanoe26779249
Johnson23524417
Hendricks22143341
Porter21620345
Clark17363227
Madison17280382
Vigo16046276
Monroe14422191
LaPorte14263239
Delaware14014220
Howard13802272
Kosciusko11345135
Hancock10785163
Warrick10641176
Bartholomew10510167
Floyd10398204
Wayne9897222
Grant9068204
Morgan8833159
Boone8368110
Dubois7696123
Dearborn758489
Henry7563130
Noble7380101
Marshall7326128
Cass7160117
Lawrence6940153
Shelby6543110
Jackson653185
Gibson6124106
Harrison602885
Huntington597394
Montgomery5767105
DeKalb570791
Knox5417104
Miami539087
Putnam534067
Clinton532465
Whitley522652
Steuben495068
Wabash481592
Jasper477361
Jefferson466991
Ripley451975
Adams442566
Daviess4120108
Scott403964
White389457
Clay388456
Greene386890
Decatur383996
Wells383083
Fayette373178
Posey359041
Jennings351356
Washington330647
LaGrange319575
Spencer316635
Fountain313654
Randolph310688
Sullivan304847
Owen282761
Starke278562
Orange275059
Fulton274653
Jay253536
Perry250852
Carroll243128
Franklin237038
Vermillion231950
Rush231730
Parke218320
Tipton208955
Pike205639
Blackford167934
Pulaski162251
Crawford145418
Newton142745
Benton141916
Brown134646
Martin128016
Switzerland125210
Warren114216
Union95811
Ohio78511
Unassigned0474

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events