Malta: From Blockchain Island To AI Nation

After the success Malta has experienced ever since it established itself as the Blockchain Island, the next step is to explore Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a new economic niche

After establishing itself as the Blockchain Island, 2018 was the year Malta cemented itself as The Blockchain Island with the implementation of three laws; the Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act, the Innovative Technology Arrangements and Services Act and Virtual Financial Assets Act. The MDIA Act deals with the setting up of the Malta Innovation Digital Authority, the ITAS Act deals with the technology arrangements and services such as that of a systems auditor and technical administrator and the VFA Act deals with virtual financial assets. These three acts have been approved by Parliament last year, and are the world’s first ever Distributed Ledger Technology legislations.

The Blockchain Acts have formed a regulatory framework which provides legal certainty to entrepreneurs, in such a way as to not hinder the furtherance of the industry.  The role of the Authority is to harmonise practices, promote the use of innovative technology, promote transparency and auditability and promote legal certainty.

Malta has regularised DLT through its legal framework. Cryptocurrency and Blockchain technology are completely separate from one another. Blockchain is the platform which brings cryptocurrencies into play; however, licenses will be issued to Virtual Financial Assets operators through the MFSA. MDIA supports the MFSA by providing certification of the actual software or through an audit/review by a Systems Auditor accredited with MDIA.

What is the next step for Malta?

Since the success Malta has been experiencing ever since it established itself as the Blockchain Island, the next step is to explore Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a new economic niche. The Maltese Government intends to follow the same steps it did when passing the DLT laws, which has allowed Malta to lead the blockchain revolution. A task force has been set up to steer its strategy on Artificial Intelligence and devise a holistic approach towards the industry and further bring about economic growth within the field of digital innovation in Malta. The digital aspect is like a chain, you cannot explore one aspect while leaving behind others. What the MDIA started is a snowball effect, leading to an ever evolving process.

Malta is one of the 1st blockchain islands. What are the future challenges?

Being a leader in the uptake of new emerging technologies is by merit of the talented brains and visionaries that Malta fostered over the years. Malta took a proactive approach by understanding the benefits of utlising such technologies and by creating a hollistic legal framework to allow these technologies and businesses to flourish.

Investing and sustaining human resources across the industries is of utmost importance and that is what Malta intends to keep on doing. This will be achieved by investing in scholarships and indoctrinating different areas and sectors. Our ICT infrastructure is resilient, and thanks to our thriving economy and a strong ecosystem, Malta is a hub for digital technological innovation, which will provide different challenges in terms of finding the skills and the talent required to uphold with the current technological advancements.

Many companies that have already expressed their interest are now residing in Malta and are willing to share their expertise and expert teams. Facing a learning curve and all the future challenges that this industry will bring will not only push Malta to become more economically stable but also keep it at the forefront of the industry.