In the cryptosphere, all eyes are on Malta, as November 1 marked the start of The Malta Blockchain Summit, a much-hyped event that looks to shine a light on the ever-growing cryptocurrency and blockchain industries. The island nation, which has established itself as a stand-out destination for companies associated with crypto and blockchain, also saw a big day on the regulatory front as its Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFA) come into force.
The Malta Blockchain Summit
The Malta Blockchain Summit comes at an important time, as 2018 winds down and crypto asset providers look for a continued legitimization of the industry and its real-world applications, as well as a further uptick in interest from institutional investors.
The two-day event, which has drawn commentators and investors from across the world, boasts four conferences and a giant, sold-out expo floor. Highlights include a Hackathon, an ICO Pitch, a Blockchain Awards ceremony, and a Crypto Cruise. As for the numbers, it boasts 5,000 delegates, hundreds of investors, 100 speakers, and 300 sponsors and exhibitors.
According to its website, The Summit promises to be an innovative and momentous opportunity for global influencers to network and debate the potential applications of blockchain across a myriad of industries including marketing, entertainment, government, and banking. Also of note is that the dialogue that takes place in Malta is likely to set the stage for the crypto industry as we move towards 2019.
One speaker of specific interest is John McAfee — world-renowned computer scientist, activist, business leader, and cryptocurrency evangelist who in 1987 founded McAfee Antivirus, which, under McAfee’s leadership, executed a meteoric rise to the top of the computer security industry. “We are coming into our power,” McAfee Tweeted, highlighting the importance of the Summit for crypto.
A lifelong advocate of personal freedom, McAfee has been a vocal critic of privacy invasion and encryption backdoors. He has also been ranked as one of the top five cryptocurrency personalities by the Bithemoth Exchange along with Roger Ver, Vitalik Buterin, Changpeng Zhao, and Satoshi Nakamoto.
Another notable attendee is Scott Stornetta, who is considered by many to be one of the founding fathers of blockchain technology. In 1991, Stornetta, along with Stuart Haber, published the first paper that outlined blockchain architecture — a paper which became the framework behind Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin blockchain infrastructure.
Since then, the Stanford-educated Stornetta has assumed a prominent role as Chief Scientist for the Australian investment firm First Digital Capital, where he is in charge of evaluating blockchain technology firms and initial coin offerings (ICOs).
Speaking on the event, Stornetta, a vocal supporter of the Maltese government’s recent efforts to position the island in the eye of the blockchain storm, said:
“I am happy to provide useful ways to support Malta in its efforts to strengthen its already leading position in establishing itself as a centre of blockchain-related activity. Hence, my focus is on delivering a keynote that will be unique, entertaining and valuable for its insight to all attendees at this summit.”
Malta’s Virtual Financial Assets Act
On top of the commencement of the Summit, Nov. 1 also marked the day that Malta’s Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFA) came into play. The Act, coordinated by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA), will regulate the registration of white papers by issuers of virtual financial assets, VFA service providers, and VFA agents.
The aim of the VFA is to provide a fair balance between both sides, allowing for investor protection, market integrity, and financial stability, while at the same time fostering regulation that supports the innovation and adoption of new technologies. As might be expected, the Act also looks to provide limits on the potential for crypto’s use in money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
In related news, as November progresses the MFSA intends to publicly outline its FinTech Strategy, which looks to enable further opportunities for crypto asset providers. The Strategy will outline the paradigm shift in the way financial services providers interact with their customers, establishing a holistic and robust sector for both start-ups and industry incumbents, the MFSA’s CEO Joseph Cuschieri said.