In July 2018 the Maltese parliament passed three bills regarding DLT (distributed ledger technology) and Blockchain, Crypto and Service Providers. It was the world’s first comprehensive DLT legislation that set the framework regulating blockchain-based businesses and their service providers, as well as cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings.There are pre existing laws regulating the cryptocurrency and blockchain domain however none cover it in such detail. This led to unease when it came to the use of cryptocurrency for trade and possessing financial virtual assets. Owing to the Maltese government’s forward thinking a legal framework was formed which offers consumer protection, market integrity and financial stability without inhibiting innovation.
The Maltese government has taken up the task of venturing into the domain of Artificial Intelligence with the view of establishing a complete national AI framework for a greater economy and breaking new grounds in innovation and technological advancements. The decision was presented at a private event in Malta showcasing Hanson Robotics’ humanoid robot- Sophia.
Since the three DLT laws officially went into effect, on 1st November, Malta’s Junior Minister Silvio Schembri has been given the duty of working with an AI-focused tasked force in order to focus on the following objectives,
- Defining Artificial Intelligence
- Identifying the various applications of AI in the public sector and assess the impacts this will have on the economy
- Develop the expertise and infrastructure , gain improved knowledge produce talent to support AI
- Determine the measures to be taken in order to make Malta a potent place land for foreign investments in AI
- Forming the country’s National AI Strategy that is transparent and, socially and ethically acceptable.
Backing of the government led Malta to becoming a sanctuary for crypto companies from around the world. Giants such as the crypto exchanges Binance, OKEx and recently ZBX are establishing their offices in Malta. Events held in the country such as the Delta Summit (October 3-5) and the Malta Blockchain Summit (November 1-2) highlighted the country’s progressiveness. In recognition of the country’s crypto regulatory climate Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, CEO of Binance, commenting at the time said:
Malta has become a global hub for blockchain technology through active and transparent crypto regulations.
Dr. Abdalla Kablan, who is a fintech expert and advisor on blockchain and AI (artificial intelligence) for the Government of Malta and also helped in organizing the DELTA Summit, regarding the regulations said,
Regulation will be done without stifling innovation, which is the main driver for economic growth. Think about it as a regulation of engineers by engineers. However, if the DLT technology has financial applications built or deployed on top of it, then these actions will fall under the current financial regulator who has launched the VFA act to govern and regulate virtual financial assets.
Artificial Intelligence has come a long way since its advent in 1955. As of today AI can accomplish a multitude of tasks ranging from recognizing emotions in human faces to discovering new uses for existing drugs and even trade stocks. The applications of AI are multifarious and it depends on the user how he/she decides to apply it for. Elon Musk, famously known for his role in SpaceX and Tesla, is of the opinion that AI (Artificial Intelligence) will be the cause of the third world war and has voiced his every concern. But that’s just the opinion of one very important person and complete facts need to be assessed and figured before passing the verdict.
Malta’s openness to innovation has seen a large spike in popularity from around the world. Its blockchain work and sufficient regulation plus the recent venture in Artificial Intelligence means it is on track to become the hub for digital innovation should the momentum continue.