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Malta’s Push to Become a Global ‘Blockchain Island’ Seems to Be Working

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat classified Malta’s efforts to become a crypto and blockchain-friendly jurisdiction as a “calculated risk.” So far, work by authorities to turn Malta into a world leader for both industries looks to be paying off.

A variety of nations across the world have spent time investigating how they can control and manage the spread of blockchain and cryptocurrency.

Malta has been moving in an encouraging direction for a while now.

A number of prominent exchanges, namely OKEx and Binance, have moved to the tiny Mediterranean nation. The Maltese Parliament was hard at work over the summer approving legislation concerning crypto and blockchain.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has also been very bullish when it comes to virtual currency. He remarked in April how cryptocurrencies are the “inevitable future of money.”

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has also been very bullish when it comes to virtual currency. He remarked in April how cryptocurrencies are the “inevitable future of money.”

When asked in a recent interview about the variety of steps the island has taken to become a blockchain and crypto powerhouse, Prime Minister Muscat noted efforts were “a calculated risk” to help further diversify the economy.

Aggressive Steps Forward

According to Prime Minister Muscat, part of this risk-taking includes slashing “layers of bureaucracy” and making it easy for entities in the blockchain and crypto world to come and set up shop in the country.

Malta has long been an attractive destination for digital companies due to the open stance of many government officials. Additionally, the island also features low tax rates, and the nation’s stock exchange is currently speaking to companies about listing virtual assets.

Officials are also collaborating with PricewaterhouseCoopers to roll out blockchain licenses for regulated entities. Parliamentary secretary Silvio Schembri said these would be issued in November.

All of these industry-friendly policies seem to be engendering a sense of optimism on the island, even if questions about future regulation are still up in the air.

In the interview, Prime Minister Muscat said how Malta is a trailblazer when it comes to regulations for the crypto world, and speculates the EU might one day be “doing what we are very much doing right here today.”

Michael Binanchi, chairman of the Founders Bank, toasted Malta as the “blockchain island” at a recent dinner.

The Road Ahead For Malta

 Some believe Malta’s open policies could continue to attract a variety of forward-thinking entities that could really shake up the financial world.

The Huulk digital exchange applied for a license in Malta in late August, and has a focus on attracting listings from fintech startups that are Sharia compliant. Ultimately Huulk is keen to list around 20 firms, many of which are located in nations like Turkey and Malaysia.

The ability to tap into religiously-sensitive investors across the world is thought to be a big opportunity for an exchange like Huulk, and for Malta

The ability to tap into religiously-sensitive investors across the world is thought to be a big opportunity for an exchange like Huulk. The same goes for Malta, especially since the nation’s Bianchi Holdings Limited would be an equity partner if the license is approved.

What do you think about Malta’s policies when it comes to crypto and blockchain? Can the island squarely position themselves as a global powerhouse for both industries?

Images courtesy of Bitcoinist archives, Pixabay, Shutterstock

Led 22

The Multinational Service Giant PwC Announces Blockchain Research

Source: bitcoin

The Multinational Service Giant PwC Announces Blockchain Research

January 22, 2016 The multinational professional services giant PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has announced it will be entering the Blockchain environment. PwC has said they have created a new team of specialists to research the potentials of the technology due to customer demand. Steve Davies partner at EMEA FinTech leader at PwC feels his company is well positioned to explore the new protocol. Davies says:

There is a growing interest and a real demand from our clients to help understand the implications of the Blockchain and how to respond to it. So, as the Blockchain juggernaut continues to gather pace, PwC will be well placed to service our clients needs at the global level”

Also read: Satoshi Labs Upgrades The Trezor Interface

Founded in 1998 from the partnership of two existing companies Pricewaterhouse and CoopersLybrand the business offers an array of consultation, auditing, and financial advisory. It’s operations netted in a revenue of 35.4 billion in 2015 and continues to remain a finance consulting giant. Vault Accounting has named PwC the most prestigious accounting firm in the world seven years in a row. The firm handles quite a bit of public services that they believe will benefit from the use of distributed ledger technology.

PwC has signed up fifteen FinTech specialists to operate its blockchain R&D program. The company is convinced that the technology will reduce costs and add transparency to the financial landscape abroad. The protocol can assist the company’s role with auditing services, real estate, insurance and basically every multinational service they offer. PwC plans to continue its role as a top provider of these services and hopes distributed ledger technology can change the traditional finance ecosystem for the better. Steve Davies explains:

“PwC is now breaking new ground in developing radical fintech solutions and these appointments represent the first stage of our plans to grow a world-class fintech offering. We expect the initial core team of 15 experts to grow rapidly, with PwC in Belfast continuing to expand, exploit and deliver technology and digital solutions to global clients.”

PwC is one of the world’s Big Four auditors, along with Deloitte, EY and KPMG. Deloitte has also shown strong interest in blockchain technology as well this past year. These two accounting mammoths know that the protocol is changing the financial horizon and getting in on the action is a smart move. Businesses all over are recognizing the blockchains potential to disrupt traditional institutions who are not paying attention. PwC U.K. Executive Board member and EMEA consulting leader Ashley Unwin see this happening already. Unwin says:

“Blockchain technology is worrying major players in the financial services industry as they don’t know where it will go or its potential to disrupt business models. However, in document delivery and settlement processing alone, it will offer significant cost reduction and efficiency gains, we are confident that these disruptive fintech technologies will trigger a huge increase in demand for blockchain expertise, and we intend to be a leader in exploiting these disruptive new technologies,”

With PwC and Deloitte leading the way with R&D teams implementing distributed ledger technology most likely smaller firms will join the movement. Clearly traditional financiers see the great potential with this type of platform and are open to its improvements. A technology that heavily reduces costs and keeps things secure and transparent is a legacy banks dream. It seems quite a bit of these large institutions are sharing the same vision.  

What do you think about PwC joining the blockchain revolution? Let us know in the comments below.

Images courtesy of Pixbay, and Shutterstock 


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The Multinational Service Giant PwC Announces Blockchain Research