The Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, reportedly announced that his cabinet has approved the first draft of a new national strategy to promote blockchain technology in a push for the small Mediterranean country to become a leading hub for financial technology in Europe.
At a conference organized by Malta’s financial affairs parliamentary committee, Prime Minister Muscat spoke about his ambition for Malta’s future as a hub for blockchain technology and fintech.
“This is not just about bitcoin, and I also look forward to seeing blockchain technology implemented in the Lands Registry and the national health registries. Malta can be a global trailblazer in this regard,” Muscat stated.
“I understand that regulators are wary of this technology but the fact is that it’s coming,” he added. “We must be on the frontline in embracing this crucial innovation, and we cannot just wait for others to take action and copy them. We must be the ones that others copy.”
Labour MP Silvio Schembri, who chairs the financial affairs committee, shares Prime Minister Muscat’s vision for Malta to become “the Silicon Valley of Europe.”
“With our geographical position and weather conditions, strong financial system, skills base, entrepreneurial spirit and can-do approach, Malta can truly serve as a test-bed for new sectors and foreign firms to test their new technology and products locally,” Schembri said.
“We should aim to have the world’s best environment for the development and commercialisation of fintech models and disruptive innovation,” he added. “The government should ensure that Malta has the appropriate regulatory framework, the right tax system and the best infrastructure to support this ambition.”
Schembri also made the point that if Malta was to entice 1 percent of the U.K.’s fintech industry to relocate to Malta after the Brexit, this would bring over $218.5 million (€200 million) into Malta’s economy.
Despite being the smallest economy in the Eurozone, Malta possesses a strong financial sector and a business-friendly tax regime. It also provides companies with a central location in Europe and full access to the European Single Market. If Malta actively encourages innovative startups to relocate to the island with tax incentives, a friendly regulator and a supportive government, it would not be surprising to see fintech startups move part or all of their operations to this Mediterranean island. In particular, blockchain and digital currency-focused startups could find a new home in Malta as the country’s government seeks to become an industry leader in this space.