Malta: Financemalta Seeks To Educate About Blockchain In The Malta Financial Services Sector Among Others

Last Updated: 5 October 2017
Article by Finance Malta

If you feel like you've been seeing the word 'blockchain' everywhere you look, you're probably right. It's definitely the word du jour and trending heavily all over social media and the internet. 

But what is blockchain?

If you're still scratching your head at this seeming buzzword and wondering how it's going to affect your business, you're actually in luck, because that's what FinanceMalta's educational seminars, titled ' My Blockchain – a FinanceMalta series', are aiming to do – make sense of blockchain and all that it stands for. This series of short talks by relevant people within the industry endeavours to answer questions about this upcoming technology and resolve any misconceptions about how it works and what it's going to achieve.

A quick online search for the basic meaning of the word brings up the following: 'A digital ledger in which transactions made in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are recorded chronologically and publicly'. Wikipedia simplifies it further: 'A blockchain facilitates secure online transactions'. That sounds simple enough, but how does it happen?

Blockchain advisor and managing director of TameFlow Consulting, Steve Tendon, is an advocate for blockchain and has been sharing his knowledge and expertise in Malta speaking both at the FinanceMalta 10th Annual Conference back in May, as well as being the main speaker at the first instalment of the 'My Blockchain – a FinanceMalta series' which was held at the end of August. In his presentation at the Annual Conference, he spoke about the origins of blockchain, whereby 'distributed ledgers' originated during the medieval English era of the Domesday book which was completed in 1086. Fast forward 900-odd years, and the distributed ledger is now going digital thanks to blockchain with the ability to be used on a widespread, international scale that will improve efficiency and facilitate transparency across different industries.

An example put forward by GANADO Advocates's Senior Partner, Dr Max Ganado, during the FinanceMalta blockchain seminar, revolved around piracy within the arts industry. If a work of art, be it a music manuscript or a piece of writing, is put in a blockchain it will have a unique code that will prevent it from being copied. Although the sharing of work will still be possible, it will always be traced back to the original, thus eliminating piracy and plagiarism. All transactions will happen within a trusted environment that highlights transparency and that has no overhead limits.

The rise of fintech and its corresponding branches has led FinanceMalta to take the initiative in this evolving field by sponsoring ZEST 2017 as we enter a new stage of innovation and technology within the financial services industry. 

While blockchain falls under the umbrella term 'fintech', its reach is further than just finance, and that is why it is generating such interest across the globe, as its implementation will affect various industries and the lives of most people... much like the introduction of the internet to businesses and homes.

Clearly there are much larger financial centres around the world with the latest technology in use, yet Malta is also making a bid to be recognised as a fintech location of choice. With the influx of igaming and ecommerce companies, the request for knowledge about the role of technology within the business community is growing, and blockchain is serving to blur the demarcation lines between industries.

The government is also putting weight behind this movement with Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation at the Office of the Prime Minister, Silvio Schembri, announcing during the first FinanceMalta blockchain seminar that the Maltese Government will sign a commitment to have its very first application working on blockchain as from October 2017.

Both the public and private sector are recognising the importance of this business technology development and FinanceMalta is committed to deliver further seminars in this regard, with the aim of being innovative, educational and inspiring. 

'My Blockchain – a FinanceMalta series' will continue throughout the final quarter of 2017 and into 2018 with each seminar focusing on different topics and hosting different speakers who will all impart their expertise and knowledge on this very current and relevant phenomenon.

Moreover, the seminars will not focus solely on the Malta financial services sector, but will also span other industries, therefore people from different sectors, ranging from the arts to pharmaceutical and others, are invited and encouraged to register for the seminars.

This article appeared in the ZEST supplement of The Sunday Times. FinanceMalta are supports of ZEST Malta 2017.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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