Blockchain leading the way in 2019

This interview was first published in Economic Vision (December 2018).

Simon Schembri speaks to Joanna Demarco about the ways in which we could expect the industry to evolve throughout 2019.

Dr Schembri from Ganado Advocates deems 2018 as having marked a “remarkable” emergence of blockchain globally and looks forward to 2019 being the year where blockchain technology will become more legitimate worldwide. “It is anticipated that in the coming year, with even more countries recognising that blockchain technology will be the platform on which interactions in all sphere of life will be taking place, there will be a great endeavour in creating legitimacy across a greater number of states,” he says. Addressing Malta’s role as a leader in the field, he emphasises the need to maintain high standards of regulation in order for this position not to falter within the competitive industry.

“Malta’s unique regulatory framework will attract a diverse spread of interested parties who will be looking at using Malta as their seat of business,” he believes. “The Maltese operators and regulatory authorities will need to ensure that the highest standards are maintained at all times to safeguard Malta’s reputation in this space.”

In order for this to happen, he says, regulation must remain key. “The whole framework has been designed to enable the necessary checks and controls to ensure that the businesses set up and operating through Malta will have passed through severe scrutiny,” he replies when queried about potential repercussions. “A relaxation of these rules at any level will cause serious prejudice to the Maltese platform.”

Dr Schembri explains that although Malta is currently leading the way, it needs to remain attentive to the dynamic industry. “Malta, being the leader in this space, has the advantage of being the prime mover and has, in fact, attracted major players in this industry to set up their business operations locally,” he states. “Other jurisdictions will follow suit with their own regulatory frameworks and they will undoubtedly seek to improve on the Maltese one. The local authorities must remain vigilant of the ongoing changes in this space, act with circumspection and forbear from attempting to over-regulate or excessively loosen the rules. Otherwise, we risk an immediate knelling of the DLT death bells,” he concludes.

See the full interview here.