Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson, Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, crypto-advocate John McAfee and Sophia the Humanoid Robot – these were just some of the 8,500 attendees at last week’s inaugural Malta Blockchain Summit, dubbed a “resounding triumph” in a post-conference statement released by its organisers this morning.
Aside from discussions on the potential, longer-term impact of blockchain technology during the two day conference, the event also consolidated the Mediterranean island’s bid to become a leading international hub for blockchain start-ups.
In 2018 alone, a handful of high profile crypto-currency exchanges relocated a significant chunk of their operations to Malta, including Binance, OKEx and ZBX.
And since its arrival on the island, Binance has entered into partnerships with the Maltese Stock Exchange to launch a new Equity Token Offering platform, as well as the island’s government to set up what has been described as the world’s first truly decentralised bank.
Malta has emerged as one of a string of small islands nations and territories to pitch itself as a welcoming home for blockchain start-ups as traditional financial, including London and New York, continue to suffer from regulatory ambiguity surrounding crypto-currencies.
Gibraltar, like Malta, set out its stall to become a leading blockchain hub over the course of 2018 with a series of government-backed initiatives to attract foreign ICOs. Singapore has been adopting a similar stance since at least 2017, and the Cayman islands – which has seen an influx of at least $200 million in investments from ICO projects in 2018 alone – also figures in the race, hoping that its reputation as an international tax haven and regulatory-lite business environment will lend it an advantage.
However, in light of last week’s summit, it appears that, in terms of visibility at least, it is the Maltese who are now leading the pack.