The Government of Malta welcomes international companies to test and operate Blockchain technology. Blockchain is a rapidly emerging technology built on the concept of distributed ledger technology (DLT). The Malta Digital Innovation Authority (MDIA) serves as the central regulator for Blockchain technology. The Government of Malta also enacted the Innovative Technology Arrangements and Services Act (ITAS) in 2018 to govern the registration of technology service providers and the certification of software and IT architectures used in designing and delivering DLT contracts. The Maltese government’s move to implement Blockchain regulation has created an incentive for companies to establish themselves in Malta, including one of the world’s largest DLT-based cryptocurrency exchanges, OkEX (with Binance having a customer service operation base here). To streamline coordination between the government and future foreign investors, Malta created a new government agency titled Tech Malta tasked with promoting the country’s digital innovation technology strategy.
Malta also seeks to transform the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into an economic contributor. For this purpose, the government has established a task force on AI comprised of entrepreneurs, academics, and experts in the field to create a sustainable local engine for growth. In 2019, the Malta.AI Taskforce launched the Malta Ethical AI Framework document for public consultation, which sets out the guiding principles Malta will use to establish ethical and trustworthy AI-related projects. The published framework is based on four key principles: a human-centric approach; respect for all applicable laws and regulations, human rights and democratic values; benefit maximization and risk minimization and prevention; and alignment with emerging international standards and norms around AI ethics. Furthermore, Malta’s recently launched its AI strategy aims to set a path for Malta to gain a global strategic competitive advantage in the field. The strategy is built on three pillars: investment, startups, and innovation; public sector adoption; and private sector adoption.
Opportunities exist for U.S. investors and start-ups in the Blockchain field. Malta has introduced various assistance programs for Blockchain start-ups and corporations looking to choose Malta as their operational ecosystem. Malta Enterprise has committed to offering businesses capital investment loan matches at a 1:1 ratio up to €200,000 and has regressive tax credits for companies based on their Maltese employment numbers. Malta’s focus on the Blockchain sector will also increase local demand for specialized staff.
Likewise, opportunities exist for U.S. experts in the field of Artificial Intelligence. Malta requires expert knowledge to analyze the risks of AI without hindering innovation and economic development. As the Artificial Intelligence sector expands, Maltese companies will also need the financial support of U.S. investors.
Malta Digital Innovation Authority
Malta Financial Services Authority
Malta AI Task Force: malta.ai/