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Malta: The Jurisdiction Of Choice For Blockchain Businesses?

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The Jurisdiction Of Choice For Blockchain Businesses?Reading Time: 5 minutes

The below interview has been conducted by Jo Caruana (MaltaChamber.org.mt) – View original source here.

Dr Joseph F. Borg, an advocate and partner at WH Partners, talks through the history of Blockchain and highlights its potential path for the future.

There is an absolute buzz about cryptocurrencies at the moment, as well as whether to invest in them, or to put them down to a scam. Either way, the business world is fascinated.

One expert on the subject is Dr Joseph F. Borg, an advocate and partner at WH Partners, who heads the Blockchain Advisory and the Gaming and Gambling Advisory sections of the firm. On top of that, he is the Vice-President and Co-Founder of BitMalta, which is a non-profit organisation that promotes and stimulates discussion about Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies in Malta.

“Let’s begin by explaining what a cryptocurrency actually is,” Dr Borg says. “Essentially, it is a type of convertible virtual currency secured by cryptography that is built on top of the Blockchain – a type of distributed ledger technology which does away with the need for a third-party clearinghouse and central issuer. As a result of their underlying decentralised technology, cryptocurrencies have introduced much-needed competition in the digital payments industry and have the potential to contribute positively to citizens’ welfare and economic development, including in the financial sector. Some of the most popular touted benefits of cryptocurrencies are their ability to lower transaction and operational costs, to promote financial inclusion, to enhance the resilience and speed of payment systems, and to increase users’ security and privacy, among others.”

Nevertheless, the idea presented by cryptocurrencies – the first of which was Bitcoin – was not in fact new. A number of similar virtual currency systems including e-Cash, Bit Gold and RPOW, were introduced in the 1990s.

“The true innovation of cryptocurrencies following the ‘Bitcoin model’ is their innovative approach to addressing the ‘double spending problem’,” Dr Borg continues. “This refers to the inherent difficulty of sending money or anything valuable over the internet since a digital asset essentially comprises a digital file that can be duplicated or falsified.”

Pre-Bitcoin, existing virtual currency systems required the use of an intermediary or clearinghouse to manage and verify the transaction (and ensure that the same money was not spent twice). The Blockchain, which underlies cryptocurrencies, does away with the need for such an intermediary by keeping a record of every transaction on a time-stamped database that is dispersed among the different users of the network. “Blockchain’s solution to the ‘double spending problem’ has been described as its ‘revolutionary promise’ and the hype factor surrounding the technology has now led multiple companies to unveil a multitude of Blockchain initiatives,” the advocate continues.

“The hype is really about Blockchain and not cryptocurrencies per se. Cryptocurrencies are really the very first application of Blockchain technology, and which have the potential to disrupt the payments industry, once they have achieved the level of mainstream use.”

On the other hand, Blockchain has more widespread potential applications, in myriad industries, including but not limited to the spheres of finance, healthcare, energy and entertainment. “The buzz surrounding Blockchain technologies continues to grow, and this is most evidently illustrated by the rapid increase in the creation of not only new cryptocurrencies (the so-called ‘altcoins’), but also by the creation of self-executing digital contracts (smart contracts), intelligent assets which may be controlled over the Internet (smart property), and decentralised autonomous organisations (DAOs) which can operate over a network of computers without human intervention, among many other applications,” Dr Borg says.

Locally, Government approved its National Blockchain Strategy in April 2017 and, just a few months later, launched a Blockchain Taskforce with a view to establish the Maltese legal system as the leading international hub for digital technology innovation.

“Currently, the only concrete step undertaken by Government towards achieving a comprehensive regulatory framework for operators wishing to provide services incorporating Blockchain technology is the Supplementary Rules for Collective Investment Schemes Investing in Virtual Currencies, issued by the local financial regulator, the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA),” Dr Borg says.

Following on from this, a consultation document was published on 16th February 2018 proposing three legislative instruments: the Malta Digital Innovation Authority (MDIA) Bill, the Technology Arrangements (TAs) Bill and the Virtual Currency (VC) Bill. The MDIA Act is envisaged to provide for the establishment of a national regulatory body that will oversee the voluntary certification of TAs such as smart contracts and cryptocurrency platforms, and the registration of Technology Service Providers (TSPs) including the auditors and administrators of TAs. The MDIA will be responsible, inter alia, for the protection of users and consumers which interface or use DLT, the harmonisation of practices and the adoption of standards in the Maltese sector, and the promotion of legal certainty in the application of laws to DLT businesses, in both a national and a cross-border context.

“Mindful that the disruptive nature of Blockchain technology renders it apt to have spill-over effects in an array of sectors, the MDIA Act is proposed to prescribe a Joint Coordination Board with the responsibility of fostering effective cooperation between National Competent Authorities like the MFSA and the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA),” Dr Borg continues. “The consultation document also proposes a VC Act which will largely follow the principles laid down in the MFSA’s discussion paper on ICOs, virtual currencies and related service providers. It is projected that the VC Act will provide for a Financial Instruments Test which will determine whether a particular cryptocurrency, within the context of an ICO or on a stand-alone basis, constitutes a ‘financial instrument’ which must comply with applicable local and EU investment services legislation.

“With this in mind, Government evidently looks favourably upon Blockchain-based businesses and is actively seeking to create a workable regulatory framework to further promote this nascent industry and to become a pioneer in regulating DLT and Blockchain technology. While other jurisdictions have chosen to regulate Blockchain-related operations in a piecemeal fashion, focusing only on the areas that the respective governments/states consider to be of importance (such as issues of taxation or money laundering), the Maltese Government is considering a holistic, all-encompassing regulatory approach to creating the most attractive environment for Blockchain start-ups to choose Malta as their base. Evidently, the recent announcement by cryptocurrency exchange Binance (the largest cryptocurrency in the world in terms of volume) is proof that Malta is indeed becoming a melting pot for Blockchain businesses, start-ups and industry giants alike.”

Finally, Dr Borg assesses the main challenges that lie ahead of making Malta the jurisdiction of choice for companies engaged in Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.

“While the debate surrounding the possibility for centralised rules to regulate decentralised technologies remains unsettled, there seems to be consensus by the stakeholders and market players of the Blockchain and cryptocurrency industry that some form of regulation (especially in the form of guidance) is important,” he says.

“The greatest challenge to make Malta the jurisdiction of choice for Blockchain-based businesses therefore rests in any proposed regulatory framework not falling prey to over-regulation. The test for local policymakers and regulators will be the development of a regulatory system which addresses the primary policy concerns of Blockchain technologies (such as money laundering and illicit activities), without smothering the benefits which the new technology and its various applications are poised to provide to legitimate users, including companies.”

 

Source:  MaltaChamber.org.mt

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Aristocrat Licenses Hit TV Show “Billions” for New Slot Game to Premiere at G2E 2018

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Billions™ Slot Game Showing in Booth #1141

The high stakes world of the hit SHOWTIME® TV show Billions will soon be coming to casinos, thanks to a licensing agreement between Aristocrat, CBS Consumer Products, and Showtime Networks.

Aristocrat’s new Billions™ Slot Game will make its premiere in booth #1141 at the upcoming Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas.

“Engaging and edgy shows like Billions are incredibly fun for our design teams to work with and fuel our passion to create entertaining games for our customers and their players,” said Siobhan Lane, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Gaming Operations from Aristocrat. “The CBS Consumer Products and Showtime Networks teams have been inspiring to work with, and we are very excited to present the new Billions Slot Game at G2E 2018.”

Now in production on its fourth season, Billions stars Oscar® nominee and Emmy® and Golden Globe® winner Paul Giamatti as U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades and Emmy and Golden Globe winner Damian Lewis as hedge fund king Bobby “Axe” Axelrod. Billions is a complex, highly engaging drama that tells the timely and provocative story of these two powerful New York figures.

The Billions Slot Game is based on Season 1 and 2, which includes fans’ favorite characters such as Chuck RhoadesBobby AxelrodWendy RhoadesLara Axelrod, and Taylor Mason. Adding to the fun, the game will include the popular Mighty Cash™ feature, as well as a $500,000 multi-site progressive start-up jackpot.

The game appears on Aristocrat’s revolutionary flame55™ cabinet. The flame55 is complete with a 55″ double-curved HD monitor – the largest portrait double-curved display in the non-jumbo segment – ergonomic engineering, 4k-capable display, 2.1 stereo audio, individually controlled dynamic infinity edge LED lighting, a virtual button deck, and an exclusive beacon sign package.

About Aristocrat
Aristocrat Technologies Inc. is a subsidiary of Aristocrat Leisure Limited (ASX: ALL), a leading global provider of land-based and online gaming solutions. The Company is licensed by more than 200 regulators and its products and services are available in more than 90 countries around the world. Aristocrat offers a diverse range of products and services including electronic gaming machines and casino management systems. For further information, visit the company’s website at www.aristocrat-us.com.

About CBS Consumer Products
CBS Consumer Products manages worldwide licensing and merchandising for a diverse slate of television brands and series from CBS, CBS Television Studios and CBS Television Distribution, as well as from the company’s extensive library of titles, Showtime and CBS Films. Additionally, the group oversees online sales of programming merchandise. For more information, visit www.cbsconsumerproducts.com.

About SHOWTIME
Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of CBS Corporation, owns and operates the premium television networks SHOWTIME®, THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ and FLIX®, and also offers SHOWTIME ON DEMAND®, THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ ON DEMAND and FLIX ON DEMAND®, and the network’s authentication service SHOWTIME ANYTIME®. Showtime Digital Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of SNI, operates the stand-alone streaming service SHOWTIME®. SHOWTIME is currently available to subscribers via cable, DBS and telco providers, and as a stand-alone streaming service through Amazon, Apple®, Google, LG Smart TVs, Oculus Go, Roku®, Samsung and Xbox One. Consumers can also subscribe to SHOWTIME via Amazon’s Prime Video Channels, DirecTV Now, FuboTV, Hulu, Sling TV, Sony PlayStation™ Vue, and YouTube TV or on Showtime.com. SNI also manages Smithsonian Networks™, a joint venture between SNI and the Smithsonian Institution, which offers Smithsonian Channel™, and offers Smithsonian Earth™ through SN Digital LLC. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis through SHOWTIME PPV. For more information, go to www.SHO.com.

Aristocrat Contact:
Paul Speirs-Hernandez, Steinbeck Communications
paul@steinbeckcommunications.com

Source: Latest News at European Gaming Media

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Industry Leading Race & Sports SuperBook® Set For Expansion Outside Nevada

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Nevada’s premier sports book will set the standard for legalized sports betting in the United States

The largest and most successful sports book in America – the SuperBook® at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, is set to expand its gaming platform across the United States. With its best-in-class technology, customer service, and wagering options, the SuperBook® brand will guide the industry forward as more states make sports betting part of their gaming and hospitality offerings.

The expansion comes via a partnership between SuperBook® licensor Westgate Resorts and Paragon Gaming, operator of casino and resort operations for Westgate’s 3000-room luxury casino hotel in Las Vegas that brings white label sportsbook solutions to new markets.

“The SuperBook® brand has been the leader of the sports book industry for more than 30 years,” says Diana Bennett, CEO for Paragon Gaming. “Gaming regulators across the country will now have a trusted partner as they move forward, and casino operators will be able to draw on the experience and expertise that has made SuperBook® the benchmark for sports betting.”

Famous for its 360-degree experience, highlighted by the largest indoor TV in the world – a 220-foot long 4K video wall at Westgate Las Vegas, the SuperBook® brand delivers the largest race and sports wagering menu in Nevada, and continues to lead the evolution of sports betting processes and applications. Its successful rollout of the Westgate SuperBook® App has already seamlessly delivered this wagering menu to the hands of thousands of fans.

“This is the natural next step in the evolution of our industry,” says SuperBook® Executive Vice President of Race & Sports Book Operations Jay Kornegay. “We have maintained the highest levels of technology and service in a highly-regulated industry. We have written the playbook, and now we will put it in action across the national field.”

“We are excited to know that our investment in the SuperBook® has been extremely successful and this venture is now prepared to expand nationwide,” adds David Siegel, Westgate Resorts Founder, President and CEO. “We look forward to the future success of our SuperBook® brand at locations across the nation as it continues to grow and set new standards for the sports betting landscape.”

Future SuperBook® sites, turnkey sportsbook products, and gaming partners will be announced at later dates. Fans can follow SuperBook® for updates on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Source: Latest News at European Gaming Media

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CashBet appoints Ed Brennan as Company President

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iGaming platform provider CashBet has moved to bolster its senior team by installing advisory board member Ed Brennan as company President.

Ed Brennan will lead CashBet in the next period of its development, following one of the world’s largest casino gaming ICOs, with the goal of establishing it as the leading blockchain-powered platform.

He brings a wealth of experience to the position after 25 years in the internet, software, hardware and financial services industries, working with a host of Fortune 500 companies such as Merrill Lynch, Seagate, Adobe, Microsoft and NexTag.

Commenting on his appointment, Brennan said: “I have enjoyed serving as an advisor to CashBet and am confident that my understanding of the business and its position in the iGaming market will help me step up to this new position as we look to grow even further.”

Even with the unforeseen challenges presented by the crypto bear market, CashBet has never been in a better position to achieve its full potential. I am honoured to begin serving as the company’s new President with guidance from the Board.”

Brennan’s appointment follows the Board of Director’s decision to begin search for a new CEO to replace Co-founder Mike Reaves.

Reaves co-founded CashBet in 2012 following a long career in online gambling. The platform he helped create is designed to encapsulate everything an operator needs to run a modern iGaming business.

Over the past five years, it has developed patented technologies and built the world’s first-crypto enabled iGaming platform, as well as becoming the first cryptocurrency partner in English Premier League history when it agreed to sponsor Arsenal Football Club.

 

About CashBet

CashBet is a leading mobile-first iGaming platform provider and turnkey operator. CashBet’s platform empowers real-money, social, and skill-based gaming apps and websites worldwide. By integrating CashBet’s software, game developers can legally launch online gambling games without needing to be licensed. With CashBet’s feature-rich platform, operators gain access to player segmentation, bonusing, campaign management, and other patent-pending features to enable a profitable iGaming operation from day one. CashBet is licensed by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission and the UK Gambling Commission. For more information, please visit www.cashbet.com.

Source: Latest News at European Gaming Media

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