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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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Lottoland responds to Gambling Commission report

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Lottoland responds to Gambling Commission reportReading Time: 3 minutes

 

Online betting operator makes head start on addressing calls for stronger partnerships to protect children with launch of its P.A.R.E.N.T initiative

 

Lottoland has responded to a Gambling Commission report claiming stronger partnerships are needed to protect children following the launch of its own education initiative.

The online betting giant’s P.A.R.E.N.T scheme is being introduced to support parents, educators and youth representatives across the board in mitigating the risks posed to young people gaming online.

A report from the Gambling Commission published today shows that close to a million youngsters have been exposed to gambling through ‘loot boxes’ in computer games or on smartphone apps, and claims the number of problem gamblers aged 11 to 16 has reached 55,000.

Nigel Birrell, CEO at Lottoland, said: “Lottoland already felt strongly that we could and should be doing more in the countries we operate in, even before this report, and its publication coinciding with the launch of our own partnership initiative supporting all those touched by the issues involved has given us more impetus than ever to push forward with our plans.”

In its latest report, the Gambling Commission called for regulators and businesses across industries to work together, and also highlighted the important influence parents can have on children’s gambling behaviour.

Lottoland’s P.A.R.E.N.T initiative focuses on six key behaviours essential for responsible gaming, and is designed to help all those involved in youth gaming ‘stay on their game’ following initial consultation with teachers, NGOs and other stakeholders.

These six key areas are:

P – Parent

A – Awareness

R – Responsibility

E – Environment

N – Nurture

T – Trust

Research conducted by the online betting giant also shows almost half the nation’s children aged 7-16 enjoy unlimited time online each day, and 1 in 5 have access to online games without any restrictions in place at all*.

Its P.A.R.E.N.T campaign otherwise comes after Lottoland researchers also found:

 

  • Almost half the nation’s children enjoy unlimited time online each day – and 1 in 5 have access to online games without any restrictions in place at all.
  • Children’s online gaming habits cost the average UK parent £31 in charges – a third of whom are unaware of the costs due to them until it is time to pay
  • Almost one in five (18%) parents with children aged 7-16 in the UK do not know you can play games with other users live over the internet.
  • More than a quarter of UK parents with children aged 16 or younger admit to knowing ‘none’, ‘very few’ or only ‘some’ of their online friends.  
  • Half of all UK youngsters spend up to four hours a day online in the school holidays – and almost twice the amount of time on average that they do in term time.

 

Mr Birrell said: “This latest report from the gambling regulator, as well as our own research, goes to show that the need to equip parents, teachers and others involved in the education of young people today with the awareness they need to successfully navigate today’s online gaming environment is more pressing than ever.”

“The scheme already been well received after focus group discussions held at the University of Gibraltar with various stakeholders led to the launch of P.A.R.E.N.T in conjunction with Gibraltar’s Department for Education,” Mr Birrell added.

“As such, P.A.R.E.N.T scheme training sessions are now being planned for delivery in conjunction with primary and secondary teachers across countries covered by the European Lotto Betting Association (ELBA), of which Lottoland is a founding member.”

“The time to come together and provide young people today with the resources they need to ensure they are ‘switched on’ enough to enjoy all that online gaming has to offer with the self-awareness required to stay safe and sound at all times is here.”

 

* The study was conducted by OnePoll between 19th and 28th of September, 2018 and polled 2000 parents of children aged 7-16. Participants were recruited online and were paid to participate.

 

About Lottoland

Lottoland has grown rapidly to become a world leader in online lotto. Innovation, coupled with the freedom to offer players a unique and enhanced lottery experience, has been key to the company’s success. In June 2018, Lottoland paid out €90 million to one lucky winner in Germany – this win has been confirmed by Guinness World Records as the Largest online gambling payout. This is also the biggest payout for Lottoland to date.

The Gibraltar-based business is active in 13 markets, has over 350 employees, and more than 8 million customers worldwide. Lottoland is licensed and regulated by the Government of Gibraltar, the UK Gambling Commission, the Republic of Ireland National Excise License Office, the Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli in Italy and the Northern Territory’s Racing Commission in Australia.

 

 

Source: Latest News at European Gaming Media

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BOSS. Gaming solutions are visiting SiGMA 2018

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BOSS. Gaming solutions are visiting SiGMA 2018Reading Time: 1 minute

 

On November 28, the fifth edition of SiGMA – the world’s leading iGaming summit – will take place at the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre in Ta’ Qali. The event will gather around 400 exhibitors and sponsors from 80 countries of the world.

BOSS. Gaming solutions will be on the list of 12,500 visitors of SiGMA. The company will present their products and solutions to 400 sponsors and exhibitors, 2,500 affiliates and 200 speakers.

We’ll bring our best achievements in iGaming industry,” says Catalina Lukianenko, COO from BOSS. Gaming. “We are excited to share the results of our long-standing work to those attending this important iGaming summit in Malta.”

BOSS. Gaming will exhibit our core products, such as the BOSS. Platform, SIMPLE BET, and AGames, as well as White label and Full turn-key solutions.

Join us at the stand № S57!

 

About BOSS. Gaming solutions

BOSS. is an independent software developer and provider of online and land-based gaming solutions. BOSS. develops gaming platform, sportsbook and betting services, land-based casino software, affiliate system, payment solutions, own online casino slots and White label solution.

BOSS. Gaming provides consulting services and helps to get a license, develop strategies, manage purchased online casinos, offers technical and operational support and assists clients with getting business results.

Source: Latest News at European Gaming Media

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Wazdan shortlisted for prestigious Malta Gaming Awards.

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Wazdan shortlisted for prestigious Malta Gaming Awards.Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Innovative slots-maker Wazdan has been shortlisted for the Malta Gaming Awards in the Games Vendor category.

Wazdan have gathered a lot of interest around them this year due to numerous nominations, shortlistings and awards. The company took the prestigious ‘Online Casino Innovator Award 2018’ at the Central and Eastern Europe Gaming Conference (CEEGC) held in Budapest as well as the coveted Hot Product Award at G2E Asia in the company’s first foray at that event. Wazdan won Start-up of the Year at Malta’s iGaming Excellence Awards 2018 and was recently shortlisted for ‘Best Gaming Innovation’ at the SBC Awards 2018, underlining how much progress the ambitious slots-maker has made over the course of the last 12 months

The Malta Gaming Awards has lined up a host of VIP’s to be in attendance including H.E. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Malta and world-leading tenor Joseph Calleja, Malta’s first ever Cultural Ambassador. Malta Gaming Awards has built a formidable reputation in only 3 years as a leading awards show in the industry. This edition has a number of unique features: entrants must have a strong Malta connection, all proceeds go to charity and the Awards are held during Malta Gaming Week.

With all the awards that Wazdan has been scooping up this year, the demand for Wazdan games is growing, and so is the passionate brand’s portfolio. Many of Wazdan’s games are powered by their innovative suite of Unique Wazdan Features, that include the world’s first Volatility Levels™, Energy Saving Mode, Double Screen Mode and Unique Gamble Feature, providing operators with the ability to enhance customer experience and engagement, improve retention, encourage extended play and produce higher yield.

Wazdan has announced extensive partnerships on the back of this winning formula with industry leaders such as the Betsson Group, EveryMatrix, Videoslots, SlotMillions, Tipbet, Iforium, iSoftbet, Evenbet, Groove Gaming, Globalplay, Tipbet, iGP, Rabbit Entertainment, SoftGamings, Go Wild Gaming, Relax Gaming, Gaming1, Twelve40, Progressplay, 888win.bet and Bethard, amongst others.

Head of Sales at Wazdan Andrzej Hyla says: “We are thrilled to be shortlisted for the Malta Gaming Awards. What’s clear from all these nominations and shortlistings is that Wazdan is managing to disrupt the slots sector through a highly innovative approach. Wazdan hasn’t just developed world-class content, we have a collection of technologies that enable us to optimise the delivery of slots to our partners that deepen player engagement. In an increasingly competitive industry, this makes a substantial difference.”

For further information visit www.wazdan.com

Source: Latest News at European Gaming Media

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