Category Archives: Joseph Muscat

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Wikipedia Gets Some Competition From Co-Founder’s Blockchain Fork

Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger’s new blockchain based innovation could rival his world-renowned brainchild.

Speaking from this year’s Malta Delta Summit where Prime Minister Joseph Muscat was promoting blockchain technology, Sanger explained the benefits of his latest knowledge database.

Wikipedia, which grew out of a web-based encyclopedia, Nupedia and co-founded by Jimmy Wales, became the benchmark in open-source, collaborative encyclopedias. It also gained Sanger a name as a critic of his own creation. He called for more accountability and academic quality to be brought to articles which appeared on the website, leaving in 2002 and then later launching Citizendium in a quest to deliver greater accuracy and credibility.

Sanger discussed Everipedia, which forked from Wiki in 2015. Speaking at the summit he commented: “Thanks to new technology, it’s now possible to move beyond Wikipedia just as we moved beyond Britannica almost two decades ago.”

Sanger spoke of Wikipedia’s shortage of content contributors, despite it being the envy of any website with 18 billion views per month. He argued that a major issue for Wiki had been tasking 12,000 editors to check the contributions of 129,672 active writers and mentioned that an incentive scheme could encourage a higher quality work.

The forked site Everipedia will operate in a different way by rewarding contributors with its own token called “IQ” which can be traded on crypto exchanges, thereby incentivizing quality content creation. Another advantage is that the site can’t be banned by overseas governments due to its decentralized nature.

Malta’s prime minister Joseph Muscat was also speaking at the conference, suggesting that the pro-crypto government’s next target after making Malta the envy of Europe, would be the focus on AI technology, after building the strong foundations of a regulatory framework for blockchain and cryptocurrency. To blockchain developers he said of the “the next big idea”:

“We want to know how we can help and how we can make that happen.”

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Malta PM Informs UN on “Inevitable” Crypto Future

The Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, gave a speech to United Nation’s General Assembly (UNGA) remarking that cryptocurrencies are the “inevitable future of money”.

Future-Proof

During the speech given on 27 September, the Prime Minister believes that any nation can secure themselves as a “future-proof society”, the sooner they “pair the new digital economy with a new state – a digital state”.

So far this year, Malta has been charging ahead with its blockchain and cryptocurrency adoption. Muscat remarks that Malta “launched itself as a blockchain island by being the first jurisdiction worldwide to regulate this new technology that previously existed in a legal vacuum”. This had occurred in July when three bills became law, legalizing cryptocurrency businesses in the country.

Going beyond his positive remarks on cryptocurrencies, Muscat continued on to the practical applications of blockchain technology, citing patient ownership of healthcare records, administration, validating and verifying that humanitarian assistance is “reaching its intended destination”, saving loss of property due to “compromised data” and the return of personal data held by governments, back to the control of the people.

Presidential backing

On 25 September, the President of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca also made a strong case for blockchain at a UNGA event where she backed the technology as one for “social good”. She spoke about a new partnership between The President’s Trust, a charity organization that she founded and the Blockchain Charity Foundation, which is an initiative headed by cryptocurrency exchange Binance.

The partnership will see the benefits of blockchain technology applied to a social cause, the president spoke highly of the many improvements and accountability the tech will bring to the charity, also saying, “This is what real justice and effective social solidarity is all about.”

Increased activity

In March, Binance revealed its intentions of moving operations to the blockchain island, capturing the attention of the blockchain enterprises and communities around the world. At this point, Malta became a hotspot for crypto and blockchain enterprises.

Since then, Malta’s blockchain infrastructure received several new additions with an interesting nuance on traditional initial coin offerings (ICOs) with the introduction of an initial convertible coin offering (ICCO), as well as blockchain degree that can be gained through the University of Malta.

At the end of August, the University of Malta and the Malta Information Technology Agency (MITA) unveiled a blockchain scholarship for students specializing in key areas such as ICT, law, Finance, and engineering. The scholarship will provide funding for students seeking to engage in blockchain related Masters and PhD dissertations.

Among many other interesting developments from the island, Malta has been somewhat of an inspiration to other nations. The governor of South Korea’s Jeju Island has proposed for it to become a blockchain hub, much like that of Malta, with special laws and regulations in place for it to become a sandbox-style zone for blockchain industries.

 

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Pro-Bitcoin Maltese PM Targeted by Crypto Fraudsters

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, Malta’s pro-cryptocurrency prime minister, has been the subject of a recent Instagram scam.

Muscat was targeted by conmen using his name to open a fake Instagram account, in an attempt to promote a Bitcoin investment scheme.

The fake account quickly attracted around 1,300 followers with the promise of “enormous return on investments within a month’s time”. A suggestion that potential investors should contact a “Wang Wei” was made using Prime Minister Muscat’s name, but then the account was quickly removed from Instagram.

Muscat has long been an advocate of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, pushing Malta into the forefront of the industry taking it to third most “crypto-friendly” nation, according to a BlockShow Europe study earlier this year.

Not only is the small country planning to host the world’s first regulation-ready decentralized bank, but Malta’s PM has openly expressed a desire for his country to become the world’s number one blockchain hub.

The island has become increasingly appealing to Bitcoin companies conducting business there due to its positive spin on blockchain technology and its open-minded approach to regulation, linked to a strong economy. It also boasts the largest cryptocurrency trading volume in the world, according to Morgan Stanley. With this new legal-certainty status for cryptocurrencies, the country’s claim as another European “crypto haven” to rival Switzerland may be well founded.

The using of prominent names to set up fake schemes has been particularly popular in the UK of late with a number of TV celebrities being targeted. One is the subject of a legal case against Facebook after money saving expert Martin Lewis was targetted. Alan Sugar, British entrepreneur and presenter of TV’s ‘The Apprentice’, told the UK’s Mail on Sunday that scam cryptocurrency deals targeting celebrities were becoming a routine for many prominent business people.

Others who have suffered damage to their reputations due to crypto crime including Bill Gates, Virgin Boss Richard Branston, and BBC Dragon’s Den’s panel member Deborah Meaden.

 

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Five Small Countries Build Solid Foundations with Big Crypto Ambitions

Five small countries are becoming cryptocurrency beacons impacting on the space through growth and innovation, writes Benzinga.

Georgia with its population of 4 million, once a USSR member state, has minimal regulations regarding cryptocurrency with a booming mining community. Ranked at the end of 2017 as second by volume of countries mining crypto by Cambridge University research, much of the success is down to affordable electricity through hydropower.

The future looks bright for Georgian crypto enthusiasts. This affordability means that enthusiastic miners can make a living with low power overheads. Luka Kobeli, co-founder of blockchain company Blockmentor agrees, suggesting “everything about the way the economy functions is going to change” through blockchain and cryptocurrency in Georgia.

Thailand is another of Asia’s countries managing to launch itself into the region’s vibrant blockchain environment. Thailand Post made the announcement that it was to use blockchain in 2017 using a blockchain tracking system. At the beginning, of 2017 the country’s Electronic Transactions Development Agency pushed for legislation calling for the support and use of blockchain-powered smart contracts.

So popular is cryptocurrency in Thailand that education is becoming a priority. Recently, the Thai Fintech Association launched the Cryptoasset Revolution (CAR) course offering to provide participants a complete understanding and knowledge about investing in crypto assets and initial coin offerings in three months of courses running through the summer.

Malta has become increasingly appealing to Bitcoin companies conducting business, not only due to the island’s positive spin on blockchain technology and its open-minded approach to regulation, but also its strong economy.

The announcement that crypto exchange giant Binance has now made Malta home, followed by similar plans from rival exchange OKEX, German blockchain firm Neufundand and gaming platform The Abyss, have received recent media attention, causing over-regulated companies to consider their options.

“I understand that regulators are wary of this technology but the fact is that it’s coming. We must be on the frontline in embracing this crucial innovation, and we cannot just wait for others to take action and copy them. We must be the ones that others copy,” maintains Malta’s prime minister Joseph Muscat.

In Liechtenstein, an entrepreneur can start a company without a bank account, and BTC or ETH will fulfill government requirements. This liberal approach to cryptocurrency is rarely seen; even crypto-friendly Switzerland has its limitations, and banks there have been no friends to VCs.

Yanislav Malahov did exactly that, founding his Aeternity blockchain company using ETH to the tune of CHF 50,000. The capital Vaduz holds monthly blockchain meetings and a huge bonus for residents is the country’s membership of the European Economic Area, but not the EU, allowing crypto businesses to trade freely across Europe.

Nicosia in Cyprus is home to one of the first Universities offering programs in blockchain and cryptocurrencies. The University of Nicosia, Cyprus, announced that it would offer the world’s first Masters program in digital currency back in 2013. The postgraduate course was aimed at financial services professionals claiming it was designed to:

“…help financial services and business professionals, entrepreneurs, government officials and public administrators better understand the technical underpinnings of digital currency…”

 

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Malta Banker Association Chair Says Crypto Will Make Banks Obsolete

Marcel Cassar, chairman of the Malta Bankers Association (MBA), has told The Malta Independent that cryptocurrencies may pose a significant threat to banks, possibly making them obsolete.

He suggested that the threat to banking of mainstream cryptocurrency adoption was because “their traditional role as main payment intermediary for funds and currency transmission will become challenged, if not obsolete”.

It is hardly surprising that such comments would originate from a banker in Malta given its current place in the crypto space. Malta has become increasingly appealing to Bitcoin companies conducting business there due to the island’s positive spin on blockchain technology and its open-minded approach to regulation linked to a strong economy. It also boasts the largest cryptocurrency trading volume in the world, according to Morgan Stanley.

Add to this Prime Minister of Malta Joseph Muscat’s recent plans to re-establish several cryptocurrency businesses in his country’s jurisdiction and it is clear that the country is preparing for a future with cryptocurrency. Malta already has pro-blockchain legislation and existing regulations around cryptocurrency, making this announcement an outreach for more cryptocurrency companies to locate in the Mediterranean country.

Cassar sees these technologies as positive for banking in the sense of blockchain offering unbridled and irrefutable authenticity to transactions and documentation, himself describing the benefits as “undisputed”, but sees any major significant changes by banks as still quite distant.

His comments that banks may well be made obsolete as the new technology really takes hold don’t extend to fiat currency. Some banks, he says, are filling a gap and profiting by just simply limiting their involvement to advice to customers regarding ICOs and custody services.

Independent.com refers to many banks’ current lack in innovation and energy in getting on board with the new tech, pointing to ex-Citigroup boss Walter B Wriston who in 1981 commented:

“The belief that a market is yours by some divine right is an old dream. Companies that fail to change become tombstones in the corporate graveyard.”

 

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Malta: The Next Place For Crypto Startups?

Prime Minister of Malta Joseph Muscat has recently revealed plans to reestablish several cryptocurrency businesses in his country’s jurisdiction. Malta already has pro-blockchain legislation and existing regulations around cryptocurrency, making this announcement an outreach for more cryptocurrency companies to locate in the Mediterranean country.

Muscat’s announcement came during a political rally in Mqabba last weekend, where he stated he was in ongoing discussions with potential investors in the sector. The prime minister relayed his interest for Malta to become the initial country to ”take the first step” and have a state-regulated cryptocurrency industry. He noted the numerous jobs that the sector would add to the economy, as well the advantage it would give the education sector for people who wished to pursue a career related to the industry.

Binance are doing it

Meanwhile, popular cryptocurrency exchange platform Binance announced plans to open an office in Malta. In January of this year, Binance produced the highest volume of exchanges of any other exchange platform. In an interview with Bloomberg, CEO of Binance Zhao Changpeng described Malta as ”very progressive when it comes to crypto and fintech”.

Zhao went on to discuss the practical nature of the countries cryptocurrency legislation for businesses, describing it as ”logical and forward-thinking”, predicting Malta to be the next place for innovative blockchain companies to do business. Although not the first crypto company to headquarter in Malta, the transition hit the headlines because of the size and prominence of the company.

The Maltese prime minister made clear that companies would not be establishing themselves in the country for tax benefits, but because of the crypto-friendly legislation and welcoming capacity of the government.

Muscat’s call for cryptocurrency companies to headquarter in Malta follows the implementation of arguably lenient gambling legislation. The legislation executed was thoroughly constructed, successfully making the country an international gambling hub.

Considering the country’s previous success legislation for a strong gambling sector, progress so far indicates they will manage to achieve the same for blockchain companies.

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