Malta Blockchain Summit 2018 kicks off

November starts off with a high note for cryptocurrency community and enthusiasts and the 2018 Malta Blockchain Summit has finally started. Taking place at the InterContinental Hotel at St Julian on the Malta Island until November 2, the event brings together blockchain and crypto investors, business people, enthusiasts, venture capitalists, banks, regulators, organizations and big names in the crypto industry. A total of more than 8000 delegates, world-class speakers, 300 exhibitors and sponsors are expected at the event.

The event will have four conferences or conference categories namely a regulatory conference, a marketing and investment conference, a developer and technology conference, and a tokenomics and cryptocurrency conference.

Hackathon

The two-day Blockchain Hackathon, which is attracting around 300 blockchain developers who are competing for a €50,000 (c.$57,000) prize by solving some serious challenges in the blockchain and crypto industry, kicked off last night. Each team participating in the hackathon will have 4-8 people (including two developers from whom one should ideally be a smart contract developer; ) and led by a team leader. Thirty "hottest" startups in the cryptocurrency sphere will get an opportunity to pitch their Initial Coin Offering each for 10 minutes to a panel of judges, and compete for $100,000 prize.

Blockchain awards 

Also, to start off the event last night, the winners of the Malta Blockchain Awards were announced at the InterContinental Hotel. ChiliZ, which is a blockchain-based esports voting platform that has attracted investments from the likes of Binance, won in the ICO of the Year category; ICObench won in the Affiliate of the Year category; Binance won the CSR of the Year award; OKEx won the Crypto Exchange of the Year category; Revolut won the Innovator of the Year categry; Greenspider won the IoT of the Year and SingularityNET won the AI of the Year category. Steve Tendon won the Outstanding contribution to the Blockchain Island while Cointelegraph was selected as the Media Agency of the year.

Regulation

Malta Island has so far been impressive in terms of attracting cryptocurrency businesses with its favorable conditions. It was also host to 4,000 delegates who attended the October 3-5 Delta Summit which also is a blockchain event that attracted people from all walks of life. It is expected that a number of issues relating to regulations will be discussed from today at the regulatory conference. 

And starting with regulation issues, three new decentralized ledger technology bills will come into force today at the summit: The Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act; The Innovative Technological Arrangement and Service Act; and The Virtual Financial Asset Act. They are expected to establish a framework which basically accepts DLT businesses as Technology Service Providers all with the expectation to protect consumers and financial markets.

These types of businesses will be recognized in the country as legal with normalized registrations and certifications. The Virtual Assets Act will provide clarity on whether a cryptocurrency or token should be categorized as security or virtual token for purposes of regulation. These bills will start to further position the island as one of jurisdictions that have clear regulation on how to treat DLT, blockchain and crypto businesses. This would essentially remove uncertainties and commotions that come with unclear regulation that does not define specifically how these businesses should be treated. 

Malta Prime Minister Joseph Muscat will give a Keynote welcome address and an overview of how the Island is positioning itself as an "Innovation Island" especially in regard to policy covering cryptocurrency and blockchain businesses.

The government will also announce a number of incentives and attractive schemes that aim at positioning itself as a innovation hub to attract more innovations in AI, Big Data, Quantum Technology and IoT. Besides that, five experts in areas of law/regulation, business and blockchain, will explore how jurisdictions can develop blockchain regulation that protects customers without hurting innovation. They include Advocate and Partner at WH Partners Joseph Borg, member of governing board of the European Institute for Innovation and Technology who is also Grid Singularity's COO and co-founder Ana Trbovich, Managing Editor of the Stanford Journal of Blockchain Law & Policy Steven S. Nam, CEO of SingularityNET Ben Goertzel, and Malta KPMG Director Banking Mark Curmi.

Senior visiting lecturer at University of Malta and managing partner at EY Malta Ronald Attard will present key results of a blockchain survey that EY conducted about blockchain in the country in the last few months. Legal practitioner Jonathan Galea who is also Managing Director at Blockchain Advisory Ltd will address the topic about directing legislation in technology and how it is hapenning in different jurisdictions such as Malta, Korea, Zug and Gib. Other issues to be talked about include taxation for cryptocurrency businesses.

Marketing, investment and developer conferences

Marketing and investment conference will discuss issues such as investing in blockchain, establishing viable marketing channels for blockchain, importance of marketing in a successful ICO, fraud detection, how blockchain will disrupt consumer experience, application of blockchain in education, application of blockchain in entertainment.

The developer and technology conference will discuss a variety of issues including permissioned and permissionless blockchains, use of smart contracts in dApps development, combining AI and blockchain, adoption of blockchain for businesses, centralized and decentralized exchanges, multiple chains verses multiple coins, ICOs and AML regulations, taxation of ICOs and crytpocurrencies, and what companies can do or expect at the post-ICO stage.

Binance CFO Wei Zhou will join GP Bullhound Director Sebastian Markowsky, WH Partners Founder & Partner Olga Finkel, Gemini Trust Company Head of Business Development Sarah Olsen and KnowmeNow CTO & Co-founder Godwin Schembri will discuss the importance and challenges of token economics. Evercoin founder Miko Matsumura, Cryptology Exchange Global Ambassador Jane Zavalishina, Cryptonity Exchange Co-Founder & CEO Jaewoo Seo and NexChange Founder & CEO Juwan Lee, and CFX Advanced LTD CEO Marco Mottana will discuss the future of cryptocurrency trading in respect to institutions, brokers and communities.

2018 has been the year when adoption of blockchain and crypto, in addition to regulation, took a centre stage and the discussion of their adoption in the banking and financial industry has generated quite a huge interest. Advocate and Partner at WH Partners Dr. Joseph F. Borg will join Revolut Greece country manager Dimitris Litsikakis, Marketing & Business Development Specialist Tim Frost, HOLD Platform Ltd CEO Priyanka Lilaramani, GANADO Advocates Partner Leonard Bonello, and Em@ney CEO Germano ARNO to discuss the issue of adoption of blockchain and crypto in the banking industry looking at the issue whether banks can come in and adopt.

Other speakers include the co-founder of McAfee who is also Luxcore CEO John McAfee who will discuss the "dark side of the chain" alongside two other experts, SingularityNET's Sophia Robot and the firm's CEO Ben Goertzel; and Yūgen Partners' and PhD Chief Scientist W. Scott Stornetta.

Others include OKEx General Manager Jovan Gavrilovic, Malta Digital Exchange CEO Rick Klink, Utrust CEO Nuno Correia, Pundi X Chief Legal Counsel David Ben Kay, Humaniq CTO Anton Mozgovoy, Blocklancer Founder & CEO Michael Kaiser, Bitfury Group Global Ambassador Marc Taverner, and partner at Winklevoss Capital Sterling Witzke.

Finally, the attendees will enjoy an evening cruise from St. Julian's to Valletta's majestic harbor before the event closes at Westin Pavillion.

David Kariuki

David Kariuki likes to regard himself as a freelance tech journalist who has written and writes widely about a variety of tech issues that affect our society daily, including cryptocurrencies (see cryptomorrow.com and coinpedia.org); climate change (cleanleap.com), OpenSim and virtual reality (see hypergridbusiness.com). He is currently pursuing a MSc in Environmental Management at Open University. He does write here not to offer any investment advise but with the intention of informing audience, and articles in here are of his own opinion. Anyone willing to use any opinion here as advise to invest in crypto should obviously take own responsibility and accountability of their losses (or benefits) thereof. You can reach me at eqariu@gmail.com or david@cryptomorrow.com