Cabinet has approved a blockchain strategy which would soon be issued for public consultation, making Malta one of the first countries in the world to have a national strategy, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said yesterday.

Blockchain is the technology on which the Bitcoin cryptocurrency was built and is being seen by numerous thought leaders around the world as the foundation of the next big ‘industrial revolution’, offering substantial cost savings and efficiencies to a variety of transactions.

Dr Muscat said that blockchain’s uses were only just being appreciated and they ranged well beyond financial services to land registries and health records.

“Having a strategy would encourage investors to come here. Malta could be a trailblazer in this sphere,” he said, adding that the island also needed to look at adopting cryptocurrency, in spite of the wariness of regulators. “We need to be a frontline country when it comes to this innovation; we cannot wait for the regulators to reach their conclusions and then have to copy what other countries are already doing.”

Dr Muscat was speaking at a conference on possible new growth areas for the Maltese economy, organised by the recently set up Economic and Financial Affairs Parliamentary Committee chaired by Parliamentary Secretary Silvio Schembri, in collaboration with EY.

Although blockchain has caught the eye of investors around the world, there are still limitations to its use. For example, EY consultant Theo Dix explained, data on blockchain was not yet admissible as evidence in court. “If Malta develops a legal framework, blockchain technology companies would be encouraged to come here.”

What is blockchain?

A blockchain is a decentralised digital ledger that records transactions across many computers in such a way that the registered transactions cannot be altered retroactively.

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