Malta Digital Innovation Authority : Interview with Ian Gauci ②

We had the opportunity of having a mindblowing interview with Mr Ian Gauci who is one of the leading lawyers in Malta, and has contributed in creating the Malta Digital Innovation Authority. He also is a strategic advisor appointed by the Maltese Government established the Blockchain Task Force .

Ian Gauci (Lawyer)

Interview Date :19th February 2020     

Maltese government embracing Blockchain

The Maltese government embraced the blockchain technology before other countries. It also embraced the decentralization aspect of blockchain. I would say that we were one of the first countries not only to embrace it but also to add specific legislation on it as well. Here, we are referring to blockchain and not crypto. A specific authority which is the Malta Digital Innovation Authority has been set up and it is the first of its kind in the world. Now even Europe and America want to have auditability, and create certification of complex smart contracts, and they are trying to create it. We already have guidelines as well of how to audit a smart contract and how to audit and certify DLT. We are seeing the crypto industry growing and being treated in  the same way as financial services; if you give advice it will be regulated, if you are holding custody, it will be regulated. For the time being, I would say that if you have got regulation in the crypto industry, you will have prospect, and we need to be more flexible with adjusting ourselves to the country’s needs as well.

Malta Digital Innovation Authority

The Malta Digital Innovation Authority (MDIA), is a special authority which one can say is well ahead of its time. If you look around in Europe and other places, so far there is no equivalent for this authority anywhere else. This is an authority created especially for auditing and certification and for creating guidelines on innovative technology arrangements. Part of an innovative technology arrangement can be a DLT, blockchain, smart-contracts, and very soon it can be AI as well. Malta has already rolled out an AI framework. Thinking about the future, there is going to be more automation, and so far we have seen automation in several sections already, like car automation as well as in the health industry. However, along with all this, you need to have somebody to audit the technology, which is a place where in most occasions the human no longer is in control. So, someone is needed to audit this to ensure that what is being promised is also what should be legitimate and actually coded and that the software is fair, accurate and transparent.

We have also adopted the Forensic Node system. This forensic node which is like the black box in an airplane, a virtual machine or a server that captures all the activities of a particular certified entity. So, the auditor can first and foremost check if the particular operators and technologies have complied with the certification requirements. If there would be something wrong with it, they can easily pinpoint what went wrong, and proceed to identify measures that can be taken to address the issue.

Interesting Crypto Cases as a Lawyer

I have come across quite a number of interesting incidents and people, given my background and the knowledge I have gained over the years in this sector together with my experience as an arbitrator in a number of cases. I had a particular case where some people were chasing me to assist them in their ICO. I refused their case because I did not believe in their business plan. Despite this, even though I refused their case, they still used my name in their document because they knew I was advising the government and that I am known in other countries, as well as for the work I have done here in Malta. I contacted them, and they told me “if you want we will pay you and give you coins”. It was hilarious and I replied saying “it is not a question of whether I will be paid or not, you have to remove my name!” On other occasions, I have met many people coming to my office in Malta and trying to sell me their business cases. The first thing I ask them is “What is the value of blockchain and tokenization in your business plan or white paper?” Many would reply saying “It would be nice to have….” So I would just say “OK, you may leave now”. This happens every now and then and I have many stories like this happening at my office.

Start-up companies in Malta

When you want to incorporate a company in Malta to do crypto activities, aside from the due diligence on the shareholders, directors as well as key employees, they will also need to substantiate their plan if they are going to provide crypto services. They will also need to get a license and the regulatory scope permission from the Malta Financial Services Authority.

Soon to be a matured Crypto ecosystem

This industry is still very young. Nevertheless, in the last couple of years we are seeing more sophistication as well as maturity. We are slowly seeing sanitization and more corporate responsibility because it is very important for certain companies providing their products and services. We are also seeing more knowledge being provided to users because people tend to say “YES” to tokenization even though in reality they don’t know the actual mechanics in the environment behind it. In the beginning, we had problems with the technology itself as it was still immature. But I think we are moving ahead and are seeing quite interesting products in the market. We are also seeing scalability on certain blockchains which was something on our “wish-list” before. All this being said, I believe the future is still very bright.



Dr Ian Gauci is the Managing Partner at GTG Advocates, Afilexion Alliance and Caledo Group. He is engaged primarily in technology law, fintech, regtech, electronic communications, information society, data protection and gaming/gambling, while also focusing on consumer law, competition law, broadcasting law, cyber law, e-commerce, m-commerce, e-health, e-payment, information technology, unfair commercial practices and misleading advertising.

Interviewer , Editor : Lina Kamada



The Article published on this our Homepage are only for the purpose of providing information. This is not intended as a solicitation for cryptocurrency trading. Also, this article is the author’s personal opinions, and this does not represent opinion for the Company BTCBOX co.,Ltd.