(Malta's first Bitcoin ATM in the city of Sliema)
There was a country in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea who was known for its stunning sunny weather and the beautiful beaches. Now, this small archipelago of islands called Malta aims to become "the blockchain capital of Europe", as reported by a spokesman of the Prime Minister Dr Joseph Muscat during a recent interview.
What is happening in Malta is particularly relevant, given that the island is a EU member country since 1st May 2004 and, hence, an official adoption of the cryptocurrency and the blockchain could result in a significant endorsement at an international level.
The Times of Malta, reported last Monday that a "Mock rollout" of virtual currency will be due shortly with the purpose of exploring the possibility of a wider introduction, without incurring in the risks of a direct adoption of the currency. A sort of a bitcoin beta testing in a closed environment.
Governmental sources declared that "The idea is that virtual currency would be introduced within a controlled framework to test proposed controls and legislation but without there being any bearing on the wider local economy".
The so called "sandbox test" has been proposed in a report commissioned by the MGA, the Malta Gaming Authority, to the auditing firm PWC.
It's no wonder that the role of leader for innovation within the Maltese government have been undertaken by the authority responsible for the Gaming, land-based and especially remote. First of all, we need to consider that gaming became, in the last decade, one of the main resources for the island's economy. Furthermore, in a highly competitive scenario where gaming regulations can easily loose their attractiveness due to better legal frameworks from other countries, Malta is recently in the middle of a relevant legal overhaul aiming to revamp the industry and keep attracting foreign investments.
Mr Joseph Cuschieri, the Gaming Authority chairman and one of the member of the Prime Minister blockchain taskforce, said that the country could no longer adopt a "do nothing" approach. These represent clear and sound words, making all of us hope that this initiative might not just result in another political deception but concretely give birth to the first crypto-country.
Altough the taskforce and, in particular, the MSFA (Malta Financial Services Authority) expressed some concerns and defined cryptos as a "double-edged sword", it's the first time that a European country shows such dedication to the topic.
Time will tell us whether this is just another political manoeuvre. I believe that the Maltese government - since it opted for this approach - should intensify its commitment on the theme of cryptocurrencies. They have to be seen not only as a way to make a profitable industry even more profitable, but also as a way to improve everyone's life. Why, for instance, the report doesn't mention the huge potential of smart contracts? And what about the possibility of using the blockchain in the context of a public registry and reducing bureaucracy?
The tongue always turns to the aching tooth, they say..And the governments usually take care of those things that bring a profit in their pockets. Isn't so, dear Maltese politicians? Will you stop for a moment to take care exclusively of finance and money and start to think to poor people and real social needs?
In this case, the blockchain has been investigated due to its connection with the gaming industry (money for the elite) and surely not for its potential to offer real solutions for the average average citizen This is, sadly, the world in which we live now and the chances of changing the game's rules are, as always, up to each one of us.
These news are just a piece of a worldwide mosaic where the main question will be just the how and not whether the adoption will occur.
We Steemians know that soon the crypto-revolution will become mainstream and a public domain. In this perspective, these timid signals and attempts of politics should be welcomed, even if I can't hide (the blockchain and the cryptocurrencies do not need them at all). Even politicians will eventually understand what exciting and revolutionary times we are living and witnessing nowadays.
If you enjoyed this article, please remember the three magic words: upvote, resteem and follow :-P .. You will help me to grow and keep writing with enthusiasm (plus, I'm very much eager to return the favour and build good friendships here). Thanks!