BitStarz News Exclusive Interview with Jonathan Galea
- Malta is one of the first countries to implement blockchain regulation through new bills and laws.
- “Blockchain technology can revolutionize the way that data is shared, transferred, and made use of. Its impact goes way beyond the economic benefits that it brings, and it can be heralded as the next big technological shift of our lifetime,” says Jonathan Galea – Bitmalta President – said in this exclusive BitStarz News interview.
- The blockchain industry is slowly becoming more regulated around the globe, with countries like Gibraltar and Malta are leading the way in implementing crypto-friendly regulations.
Blockchain regulation is a pretty hot topic these days, as more governments begin to announce their stance towards the industry. Ever eager to give you the opinions and thoughts from leaders in the crypto industry, BitStarz News goes the extra mile to get the exclusive insights you crave.
This week Alex Meears – one of our writers – spoke with Jonathan Galea about blockchain regulation and crypto adoption in Malta. Jonathan is a Maltese Lawyer, who also happens to be the Managing Director of Blockchain Advisory and the President of Bitmalta. He leads discussion groups about blockchain and the crypto world, providing technical advice through his two firms.
AM: What sparked your interest in blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies?
JG: I was building my own computer back in 2013 when I stumbled across an article that said there was a shortage of graphics cards due to cryptocurrency mining. The article called out to me and piqued my interest. After getting involved in it out of mere curiosity, I learned more about the uses of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, and quickly realized that they can be the cornerstone of future generations.
AM: What opportunities do you feel blockchain has for Malta and the global economy?
JG: Blockchain technology can revolutionize the way that data is shared, transferred, and made use of. Its impact goes way beyond the economic benefits that it brings, and it can be heralded as the next big technological shift of our lifetime. We are still scratching the surface at this point.
AM: You are the President of Bitmalta, could you tell us a little bit about what exactly the company does and your role within the organization?
JG: Bitmalta was created as an advocacy group of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, and serves as a lobby group for the advancement of Malta as a jurisdiction in this space – something which we have succeeded in doing I would say. My role within Bitmalta is that of President, heading the general affairs of the organization.
AM: Did you play a part in developing the new crypto-friendly laws that were recently passed? Would you like to be involved with future bills, laws and regulations?
JG: Myself and our company – Blockchain Advisory Ltd – have advised on the new regulatory framework that has just been passed. Naturally, we look forward to submitting feedback on any future regulations in the industry.
AM: How do you think these new laws will shape the Maltese economy?
JG: Malta will establish itself as a hub for all blockchain-related businesses, including exchanges, platforms, and other services providers. This would echo the success that Malta achieved in 2004 when Malta was the first jurisdiction to regulate remote gaming; however, this new sector is multiple times larger than the gaming one.
AM: Do you think Malta is ready for blockchain given that the fact that a large percentage of the island’s shops, bars, and public services still only accept cash?
JG: Malta still has to make the transition from physical to digital. Hopefully, we’ll be able to leap-frog the transition to credit cards and proceed immediately to crypto.
AM: How do you plan on educating “the man on the street” about the advantages of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, as well as persuading him/her to accept them as payment methods?
JG: We do not need to educate the man on the street about blockchain, in very much the same way that we do not to educate on TCP, IP, HTTP, and other Internet protocols. The man on the street will unknowingly use blockchain technology in the future. As for cryptocurrencies, this depends on the suppliers rather than the users; they will drive the change.
AM: Would you like to see Malta at some point ditch cash – and possibly even the Euro – in favor of a cryptocurrency, whether its Bitcoin, Ether, or a government-created coin like the Petro from Venezuela?
JG: I believe fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies will safely co-exist. There is no need for one to make way for the other. It is possible that the Euro itself will become a stablecoin.
AM: What makes Malta the ideal home for blockchain and crypto companies and why should they move here?
JG: Malta has the required infrastructure to support businesses from a technical and financial perspective. Furthermore, the tax regime is an attractive one for foreign businesses, and the regulators serve to aid rather than hinder business.
AM: Malta is crypto-friendly, but doesn’t like blockchain gambling. It has imposed some tough restrictions on firms that operate in this space, namely being that you can only be paid back to the same bitcoin address as which you deposited from – which isn’t always possible or realistic, and low daily deposit limits have been set. What do you think the reason for this is, and do you think it will eventually change its opinion on the industry to become friendlier towards blockchain gambling firms?
JG: It hasn’t imposed anything of the sort – that is just the proposed sandbox environment, which will not equate to the effective law once it is passed following the sandbox environment. There is a need for tough restrictions in the sandbox, as that is the whole purpose. I actually think that the Malta Gaming Authority is quite optimistic about the use of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
AM: What role do you think Malta will have in the global adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrencies?
JG: As the first jurisdiction to holistically regulate the space, Malta will serve as a reference point on how certain facets of this technology can be regulated, introducing an element of certainty in a yet unregulated environment.
AM: Do you hold any cryptos? What do you think the price of Bitcoin will be by the end of the year?
JG: I hold a small amount. I don’t think Bitcoin will surpass its all-time high price this year, but I think it should stabilize somewhere in the $9,000 – $10,000 region.
AM: As a blockchain expert, what is your take on Ripple? In your eyes is it a cryptocurrency or a security?
JG: Ripple is a payment coin that utilizes a centralized blockchain system. It is not a pure utility token in the industry sense of the word, but in my opinion, it doesn’t classify as a security either.
AM: Do you think Malta could list its own Bitcoin ETF on the Malta Stock Exchange?
JG: Would be exciting if they do!
As the crypto industry continues to evolve, people look to experts to help guide them through this new and exciting world. At BitStarz News we work tirelessly to bring our readers the most exclusive interviews and educational content – so stay tuned as there is more exclusive content on the way!