"Some may call DLT the future, but I call it the present” - with these words the Prime Minister of Malta Joseph MUSCAT opened the official part of the Malta Blockchain Summit. The island, which due to its favorable conditions had managed to attract a big number of blockchain projects, including the largest crypto exchanges Binance and OKex, once again proved that it is ahead of the rest and gathered on its site 8,500 crypto community members, which made this conference one of the largest events in the industry this year.
"Malta Blockchain Summit was truly a unique event. Surprisingly, the organizers were able to gather so many great minds in a small space. It’s truly impressive - from John MCAFEE's speech to the WINKLEVOSS twins appearance", - shares his impressions Jason FERNANDES, whose project became one of the winners of ICO Pitch Battle held at the summit. In addition to the founder of the McAfee software company, the Parliamentary Secretary for Finance, Digital Economy and Innovation Silvio SCHEMBRI took the stage as well as a humanoid AI robot Sophia, who together with its developer answered questions from the summit guests on the development of AI.
The organizers prepared a rich two-day program of the conference, which was divided into two main blocks - regulation and technology development. "To me the 2 day summit is perfect. Short enough not to get boring, and long enough to stay interesting. At the conference, there was a constant flow of speeches, starting from 9am till 6pm, divided over technology and business parts. I did think that the speeches at 15 minutes at most could have been a little longer, but - as a speaker myself - I do know it can be hard to keep the attention going with people constantly walking in and out. Personally I prefer fewer topics and a bit more in depth, but the organizers have chosen for a wide range of topics. On the upside however, it does force you to broaden your horizon. So the approaches have their own benefits", - says our contributor Hans KONING, who attended the event.
following article While the issue of regulation, which is more relevant than ever on the island after three laws, which we will analyze in the following article, came into force on November 1, was mainly raised and discussed in the sphere of blockchain, the technological part was mostly devoted to AI developments as they have also become of big interest to the Malta government. On the first day of the conference, Silvio SCHEMBRI announced a task force called Malta.ai, which under the leadership of MDIA should design a national strategy on AI technology with a goal to include Malta in the top 10 nations in the AI field. "We have invited SingularityNET and the team behind Sophia’s AI to contribute to Malta.ai entrusted with the AI Strategy. Amongst others, with SingularityNET, we shall explore a pilot project to create a citizenship test for robots in the process of drafting new regulation for AI. Through Malta.ai, we would like to invite other firms who wish to contribute and be part of our journey. This is the start of another chapter in Malta’s vision to become a technological hub. We look forward to work hand in hand with all stakeholders including European institutions on artificial intelligence”, - said SCHEMBRI.
The Maltese state sees AI as a means to enhance their citizens' health and well-being, make government services more accessible, provide information that is more relevant to the public, transfer simple or repetitive tasks to robots, and allow employees to focus on more complex high-value-added activities.
However, this innovative sector can not only improve the standard of living of the nation, but also create new economic opportunities, and the government of Malta understands this. More than 2,000 companies operating in this sector around the globe have already raised more than $36.7 bln, and by 2030 AI's contribution to the world economy is expected to be $15.7 trln. Moreover, diversification of the IT and Engineering sectors will create new jobs.
In addition to the conference itself, the event included two “extracurricular” activities: Blockchain Hackathon and ICO Pitch Battle. The hackathon gathered several teams of 4-8 developers, who after 3 days of intense work developed and presented dApps and other services based on smart contracts on the selected platforms using decentralized solutions. The judges of the hackathon were Scott STORNETTA, Charles HOKINSON, Ilya SMAGIN, Cataldo FRANZONE, and Lucas PARK. CEO of Malta Blockchain Summit Eman PULIS handed the winning check for €25,000 to the Blockchain Charity Lottery team.The second place was taken by the TPass team, which received €15,000. In the third place came the Tensegrity developers, earning €10,000. Another representative of ours noted the fascination of this format and the need for organizing such kind of activities for the further development of innovative solutions in the industry. However, according to her the scale of the summit did not allow the participants to fully exploit the event benefits as they did not manage to resort to useful advice and questions from experts during the hackathon, which could affect the final results and the quality of the solutions presented.
As for the ICO Pitch Battle, organizers selected 40 startups, which within 6 minutes had to present their projects, and then in the format of a Q&A session answer the jury’s questions. When evaluating the projects, the judges analyzed the whitepaper, pitch deck, experience of the team members and their advisors, the business model of the project and the tokenomics. The main criteria were scalability, liquidity, effective distribution of income and expenses, as well as investment attractiveness. 4 projects became winners, each receiving a check for €25,000 and additional prizes from sponsors.What is more, about 400 young startups received a separate section at the summit, where they could organize their own stands and communicate with investors directly. And the opportunities did end there as the companies could contact the organizers of the summit in advance and arrange their own evening events for informal networking with the tprofessional community. "To me the highlight of the Malta Blockchain Summit was the layback attitude. The guest, speakers, judges, and also the organisers were visibly present and always made time for a chat or a picture. So often speakers have a certain air around them of “don’t you know who I am”, but that was not noticeable here. This should be facilitated by the special Maltese air, which affects not only the creation of favorable regulations, but also the attitude of the people”, - concludes Hans KONING