Malta’s free market economy, the smallest economy in the euro-zone, is dependent on foreign trade, the tourism sector, ITC sector, financial services and online gaming.
The Times of Malta reports that the European Commission on May 3rd 2018 stated that Malta’s economic growth is projected to remain vigorous over the next few months.
As Malta’s economy is among the fastest growing in the EU, it also boasts the lowest unemployment rate in the EU that of 4%. This does however come with it’s own challenges, finding enough people to fulfil the roles needed to be filled.
Malta registered a net increase of 10,500 jobs over the previous year, a trend that shows no signs of abating, and employers are growing increasingly desperate to find people to fill crucial positions, leading to fierce competition, poaching of valued employees and price gouging, especially from foreign firms. Clyde Caruana, Chairman of Malta’s state employment agency JobsPlus, has stated that despite the fact that more than 20,000 foreign workers have come to the island over the past few years, even more are needed simply to keep the economy running.
This together with the I-gaming impact, which accounts for 11% of the Maltese economy, having added 9 000, mostly foreign employees to the workforce, the need to accommodate these workers has led to a very buoyant housing and rental market. Rising rentals, a function of supply and demand, have meant that buy-to-let properties have become the islands surest bet.
Malta is fast becoming a sought-after Digital Gaming hub.The Malta Gaming Authority has registered a 79% increase in new license applications. Over 330 gaming companies, including giants Betsson,Tipico,Betfair now call Malta home.
Malta has long wanted to become the Silicon Valley of the I-Gaming industry and has reached this goal by having the right regulatory framework and the right incentives.Malta prides itself on being a microcosm of Europe and now one of the most trusted hubs in Gaming.
Two of the world’s largest crypto currency exchanges, Binance and OKEx plan to make the tiny European nation of Malta a central hub of their operations. Binance alone handles daily exchange volumes in excess of € 2 billion.
The EU has been looking at crypto currency regulation but so far hasn’t issued any details.This has given Malta a chance to take the lead.
The government has held several public consultationson regulating virtual currencies, token sales and crypto-exchanges. Plans for a Malta Digital Innovation Authority that will certify and regulate blockchain-based businesses and their operations were unveiled last month, the Malta Independent reported. The organization will also create a framework to oversee initial coin offerings, the newspaper said.
Malta has been proactive and efficient, widely seen as being in pole position, in its efforts to provide a legal framework for DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology). A consultation document related to the enactment of three proposed pieces of legislation was open for feedback until early March. These three pieces of legislation are summarized as follows:
MDIA (Malta Digital Innovation Authority) Bill
TAS (Technology Arrangements and Services) Bill
VC (Virtual Currencies) Bill
Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat recently said ” These Blockchain operating companies are coming to Malta…. because of our innovative regulatory structure that will certainly be the first, and I think also the best, in the world.”