The Hon Albert Isola MP, Minister for Digital and Financial Services
I was delighted to represent Gibraltar at the Blockchain for Europe Summit 2020, which took place in the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday, 5th February. By facilitating collaboration and information-sharing between national, regional, and global players, the Summit aims to support the growth and development of a sustainable global blockchain ecosystem – an effort that Gibraltar wishes to accelerate. This is the second year Gibraltar Finance played a prominent role in the Blockchain for Europe Summit, providing a valuable platform for discussion and debate surrounding the latest innovations and potential challenges to the blockchain industry.
At the Summit, I had the pleasure of speaking on the first panel of the day, titled ‘Governments on Blockchain: Security – Infrastructure – Taxation’, alongside Peteris Zilgalvis, Co-Chair of the European Commission’s Fintech Task Force; Jason Kelley, General Manager, Blockchain Services, IBM. The panel was hosted by MEP Claudia Gamon and moderated by Brad Staples, CEO, APCO Worldwide. When it comes to harnessing the potential of DLT, collaboration is key and it was particularly valuable to hear the different experiences, learnings, and ambitions voiced by the respective sectors and jurisdictions present.
While there were some contrarian viewpoints, there were many commonalities. One of the most important topics highlighted was the need to uphold the highest standards of consumer protection. Gibraltar’s approach to DLT regulation has caught the attention of our jurisdictional counterparts and I was proud to share the principles and values that underpin our DLT framework, as well as demonstrating how close collaboration between government and industry has helped shape a robust DLT landscape in Gibraltar that will continue to grow and flourish in 2020 and beyond.
Other panel discussions that took place throughout the day covered blockchain’s impact in the energy and health sectors, blockchain and IoT, asset tokenization, and the prospect of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs). A recurring theme at the Summit was one that is consistently echoed throughout the industry – there is strong demand for industry leaders and regulators to establish and maintain standardisation right across the global DLT sphere. This is essential to the smooth transition of DLT into its next phase of deployment, and achieving wider mainstream enterprise adoption.
In addition to attending the Summit at the European Parliament, my schedule of activity in Brussels extended to several fintech and blockchain-related meetings with European representatives and key industry figures – providing further opportunity to represent the interests of Gibraltar’s DLT community.
Being invited to speak at the Blockchain for Europe Summit over the past two years has been a distinct pleasure, and a hugely valuable learning experience that has helped reaffirm our commitment to driving the global blockchain ecosystem forward. I would like to offer my thanks to all of those who made this year’s event a success and I look forward to seeing our shared ambition and vision for prolonged blockchain development take shape over the next 12 months, and into the new decade.