“Gibraltar is not scared of change, it is alive to change” - Consensus 2021

08 Jun 21

The Hon Albert Isola MP, Minister for Digital and Financial Services, HM Government of Gibraltar, spoke at Consensus 2021 in a fireside chat with David Wachsman, CEO of Wachsman


Minister for Digital and Financial Services, Albert Isola MP engaged in a fireside chat with David Wachsman, CEO of Wachsman on Thursday, 26th May 2021 at the blockchain industry’s largest event of the year, Consensus 2021. Each year, Consensus, run by CoinDesk, brings together leading innovators in the blockchain and crypto space to explore the evolution of this cutting edge industry. The four-day virtual event united over 10,000 professionals across a variety of discussions taking a closer look at what is happening in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry. 


At the Conference, Minister Isola spoke with David Wachsman in a fireside chat titled “Crypto State”, discussing Gibraltar’s journey to become the first jurisdiction to introduce a purpose-built Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) regulatory framework and how Gibraltar aims to encourage innovation through regulation rather than stifle it. The Minister reaffirmed his belief that cohesive regulation is needed, but it will best serve both regulators and industry experts if both parties come together.


Minister Isola believes that there is a long term sustainable future for the blockchain industry. Delving into Gibraltar’s history from 2018 to where they are today, the Minister gave an overview of the bespoke DLT regulatory framework in Gibraltar, which has allowed the jurisdiction to build a burgeoning DLT ecosystem. When their journey began back in 2018, Gibraltar knew that like any financial service, if there was to be  any kind of mass adoption of blockchain technology with institutional firms investing in the space, there had to be an element of regulation. Isola noted Gibraltar’s strategy was to implement regulation in a manner that was innovative, pragmatic and worked for this particular sector, rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach. This fueled Gibraltar’s drive to create the bespoke DLT framework that sets Gibraltar apart from so many other jurisdictions.


As we approach mid 2021, we now see other global organisations  looking to regulate the space because they recognise the need to provide security to the customers and consumers of blockchain technology, which are at an all-time-high. Gibraltar came to this view many years ago, and devising the DLT framework so early has allowed Gibraltar to stay ahead of the game, building a practically unrivalled DLT community on the Rock. 


Isola explains that Gibraltar’s Government has set a high standard of requirements for firms who want to be regulated in Gibraltar, which in turn, means Gibraltar is the home to many successful companies in the industry like BITSO, Xapo Bank and eToro. Isola noted that “Gibraltar considers the firms who are licenced in Gibraltar as stakeholders; we work with them because if they succeed, Gibraltar succeeds.”


The current DLT regulatory framework includes nine core principles. In late 2020, a working group was established to deliver the 10th Core Principle of the jurisdiction’s DLT regulatory framework. The purpose of the working group is to propose for consideration and debate global standards for exchanges and other marketplace platforms in the space, while looking at similar standards by the UK, EU, and other international bodies. A key differentiator between this working group and many others, is that it includes both regulators and industry experts from leading firms within the DLT space. 


By hearing every voice in the room at events such as Consensus, the best solutions to our world’s most pressing problems may be uncovered, and we can build a future economy together that is more efficient, transparent and fair for all.