Shaping Gibraltar into the jurisdiction of choice for blockchain innovation

17 Apr 19

Hon. Albert Isola M.P. — Minister for Commerce of Gibraltar


Traditionally Gibraltar has been viewed as the underdog jurisdiction punching above its weight, challenging the ranks of global heavyweights when it comes to regulatory advances and attracting big business. Today, Gibraltar is assertively working hard to improve conditions for ambitious blockchain projects to thrive on The Rock. With a nimble economy, supportive regulatory environment, low corporate tax rate, and educated workforce, we are shaping the right environment for blockchain innovation.


Our track record of nurturing business conditions for emerging sectors extends to our experience with the online gaming sector, which now accounts for around 25 percent of Gibraltar’s over £2 billion gross domestic product. Today, approximately 70 percent of all UK online gambling bets are taken by firms in Gibraltar. We want the blockchain sector to have a similar stake in our jurisdiction’s GDP going forward.


As part of the ongoing effort to present Gibraltar’s favourable climate for blockchain businesses, Paul Astengo, Senior Executive with Gibraltar Finance, spoke at the fourth annual DC Blockchain Summit in Washington D.C. in March. During his speech, Paul provided an update on the proposed token legislation presently subject to consultation in Gibraltar as well as a general overview of Gibraltar’s regulatory framework. In November of last year, Paul also proudly represented Gibraltar Finance at the European Parliament, as part of a “Blockchain and Governance” panel discussion organised by Blockchain4Europe.


These events provide great opportunities to take part in discussions with innovators, policymakers, and regulators across the globe on the issues impacting the blockchain landscape. Sharing our vision on the international stage gives expression to the strong spirit of collaboration that is essential to the sustainable development of the global DLT ecosystem. This approach is familiar to us, as collaboration between key stakeholders has been a hallmark of Gibraltar’s approach to building the right environment for DLT exploration. In the two preceding years before we introduced the world’s first purpose-built DLT regulatory framework, our regulators and industry experts were working together behind the scenes to develop the nine core principles that have defined the jurisdiction’s blockchain environment.


Tied to the goal of attracting significant inward investment from quality blockchain projects, Gibraltar’s Government officials and education leaders have embarked on an extensive phase of collaboration to develop the New Technologies in Education (NTiE) group. The NTiE group represents a collaboration between Government, the University of Gibraltar along with leading new technology companies based in Gibraltar to develop bespoke courses around blockchain technology. With this initiative, the University of Gibraltar joins the cohort of high ranking institutions which are dedicating more and more resources to crafting dedicated DLT focused courses to ensure the demand for blockchain literate professionals meets supply.


With a regulatory framework informed by industry insights, this overarching theme of collaboration has crafted a blockchain environment that caters to the needs of industry, providing companies with the right level of support and flexibility. Gibraltar is now set up to develop a deep pool of talented professionals proficient in distributed ledger technology for blockchain companies to build their projects around.