In the global race of DLT implementation, the Government of Malta embarked into an ambitious mission to claim itself as The Blockchain Island, positioning the Nation at the front-line and cleverly regulating the sector thus creating favourable external conditions. Consequently Blockchain companies are attracted to invest in Malta.
Regulating the sector is an important milestone, however it is only the first step and many challenges need to be overcome until we fully achieve the Nation’s vision. Having experienced the local Blockchain climate the founders of Maltese start-up TechWeave believe there are four core challenges that our Nation needs to address, and they may have the solution to fast-track this process while minimising costs and risks.
Every day we read about inspiring case studies of how this revolutionary technology can impact our lives in different sectors, including finance, supply chain of goods, healthcare, real-estate and more. Without harmonisation, we may fall into the pitfall of creating a different Blockchain for every sector or application. Instead, we need to aim for a one-Nation DLT Framework that connects and harmonises all digital services in the Public, Citizen and Private Business sectors. When we achieve this, then interoperability and scalability will become our strength.
The second challenge is public scepticism towards Blockchain. The technology is complex to understand and there are many ideas on Blockchain. Some ideas may potentially scare people and resist its adoption. Educating the public on the implications and benefits of the technology is key to reduce adoption barriers.
DLTs work on the principle of decentralisation, whereas our Government adopts a centralised approach. For Malta to truly become The Blockchain Island the Government needs to embrace and implement a decentralised information system in all of its departments, organisations and authorities. Policies and laws may need to be revised or completely rewritten. TechWeave is aware that there are plans aiming at decentralising the information held at Government organisations.
Malta already owns an advanced stock of digital services that took years and significant investment to be developed, tested and validated. It would be unfeasible and irrational to discard these for the sake of integrating them onto DLT. Integrating popular permissioned DLTs, such as Hyperledger Fabric or R3 Corda, require substantial effort on the existing eGovernment solution. Malta needs a ‘retro-fit’ DLT that is able to integrate with the existing eGovernment services with minimal disruption to its digital services.
In June 2018 TechWeave founders demonstrated a Proof of Concept of a proprietary permissioned DLT at the MITA Innovation Hub (MIH) in Smart City. The concept was also presented in a lecture delivered to 25 MITA specialists in July, as part of the Social Impact Programme. TechWeave received a small grant from MIH after being selected from over a hundred international applicants at the YouStartIT#3 acceleration programme. The vision of TechWeave founders is to see a better connected Maltese e-Society, where the stakeholders including the Government, its agencies and departments, citizens and the private sector (businesses), securely share official data to eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy, raise transparency and accountability and significantly improve efficiency of service. Enthusiastic to pioneer DLT technology in their country, the founders began the pursuit of the right DLT for Malta that overcomes the four major challenges. TechWeave’s value proposition is a one-Nation DLT Framework that is flexible to integrate with potentially all digital eServices and scalable to grow without limitations.