February might only be halfway done, but Minister Albert Isola, Gibraltar’s Minister for Digital and Financial Services has already put in the miles making sure Gibraltar continues to capture the attention of a global audience interested in blockchain technology and the way this tiny jurisdiction has positioned itself at the forefront of the regulatory aspects of this technology.
Gibraltar represented at Blockchain For Europe Summit in Brussels
Blockchain for Europe, the blockchain summit that took place in Brussels on 4th February 2020, was one of the events attended by Minister Isola who participated in a panel discussion addressing the theme: ‘Governments on Blockchain: Security, Infrastructure, Taxation’.
Blockchain for Europe represents a forum for international blockchain industry players at EU level. It works to proactively contribute to the ongoing regulatory debate by supporting European decision makers in their efforts to advance the ascent and adoption of blockchain technology in Europe. The Summit fosters close collaboration between national, regional, and global players in policy and industry spheres.
Minister Isola was joined on the ‘Governments on Blockchain: Security, Infrastructure, Taxation’ panel by Peteris Zilgalvis, Co-Chair of the European Commission’s Fintech Task Force; Jason Kelley, General Manager, Blockchain Services, IBM; and Marwan Alzarouni, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Blockchain Center. The panel was hosted by MEP Claudia Gamon and moderated by Theo Moore, Managing Director, Brussels, APCO Worldwide.
Commenting on the Summit, Minister Isola said, “The Blockchain For Europe Summit provides the ideal platform to host rigorous debate and discussion around the role blockchain can play in our shared European society. We are all here to celebrate the coming together of technological advances, regulatory frameworks, and educational pursuits around DLT, and to offer insights that can drive efforts to accelerate blockchain deployment in our respective jurisdictions. It was a pleasure to contribute to the governmental panel and fly the flag for Gibraltar’s thriving DLT ecosystem from a regulatory and educational standpoint.”
In addition to attending the Summit at the European Parliament, Minister Isola’s Brussels schedule included a number of fintech and blockchain-related meetings with European representatives and industry figures, all with the aim of levelling the spotlight on blockchain Gibraltar.
Minister Isola Leads a Series of New Business Development and Other Meetings in London – Think Business Think Gibraltar
A few days later, on 10th February, Mr Isola was in London where he led a series of new business development meetings with financial services firms and advisers. The visit was a continuation of the Think Business Think Gibraltar campaign started last September and aimed to focus on Gibraltar’s unique relationship with the United Kingdom.
The meetings include presentations to law firms, major accountancy firms and regulatory consultancies. Minister Isola also held meetings with officials from HM Treasury and the Foreign Office, as well as making time available for press interviews during the week.
Of the visit to London, Minister Isola said, “The United Kingdom is Gibraltar’s key partner in terms of new business development for the Rock with over 90% of our ‘passportable’ business such as insurance being delivered into the UK. With the added benefit of a Tax Agreement with the UK, we have a key message to deliver and reinforce; the one thing that is certain as we face the end of the transitional period post-Brexit is that there will continue to be a reciprocal single market in financial services between Gibraltar and the UK come what may.”
Gibraltar at Blockchain Technology Seminar in Davos, Switzerland; in the Margins of the World Economic Forum
On 12th February, Minister Isola went on to address a Blockchain Technology Seminar in Davos, Switzerland which this year had the theme of “in the Margins of the World Economic Forum”.
Minister Isola’s attendance was at the invitation of the Global Business Blockchain Council and the seminar was held in parallel with the World Economic Forum taking place in the city. The Minister was also a guest at a VIP dinner organised by the Council.
The Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX) were represented in Davos by Chief Executive Officer Nick Cowan and Executive Director Ben Soh. GBX are a founder member of the Council and Mr Cowan was invited to participate in a panel discussion.
The panel discussion and question and answer session that followed Minister Isola’s introductory address focussed heavily on the way in which DLT can be used by the private and public sector for the benefit of the average citizen, improving trust as well as enabling very significant cost savings; particularly but not exclusively in developing countries. Individuals on the panel discussion together with the Minister included, the Greek MEP Eva Kaili; a sponsor of financial technology within the European Parliament.
Whilst in Davos, Minister Isola had meetings with senior European officials involved in financial technology innovation, Members of the European Parliament and with several private sector attendees from the United States, Asia and Europe.
Minister Isola said, “I was absolutely delighted to be asked to speak at the Blockchain Council seminar in Davos and continue to assist in raising Gibraltar’s profile as a safe and trusted jurisdiction for the purposes of Blockchain. Our new regulatory regime for this technology has been recognised as, literally, world class as has our emphasis on quality and reputation.”