“If we want our blockchain ecosystem to grow, we have a responsibility as an association to have a role in the education of the future workforce”
(David Parody, Acting Chairman, Gibraltar Association for New Technologies).
“There is no slowing down for Gibraltar,” David Parody says. His enthusiasm about Gibraltar’s rapidly evolving blockchain ecosystem is infectious. “It’s not just about regulations and legislation,” he explains, “what we are creating in Gibraltar is the right environment for businesses that use distributed ledger technology and blockchain to establish themselves and to go on to grow and evolve.” This, he continues, means taking a holistic look at the needs of this relatively new industry and making provision for all its aspects.
Formally launched on 30thOctober 2018, the Gibraltar Association for New Technologies (GANT) is part of the creation of a vibrant environment where support and robust regulation are balanced in order to bring the best of the new blockchain business opportunities to the jurisdiction. David Parody, with his years of experience working with Gibraltar’s Financial Services Commission (he was the Deputy Chief Executive for some three years as well as working in other senior roles at the GFSC), has been appointed as Acting Chairman of GANT in order to fully establish the Association. The Association’s first informal meeting is set to take place on 29thNovember. “This will be a general informal get together of members and the parties involved, and we will be discussing issues such as the aims and objectives and taking applications for positions on the executive,” David explains, “then we will arrange a formal general meeting to set up the full workings of the Association.”
The Association has developed from what was originally the DLT Working Group, a group of Gibraltar Government and GFSC officials, and expert professionals including some of Gibraltar’s most experienced lawyers in financial services. The DLT Working Group did not stop working when the DLT regulations were established in January this year, nor will its work stop with the forthcoming ICO regulations. Instead the Group will continue to address aspects of Gibraltar’s blockchain ecosystem with the intention of keeping Gibraltar at the spearhead of global innovation in this field.
“GANT is helping to bridge the gap between the government and the regulator on one side, and the private sector businesses and the professional services involved with them on the other,” David explains. This link is vital to keep Gibraltar forging ahead with its leading edge approach to new technologies and their application in businesses, in particular in financial services. As David points out, Gibraltar aims to continue to develop the right level of regulation while encouraging innovation and at the same time stimulating creativity. It can, as he also adds, go the wrong way – get the regulation level unnecessarily tough and business growth will be stifled, apply regulations that are too weak and the result is lack of credibility.
“GANT will be a very active trade association. It aims to develop effective lines of communication and cooperation within the industry,” David continues, “and this will help us to promote high standards of professional conduct within the industry and to promote the reputation of Gibraltar and Gibraltar’s finance industry both locally and internationally.” The Association’s website is up and running and offers information on its Mission Statement and the draft constitution, as well as on the different types of membership available. “There are three different types of membership available at the moment,” David says, “Individual, body corporate and observer membership, although we may well consider an honorary membership at some point in the future.” Application forms can also be downloaded from the website: GANT
A key element of GANT’s work will be to support and facilitate the development of education and training in the field of new technologies. “Advances in technology is changing the world,” says David, “in ten years time, the world of employment, the economy, industries will all be widely different to what we know now, and we need to make sure that young people are prepared for those changes, and that they have the right skills to enable them to enter the workforce and make a positive contribution to our economy.” A skilled workforce is essential for the development of any sector, and no more so than for the new technologies which pervade all aspects of daily life. GANT will be working closely with the University of Gibraltar, the Department of Education as well as the private sector to develop a wide range of training courses. While the early focus will be on working at secondary school level through to post-graduate levels, there is an intention to develop the teaching of elementary coding at schools for the younger age groups. “We want to get to the stage where entering the world of tech as a career becomes one of the top choices for Gibraltar’s students,” David affirms.
With a trade association that is developing education and training opportunities, strong lines of intra-industry communication and a forum for the exchange of new ideas and professional opinions, Gibraltar continues to forge ahead of the pack as a jurisdiction for blockchain businesses using new technologies, in particular in financial services. With the ICO regulations almost ready, the first DLT provider licenses being awarded and more due to come on line shortly, GANT is set to grow its membership quickly. “And GANT is another feature that is pushing Gibraltar ahead of the field, helping us gain traction internationally,” David adds, “we intend to be a major contributor to attracting quality players to Gibraltar and to keeping the jurisdiction working with quality players far into the long run.”