Legal Expert for Blockchain
Welcome to our comprehensive interview series – Humans of Blockchain™ where we get the best in the business to answer a diverse set of questions.
This series will clear the air of doubt in the blockchain space today by focusing on bringing more transparency to the readers.
Not wasting much time, let’s hear it out from Beverly herself.
1. Can you tell us more about yourself Beverly? About Your Journey and how you got into the blockchain/ fintech space.
I’m a 24-year-old lawyer from Malta – been in the blockchain/fintech space for the past 2 years as I started working with Blockchain Advisory Limited (BCA) from its inception. Prior to setting up BCA, I had formed a relationship with Jonathan Galea,( Managing Director of BCA) who founded BitMalta the first Maltese NGO dedicated to widespread education in this space. Together with key players of the industry from various jurisdictions, we worked on a policy document that outlined a proposed framework for Malta as the ‘Blockchain Hub of Europe’. Although the government did not proceed with any tender document, it gave us the motivation to take the plunge and start BCA – a company that is now composed of various legal and technical experts operating in this field.
2. Being a Legal Blockchain Advisor, what legal issues do you see for the current Blockchain Industry?
Ultimately the issues with this space mainly stem from a lack of education – we’ve all heard about ‘blockchain’ and ‘cryptocurrency’ but not everyone is aware of the difference just yet. When it comes to legality issues, there are several grey areas since there is no harmonization across the board on how to classify or define certain key areas of the blockchain industry. Malta is very advanced compared to most jurisdictions since it has legislated extensively on both the technical and regulatory implementations that may arise from this industry, additionally through the Malta Financial Services Authority it has introduced several Rules, Regulations and Guidance Notes to complement recently enforced legislation.
3. How is Blockchain Advisory, where you are a Legal Advisor, helping the Industry?
Blockchain advisory is a fast-growing team of regulatory and technology experts, that introduced blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies to Malta back in 2013, and are assisting numerous blockchain-based and cryptocurrency-related projects such as token generation events, crypto funds, and cryptocurrency exchanges in becoming leaders of the upcoming shift in global technology. Our services range from custom and specific advisory services in relation to initial coin offerings and token generation events, to assistance in setting up cryptocurrency-focused funds and exchange platforms. In spite of the wide gamut of services, our goal remains singular: that of ensuring that our clients receive the best assistance possible backed with some of the longest-ranging experience in the sector. Whatever project our clients intend to pursue, we can ascertain the best structure possible and access to an extensive network of blockchain and cryptocurrency-experienced professionals so as to deliver end-to-end solutions. Its partners, Jonathan Galea and Anton Dalli, boast of over nine years’ worth of collective experience in the blockchain space and offer a holistic suite of advisory services ranging from legal advice to fundamental knowledge vis-à-vis project structures.
5. Can you tell us more about Nexia BT?
Established by my father, Brian Tonna, managing partner, Nexia BT is a corporate and private client advisory, audit, accounting and tax firm providing a full range of financial and business advisory services to a diversified client base including – blue chip companies, local and international, financial and other institutions, the public sector as well as high end organisations. Nexia BT is one of the leading mid-tier audit firms in Malta and has, since 2007, been a member of Nexia International, a top ten worldwide network of independent business advisors, consultants, auditors and accounting firms present in over 120 countries. With a substantial presence in the world’s major financial and economic centers, the Nexia network is strategically positioned to serve the diverse global needs of its clients, ranging from world listed entities and international subsidiaries to owner-managed businesses and high-net-worth individuals. Nexia BT’s strength lies in its technically competent and professional staff with experience across a varied range of industry sectors. The firm’s mission is to deliver solutions to its clients through a high caliber customized service reflected in the professional work approach and ethics of its staff and driven by its ethos ‘Closer to you’. Working closely with its customers, Nexia BT’s specialists create innovative bespoke solutions that meet clients’ needs through the design of medium to long-term plans that sustain business development, equipping businesses with the tools and information to underpin sound investment decisions and providing the edge to compete in fast-paced dynamic markets where being innovative is the key for long-term survival.
6. We see that you are based out of Malta. How does Malta help Blockckchain/ Fintech companies legally in their company framework? In essence, what is Malta’s outlook towards Crypto & Blockchain?
Malta is commonly referred to as the ‘blockchain hub of Europe’ so needless to say, it is the place to be for any serious business seeking to carry out blockchain-related activity in a regulated environment. Together with Japan, Malta is the only jurisdiction providing for legal certainty for the set-up and licensing of cryptocurrency exchanges (referred to as Virtual Financial Asset Exchanges). Malta is the only jurisdiction that has introduced inter alia a system of certification of DLT Platforms and Smart Contracts – once again illustrating that Malta is not only on the forefront of regulation but also innovation.
7. What are your thoughts on the current information/ education flow in the Blockchain Industry?
I cannot stress enough how important education is. Although there are a lot of short courses out there claiming that they’ll educate the industry most of it is marketing. There are only a very, very few organizations currently utilizing the blockchain for educational purposes, although many claim they’re actively exploring the possibility. One of the most important benefits of education is how it improves personal lives and helps societies run smoothly – for those who truly believe in the blockchain space, wide-spread implementation will only come when the layman is educated.
Any ending remarks for the industry, Beverly?
Not really 🙈 except.. encouragement to come to crypto-friendly Malta, blockchain summit in May!
Check out More Humans working in the Industry Here!