Eman Pulis is a Maltese entrepreneur, tech fanatic, crypto and blockchain enthusiast, and the Founder and CEO of the Malta AI & Blockchain Summit. Having worked in the tech industry on the island for over a decade, he was perfectly placed to answer questions about Malta’s crypto industry and what lies ahead.
Since Malta introduced its 3 crypto-acts, a number of other EU states have followed suit- what does Malta have to offer that puts it ahead of the competition?
It’s great to hear that other countries are following in Malta’s footsteps and putting solid foundations in place for a strong, regulated industry. New innovations benefit everyone; there are some wonderful blockchain projects for example, which are bringing change to developing countries, so it’s not necessarily about wanting to hog the limelight.
How do you see the industry developing over the next 1, 5, and 10 years?
I expect that we will see new tech such as A.I. and blockchain find its way into the mainstream, the Malta Digital Innovation Authority for example has an excellent plan for implementing a national A.I. strategy across all facets of society. Governmental bodies are also continually refining legislation, this is, I believe, crucial for the survival of innovation.
There are some that believe cryptocurrency does not have a future but that blockchain has the power to solve a myriad of issues in multiple sectors- do you think that this opinion holds weight?
That is a difficult question! There are many, including our own Prime Minister who believe cryptocurrency to be the future of money, and while the digital currency sector has certainly seen its fair share of ups and downs, it seems intent on holding on. Blockchain definitely has a lot of potential in the way it can be applied to current and future problems and there many examples that illustrate its usefulness as a technology, especially when it comes to transparency, efficiency and data management.
There are still concerns around the legitimacy of parts of the industry- money laundering, fraud, tax evasion etc- do you think this can be combated effectively?
This is where good regulatory practices come in, and many countries have started to reign in unruly operators in the industry in order to stamp out bad behaviour. Fraud and tax evasion are legitimate concerns; however I am confident that we (as an industry and within Malta) can stay on top of this.
How do you see blockchain and AI working together in the future?
Blockchain’s immutable and decentralised nature makes it a perfect data storage solution and the combination with A.I. technology allows for valuable analysis of that data, making these two technologies a match made in heaven. This is especially useful in areas of industry such as healthcare.
There is a problem in Malta that many Maltese banks are refusing to open bank accounts for crypto clients- what are your thoughts on this?
New technology will inevitably have to counter a measure of caution in its infancy. As we continue to regulate the space and as the tech becomes more user-friendly and enters further into the mainstream, I think we will start to see the banks come onboard, especially as they navigate the learning curve that comes with the tech. Many banks don’t yet make that all-important distinction between crypto-focused and blockchain-focused businesses.
What is the most exciting project you have come across in the last 6 months?
Innovation in emerging tech is on fire at the moment. I was especially interested to read about a project called Building Blocks. This blockchain-based initiative allows for the World Food Program to distribute cash-for-food aid to refugees. The project works with iris-scan technology, allowing refugees to confirm their identity and purchase food from regular supermarkets with minimal hassle and much more efficiency, whilst ensuring transparency of process and saving charities money.
You are the organiser of the Blockchain Summit that is due to take place this month- tell me how you see this evolving as the sector does as well?
Our inaugural show last year garnered an immense amount of attention, attracting over 8 thousand visitors and a number of very prominent speakers such as John McAfee and Scott Stornetta. This year we will welcome Noel Sharkey, Tim Draper, Tone Vays, Brock Pierce and Patrick Chang as well. We are also paying attention to other industries that dovetail with blockchain and crypto, such as AI, and Quantum technology.
For those that are naysayers or crypto-doubters, how would you convince them otherwise?
There’s a lot of information out there, I would simply suggest people have a look at all the interesting things happening in this space before they make up their minds.
Describe the Maltese crypto community in one sentence?
Full of potential.