The establishment of a new central authority in the area of Digital Innovation

In its efforts to regulate blockchain, virtual currencies and innovation through the Consultation Document, Malta is proposing the establishment of a new central authority, a new Joint Co-ordination Board and a National Technology Ethics Committee.

The Malta Digital Innovation Authority

The central authority, which will be known as the Malta Digital Innovation Authority (“MDIA”), will be focusing on innovative technology arrangements, the certification of such technology arrangements and the registration of their service providers.

Apart from the establishment of the MDIA, the proposed bill (“MDIA Bill”) will also provide for the internal governance arrangements of the MDIA, including the composition of the Board of Governance, the employees and the officers of such authority. It will also provide for the conduct of affairs and other relevant financial provisions. The proposed bill will also set out the powers granted to the MDIA and dispute resolution mechanisms.

The Joint Co-ordination Board

The proposed MDIA Bill would also establish a new “Joint Co-ordination Board” (“JCB”) which will assume the responsibility of ensuring cooperation between the MDIA and other national competent authorities since their operations may overlap.

In ensuring such cooperation the JCB shall not interfere or diminish the autonomy of the authorities but will give advice to any national competent authority on how and whether it should act in respect to a technology arrangement. It may also act as medium in establishing national standards and adopting codes of best practices. Any advice or recommendation given by the JCB shall be taken into consideration by any public authority or institution in Malta in the execution of its functions.

The National Technology Ethics Committee

Apart from the MDIA and the JCB the MDIA Bill also proposes to establish the National Technology Ethics Committee. This committee shall be responsible to assess, establish and ensure that proper standards of ethics are in place and adhered to in the use of DLT and technology arrangement and it shall also guide other national competent authorities in Malta with regards to ethical issues.

This committee shall be composed of not less than ten and not more than fifteen persons who shall have expertise in law and law enforcement, science, religion, security services and supervision of ethical rules. Persons involved in the supervision of ethical rules includes academics on history, education, philosophy, ethics, human rights, religion and law.