The Institute of Directors Malta (IoD) has announced that Malta Digital Innovation Authority CEO, Stephen McCarthy will moderate the panel session during the IoD’s afternoon event at the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) on November 22 entitled “Cryptocurrencies and blockchain: Implications for financial crime, money laundering and tax evasion”.

Stephen McCarthy, CEO, MDIAStephen McCarthy, CEO, MDIA

The event will feature keynote speaker Robby Houben, chair of company and financial law at the University of Antwerp, who authored the European Parliament’s report on ‘Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain’ for the TAX3 Committee.

Houben specialises in company and financial law. As of 2017 he holds the chair of company and financial law at the University of Antwerp and became a counsel at Baker McKenzie. Houben regularly teaches abroad, including at Toulouse 1 Capitole in France, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in Spain and at Uppsala Universitet in Sweden. He acted as independent expert for the Panama Inquiry Committee of the European Parliament. In that capacity, he authored the study The Mandate of the Panama Inquiry Committee.

In January 2018, Houben joined the academic board of the European Banking Institute, a leading international academic institute on banking regulation located in Frankfurt.

Other speakers include Jamy Nigri, CEO, BDX Alliance and Christopher Buttigieg, head securities and markets supervision, MFSA. The event, which runs from 3 to 6pm tomorrow, will be moderated by IoD chairman Edwin Ward.

Having founded five companies with four exits on three continents, Nigri sees the enormous potential blockchain provides to reimagine business. With an eye on the future consumer, he wants to solve the problems of everyday usage for the everyday person. The BDXAlliance uses blockchain to connect businesses and consumers.

In his own words, Nigri believes that: “Blockchain continues to revolutionise fintech and traditional asset classes to include everything from tokenised hedge funds to fractional real estate. Blockchain is proving to be a game changer for any company that wishes to broaden their base of investors globally with exciting new opportunities. In this session you can hear about real-world examples of real companies, with real customers and impressive revenue who are using blockchain to reimagine business.”

A key issue to be addressed during the IoD event is the anonymity surrounding cryptocurrencies. This anonymity, varying from complete anonymity to pseudo-anonymity, prevents cryptocurrency transactions from being adequately monitored, allowing shady transactions to occur outside of the regulatory perimeter and criminal organisations to use cryptocurrencies to obtain easy access to ‘clean cash’.

Anonymity is also the major issue when it comes to tax evasion. When a tax authority does not know who enters into the taxable transaction, because of the anonymity involved, it cannot detect nor sanction this tax evasion.

McCarthy is CEO of the Malta Digital Innovation Authority, the regulator of the sector. Malta has passed legislation to regulate disruptive ledger technologies, such as blockchain. He is a former chairman of various entities including and a former finance director of Greenpeace Mediterranean.

He is a founder of The Management Advisory Group and has worked in accountancy and iGaming before serving as CEO of the Housing Authority in the past few years. He is a Certified Public Accountant by profession.

IoD chairman Ward said: “With Malta being positioned as ‘Blockchain Island’, it is vital that fora such as these run in parallel with the growth of the sector.

“We are delighted Stephen McCarthy will be moderating the panel discussion and look forward to a very lively panel. The local blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem is responsible for managing Malta’s reputation in this high-growth sector.”

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