77 Great Estates would like to congratulate Dr Werner & Partner for the granting to them of a licence to act as authorised Virtual Financial Assets Agents. We are sure that they will make a success out of this new venture.
77 Great Estates has been successfully co-operating with Dr Werner & Partner, and thanks Dr Werner & Partners for their referrals to our company.
We are herewith presenting the address delivered by Dr Hugh Peralta BA., LLD, who is a Consultant at Dr Werner & Partner and who is our Chairman, at the reception organised by Dr Werner & Partner to celebrate the award of the licence.
I have been asked by Jörg and Philipp to say a few words.
I have known Jörg and Philipp since 2013. Our chance meeting turned into friendship, leading to professional co-operation at a legal/commercial level. We have an enjoyable, and I daresay successful working co-operation, and I find Jörg and Philipp reliable professional service providers.
Around 2017 Philipp started to wax poetic about cryptocurrency. He explained to me the benefits of this currency and being a conservative traditional lawyer of a certain mature age I found the concept bewildering. Here was Philipp talking about money, without any money being tangibly and physically available – it was called virtual currency and virtual is not so reassuring; he was talking about the structures and workings of this money called – “coin” - without Banks, without regulatory laws, without Government intervention, without assurance that the value of the cryptocurrency exchanged in ownership with the transfer of traditional money or delivery of goods, in the particular transaction, was real and in turn exchangeable or convertible into current money. The value of these coins was ascertainable; it fluctuated – both for unknown reasons, and through an unknown invisible organisation.
To the uninformed mind it takes time for a not so young person, to understand such, yes let us say it, mind boggling innovations.
Clearly the system, I must not say lack of it, caught on and survived – even if so far this is true for a short period. However there are encouraging signs. It is still ongoing: interest has been expressed by multinationals and developments are moving forward. Facebook’s launch into cryptocurrency, gives crypto a certain sense of security and credibility. Indeed I understood from a yesterday News item that the Governor of the Central Bank of England is proposing regulations to govern crypto – which once again gives it credibility.
Cryptocurrency is on the minds of many; whilst its vagueness may not be reasurring to some, to others it provided a challenge and indeed many took the plunge and entered into cryptocurrency, as variously ramified, even within this short time. And so did Malta. Malta took the plunge and internationally it has been in the forefront, providing an encouraging protective framework for entrepreneurs involved with and working in cryptocurrency. Credit must be therefore given to the Maltese Government for embarking on this project.
Such a step – in the right directiion – follows a pattern which we have had for some years. In the last 55 years say since Independence in 1964, Malta has boomed. With substantial thanks upon our joining EU (2004) and forming part of the Eurozone (2008) it has boomed economically and this economic wellbeing has spread to all levels, bringing a general material wealth to the Maltese people unbeknown during previous eras.
We have also had a democratic boom at our educational tertiary level so that from a University student population of 700 we now have about 13,000 students, the positive effects of which have similarly spread throughout the island, and indeed abroad. I think at this point it is opportune to stress that the educational progress at academic level must go hand in hand with a progress in cultural and ethical education. I have the misgiving that these fundamental life cultures are sadly lacking or inadequate in our youths and indeed in their parents. If our politicians and leading organisations manage to overcome all difficulties and impress this cultural and ethical imprint on our people, it will be one of the biggest achievement one can think of.
Clearly these are generally speaking good times for the Maltese people. Equally clearly there has been a downside. Not so long ago one could speak of a homogenous Maltese identity, basically a hard working, thrifty, family man. There are now indentations to this image. In recent years there has been an increase in crime, in an amount and type previously unheard of. In that past a murder would have been a national catastrophe, breaking news, much talked about : a rare event. Regrettably not so nowadays. Similarly other crimes such as theft, mugging, fraud – commercial/private - have made a strong appearance and have increased in quality and quantity. There has been an influx of foreigners which has changed the milieu of the Maltese character and mentality. This influx has as in everything else a positive and a negative element. Unfortunately quite a few law reports are taken up by foreigners’ misdeeds. On the other hand in certain cases this influx is positive importing know how, discipline and reliability; and it has also brought about a substantial amelioration in the quality of service and type of goods in specific areas: a case in point is cuisine.
All this development has involved a cost in another important area. I refer to the loss of the erstwhile pristine nature of Malta’s architecture and urbanisation. I think it fair to say that we have not been able to control ourselves in this sector as much as we should have by providing a disciplined systematic planning which would have kept in check certain undesired developments as to quantity and quality but would have maintained our quaint village style with development concentrated and limited in type and zones. As in many other cities, one has to keep a watchful eye on pollution whether it is air, sea or land: traffic is the higgest headache. We have too many cars on the road, the noise and air pollution are above average. These are important elements in the quality of life, which have to be safeguarded.
Malta’s development from a colony with a national economy supported mainly through naval drydocking services, and through rent paid for a military base, thus a limited economy and limited production has transformed and developed itself into one initially touristically, then competitively in the manufacturing sector; followed by being a service provider in successive cumulative commercial areas such as Ship and later Aviation Registration, and Company Registration.
More recently we have introduced financial services, IT and igaming. The gaming sector has mushroomed, and it is hoped and there are positive indications, that in the IT and krypto currency areas, we will have a similar positive development which will be of great help to the economy, in turn, creating various connected services in many sectors, and distributing the relative wealth throughout.
Many companies enjoy fiscal advantages, initially granted under the umbrella of an offshore company, then as an international trading company and finally at present as a local company. This regime has received some international criticism – however I do think this is unfair as our system is basically transparent and does not bar other countries from taking protective measures. It is not the first time Malta has granted fiscal benefits: some willl recall the six penny scheme – post independence – for British settlors.
In recompense we have had the benefit of international investment and knowhow (including many of the present company) coming to our Island with all the complementary and capillary advantages this entails.
Overall Malta has been a recent success story. As the Minister of Finance has put it “Success has to be managed so that it becomes self perpetuating and sustainable”. That is the challenge for the future: to strike a balance between the investment and expected return; social and economic wellbeing throughout; having efficient institutions; safeguarding and maintaining the architectural heritage and environment, controlling pollution and ensuring good quality of life. A tall order but nonetheless necessary. Competition engulfs us whether in Europe regional or otherwise – and we must look at the bigger picture and remain competitive not only at the financial level but at other equally important social and administrative levels, sustaining a positive healthy and peacefully happy standard of living.
We are a small island and a few persons – perhaps overcrowded – with an insular mentality, insignificant geographically, with occasional highlights on Mediterranean, and world history; but we come from an old people with a relevant history; we are resilient, creative but also conservative and these traits have served us well throughout and particularly on certain occasions as also shown recently when the international economic slump did not affect us. We are a positive forward looking people.
I and many others have the greatest hope nay trust, nay belief, that with the input of many companies and individuals including our hosts and many here present - to whom I augur a successful and enjoyable time in Malta - this success story will continue and indeed expand.
My congratulations and best wishes to Philipp and Jörg on this happy occasion. And to all present, have a lovely evening.