This is more of an open letter to you who has stumbled across this website and is therefore interested in knowing more about Bitcoin and perhaps even start using it. I’ll start off with the question – what prompted me to start all this off?
Ever since I started studying Bitcoin and other virtual currencies in 2013, I was always frustrated by the gap between those who are more technologically-adapt than others and understood the basic workings of Bitcoin relatively quickly, and those who would perhaps like to learn more about it but are daunted by what initially appear as very complex workings and hocus-pocus stuff. Indeed, one of my main challenges while writing my Doctorate of Law thesis was simplifying the workings and functions of Bitcoin, whittling it down to a level where it could be understood by the man on the street, that same man who is proficient in other useful areas but perhaps not in Bitcoin. That’s fine, I thought to myself; it is, after all, the child of a marriage between technology and the economy which is extremely complicated and not yet fully understood to this very day (like most teenagers nowadays). But how long can we afford to keep this wonderful invention to ourselves and not share it with those who would benefit the most?
I have attended various seminars, courses and workshops on the subject, and every one of them starts off with a deja-vu moment – the inescapable question “What is Bitcoin? How does it work?”. In my presentation at the 2016 International Chamber of Commerce – Financial Investigation Bureau forum held in Malta in May, 2016, I was asked to explain Bitcoin and the blockchain to the attendants in thirty minutes. The presentation ended up taking more than an hour, with my desperate looks at the moderator being met by an encouraging nod as the audience erupted with questions and a rare thirst for more knowledge on the subject. That’s when I thought to myself that before scheming grandly about cryptocurrency adoption, of Bitcoin ATMs, of overthrowing financial institutions and of eradicating poverty, one should tackle the root of it all – explain exactly what Bitcoin, and more importantly, what the underlying blockchain technology brings to the table.
This is simply an effort to educate all those who wish to learn more, to experience the greatest shift in technology since the invention of the Internet, and to enter a new era in mankind. I am sure that right now you must be thinking that this is all elusive thinking, over-optimistic declarations that every salesman will try to pitch at the unwary prospect. All I will suggest is: take a look at what the giants in the technology industry are doing with the blockchain, and you will see for yourself that this is not a whimsical fantasy; now is the time to learn more about the blockchain. Feel free to contact us and we will be more than happy to help in any way we can to welcome you into this exciting new age.
Jonathan Galea – PRESIDENT
Jonathan Galea is a graduated lawyer from the University of Malta and warranted for legal practice in Malta, with a niche interest in Bitcoin and other virtual currencies (altcoins), as well as a general interest in Anti-Money Laundering Law and Gaming Law. He has successfully completed a Doctorate of Law thesis titled “The Effect of Bitcoin on Money Laundering Law” and has been extensively researching Bitcoin and altcoins since September 2013, when he stumbled across an article hailing Bitcoin as the new gold. Ever since then, he has written various articles on the subject as well as attended various courses and webinars. Jonathan has also given various presentations and participated in conferences on the subject, with the most notable participation being that in the annual conference organised by the International Chamber of Commerce in May, 2016, with the subject revolving around Bitcoin and its disruptive effect on the financial ecosystem. Jonathan was also part of the Regulatory and Compliance panel during Blockchain Week 2017 held in London, and specifically tackled the applicability of the blockchain technology and use of cryptocurrencies in the gaming industry along with the regulatory implications of a DAO. Notable upcoming presentations include the annual Economic Forum in Poland, SiGMA ’17 in Malta and the ICC FIB 2017 conference.
Dr. Joseph Borg – Vice-President
Dr. Joseph F. Borg is currently a Senior Advisor to WH Partners, a law firm specialising in Gaming, Corporate, IT, Telecoms and Intellectual Property Law.
He also lectures Gaming Law at the University of Malta and is the Secretary General of the Malta IT Law Association. Before joining WH Partners he occupied the post of Chief Regulatory Officer of the Lotteries and Gaming Authority – Malta. Joe was also an elected Member on the Board of Trustees of the International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR), a position which he held throughout 2012. He had originally joined the Authority in March 2007 as Director Legal and Enforcement and has occupied this position for almost 4 years. Before joining the Authority, Joseph, acted as a Legal Counsel to Vodafone Malta Limited for three years.
Joseph was conferred with an LL.M. in Information Technology and Telecommunications Law at the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow), with Distinction. Earlier, he was awarded the LL.D. from the University of Malta, after writing and successfully defending a thesis entitled, ‘Protection of Trademarks Against Domain Names’. In 2009 he completed a Regulator Development Program organized by the International Gaming Institute at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas (UNLV). In 2012 he was awarded a certificate in Casino Management by the UNLV.
Jan Stockhausen – Secretary General
Jan Stockhausen is a qualified German attorney (Rechtsanwalt) and registered as a foreign lawyer practising in Malta.
After studying law at the University of Giessen (Germany) and at the London School of Economics, he obtained his bar qualification while working for a magic circle firm. Jan gained in-depth experience in the international financial services industry working for global financial institutions, banks and law firms in various jurisdictions in Europe, Latin America and Asia. Jan is fluent in German, English, Spanish, French and Portuguese and is an active member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners and of the Düsseldorf Bar Association.
Michael Scicluna – Chief Financial Officer
Michael is a certified public accountant with a background in auditing. He currently leads a group of companies providing corporate, accounting, trust and fiduciary services.
An interest in Fintech and Forex led to the discovery of bitcoin in early 2013, along with an appreciation of the potential that blockchain can provide to the financial industry and beyond. Michael completed a course on Introduction to Digital Currencies in Spring 2016 offered by University of Nicosia, a course co-developed and tutored by Andreas Antonopoulos, one of the most well-known and respected figures in the crypto space.
Mario Di Florio – Chief Operations Officer
Mario Di Florio is a dedicated and hard-working facilitator and network enabler. He is currently Founder and Director of GozoLab and Curator for the Techstars Startup Digest in Malta.
Mario has spent the last 7 years living and working in Northern Europe, with the longest hiatus in the Scandinavian countries. He brings to the table years of experience in the organization of events, a keen interest in IT and new tech trends, and a natural touch in driving effective discussions. He got to know Bitcoin back in 2011, when he started to build his own mining rig with friends, a plan that never really took off. Fast forward to 2017, Mario has been supporting the Bitcoin Meetups since the very beginning, and is actively involved into trading cryptocurrencies. He’s very vocal about advocating new tech for the betterment of society.
You can find him on Twitter and Steemit at @mdflorio
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