Malta, the “Blockchain Island” in the Mediterranean, has a government authority to certify distributed ledger platforms, regulations to manage smart contracts and a framework for launching ICOs.
Now it has a blockchain master’s program, too.
The University of Malta’s Masters Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology began its inaugural semester this October, with around 35 students enrolled in the island nation’s only DLT-specific masters program – one of the few such programs around the world.
It is the latest charge in Malta’s islandwide embrace of just about everything blockchain, an effort now well into its second year.
When, in April 2017, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat unveiled plans for Malta to become a”global trail-blazer” in blockchain technology, it stood in stark contrast to most world governments’ reactions to DLT, many of whom were lagging – then as now – in how to proceed.
But the Maltese moved quickly. Lawmakers started passing blockchain-friendly laws and high-profile industry players – including Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by volume, and OKEx- announced they would relocate to the island.
In less than a year the plan was paying dividends. Crypto firms were coming ashore and more businesses on the way.
Masters Program Director Joshua Ellul, who also heads Malta’s Digital Innovation Authority, told CoinDesk that in addition to the 15 companies who have already reached out to his DLT students, there’s high demand for government-run blockchain contracts, projects and initiatives.
Plenty of jobs – all looking for highly-trained, blockchain-fluent applicants.
“And this year, here you are,” Ellul told a crowd of students at Malta’s annual DELTA Summit,