Malta is one of the first jurisdictions to embrace cryptocurrencies, providing a competitive environment for companies in the space, similar to the island’s iGaming industry. The E&S Group has been among the first legal services firms aiding startups and those exploring cryptocurrencies and blockchain for the first time.
“We started way back when there was nothing of all this,” E&S Group Director Dr. Christian Ellul said, referring to the present vibrancy of the cryptocurrency sector. “It was an unregulated environment, so we tried to help clients fit within the client regulations which were there. For example, ICOs, we structured as what we called reward-based crowdfunding events, to make sure we were compliant. Of course, now we have specific legislation just for that, which makes it easier and gives comfort to people who are investing, and even clients who feel, okay, they’re really getting like the Rolls Royce of treatment here.”
The firm has released its own token for availing of its services. “The last year, we’ve really focused on crypto and blockchain advisory. We’ve started assisting ICOs, in all their legal documents, all their legal work, now exchanges, OTC and all that, so we’re very much embedded in it. So we said, okay, what better way to do it than also have our token? So we have an ESTS token that connects to our services. People come pay our services apart from the main Bitcoin and alts,” Ellul said.
Holding such offerings was good in terms of public relations, according to Ellul, but also it showed that “we went through the process ourselves. We’re not just advising clients about something we don’t know about. We actually did it ourselves, in private placements, so I think that gives us the edge compared to others, because we really know what we’re doing.”
It makes sense, according to Ellul, to also provide assistance to those in iGaming. “There’s a nice relationship between gaming and crypto. Malta has been very well positioned because Malta regulated gaming a long time ago, it being a high-risk industry, and therefore, it’s a natural continuation to now regulate crypto, which is also seen as a high-risk industry. So then I think Malta really could bridge that gap by being the first in gaming and also among the first in crypto and blockchain,” he said.
The link between gaming and cryptocurrencies is evident in E&S Group’s clients’ activities. Ellul explained, “I think blockchain is useable for everyone in the world, and including gaming, but gaming tends to lend itself to blockchain. We have ICOs that are funding, for example, a gaming company. We have other gaming companies that want to start using cryptocurrencies, and that’s basically sandbox allocation rules by the MGA [Malta Gaming Association] now, so they really do link in well.”
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