Blockchain Legal & News

A Matter of Evolution, Not Revolution

Jonathan Galea 05 Aug 2020

“Thanks for the excellent work!”

I have been asked by our marketing manager to come up with a quote reflecting the best moment throughout our company’s life in order to kick off this post. We’ve had a good number of successes, perhaps more than our failures, which still amount to quite a bit. But through all the ups and downs, through all the celebrations of our feats, I cannot think of a better quote than the one above – the genuine words of praise I reserve on a regular basis for team members who work hard and deliver work of the highest standard day in, day out. Although these words might sound stale to them after being repeated for so long, I say them empathically each and every time.

How Blockchain Advisory started

What is certainly not stale is the memory I have of how we started Blockchain Advisory, or rather, BCAS as it shall now be known. The easiest and most difficult thing in the world is being faced with a blank page, and asked to write whatever you would like on it. Our blank page in 2017 was just that; we set out to build a company that aimed to set itself apart in the blockchain and crypto-assets industries, but beyond that, the specifics were yet outside our grasp. This new industry has often been likened to the Wild Wild West, and we were ready to venture out there in the madness without a gun. We used our personal industry knowledge to target areas of potential interest, with the lowest hanging fruit back then being initial coin offerings. Due to the dubious nature of most of the projects that we were encountering, we had a slow start, with most of the time being spent sifting through the chaos of the ICO bubble in order to find those few diamonds in the rough and offer our services to them.

Malta’s DLT Regulatory Framework

That madness, that chaos, made us realise that a sense of order had to be brought in, and that paved the way to a months-long project which culminated with the creation of the world’s first comprehensively structured regulatory framework covering various aspects of DLT, ergo Malta’s DLT Regulatory Framework. I had the pleasure, and greater honour, of announcing the Framework on the 1st of November 2018 at the Malta Blockchain & AI Summit, marking the effective date of the same Framework and opening the gates for hundreds of companies to start exploring the ways in which they would be able to move from obscure and uncertain frameworks to one which offered them legal certainty and clarity. One can say that the blank page started filling itself pretty quickly after the coming into effect of the DLT Regulatory Framework, as we quickly found ourselves being placed into the niche sector of regulatory advisory for companies eyeing Malta as their base of operations.

Regulatory advice to Serbia’s Government

We barely had time to catch our breath following the launch of the Framework, as we embarked on a likewise prestigious project, that of engaging with USAID Serbia in order to help the Serbian government explore opportunities related to DLT and crypto-assets, and assist in the formulation of a national blockchain strategy. A project which perfectly fit in within the mission that we set out with, that of doing our part towards the adoption of blockchain technology within the modern world. I still remember signing the engagement with the client, turning to my long-time business partner Anton, and saying: “if this is a dream, don’t wake me up!”

Expansion into the blockchain & crypto ecosystem

Slowly but surely, we found ourselves entering the international arena, with BCA’s name often being recognised at the international conferences we were present in across Europe, Asia, and the United States. Our team quickly became multinational, handpicking the best talents we could find. Our portfolio of clients steadily grew to include household names that I had been following since my early days in the cryptosphere, not even imagining that one day I would be working closely with them and offer them our services. Strong partnerships were forged, allowing us to extend the remit of our services even further, becoming a true end-to-end solutions provider for our clients.

Like a fish finding itself outgrowing the pond it is living in, we soon came to realise that we had to start planning for the day when we would need to take the next big step; except that such a day had seemed so far off in the future back in 2017, that we thought it would not merit any thinking about at least until five years had passed. Yet here we are, not even three years past our birthdate, planning and ultimately announcing the big jump. And in order to make that jump, we had to shed our old clothes, and slip into new ones.

The new brand

We are proud to present our new brand, BCA Solutions, or BCAS in short. We wanted to depart from our old, Maltese identity & domain (www.bca.com.mt) to a new, yet familiar identity which is now going international (www.bcas.io). How is it going international, you may ask? Well – we are even prouder to announce that we have set up two new overseas offices! The first one has been set up in Liechtenstein a few months ago, with the second one just freshly set up in Singapore. Our initial intention was to expand within Europe, but one can scarcely turn a blind eye to such an exciting opportunity as one of the most prominent crypto hubs in Asia.

New office: Liechtenstein

Starting off with Liechtenstein, which is an EEA Member State with full access to the EU market, we felt that we had to find an additional European jurisdiction with a framework that has a strong element of robustness like Malta’s, yet offers certain additional perks. The Blockchain Act, launched in January 2020, is seen as one of the most avantgarde regulatory frameworks in Europe, and has attracted companies such as Bittrex Global and Aeternity. The licencing process with the Financial Markets Authority takes around three months to complete, and the business-friendly approach of Liechtenstein caters also for start-ups looking to operate regulated business activities within Europe. Last, but definitely not least, Liechtenstein’s banking system is open and accessible to companies within the cryptosphere, granting them access to the traditional fiat world.

New office: Singapore

On the other hand, Singapore is often seen as the primary Asian hub for all blockchain and crypto-related matters. With the amendments to the Payment Services Act in January 2020, service providers such as exchanges can now apply for a licence with the Monetary Authority of Singapore, through a straightforward licencing process that also makes applicants eligible for various monetary grants given by the Singaporean government. Singapore also boasts of a pool of skilled technical workers, making it the ideal jurisdiction for any company looking to set up regulated business activities in Asia.

Through this set-up, we now have the network necessary to cater for all the regulatory needs of businesses looking to set up solid operations within regulated environments, with the choice of jurisdictions dependent on their business requirements, operational set-up, and other nuances. Our multidisciplinary team is well-equipped in assisting clients with their requirements, and has the experience necessary to handle projects of any size and complexity. However, recognising the adage that “no man is an island”, we likewise believe that in order to truly take things to the next level, then we have to join forces with other companies who subscribe to our same work ethos and standard, and are renowned within their own sectors. Safe to say that we have managed to find such partners, as I am sure you will agree!

Blockchain & IT development partner – Tech Mahindra

Earlier this year, we signed a partnership agreement with Tech Mahindra, one of India’s largest IT firms with a yearly revenue of over $5 billion, and part of the renowned Mahindra group. Their significant experience in blockchain-based solutions & implementations, along with the vast coverage over anything which is tech-related, made the choice of Tech Mahindra as our blockchain & IT partner an easy one. Our expertise in project management and advisory, coupled with the extensive knowledge and resources within Tech Mahindra’s arsenal, ensure that any clients seeking to talk the blockchain talk and walk the implementation walk have the best support possibly available so as to see their visions become a reality.

Cybersecurity partner – Kudelski Security

Another international heavyweight joined the BCAS network as a trusted partner, this time round in a field which is becoming increasingly important on a daily basis. Based in Switzerland and the United States, Kudelski Security is an instantly recognisable name to cypherpunks and cybersecurity advocates alike, boasting of high-profile clients and offering one of the most comprehensive suite of solutions & services in the industry. With the crypto-industry increasingly becoming a favourite target for cybercriminals around the world, security is no longer an option but a requirement – and when the whole business is at stake and at risk, the word “enough” cannot be used in the same line as “cybersecurity”. We have you covered here.

Delivering Legal Tech

I think I can now call this a wrap, and with this, officially announce the next stage of BCAS. Even though we have evolved, we have never departed from our core mission – that of ushering in the adoption and use of DLT, at the right time, and in the right way.

And so, I would like to end this post with another “thank you” – this time round, to all those who have supported us, to our clients, to our partners, and to our critics. We would not be here without you. And last, but not least at all – to my team members, who have had to put up with hours of mad ideas and initiatives from my end. Here’s to more.

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