PN says government unable to attract quality investment needed to make Malta Blockchain Island

The Opposition was reacting to news that blockchain company DQR had laid off most of its employees just nine months after opening • Government says Opposition is against innovation and against blockchain

The company has been forced to lay off the majority of its staff after running into financial difficulties
The company has been forced to lay off the majority of its staff after running into financial difficulties

The government does not have a plan to attract the quality investment needed to Malta the Blockchain Island it has been boasting about for so long, the Nationalist Party (PN) said on Saturday.

Reacting to news that blockchain company DQR had laid off most of its workforce after facing financial difficulties, the PN the fact that the company had opened its doors just nine months ago clearly showed the government had no long-term strategy to “build and strengthen” the blockchain sector.

The company relocated to Malta from Germany in April last year and planned to employ up to 200 people. Parliamentary Secretary for Digital Innovation Silvio Schembri had described the company as one of the biggest in the world and one that would “cement Malta’s reputation as the Blockchain Island”.

“If the government really wants Malta to become Blockchain Island, it should attract sound and credible investment from renowned companies and companies able to provide all the necessary expertise for Maltese workers to grow and prosper in this innovative sector,” the PN said in a statement.

“The government should ensure that we are not amateurs on economic matters and that proper due diligence is carried out before granting licenses to operators…the country cannot afford to continue losing its credibility and reputation.”

The PN wanted to see quality investment in Malta and not unstable operators with shades of corruption, as witnessed in the banking sector, the PN added

PN is against innovation and against blockchain – Government

In a reaction, the government said the Opposition was trying to give the impression that it was business as usual despite its internal problems. It said the PN’s statement had showed the Opposition was against economic innovation and against blockchain.

“The Opposition showed gross hypocrisy when it used a company’s internal situation for its own purposes and when it had not taken part in any of the six public consultation exercises on blockchain,” the government said.

It said the government would continue working to attract more companies to Malta, adding the MFSA was currently processing applications for it to issue the first licenses.

On Friday, Lovin Malta reported that the company had been forced to fire most of its 65 staff and freeze its operations in Malta after one of its main investors, a bitcoin mining company, ran into difficulties as a result of the recent dip in cryptocurrency markets.

The company’s chief executive officer Kristian Haehndal told the website that it was freezing its operations until it can pay off its debts and bring in new investors.

He added that the company had not expected that the market dip would affect their partners so quickly, but insisted the company would not be walking away from Malta.

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