Category: E&S Group

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E&S Group at ACE AML Compliance & Enforcement in the Gaming Sector Seminar

Categories E&S Group, Anti Money Laundering, Conference, Compliance

E&S Group at ACE AML Compliance & Enforcement in the Gaming Sector Seminar

On the 15th of January, the AML Compliance and Enforcement Seminar took place at the Intercontinental Hotel. The seminar was hosted by Ince Gordon Dadds and iGaming Academy and supported by the Malta Gaming Authority.

With the implementation of Anti-Money Laundering Directive 4 (AMLD4) in 2017, it is of crucial importance for service providers to understand and follow the requirements of compliance with the AML regulations.

Our senior manager Dr Deborah Vella and Ms Jessica Attard, one of our corporate administrators focusing on AML attended the seminar to explore key topics in AML regulation including the methodology to a comprehensive risk assessment, due diligence requirements and the compliance landscape for 2019.

If you have any questions regarding ALM, contact us by sending an email on [email protected]

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New Year – New Opportunities

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, E&S Group, New Year, Christmas

New Year – New Opportunities

We are living in an age of innovation and rapid economic development where being flexible and open-minded offers the potential for great rewards. I hope that the Christmas season brings your joy and would like to wish you the inspiration required to achieve higher goals in the New Year!

Digital innovations are ripe, and this year has seen increasingly more mainstream companies adopting this technology. Authorities began paying closer attention to industry regulation in order to develop an operating standard for blockchain-powered enterprises, intended to regulate coin offerings and all activity related to crypto exchanges. Malta has established itself as a leader among the digital-friendly jurisdictions thanks to the sustainable development of its legal framework in 2018. In October and November, the Maltese Parliament enacted the Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act (MDIA), the Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFA), and the Innovation Technology Arrangements and Services Act (ITAS) securing Malta as the most progressive jurisdiction in the world in this regard.

This year’s DLT industry developments may seem controversial because, despite the huge steps taken towards the regulation of the crypto sphere, the crypto market was mostly controlled by bears that sowed pessimistic mood among the crypto community members. At a first glance, the situation really doesn’t look particularly favourable – over $100B has recently left the market, pushing its capitalisation down to less than $110B returning to the crypto community of August of 2017. This recent decline resulted in panic, with inexperienced players selling their remaining digital assets, especially Bitcoin. But those who panic are more prone to forget about the laws of the market. Since its inception 10 years ago, Bitcoin has already experienced four retracements, similar to the one we’ve seen this past year. Experts are sure that one of the main cryptocurrencies will stabilise, and it’s just a matter of time. Currently, the market is maturing and preparing for advanced levels of functionality.

In 2018 the crypto community witnessed lots of national cryptocurrency initiatives within countries striving to decrease their dependence on the American currency, which remains the main international reserve currency. The US dollar makes up to 64% of all central bank foreign exchange reserves, and in 2018 has represented close to 90% of the daily trading volume with an average turnover of $4,500B. Russia has been making these attempts with Latin America, while Iran has succeeded in banning the American fiat from its oil contracts with India. While national currencies are not as attractive to trading partners, and are unable to shatter the US’s power, digital currencies may become the solution for the de-dollarization of world business and trade.

In regions like Africa, payments via blockchain using virtual currencies could reach these isolated financial-system regions way faster whilst significantly reducing cost. Considering the global need for digital currencies to be implemented and widely spread, we can be sure that crypto is not going anywhere, and 2019 will allow for even more opportunities that will bring bright ideas to life.

We hope you are not afraid of heights because with our professional assistance your project is aimed to reach the stars! E&S Group has advised 100+ ICOs in 2018 and offers you the opportunity to start the year benefitting from its ICO legal services and Tokenomics

E&S Group – We make things happen!

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‘It’s the season to be Jolly’ Happy Holiday from the E&S Team 

Categories iGaming, ICOs, Malta, E&S Group, Conference

‘It’s the season to be Jolly’ Happy Holiday from the E&S Team

The Festive season is here once again and 2018 has been a great year for E&S Group. We started off by offering tailor-made ICO services to foreign and Maltese companies wishing to operate their ICO in Malta, amongst other exciting activities.

In March 2018, the Maltese Government took a positive stance assuring that they will be the first jurisdiction to properly regulate this space. In fact, this has placed Malta on the map having progressive laws regulating this industry. In October and November, the Maltese Parliament enacted three laws securing Malta as the most progressive jurisdiction in the world to offer clear regulation in this space. These laws are the Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act (MDIA), the Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFA), and the Innovation Technology Arrangements and Services Act (ITAS).

In this ever-growing industry, Malta became the go-to country for big corporations working on the blockchain and crypto sector. In fact, Malta attracted several companies, most of which work on crypto exchanges on the blockchain platform, securing Malta its title of ‘Blockchain Island’.

In the past year, E&S Group has successfully advised over 90 ICOs and STOs throughout their concept stage, all the way up to actual offering. As this substantial demand of companies working on the blockchain grew, this resulted the company to grow too, and today employs 45 staff members of various nationalities. By doing so, we are able to ensure that the company will continue to offer a premium service to all of our clients.

2018 in Conferences

Our company participated in numerous events related to the blockchain and iGaming sector throughout the year. Key events that attracted foreign entrepreneurs from all over the world included the Delta Summit which took place in October and the Malta Blockchain Summit which was held in St Julian’s and took place in November. For the latter, E&S Group organised a stand serving cocktails to clients, as well as a photo booth which attracted prospective clients to find out more about what we offer. The company also organised an after-party to thank our clients participating in this industry. The end of November also saw the largest iGaming event in Malta, which took place at the MFCC Ta’ Qali. This event welcomed many iGaming companies willing to delve into the blockchain sector and presented the opportunity to speak to one of our representatives and find out more about what is required to be a part of this industry. We also participated in foreign conferences such as the Futurama Conference in September in Ibiza, the European Blockchain Convention in November in Barcelona, The Blockchain Leadership Summit in Switzerland in November and the World Ethical Data Forum in Barcelona, Spain last September.

E&S Group is continuously growing and delving into new sectors of the market, most of which include iGaming, ICOs, STOs and crypto exchange companies. 2018 was a great year, and we are expecting 2019 to be better. We are set to keep providing an excellent service and ‘make things happen’ to all of our loyal clients.

During this festive season, our offices will be closed from Friday 21st December till the 1st of January 2019. We will reopen again on January 2nd 2019. We would also like to take this opportunity to wish you all very happy holidays and a prosperous New Year!

 

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The Employee’s “Personal Data” Boundaries

Categories Employment, GDPR, E&S Group, Regulation, Data Protection

The Employee’s “Personal Data” Boundaries

The case of the former CEO of the European Union Programmes Agency, Doreen Camilleri, set a precedent that confirmed that a corporate email address with an individual’s name should be considered as “personal data”.

After her job was terminated, the agency requested a password change for her corporate email address, however Ms Camilleri was not informed of this and she was blocked out of her account. A few days later, Ms Camilleri found out that her e-mail address was still in use, but she could not access it herself. The concern that the emails could still be sent on her behalf was a reason to file a complaint.

In reaching this decision, the Court of Appeal held that the legal basis for processing personal data must be carefully determined (by data controllers) and it must adhere to the law and circumstances.

The password communicated to the user must be changed immediately upon receipt. In default of such action, the user assumes liability for all activity logged with the unchanged password once this notice is communicated, without prejudice to any other liability incurred by the user for activity logged on the account from the time the password is changed.

In the employment context, any computer hardware and access to any electronic communication and networking service, including but not limited to electronic mail, internet, internal servers and archive folders are considered to be the property of the employer who regulates their use for the ultimate legitimate interest of the business and administrative activity.

Even though the email account of the employee is his property, the IT manager might have access to it for a short period of time. This does not necessarily mean that every time the inbox is checked, processing of personal data of said employee had taken place.

If one must use some logic, the employee is to be cordially asked to give a handover, which in turn would initiate the process of archiving of emails that are on the former employee`s account.

While business continuity is a crucial aspect when dealing with handovers, employees’ rights should not be breached in the process.

 

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EU Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive implemented in Malta

Categories Tax, Malta, E&S Group

EU Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive implemented in Malta

On the 11th December 2018, Legal Notice 411 entitled ‘European Union Anti-Tax Avoidance Directives Implementation Regulations’ was published in the Malta Government Gazette.

These Regulations, which shall come into force on 1st January 2019, implement the provisions of Directive (EU) 2016/1164 of 12 July 2016 adopted by the Council of the European Union laying down rules against tax avoidance practices that directly affect the functioning of the internal market. They apply to all companies as well as other entities, trusts and similar arrangements that are subject to tax in Malta in the same manner as companies, including entities that are not resident in Malta but that have a permanent establishment in Malta provided that they are subject to tax in Malta as companies.

The Directive presents key tax policy changes to Maltese law which include an interest limitation rule where exceeding borrowing costs shall be deductible in the tax period in which they are incurred only up to 30% of the taxpayer’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA). This rule is meant to deter artificial debt arrangements intended to minimise tax.

Also introduced is an exit tax on capital gains at an amount equal to the market value of the transferred assets, at the time of exit of the asset. This tax, as an exception to the other regulations, shall come into force on 1st January 2020, and is directed at preventing companies from avoiding tax when relocating assets.

The Directive also includes a general anti-abuse rule (GAAR rule) as a response to aggressive tax planning, and also a controlled foreign company rule (CFC rule) addressed at deterring profit shifting to a low or zero tax country, which requires that an entity, or a permanent establishment of which the profits are not subject to tax or are exempt from tax, shall be treated as a CFC when certain conditions are met.

Contact us on +356 20103020 or by mail at [email protected]. E&S can help you in ‘making things happen’.

Do you have a quick question? Chat with one of our professionals via the live chat!

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European Blockchain Convention to be hosted in Spain

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, ICOs, Malta, E&S Group, Technology

European Blockchain Convention to be hosted in Spain

Blockchain technology has formed a trend among many companies, many of which Fintech and ICOs aspiring to implement such innovative technology within their respective economic sectors. Many jurisdictions, however, have a different take to this disruptive technology – some are interested in regulating it such as Malta for instance, whilst others, such as China, are banning it.

In 2018, Malta has become a trailblazer to this new industry, passing 3 crypto-friendly bills which came to force in November. The aim the Maltese government was to keep this space competitive, regulated and thriving, attracting many foreign companies to set up shop within the widely dubbed “Blockchain Island”. Financial institutions established in Malta are providing legal advice and corporate services to prospective ICOs and STOs willing to conduct their crowdfunding campaigns from Malta. E&S Group is one of the most advanced legal and corporate firm to provide these tailor-made services to its clients, and the first legal company to tokenize its services back in March.

In a study obtained by ICO Bazaar, it has been concluded that in 2018 alone, the average crowdfunding reached was that of $200,000 – $1,250,000, this total sum includes preparation costs, together with the one-month token sale. Over this period, E&S Group has advised over 90 ICOs.

The topics of the digital economy, growth, and the emerging number of ICO conducted within different legislations will be discussed during the European Blockchain Convention held in Barcelona, Spain, on the 29th November. The theme of this year’s conference is “Building the foundation of Blockchain and the Digital Economy”.

Karl Shranz, co-founder of Malta’s leading ICO and Crypto Advisory firm, E&S Group, will be participating in a panel discussion titled: “Overcoming Barriers to Institutional Acceptance of Digital Assets.” Karl will share his expertise on the Maltese legal framework experience and future prospectives. Besides Karl, the panel consists of two other people contributing to the discussion, namely Stephanie Ramezan, Co-Founder of Quince Capital, and Eneko Knorr, Founder of Pheiden Capital moderated by Pernille Enggaard, Finance and Business Journalist at Radio24syv.

The conference will host 50 speakers and is expected to host over 500 industry leaders, regulators, politicians, investors, developers, CTOs, lawyers and entrepreneurs building the foundation of the Blockchain and the Digital Economy who will attend this convention.

This convention will also discuss various topics in relation to regulations, economic impacts caused by Blockchain and the industries’ changes under the influence if this phenomenon. If you would like to know more about this convention, or would like to set a meeting in Barcelona, kindly contact E&S Group on  [email protected].

 

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E&S Group at this year’s SiGMA Expo Conference

Categories iGaming, Malta, E&S Group, SiGMA

E&S Group at this year’s SiGMA Expo Conference

This year, SiGMA Expo is marking its 5th edition of its annual iGaming convention at the MFCC in Ta’ Qali. Dubbed ‘The World’s iGaming Village’, today SiGMA represents Malta’s largest iGaming event, gaining popularity among many foreign gaming companies which have settled in Malta’s booming economy. In fact, the number of iGaming companies that choose Malta is increasing. In 2017, the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) received 220 applications from remote gaming companies applying for a licence.

Malta is undoubtedly the iGaming hub of Europe with many companies selecting it over other jurisdictions. This is reflected in SiGMA’s attendance, with around 12,500 attendees flying in from 80+ countries around the world. The venue selected is MFCC, Malta’s biggest events and conferences building. It is expected that around 400 companies are set to showcase their services at the exhibitors stands, with 200 speakers in line to discuss the various issues and advancements that have been made within this space.

E&S Group is joining other leaders in the industry at SiGMA. A group of delegates will attend this year’s event happening between the 27th – 30th November.

Kindly get in touch on [email protected] should you wish to schedule a meeting.

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Nordics Blockchain Summit returns to Estonia

Categories iGaming, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, E&S Group, Regulation, Conference, Moontec18

Nordics Blockchain Summit returns to Estonia

Moontec is an internationally recognised Nordic event, devoted to blockchain technology and its implementation in various industries and is proudly hosted in Tallinn every year.

When Estonia started building its information society about two decades ago, there was no digital data being collected about its citizens. The general population did not have internet access or even devices with which to use it. For this reason, it took great courage to invest in IT solutions and take the information technology route within that scenario.

Since this decision was taken in 1997, the best step-by-step implemented e-solutions have made Estonia one of the world’s most developed digital societies. With the application of e-Governance, e-Tax, X-Road, Digital ID, I-Voting and e-Residence this Nordic country is moving towards real-time economy and industry 4.0.

At the end of October, ‘WePower’ the Estonia based energy company announced the successful delivery of a landmark; a nationwide pilot project in conjunction with transmission system operator, TSO Elering.

Representing a significant step forward in the digital energy sector, the initiate will convert energy consumption and production data onto the blockchain on a national scale. This is the first research and development project that aims to eventually enable consumers to purchase green energy directly from producers, with all relevant information stored on the blockchain.

Estonia benefits from 100% countrywide smart meter coverage and a data sharing platform called Estfeed, which allows customers to download and share their data with whoever they choose. This made the country the ideal location for such a pilot, as it already had much of the required infrastructure in place and fully functioning.

The interest towards blockchain in Estonia has never been higher. The momentum is shifting from a focus on learning and exploring the potential of the technology, to identifying and building practical business applications. Today, many tech companies started investing in blockchain Research and Development, yet they have no clear guidelines on its effectiveness.

This year’s Moontec, held between the 26th and 27th November, is dedicated to finding answers to the biggest challenges faced by blockchain nowadays, such as regulation, application in real-world practice and market adoption.

E&S Group team is attending the event to talk about the use of blockchain technology in the legal, iGaming and logistics industries. In order to make the system work on a European scale, the representatives of the Blockchain Island community should connect with the specialists from the Digital Nation, allowing the blocks to build an effective network.

Meet us in Tallinn on between the 26th and the 28th November. Please send an email to [email protected] to arrange an appointment or contact our team members directly: Yuliya Khrenova and Rick Goddard.

 

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Manhattan property worth $30 million, tokenised with blockchain

Categories ICOs, E&S Group, Tokenomics, Ethereum, Real Estate, Property

Manhattan property worth $30 million, tokenised with blockchain

A new condo development in the heart of Manhattan is set to become the first to be tokenised via the Ethereum blockchain. The unit consists of 12 units, each at 1700sq ft, located in 436 & 442 13th St in the East Village, one of the most sought-after areas in the city.

Listed by Ryan Serhant, a celebrity real estate agent, he and the developer decided to turn to tokenisation as a new way of financing the project. This could pave the way for other projects to follow suit as well as offering a better alternative for both the project and the investors.

“The market in New York is always strong, but it can take some time to sell for the right price in a new construction building. With blockchain tokenization, we can remove the unruly pressure of traditional bank financing, which is much healthier for the project and all of the stakeholders. Tokenization is paving the way for a new forefront in real estate development,” Serhant said.

Tokenisation is a way of representing ownership of a product or asset in a digital way on the blockchain. This new way of financing is the result of a collaboration between Fluidity and Propellr, two businesses that have come together to offer fully compliant services that enable the creation, distribution, and transfer of digital securities.

Todd Lippiatt, CEO of Propellr stated;

“Traditional securities structures and issuance frameworks haven’t evolved in a long time. With blockchain technology, a transparent and trustless ecosystem can start to solve the information asymmetry that hinders the market’s potential for liquidity. This asset, structure, sponsor, and sales team showcase this evolution. With proper discipline and respect, the future is bright for tokenized securities.”

Propellr is a management, creation, and servicing platform for digitally held assets and it is also the parent company of a FINRA registered broker/dealer called Propellr Securities. Their aim is to use their financial and capital market experience to both offers and sell tokenised securities under the Reg D Rue 506 (C).

Fluidity is the company behind AirSwap which offers technology services to broker/dealers, financial institutions, and issuers for tokenised securities. The partnership between Fluidity and Propellr means that they can now accept fiat payments as well as both solicit and sell securities in line with the law.

Investors in the project are able to choose between receiving analogue or digital assets in the securities which means that all kinds of investor are covered. AirSwap technology will also be utilised the process, as well as tokenising securities and helping a fully compliant secondary market to emerge.

“Along with our flagship AirSwap, we’re building a system that brings local assets online using blockchain technology. This makes them available for trade on a global marketplace—directly among buyers and sellers. Fluidity is forming the foundation of a new system of tokenization and trade,” Don Mosites, co-founder of Fluidity, stated.

E&S Group recently became the first business of its type to tokenise its services– this is also something we can help you do. Whether you want to tokenise your products and offerings or tokenise an asset such as property, our team of experts can guide you through the process, so get in touch by sending us an email at [email protected]

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Crypto-friendly banks expected to open in Malta in the next 12 months

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, ICOs, Bank, DLT Regulation, E&S Group, Cryptocurrency Exchange, Tokens, Wallet, Delta Summit

Crypto-friendly banks expected to open in Malta in the next 12 months

Roderick Psaila, a Malta-based banking expert spoke about the future of crypto-banking at the Delta summit in Malta held between the 3rd and 5th of October. The three-day event was the world’s first official and government approved blockchain event of its type, and it attracted over 1500 delegates from all over the world.

Speaking as a part of a discussion panel, he was responding to criticism of traditional banks hesitancy to embrace blockchain, DLT, and cryptocurrencies despite the fact that the Maltese government has approved the DLT legislation in November.

“We are already seeing new, smaller banks show a willingness to adopt blockchain technology, but legacy banks will take longer to come round, because of their systems in place and because they tend to expect higher standards,” he said.

He also stated that he believes that two to three crypto friendly banks will open in Malta within the next year that will be amenable to blockchain and crypto, as well as being conducive to the industry’s growth.

This could be due to the fact that it is unlikely for the banking industry to fully adopt and embrace blockchain technology until matters around its compliance with anti-money laundering framework were finalised. Until this framework has been deemed acceptable to banks, it doesn’t matter how acceptable it is to operators, ultimately the banks have the final say.

Also on the panel was Michael Matthias who is the CEO of digital currency Dascoin and he stated the need for banks to catch up with modern technology instead of shying away from it.

“And yet, as blockchain technology becomes more mainstream, it is not farfetched to imagine a near future in which cryptocurrency is used as the coin of choice in everyday payments and transactions,” he said.

The Delta Summit, the first of its kind has been called a resounding success by all that attended. Dr Christian Ellul, Director of E&S Group also spoke on a panel discussing Malta’s bright future as the “blockchain island”. Other speakers at the event included the Prime Minister of Malta Joseph Muscat, Changpeng Zhao the CEO and Founder of Binance, and other global stakeholders in the blockchain, crypto, DLT, and ICO sectors. If you have any questions in relation to ICOs, and Malta’s legislation regarding ICOs and blockchain please contact us on [email protected]

 

 

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