Malta. Just look at it. A small, rather dusty, but altogether beautiful little island tucked away in the that corner of the Mediterranean often overlooked by the tourist masses.
It rarely gets itself in the news or bothers other countries with its politics, gripes or the whys and wherefores of international policy. It’s never had a leader hell-bent on shoving their nose into everyone else’s affairs, making unreasonable trade demands and telling them how to run their country.
Instead, it just gets its head down and cracks on. In fact, it’s had a long history of getting on with it – it’s got an almost British spirit of total stoicism coursing through the blood of its marvellous people.
Throughout time, it’s been plundered, ransacked, invaded and ruled by more countries than most people could name in a pub quiz – yet it has remained uniquely Maltese throughout it all.
When the final bombs were dropped on Valletta and the attacks repelled during the Second World War, Malta instantly became a world-famous beacon of resistance, survival and regeneration (perhaps best expressed by the legendary endeavours of Faith, Hope and Charity). It rose from its own ashes to become a focal point for the signing of treaties and gatherings of global leaders to discuss world peace.
It is this intoxicating spirit of transformation, I believe, which has brought about the emergence of Malta as a mighty hub of the blockchain and crypto world.
A wealth of businesses dedicated to moving the whole blockchain-driven world forward have already set up home across Malta, and with that has come hundreds of jobs and employment opportunities – all welcomed by Joseph Muscat, its forward-thinking Prime Minister.
Later this year, attention will be turned to 35 degrees North, 14 degrees East as the spotlight falls upon one of the biggest events in the industry’s calendar – the Malta Blockchain Summit.
We created quite a stir last week when we broke the news to the world that perennial disruptor and dedicated agitator of the tech world John McAfee would be the key speaker. An interstellar headline act for what is already looking like a serious contender for the title of ‘Greatest Blockchain Show on Earth’.
While I’m a huge fan of McAfee (and we’re really looking forward to interviewing him at the event), I sighed a little when I saw the resulting frenzy of excitement following our article. It left me wondering “will there come a day when a woman in blockchain can provoke that level of fervour?”.
It’s a mildly depressing thought, but not one I would wish to dwell upon. After all, it’s only a matter of time before Coin Rivet breaks a story across the globe about one of the brilliant women already popping up on the blockchain radar who will then go on set the internet alight with anticipation of their attendance at an event.
To be fair though, they’re competing with a multi-millionaire who helped shape the way we use the internet, went on the run from the authorities in Belize after a mysterious murder, faked a heart attack in Guatemala to avoid deportation, confesses to being a ‘madman’, is a darling to the tabloids, married a former prostitute, was arrested for DUI and – perhaps least shocking of all – intends to have another go at running for president in 2020.
You see, aside from a presidential run, I can’t see many women boasting a rap sheet quite like that and still being considered the main attraction, let alone a hero figure. It must be a man thing.
For now, though, I’m looking forward to meeting and hearing from some true heroes of our Women In Blockchain campaign who are all speaking at the Malta Blockchain Summit. Women like Crystal Rose, Wannipha Jen Buakaew, Carla Maree Vella, Yael Rozencwajg, Irina Litchfield, and of course our very own Sally Eaves.
You never know, I may even get time to call in to Valletta’s Fort St Elmo and visit Faith – one of the three grand old ladies of the skies who helped pave the way for the whole island to be awarded the George Cross.
Bring on November and Malta’s turn to shine on the world stage once more. I can’t wait.