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Sustaining Tech Through Innovation - July 10, 2021 - 0 comments

As published on the The Malta Independent

Authors: Dana Farrugia, CEO at with insights from MDIA CEO Stephen McCarthy

Sustaining Tech Through Innovation - MDIA & - July 2021

Malta has consistently aimed to be ahead of the curve where technology and innovation are concerned.

With a healthy digital ecosystem, Malta’s reputation as the ideal jurisdiction for emerging technology is likely to keep growing in the future. The country is set to gain a strategic commercial advantage in the global economy sphere, generating investment and positioning itself as a leader in the technology field. Malta will not simply follow other countries but actually be leading the way and becoming a key player in the sector. Since inception in 2018, and the Malta Digital Innovation Authority (MDIA) have made it their mission to take initiative and provide solution owners and businesses with the necessary support services ensuring that the challenges encountered are reduced and the full potential of the client’s needs are met.

The ultimate aim remains to ensure economic prosperity and growth for the technology sector in Malta. Throughout the past years, Malta has successfully diversified its economy with the tech sector not only being a key sector in its own right but, also being a transversal sector supporting the growth of other important sectors. The launch of pioneering regulation aimed at instilling transparency and trust without suffocating the market strengthened Malta’s appeal as a hub for foreign investment in this sector. Having the right frameworks and regulations in place as well as having the support and guidance through growth and development, result in the ideal combination to sustain an innovative environment.

Another exciting chapter in Malta’s digital innovation economy is just about to commence with the recently launched Technology Assurance Sandbox. This is in line with’s mission and commitment to shape an attractive ecosystem for innovative technologies to thrive in. Through the MDIA-TAS, start-ups can test their creations prior to placing them on the market.

“Once again, we are adopting the same mentality that pushed our authority forward: ensuring trust in the technology. Hence, the idea behind the sandbox is that of start-ups having a final quality product that protects the customer. Solution owners will be guided through a 2-year residency through which their product is aligned with internationally established control objectives, in a gradual manner, which will ultimately lead to full certification,”
remarked Stephen McCarthy, CEO at MDIA.


“The TAS framework caters for a very competitive digital market and foresees positive results in quality and efficiency. This ensures that the development of the respective solution is in line with predefined control objectives as per international standards, further ensuring the mitigation of risks for end-users. The TAS provides tech assurance to investors and end-users. This by ensuring functional correctness and optimised operational processes. Moreover, the sandbox provides legal and regulatory certainty in line with evolving EU regulations in the Technology sphere. The ultimate benefit being a seamless MDIA certification process following the sandbox residency and assurance that respective solutions are highly competitive once launched in the market,” emphasized Mr McCarthy.

Tech solutions need certification as a trust stamp over the technology or concept, and the TAS will lead towards this. “Tech users and investors looking to develop an innovative concept can have peace of mind knowing that the sandbox certification provides assurance and reliability. The promise in functional correctness and dependability of such technologies is essential. The supporting operational procedures are guaranteed, making the solution more appealing. Tech companies are still obliged to blue-stamp their solutions, so why not avail of a pre-established framework, such as the MDIA-TAS and receive assistance to arrive at the same destination?” remarked Ms Dana Farrugia, CEO at Tech. mt. Trust can be enhanced with the utilisation of the sandbox certification as it offers legal and regulatory certainty, in line with EU regulations in the field of technology.


The recently published European Innovation Scoreboard (2021) shows that Malta is on the right track to allow room for innovation to grow, as it ranked 19.2% for non-innovators with the potential to innovate – averaging with the EU’s 19.9%. The sandbox is aimed at software development which is in its infancy and needs handholding to thrive.


The Technology Assurance Sandbox (TAS) enables start-ups and small businesses working on Blockchain, DLT, and other Innovative Technologies to test their solution in a controlled and regulated environment designed with small businesses in mind. “This allows for the solution and related regulatory requirements to be scaled up as start-ups and smaller firms expand,” stated Ms Farrugia. The sandbox can also be availed of by development companies who are at a more advanced stage but still need to get their tech solution certified. Through the sandbox’s impact assessment, developed organisations can analyse how innovative the technological idea is.

Through its work, is committed to take the technology industry to the next level. strives to position Malta as a high-quality, creative, and tech-savvy country, as well as to promote Malta as a viable location for foreign direct investment while also promoting local technology companies overseas. Our ultimate goal remains to ensure that our local technology ecosystem keeps experiencing steady and sustainable growth, and we believe that this can only be attained if the environment provides stability and trust. Technology companies can find in Malta an ally in providing high-skilled human resources and a rich infrastructure where they can operate with minimal redundancy and high-powered internet speeds that allow for global connectivity at all times.

MDIA - Legislation for the Tech Sector in Malta

Malta's Tech Legislation

Malta was the first jurisdiction to develop a regulatory framework for DLTs.

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