Biographical Index

Azzopardi, Dr Ramona heads the Tax and Private Client Department of WH Partners. She is recognized as one of the leading taxation lawyers in Malta. Ramona regularly advises corporate clients in the gambling, financial services & fintech and digital services industries on their cross-border tax implications. She also assists HNWI families in estate and tax planning. Ramona holds a Doctor of Laws degree and Master’s degree in Financial Services from the University of Malta. She is a regular speaker at tax conferences. She is also Council Member at the Malta Institute of Taxation.

Baron, Tyron started his first tech company in 2015, but before setting out to mine data, develop blockchains and build Artificial Intelligence systems that help brands reach you with their advertising, he was more preoccupied with the works of Gorgias than Google, more Hesiod than Heroku. Critics and admirers alike would describe Tyron, who is educated in the Classics, and holds a Master’s in Business, as ‘a geek of massive proportions who finds no greater joy than solving problems and driving innovation through data and science’. With an eye to the history of progress and a finger on the pulse of the current industry, Tyron can appreciate the wider scope of his own brand of optimistic Futurism. Over the last 10 years, Tyron has predominantly led private corporations and NGOs through inception, fundraising and customer development in the fast-paced areas of e-commerce, deep-tech and advertising. Tyron is the CEO of InboundMuse, whose team works extensively in the realm of A.I. and blockchain for use cases from GDPR to supply chain management and Tokenised Memberships. The team is also involved in designing the University of Malta’s Master’s programme, championing Malta as the legal jurisdiction par excellence with Finance Malta, as well as developing solutions for an esteemed clientele in the private sector both at home and abroad.

Bonello, Dr Leonard has been practising law since 2006, and a partner at Ganado Advocates since 2018 where he now leads the fintech practice at the firm. His focus has always been on the general financial services spectrum, with a special focus on banking regulatory, financing transactions and derivatives work. His interest in the use of the technology of financial services brought him to fintech, initially by servicing payment and electronic money institutions as well as by assisting crowdfunding projects and platforms. The step into the DLT space was part of a natural evolution as the world of payments, fundraising and marketplaces all created their own niches in the DLT ecosystem. Leonard is also a founding member and a board member of the Blockchain Malta Association.

Bugeja, Dr Diane is a senior associate at Camilleri Preziosi, practising primarily in financial services law, financial regulation and anti-money laundering regulation. Diane joined the firm as an associate in 2016 and was promoted to senior associate in January 2017. She was previously a risk and regulatory consultant at a Big Four audit firm, working in Malta and in London, and subsequently joined the enforcement departments of the UK and Maltese financial services regulators. Diane successfully completed her Ph.D. in Law in 2017. She is a visiting lecturer at the University of Malta, and is regularly invited to speak at conferences, and deliver seminars on various aspects of financial services law, and financial crime. Diane has a keen interest in DLT and related applications, particularly in the AML/CFT space. She also advises clients on the application of the current regulatory perimeter to different DLT assets as well as advising different sectors on how DLT applications can assist the more traditional market players to become more efficient and effective. Diane is actively involved in delivering lectures and speeches on the subject.

Cassar, Charlene holds a Master’s Degree in Intelligent Systems and Robotics, and a Bachelor’s Degree in I.T. Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence (Hons). She has worked in the I.T. industry for several years, focusing mainly on software engineering and subjects related to data science in various sectors, namely e-commerce, gaming and banking. With a keen interest in data, she has her own blog at, where she posts articles related to data. The main subjects tend to be data science, blockchain, big data, cryptography, databases, natural language processing, and statistics. Her interest in data led to a curious interest in distributed ledger technologies, particularly blockchain, as this provides an alternate way to store data. This area interests her not only from a development point of view but also from a business point of view, and she regularly researches and writes about Blockchain being implemented in industry.

Debono, Joseph Anthony holds a number of degrees in disciplines including History and Classics. He is one of the founders of the Malta Classics Association, and the founder of the Classical Studies syllabus at Intermediate (post-secondary) Level in Malta. For many years, he taught History, IT, Latin, Classical Greek and Classical Studies at all levels from 11-year-olds to university students. He has translated, written, and published numerous materials, mostly related to History and Classics. Since 2016, his attention has been increasingly attracted to cryptocurrencies and Distributed Ledger Technology, and he has been studying the field, carrying out research, writing, and speaking on these technologies ever since. Having acquired certification in Blockchain Business Strategy from Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, he is pursuing further certification and qualifications related to this field. Apart from this, he is a Senior Advisor at Zeta Corporate and Management Limited to which he provides consultancy and training in cryptocurrencies and DLT. He is co-editor of “DLT Malta: Thoughts from the Blockchain Island”.

Gauci, Dr Ian is a partner at GTG Advocates, Afilexion Alliance and Caledo Group. Dr Gauci was the legal expert on the National Blockchain Taskforce that was entrusted with reviewing proposals and making recommendations to the Government of Malta to implement its National Blockchain Strategy, and which resulted in the promulgation of the Virtual Financial Assets Act (Cap 590 of the Laws of Malta), the Malta Digital Innovation Act (Cap 591 of the Laws of Malta) and the Innovative Technology Arrangements and Services Act (Cap 592 of the Laws of Malta). Dr Gauci has also advised the Maltese Government on issues dealing with e-commerce, e-trust certification and telecommunications. He is an advisor to the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) and the Malta Digital Innovation Authority (MDIA) on legal issues relating to distributed ledger technologies, blockchains and virtual currencies. Prior to joining GTG Advocates, he was the regulatory and legal advisor for the Malta Communications Authority (MCA) and co-authored the Maltese Electronic Communications Framework. Apart from his work at GTG Advocates, Dr Gauci lectures Legal Futures & Technology Law, Communications Law as well as the upcoming Masters in Blockchain at the University of Malta and LLM course. He is also a tutor and examiner on Masters and Doctoral dissertations in FinTech, RegTech, Data Protection and ICT. Dr Ian Gauci was awarded the title of ‘Best IT & Internet Lawyer’ at the Client Choice Awards 2018 Lexology and the International Law Office. Moreover, Ian is a founding member of the Blockchain Malta Association, and is one of its current board members.

Ellul, Dr Joshua was appointed as the first chairman of the Malta Digital Innovation Authority, a unique authority that aims to instil higher levels of assurances in innovative technologies. Dr Ellul, as director, also set up the Centre for Distributed Ledger Technologies at the University of Malta, which developed a unique multi-disciplinary taught Masters in Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies. Due to his interest in virtual machines, Dr Ellul’s interest in blockchain and smart contracts was piqued when decentralized applications were proposed by adding a virtual machine layer on top of blockchain architectures (introduced by Ethereum). Dr Ellul’s main research interests include blockchain, DLT and smart contracts internals and their integration with the Internet of Things.

Fabri, Jean Paul is an economist by profession, and currently leads the Economic & Management Advisory Unit and the Digital Economy Unit at ARQ. Jean Paul has amassed local and international experience both in the private and public sector. Prior to joining ARQ, Jean Paul formed part of the private cabinet of the former Prime Minister of Malta, as well as of the Governor of the Central Bank of Malta. He has international policy advisory experience and has advised 9 governments on economic development. He was also appointed a Technical Expert of The Commonwealth Secretariat for Small States. Jean Paul followed post-graduate studies in economics and political economy at the University of Malta and the London School of Economics. He is also a certified blockchain strategy advisor from Saïd Business School, Oxford University and holds an International Certificate in Investor Relations from the IR Society in the United Kingdom. JP is a visiting lecturer in economics and public policy at the University of Malta.

Fabri, Dr Stephanie is a full-time academic at the University of Malta. An economist by profession, she is focused on entrepreneurship, strategic management and public policy. Dr Fabri read for her Ph.D. at the University of Warwick, and her dissertation looked at strategic management in British companies. In her dissertation, she applied mathematical models used in Artificial Intelligence (fuzzy-logic methods) to the social sciences. Prior to getting her doctorate, Stephanie graduated with a M.Sc. in Public Sector Economics from the University of York and read for her first degree in economics at the University of Malta. Stephanie forms part of the academic staff in the Department of Management at the University of Malta, and has been lecturing since 2010. Prior to these engagements, Stephanie held the position of economist at the Strategic Policy Secretariat within the Office of the Prime Minister as an economic consultant with a leading advisory firm.

Ganado, Dr Max is a senior partner at Ganado Advocates, which is one of the largest law firms in Malta with leading teams on several specialist areas of law including financial services, shipping and aviation, and corporate. The firm has taken particular interest in the fintech and blockchain area over the past three years and has a team dedicated to its impacts in key areas of specialization. Dr Ganado leads the core team on the new legislation being proposed for Malta. Dr Ganado has been responsible for the drafting of several pieces of legislation at the request of the Government of Malta and its agencies. These include some laws relevant to the topic of blockchain such as the provisions on derivatives, in particular on close out netting, the Securitisation Act, regulations on custody of securities, the proposed bill on a Central Registry for Malta, the general law on legal persons, including associations and foundations, and on segregated cells in legal structures. He was also involved in the drafting teams for the legislation relation to shipping and aviation, including the relative national registers and on incorporating trusts into Maltese law, mainly a Civil Law system, and on voluntary organizations, their enrolment and supervision. He also participated in the EU working group on Legal Certainty in relation to the holding of dematerialized securities through book entry systems. He is an external lecturer at the University of Malta, and regularly contributes articles, and has authored or edited several legal publications, and lectures locally and internationally on legal subjects on which he specializes. He is a board member of Blockchain Malta Association, as well as one of the founders of this association.

Mercieca, Dr Simon is a senior lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Malta. His field of specialization is demographic history. He co-ordinates the teaching of Contemporary Mediterranean Studies. In 1990, he graduated with a B.A in Maltese and History, and continued with his studies to graduate with a B.A. (Honours) in History in 1991. He read for a Master’s degree in History and during this period of study was awarded a scholarship from the Italian Government to undertake research in Rome on the political relations between Malta and Italy during the nineteenth and twentieth century while studying at the University La Sapienza of Rome for a period of one year. After obtaining his Master’s Degree, he won a scholarship to the Sorbonne Paris IV. In 1995, he obtained his second Masters for advanced studies D.E.A. (Diplôme d’Études Approfondies) that allowed him to continue his studies at a doctoral level, which he finished cum laude in 2002. During his period of study in France, he was selected to undertake a period of study at the University of the European Union in Florence. He is a regular guest at international conferences held by universities in Germany, Israel, Greece, Morocco, Italy, France, Spain and England. He has published a number of articles on different aspects of history in specialized journals both in Malta and abroad, and has edited a number of books.

Pace, Prof. Gordon is a professor of Computer Science at the University of Malta, where he has been a faculty member since 2002. He completed his D.Phil. in Oxford in 1998, and has also worked at Chalmers University in Gothenburg, Sweden, Laboratoire Verimag in Grenoble, France, INRIA Rhone-Alpes, France and Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina. His research interests lie in the field of formal methods, developing techniques to ensure that computer systems work as expected, with particular interest in the application of such techniques in FinTech and RegTech. Recently, he has worked on frameworks and tools to enable the application of these techniques to blockchain systems. He has also collaborated with colleagues on various other areas related to computer science, including language design, functional programming, natural language processing, automated music analysis and bioinformatics. He is the author of various journal and conference papers, and books.

Sherafatmand, Lida is a fine artist born in Khorramshar in the south of Iran just before the 1979 revolution. Lida lived her early life in circumstances of war, revolution, and persecution, later on as refugee, statelessness, loss of wealth and poverty. Lida came to Malta in 1991, and 15 years later obtained Maltese citizenship. She started painting and drawing at the age of 3, and her interest in art never abated. From the age of 16, she started receiving commissions for portraits, and three years later started holding exhibitions of her own original works. She holds a B.A. and an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Malta, and embarked on a career of art and public speaking on her academic research relating to her art, including at institutions such as the Roerich Family Museum and Institute in St Petersburg, the London School of Economics and Political Science, the Radcliffe Harvard University, the University of Amsterdam, and the University of Rome. In 2016, she developed her artistic philosophy of Florescencism, which she has made the pillar of her art. Today she has exhibited in over 20 countries including 60 collective shows, 25 solo exhibitions, and has been awarded a number of international nominations. Her paintings, articles and poems have been widely published, including by the UN, UNESCO, Amnesty International, a number of art journals, and other institutes.

Tanti, Dr Lara has over 18 years of professional experience as a practising legal counsel for some of the world’s most prestigious large cap tech firms in Europe, Asia and the US covering areas such as M&A, outsourcing, IP, technology transfers, M2M platform services and artificial intelligence. Lara has a strong interest in the intersection of technology and regulation and has been looking at blockchain and cryptocurrencies since the early days. She now runs her own legal practice advising various international clients including Dell Boomi in EMEA and IOHK in Hong Kong. Lara holds a Doctorate in Law from the University of Malta and a Master’s Degree in Technology Law from the University of Strathclyde.

Tillie, Sophia has spent the past fifteen years in communities throughout the Middle East, working with local media organizations and NGOs. Most recently her focus has been on the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean. She holds a degree in Arabic and Persian from London’s School for African and Oriental Studies, and recently obtained her MA in Iranian Studies from the University of Tehran where she wrote her thesis on the opportunities and threats of blockchain adoption in Iran. She has since continued to explore how Distributed Ledger Technology relates to different forms of Islamic governance and finance, and is now examining how it can be used and developed by the humanitarian sector. Sophia currently lives in Malta where she works with multiple NGOs.

Vella Baldacchino, Dr Rachel is an associate at WH Partners, practising in the firm’s M&A and corporate finance teams. She graduated from the University of Cambridge with the degree of Master of Corporate Law with First Class Honours in 2017, where she is a member of Pembroke College. Rachel read law for six years at the University of Malta, graduating with a Bachelor of Laws with European Studies in 2013, and a Doctor of Laws in 2016. Rachel is admitted to practice in Malta as an advocate and is pending admission to the roll of solicitors of England and Wales. She is fascinated by the convergence of law, technology, finance and economics, so exploring the implications of blockchain technologies came about naturally. She is excited to contribute to the discussion on how new technologies are solving centuries-old legal problems, and how laws can be used as a tool to shape technological innovation.

Young, Patrick L. wrote the first bestselling fintech book Capital Market Revolution! (FT Prentice Hall) in 1999 which explored the future of electronic money – today’s cryptocurrency. While at pains to stress he isn’t Satoshi Nakamoto, Patrick has been regularly ahead of trends in fintech – even before that first book discussed ‘fintech’ a decade before the word was first deployed! A serial entrepreneur since childhood, active in WWW e-commerce since 1994, Patrick is a professional derivatives trader, former exchange CEO, and indeed, amongst other tomes, the co-editor of this volume. Patrick chairs the Blockchain Malta Association amongst his portfolio of non-executive experience. His next book Victory or Death updates some of his fintech thinking while ‘PLY’ also publishes the daily newsletter market structure ‘Exchange Invest’. He is co-editor of “DLT Malta: Thoughts from the Blockchain Island”.

Zammit, David is a financial and corporate services professional, with a plethora of academic and international experience in the field. With stints in Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Libya, Switzerland, UK, and of course, in Malta where he is based, David is a fluent speaker of English, Maltese, Italian, French, and has a good knowledge of Arabic and German. He has a cum laude degree in international economic affairs from the University of Malta, which he followed up with a Master’s in International Affairs from the John Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies, Bologna. A few years later, he acquired his MBA from the SDA Bocconi, School of Management, Milan. His professional experience includes the Swiss Reinsurance Company S.p.A. Italia in both Italy and Switzerland, after which he served as Senior Vice-President of the Capital Efficiency Group (CEG), Switzerland. Returning to Malta, he set up and is the Managing Director of Zeta Corporate and Management Limited, which is invested in ventures related to financial services in Malta. Zeta is heavily investing in expertise related to DLT and related technologies and is positing itself as one of the leaders in the market.