Emerging technologies and the metaverse were the topics discussed during a forum hosted by the Young Members Focus Group of the Malta Institute of Accountants (MIA). The forum also addressed the advancement in blockchain and AI.
The forum discussed how the metaverse, blockchain and NFTS are bringing new realities in the space of digital ownership and supply chain transparency. Although these channels have created new investment opportunities and revenue streams in diverse sectors of the economy, the group established that there were new risks associated with abuse that could possibly lead to money laundering, tax evasion and financing of terrorism.
Defining the role of NFTs
MIA President David Delicata spoke about the positive economic opportunities that new technologies present. Delicata likened the concern about AI and new technologies with the emergence of the internet about 30 years ago. He added that the internet turned out to have such a positive impact on the way we do things and this included business. “Similarly, society has to learn how to regulate the developments associated with the subject matter to ensure that while the opportunities are fully utilised, abuse is identified and addressed.”
Maria Cauchi Delia, CEO of the Malta Institute of Accountants said that while technology is acting as a major disruptor within the financial services industry, it has created new opportunities for accountancy professions. She believes that this trend will continue. She carried on to say that “despite the challenges that such developments bring action, at the same time this reality is another living proof of how dynamic the profession is. ”
Three panels of expert speakers discussed the impact of the recent advancements in various sectors relating to investment, regulation, legal, accounting and taxation. The speakers also discussed developments at a European level. The panels also spoke about NFTs and the requirement to establish a more clear definition of their role which could range from that of tradeable securities to possessions with an intellectual property.
Anti money laundering and tax evasion
With regards to the prevention of Anti Money Laundering (AML) the panel agreed about the need for professionals in the technology, legal and finance sectors to collaborate together and communicate with the relevant authorities to reduce the risks. The importance of education was discussed and programmes tailored for the general public to programmes for authorities. Regulators face many challenges because of the speed that transactions can be effected through new technology. They “face a continuous race for time against money launderers, fraudsters and tax evaders who keep seeking to maximise the opportunities” that evolving technology present.
Dean Micallef, chairperson of the MIA Young Members Focus Group, discussed the emerging technology developments as he brought the forum to a close.
Remain interested because it is going to keep moving” Dean Micallef, Chairperson – MIA Young Members Focus Group
He added that industry professionals need a change in mindset.
The Malta Institute of Accountants (MIA) is the voice of the accountancy profession in Malta and provides professional guidance, technical support and continuing professional education to over 4000 accountants.