Category Archives: Dublin

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Ireland Organizes Hackathon to Explore Feasible Blockchain Use Cases

Ireland Organizes Hackathon to Explore Feasible Blockchain Use Cases

In an attempt to fully integrate the blockchain ecosystem into the economic stream of the country, the government of Ireland organized a blockchain hackathon –  with the aim of understanding and assessing the potential of the industry and its economic relevance.

The hackathon hosted by the department of expenditure and reform in collaboration with the department of finance was scheduled to be held on the weekend of 25 – 27 January at Dublin.

The conference will feature an important subject on how the blockchain can be utilized in public service areas such as health, security, transport, and information gathering systems to improve current processes, development, citizen user experience, efficiency and more, according to a news post.

The news source quoted Paschal Donohoe TD, minister for finance and public expenditure and reform as saying: “Blockchain technologies have proposed new economic, business, social and technological models that have the potential to significantly impact business and society.”

The conference will enable teams to brainstorm on feasible solutions to different problems faced by businesses using blockchain. And, the team that comes up with the best solution will be offered a prize of 8,500 euros (USD 9,690.42), along with an opportunity to implement it. Results will be based on innovation, relevance, solution, and proof of concept.

It would seem the conference is a part of a national economic reform dubbed Our Public Service 2020, which is aimed at developing and innovating solutions in digital delivery of public services in the Ireland economy.

Ireland is doing a whole lot to create a synergistic workflow between different parastatals, to include the government, academia, and the private sector towards blockchain research. Last year, an internal working group was set up to monitor the development of cryptocurrency and the underlying blockchain technology.

Blockchain trials have been successful in the region also. In March of last year, Bank of Ireland and Deloitte completed a joint proof-of-concept trial using blockchain technology which revealed a cost-effective approach in integrating the technology with legacy banking systems and still provide what they called “next generation client experience and regulatory oversight.”

Last September, Fintech Fusion, an Irish research program was created to facilitate the research into blockchain and obtain data to assist in the assessment of the impact of current financial technology on both wholesale and retail businesses.

Lately, it would seem that the hype for cryptocurrencies have dwindled, while the demand for blockchain has taken center stage for several industries.


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Hong Kong Sees Green as Ireland Comes to Fintech Week

Hong Kong FinTech Week was certainly a productive few days for two visiting companies from Ireland, both opening doors to the Far East with newly-secured deals.

The green army descended on Hong Kong this week with no fewer than 14 Irish fintech firms showing their wares as part of the #IrishAdvantage Enterprise Ireland’s trade mission to China; representation aimed at promoting tech in payments, banking, insurtech, cloud communications and biometrics.

The two successful companies, Global Shares and Know Your Customer, appear to be leading a charge from the Irish Republic with, Daon, CurrencyFair, Solgari, Fenergo, Leveris, Fineos, Corylitics, Intuition, Priviti, Fexco, Kyckr and Circit also attending.

Global Shares are now celebrating a USD 15 million deal with online brokerage firm Huanying International, with plans to provided a range of financial services. The other successful company, smart technology client verification solution provider Know Your Customer (KYC), has partnered up with Hong Kong-based fintech company Neat Limited to enhance that company’s AML processes more effectively. Republic of Ireland Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys commented:

“The deals we’ve seen formalized today by Global Shares, Know Your Customer and CurrencyFair at Hong Kong Fintech Week demonstrate how much value Irish fintech companies can deliver to partners worldwide… It’s heartening to see recognition from companies the world over for the Irish fintech advantage.”

Early this year, another Irish company, Dublin-headquartered money transfer player CurrencyFair, broke into the Asian market. With an EUR 20 million investment drive, the Irish company acquired Hong Kong’s Convoy Payments, not only opening up business to Hong Kong and Asia but also to giving CurrencyFair access to existing US markets.

The recent Irish successes are not unusual, according to Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon, who suggested that Irish companies usually fare well in doing businesses in Hong Kong and was pleased to see these successes, adding:

“Between them, these companies have secured significant wins with some of the world’s leading financial services companies in Hong Kong such as HSBC, Standard Chartered and Bank of China as well as local Hong Kong entities such as the Securities & Futures Commission and the Hong Kong Jockey Club.”


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Coinbase Secures Ireland Office as Brexit Safety Net

On Monday, major cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase announced the opening of a new office in Ireland’s capital of Dublin. The move is said to prevent any risks to the company associated with the UK leaving the European Union (EU).

With the UK scheduled to break off from the EU and possibly its entire regulatory framework, Coinbase has been forced to relocate its European hub from its London offices, although the London branches will remain in place to service the UK. According to Coinbase, the EU was its fasted growing market in 2017 and Ireland was most well equipped to provide the expertise needed to take this on.

Ireland’s Minister for Financial Services and Insurance, Michael D’Arcy T.D, praised the cryptocurrency exchange’s decision, saying it is a reflection of the country’s growing competitiveness in the financial services industry.

Speaking to UK-based news outlet the Guardian, Coinbase’s UK CEO Zeeshan Feroz said that in the case of a so-called hard Brexit that sees the UK leaving the European Customs Union, the exchange cannot risk not being able to provide the same level of service to customers located in Europe.

Feroz added that in addition to providing a Brexit contingency plan, the Dublin office will be well-placed to benefit the burgeoning Irish cryptocurrency economy and provide a number of skilled tech jobs, alongside growing the national technology sector.

While the Dublin branch assuming the role as EU leader may come as a blow to the UK, Feroz believes that there is a way the government can make Brexit work in its favor for the cryptocurrency industry.

”I am of the view today that there is an opportunity for Britain post-Brexit to perhaps take the lead in offering “balanced regulation” for the sector,” he told the Guardian, adding “In general, and outside of Brexit, I think crypto should be regulated as a service. There are businesses out there like ours that handle billions of dollars or pounds every day.”

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Coinbase Continues Expansion with Eyes on Irish Republic

San Francisco-based cryptocurrency giant Coinbase has revealed that it is considering the Irish Republic as its next push to expand local markets around the globe.

Dublin has been cited as the exchange’s next target and to that end has already begun an employment drive in the city taking on customer support analysts, a compliance officer and an office manager.

The Irish state development agency, IDA, is currently supporting the Coinbase plan for the capital. This support is in keeping with IDA statements earlier this year which were very supportive of cryptocurrency.

The state body, IDA Ireland, is the agency responsible for the attraction and development of foreign direct investment in Ireland. Its new initiative, established by the Irish Blockchain Expert Group, an IDA Ireland-led forum, has been set up to involve Irish companies working with blockchain technology towards innovation and promotion of the republic.

Ireland currently has a very forward-thinking approach to blockchain technology. Recently, National University of Ireland (NUI) authors of a study on the adoption of blockchain approached the government to promote a more widespread use of the technology in the country.

Both IDA and Coinbase have declined to comment on the move, although it appears Coinbase has a clear strategy for Dublin, incorporating the local Coinbase Ireland Limited recently and installing four directors from the US-based parent company. However, an IDA spokesman commented recently before the move, that:

“We regard blockchain as an area with huge potential and we are seeing great interest among IDA Ireland’s client base. This initiative will enhance the blockchain industry in Ireland and our position as a global blockchain centre of excellence.”

It appears that IDA also sees the potential of extending this initiative to major players in the cryptocurrency sector, not a view shared by some of the country’s major banks. The Irish co-founder of Eircoin complained recently that he feels that the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland (BPFI) is discriminating against crypto-related accounts.

He praised IDA for their work on promoting cryptocurrency in Ireland while pointing an accusing finger at the BPFI and their continued accusations of the misuse of Bitcoin, which he suggested reeked of “regulatory capture”. He said it suggested that if Bitcoin sellers were involved in terrorist financing, the law would intervene, accusing banks of intervening where they did not belong.


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Ethereum Co-Founder Joe Lubin: Blockchain and Crypto Can Transform Society

Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin believes blockchain will have the same kind of impact in the future as the internet had in the late nineties, writes Business Insider. The co-founder of ConsenSys was speaking at the MoneyConf in Dublin where the blockchain company has opened its new office.

Lubin made it clear that he was looking for blockchain to make a lasting impact: “This technology is so profound, it’s going to do so many amazing things for economic, social, and political systems worldwide… We’ve really no concern that the ecosystem or the technology is in real danger.”

He went on to compare current activity fintech space to the dot-com boom of the late 90s, a period of extreme growth and intense activity in the usage and adaptation of the internet. Lubin suggested there was clearly a parallel today, given the same degree of high investment coupled with high gains and losses in cryptocurrency activity, according to the success of company projects.

The entrepreneur argued that the growth of the internet was mirrored today by current developments in the space, as cryptocurrencies and their underlying technology were repeating history:

“There was a tremendous amount of creative destruction in the dotcom era that laid the foundation and taught all of us how to build an effective internet, an effective world wide web, and really transform society. I think that we will see dynamics like that in place in the blockchain space.”

He was clear in his views that although scams are clearly not welcome, they don’t impact of the overall image of the industry, and that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was right in taking these issues on in order to clean up the space. He put the crypto “bad-actor syndrome” down to the failings of human nature and the fact that cryptocurrency investment was open for all.

Lubin pointed to the West in terms of where some of the most progressive movements in the industry were originating, citing the US and Europe as the major source of innovati