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Hong Kong Stock Exchange Looks to Blockchain and Fintech Acquisitions

Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) has announced that it is considering investments in blockchain and other fintech companies through acquisitions next year.

If this materializes, it will represent a change in direction for the exchange which has close relationships with China. Hong Kong, being an autonomous territory of China, has a political system independent from the rest of the country, affecting both the economy and its commercial system. Many Chinese businesses have moved their operations to Hong Kong after China’s crackdown on ICOs and cryptocurrency in general. These included the world’s largest exchange, Binance, which moved from Beijing to Hong Kong and other locations around the globe to escape punitive legislation.

The territory is now laying claim to becoming a major hub for cryptocurrency and blockchain in the region, even creating a recent “talent list” to employ more industry professionals to support its DLT focus in the years to come through a new employment program. A fintech lead at InvestHK reflected on Hong Kong’s push towards blockchain:

“Blockchain is a very high priority for us. There is hype, and there is the fast grab of money with ICOs in some cases. But what we are looking at building here in Hong Kong is an infrastructure for new businesses and existing businesses, to make sure the technology and innovations remain a key enabler for financial sector growth.”

Unconfirmed sources suggest that Charles Li, CEO of HKEX, is now looking at blockchain and has had meetings with both potential start-ups and established companies. Concern remains about the current poor relationship between China and the US, and how this might affect businesses in Hong Kong. This is a possible reason why the exchange is considering adopting its own venture capital model similar to that of Nasdaq.

Earlier this month, HKEX senior managers had discussed possible acquisitions and more, the results of which will be revealed next year. Banny Lam, head of research at CEB International Investment, told Bloomberg, “The strategy is in the right direction but it is not easy to achieve the targets. HKEX needs to maintain a momentum of growth by exploring new businesses.”

In March, Financial Times reported that HKEX was collaborating with the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) to implement blockchain. Perhaps, this is an indication of the direction the exchange is willing to take when it reveals its plans next year. Blockchain company acquisitions may be on the table.

 

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Abu Dhabi Regulator Wants Internationally Standardized Crypto Regulation

Abu Dhabi’s head financial regulator has called for internationally standardized regulations for cryptocurrencies in order to prevent both criminal activities and their negative impacts on the image of virtual currencies.

Richard Teng, head of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) spoke at the country’s fintech event this week where he detailed the necessity for increased regulation of the space.

“This space needs to be properly regulated, otherwise there is the risk of financial crime… Every time a coin gets stolen or lost, it affects the confidence in this asset class,” Teng shared with the audience.

He continued, saying that he has full confidence in the country’s own ”comprehensive regime.” By sharing Abu Dhabi’s experience with global regulators including the US Securities and Exchange Commission, he hopes to bring a stronger trust in cryptocurrency to investors and governments alike.

International AML Laws Coming

Teng’s sentiment is popular among international regulatory leaders. On Wednesday, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) announced that they are a step closer to establishing global anti-money laundering (AML) policies for cryptocurrencies, with a FATF plenary scheduled in October.

During this discussion period, the task force consisting of 35 member jurisdictions and 2 regional organizations hope to agree upon what existing standards need to be adjusted in relation to cryptocurrencies, and what action the states need to take to uphold this.

The agency’s president Marshall Billingslea echoed Teng’s opinions in saying that the standards need to be applied in an internationally standardized way. Billingslea described the current AML policies as ”very much a patchwork quilt or spotty process” which leaves major vulnerabilities in financial systems on an international and state scale.

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New Australian PM Wants to Use Blockchain to Take On Big Banks

The Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison plans to utilize blockchain technology to bring ‘much tougher competition’ to the country’s big banks and dominant industries.

Cryptocurrency is increasingly becoming an important topic for politicians to formulate their stance on. Several weeks after Morrison’s election, he was questioned by reporters on his views, to which he shared some exciting ideas for blockchain use cases in Australia.

In a recently surfaced video, a reporter asked the new Prime Minister: “Would you accept the innovation of cryptocurrencies to ease some of the inefficiencies in the banking sector?”

He replied saying that he had spent a lot of time looking at cryptocurrencies during his time in the treasury, but no, he didn’t think the answer is as simple as that. Forwarding his elaboration with “let me be nerdy for a sec,” he swung into an appraisal of cryptocurrencies core technology, blockchain.

Morrison noted that the contributions of distributed ledger technology (DLT) and blockchain in the financial sector have, and will, open more ”massive opportunities.” He further shared with the reporters that the Australian banking system will be able to utilize these technologies to transform areas of consumer data rights, open banking reforms, and new legislation.

The primary benefit of blockchain as he sees it, however, is its ability to deliver a new level of tough competition with the big banks, forcing them into a more client-friendly practice. He said ”Business as usual’ for the big banks won’t be continuing… Smaller banks and new technologies can be used to give greater power to customers.”

With many people in the crypto community sharing similar sentiments and appreciating the personal banking empowerment cryptocurrency gives them, Morrison is sure to become a popular figure among them.

The politician would seem to be true to his word as he has recently spent a part of his career pushing for more favorable domestic policies regarding cryptocurrency. During his time as treasurer in 2016, he helped create legislation that would remove the unfair double taxation that the government collected on cryptocurrencies.

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Rise of the Blockchain Research Lab: The Latest Trend in Crypto

Blockchain labs are becoming increasingly more prevalent in the industry for research as a backbone to a sound strategy of strong blockchain development.

In the current climate, companies are searching for solid foundations on which to build projects. Research and development projects created in the labs are beginning to offer startups this security. Labs can highlight the opportunities available and long-term potential of a given project prior to companies diving into the deep end untested.

The lab trend is growing. Cardano, for example, is one platform which has been established with a research-based approach. Blockchain development firm IOHK, led by Charles Hoskinson, launched Cardano last year using its peer-reviewed academic research driven base to consider the needs of both users and regulators. Funding will be utilized to finance research staff, PhD studentships and a virtualized blockchain environment moving into the future.

As reported last month by Bitcoin News, even the Russian military has announced its own blockchain lab, this time targeting cybercrime in the country’s military infrastructure information systems. The ministry has initiated a program to enhance cybersecurity by setting up a special unit using a unique research laboratory at the Anapa-based ERA technopark, in order to track the origins of cyber assaults. The unit will now use blockchain technology to improve the systems database security.

In June, the National Mathematics and Interdisciplinary Science Centre at the Chinese Academy of Sciences created the Big Data and Blockchain Lab, in a partnership with Beijing Tai Yun Technology Company. This new laboratory aims to explore blockchain technology with mathematics in order to make critical improvements.

Again in China, the Digital Currency Research Lab of the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has announced that it is to expand its blockchain research efforts, by launching a new fintech center in Nanjing, in Jiangsu Province, with other cities yet to be announced, also located outside of the capital Beijing.

The goal of these labs is to develop programs to trial in banks and academic institutions such as PBoC’s Jiangsu branch, the Bank of Jiangsu and the University of Nanjing.

 

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Man Amasses World’s Largest Collection of Crypto White Papers

Legal professional John van Rijck has built the biggest white paper database currently available for potential investors to search through around 1,600 projects for free via his website All Crypto Whitepapers.

Van Rijck told Bitcoin News why he single-handedly put in the time and work developing the website, who he thinks is actually reading all of the white papers, what their true value is and how he believes they can help users to avoid scams.

The man has been involved with crypto since 2016, pulled in like many others by the disruptive ideals contained within the Bitcoin white paper”I just had to get on board”, he said, talking about his enthusiasm to see so many others inspired to create similar cryptocurrency projects.

At first, he began researching coins for investment purposes but soon became interested in developing something useful that he could contribute to the community. With a full-time job working in the legal department of an IT company, he was always on the lookout for websites that could provide quality information resources. Unable to find such a website solely focused on crypto white papers, he decided he needed to build it himself. 

The true value of a white paper

For van Rijck, there is nothing more indicative of a quality project than a solid white paper: ”I am 100% convinced that a white paper is an ideal form for project owners to provide potential investors with all the necessary information on their project.”

All technical, financial and commercial information about a project can be conveyed in plain enough language for readers to gauge their own interest and cast their own judgment on the project’s worth. It needs to describe the projects purpose, processes, future plans – ”the why and how”, as John puts it. This makes it difficult to convey all of the information necessary in a short video presentation as some teams have attempted.

Investing in a project that does not have a white paper runs up a whole lot of risks. Besides not being able to make a fully informed judgment on your investment, not having a written reference for what the project has promised may create issues at a later date.

Websites can change their information anytime and promises made via other channels are easier to back out from if there’s nothing written down,” John explains. He thinks that a white paper can be both a document forcing the team to stick to their promises and a useful means for investors to force the team to explain why they have deviated from their original plans.

While most of the time, this written proof of the project’s commitments can indicate a higher level of legitimacy, there is, unfortunately, no guarantee and some scams may even steal the work of others in order to look more credible. Van Rijck told Bitcoin News: ”I almost participated in scam initial coin offering (ICO) that had a proper white paper… This scamcoin used stolen pictures in their white paper for their product’s User Interface and their team photos were random pictures of some school board members in Australia.”

Investors cannot rely wholly on the white paper to judge the project. Further research is always required but the fact a project’s white paper exists for you to follow up with research is ”definitely a step in the right direction to avoid scams”.

Who is actually reading all of these white papers?

Van Rijck said, ”I think I read around 200-250 throughout the years. When I come across a project that I’m interested in, I always check out the white paper.”

Unless you are particularly tech-minded, he suggests that the token allocation, roadmap and the team are much easier to verify then the technology sections. Each white paper abstract or conclusion on the website has been manually copied and pasted by John so he has glanced through every one of these, although not read them thoroughly. Still, it sounds like he has read “blockchain” and “decentralization” recently perhaps more frequently than others. 

Despite his personal enthusiasm for white papers, he understands that this maybe isn’t shared by everyone.

I get that people may think that nobody will read the white paper and there’s no added value for the site but I honestly think that only the good projects will survive in the crypto market… In the last bull run, so many hyped coins got bought without any logic behind it, other than it was popular and rising fast, but I think this market is growing up and those unfit projects are slowly filtered out by people who’ve done their research,” he reasoned.

Not every project is worthwhile

Even a technically good white paper may not equal a very useful project; many projects do not have use cases and do not solve actual problems. Some may be established as a money grabbing attempt, provide a useless fork or simply be created to make a certain statement but van Rijck does not think these will be around long: ”Eventually, people will learn that these projects do not contribute anything to crypto and the world around it, so only the good projects will survive.”

This should lead to fewer scamcoins being developed and less inexperienced investors losing their cash in pump and dump schemes or overhyped projects.

Van Rijck points back to the white paper as a key help in filtering out projects and finding promises that cannot be kept or identifying solutions that the world simply is not waiting for. ”So many projects want to solve a problem through crypto, which doesn’t need solving at all since there are enough real-world solutions out there,” he noted, hoping that people would read the white paper to get a head start in identifying red flags. 

Creating All Crypto Whitepapers

So far, the All Crypto Whitepapers website offers around 1,600 white papers that can be accessed by anybody for free. Its creator used his background in IT to develop the website himself and quickly found ”everything takes a lot of time if you are doing so much yourself.”

He had help collecting each of the individual paper’s url but other than that developed each box, title, link, and text himself. With no prior marketing experience, setting up blogs, writing articles and working on SEO and SEM have been a large part of the learning curve.

And no, not every single crypto-related white paper is available on the website as it is currently missing around 300. He explained, ”The problem is that every day about 10-15 new coins are announced on Coinmarketcap. I try to list only the coins that are already being traded, to have some safeguard that it’s legit. But since this still is a one-man-show and I have a 9-to-5 and a family, I’m a bit behind.”

Despite this hectic schedule, he plans to have everything up to date in Q4 of this year and it is clear this is a project he truly cares about.

I just hope that people genuinely like what I’m trying to build for the community and come back to check out white papers if they found a project that interests them. If they see the website as the “Wikipedia for Crypto Whitepapers”, that would be the best outcome I can imagine”, he said. 

The future of the website

The website is already monetized, featuring several advertisements that allow John to reap some small rewards for the time he has spent creating it. This he reinvests into marketing in an attempt to grow the number of website visitors. Currently in talks with quality crypto-projects, in the future, he says people can expect to see a consistent ”white paper of the week” with participants featuring as the week’s star project. More features being considered include additional coin information, the embedding of white papers themselves, and maybe a community discussion board so people can contribute their own perspective on projects.

The man is still firmly focused on offering the best white paper database he can, however: ”I think that I shouldn’t stray much from the goal, which is being THE Wikipedia for crypto white papers and remaining the largest crypto white paper database in the world. There are many other great sites out there with different parts of info on crypto projects, which I do not intend to replace.”

He has no plans to sell the website in the near future as he is still enjoying the experience that can also help him perfect any future ventures.

You can visit All Crypto Whitepapers here to check out his work.

 

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Study: Blockchain Can Save Banks $27 Billion per Year by 2030

Market intelligence firm Juniper Research has published the results of its blockchain study, with the findings showing financial institutions are set to save USD 27 billion annually by 2030 should they utilize the technology.

The cost reduction for cross-border settlement transactions is shown to be reduced by over 11% when deployed on blockchain.

#Blockchain deployments to save #Banks more than $27bn annually by 2030, with cost reductions not just in #Payments processing and reconciliation, but in treasury operations and compliance. #Fintech #Banking

Read more in our press release: https://t.co/pNWXeopbjO pic.twitter.com/pYk2PYsISQ

— Juniper Research (@juniperresearch) August 1, 2018

The Future of Blockchain: Key Vertical Opportunities & Deployment Strategies 2018-2030 study also investigates alternative areas where the technology could create more cost-effective practices, including in treasury operations. The savings applicable for banking departments varies; in areas of compliance, automated money laundering checks via blockchain could create a 50% price decrease in just a few years.

Internal banking legacy systems that will most likely be required to run alongside any blockchain tech services may, however, cause the savings process to take several years to be fully implemented. Estimated service cost savings are not expected to reach USD 1 million per annum until 2024.

The full research paper can be purchased from Juniper online.

5 industries benefiting from blockchain

Besides the banking industry, the report notes the benefits of utilizing blockchain technology in a number of other sectors, including food exports and trades, as has been seen in a number of cases already including in the Australian sugarcane industry. The report estimates a nearly 50% cut in the food industry’s costs associated with fraud.

Juniper Research has also released a free white paper detailing five industries that will benefit from blockchain, including land registry, healthcare, and the automotive sector, entitled ‘5 Industries That Will Fuel the Blockchain Boom’.

It splits the research into eight key regions, including the key challenges each industry will face on the way to adoption and the top movers and shakers of the blockchain sector in 2018.

 

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KPMG Study Reveals 2018 Blockchain Investment Has Already Outgunned 2017 Total

A KPMG study finds that fintech companies’ investment in blockchain technology in 2018 has already surpassed the entirety of 2017.

Capital growth

The Pulse of Fintech 2018‘ biannual study from one of the Big Four auditing and consultancy firms took a global look at the growth of fintech investments, which in the first six months of 2018 has broken past 2017 in spectacular fashion.

The study affirms that blockchain is “moving beyond experimentation”, noting that a majority of Q1 and Q2 investors in 2018 gravitated more toward established companies and organizations moving into “additional rounds of funding”. This is contrasting to 2017 which saw significant amounts of investment in startups, especially through initial coin offerings.

Venture capitalist blockchain investment so far this year has reached USD 858 million, more than 2017’s USD 631 million. These figures are bolstered by two enormous funding rounds: Circle, which raised USD 110 million and  Ledger cryptocurrency wallet, which recently raised USD 77 million.

Safwan Zaheer, Financial Services Digital & US Fintech lead for KPMG said, “There’s more VC flow available than opportunities to invest – a sign of tremendous growth in the space… Investments in blockchain related firms already doubled in the first half of 2018 compared to 2017. Blockchain has the potential to transform banking services. If banking systems were to be rewritten today they would be based on blockchain.”

The study acknowledges the versatile list of applications for blockchain technologies, which is a contributor to its growing success, especially within the financial sector. KPMG cites banking and insurance as two of the primary uses of the technology but also explains that blockchain can “enhance processes for any number of US and global businesses.”

Initial coin offerings

With regards to ICOs, the modern crowdfunding method has also seen a sharp rise, outpacing that of 2017. A similar June report released by another of the Big Four, PwC, found that a total of 537 ICOs in the first five months of 2018 have raised more than every ICO prior to 2018, with a total volume of USD 13.7 billion.

Again, a part-cause for the ICO figure exploding in 2018 is down to the EOS ICO which lasted for a whole year, raking in a record USD 4 billion, beating the previous record of Telegram’s controversial USD 1.7 billion ICO.

The Big Four have been looking at the growing industry with a piqued curiosity; in April 2018, it was reported that the firms were receiving daily enquiries into ICOs and cryptocurrencies from clients.

 

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La Bitcoineta: Argentine Non-Profit Tackles Lack of Knowledge in Local Communities, Push for Crypto-Driven Change

As Bitcoin’s popularity and user base continue to grow, companies involved with the cryptocurrency are progressing from merely providing the infrastructure needed such as wallets and exchanges, to providing sophisticated services such as healthcare or gaming applications. With an innovative fintech sector emerging to service the cryptocurrency market, financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs have begun turning their heads, offering Bitcoin ventures such as futures trading or cryptocurrency hedgefund management.

The Bitcoin market cap at the time of press stands at USD one hundred seven billion; this significant sector still lacks international understanding, trust, and mainstream accessibility. A group of individuals based in Argentina have taken it upon themselves to liberate and educate the population of their country on Bitcoin, with the hopes of aiding sustainable economic growth via the possibilities of Bitcoin and the ensuing fintech sector.

The group has managed to create a fun, unique way of spreading the message. Pictured below is La Bitcoineta, their stylised Bitcoin education van that has taken them across the cities and towns of Argentina.

They described their objective to Bitcoin News as an ”initiative to generate bridges between those who are developing the technologies that will change the world and the different productive, social, cultural, and economic ecosystems.” The individuals in the team shared their understanding that firsthand projects can inspire new solutions, or benefit from existing technologies.

Smaller communities lacked general Bitcoin awareness

Speaking to Bitcoin News, a spokesperson for La Bitcoineta described a striking lack of awareness surrounding Bitcoin and blockchain technology in the smaller communities that they visited. Consequently, this meant that much time in these locations was spent devoted to explaining these concepts to the locals from scratch, basic education being the first step for these individuals to enter the market. Their efforts were welcomingly received; the spokesperson said ”everybody is open to the new concept and enjoys us going there.”

Bitcoin has started to make its mark in Argentina

As the spokesperson described it as surprising to some, nearly all of the smaller cities that were visited had some individuals who were knowledgeable on the subject, indicating the vast reach of Bitcoin internationally. These knowledgeable ”bitcoiners,” as they described them, shared enormous gratitude towards the team for taking the time to visit and share their knowledge with their hometown.

Is local media the answer?

The team told Bitcoin News that they have received an exponential amount of national media traction during their journey so far, with feedback for their work largely positive. They noted local media as a powerful tool in aiding their cause. Frequently La Bitcoineta would make headlines in the local newspapers and their online outlets, helping develop the regional conversation around Bitcoin and blockchain. The irony was not lost that such a traditional, established media form would come to aid this reformist cause.

Challenges and successes

The team behind La Bitcoineta see the greatest possible results of their tour as driving crypto-related change in communities that would benefit this the most, particularly in areas where individual’s efforts could be monetized or reach international markets. Through their talks, they hope to create an impact on the local fintech sector, inspiring projects, changes and pushing for a less bureaucratic government.
The biggest challenge they have faced in reaching this goal has been their ability to reach and connect with the right people. While the team has been considerably active in pushing their agenda, reaching government decision makers themselves and identifying the communities that they could positively impact the most has presented the greatest test.
Despite La Bitcoineta’s Bitcoin positivity, those behind the objective do not see it as likely, nor are they pushing for Bitcoin to be adopted as a regular payment system. This is only considered by themselves as a likely option if merchant outlets themselves incentivize cryptocurrency spending through a discounted alternative to fiat.
Instead, the biggest fruitful challenge they see is pursuing Bitcoin to be a globally recognized store of value and a better alternative medium of exchange. The impending fight against banks and governments is their biggest concerns for reaching this, but they are confident the cryptocurrency driven change they envision will be achieved.
La Bitcoineta’s journey can be followed on both Twitter and Facebook.
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Nigeria Can Be Empowered By Bitcoin Says Foundation CEO

Lady Victoria Walker, CEO of the United Digital Currency Reserve Foundation, has recently stressed that the understanding and deployment of bitcoin can kickstart the financial growth in Nigeria and Africa as a whole, reports Niger247News

In a recent presentation Lady Walker, who is also a blockchain and cryptocurrency speaker, as well as Principal Consultant at Cryptoria Investment Research, maintains that for Nigerian banks to deal with blockchain technologies, it first needs to understand cryptocurrencies:

“Many banks and regulators are confused and do not fully understand how Bitcoin and blockchain technology work, but I think once the Central Bank of Nigeria and other key figures get to understand the true nature of blockchain technology and what it can bring economically, I believe they may embrace the technology with open arms.”

The UK based fintech entrepreneur feels that new technologies such as blockchain and cryptocurrency are essential factors in empowering African leaders to inject growth and financial inclusivity into their economies, she argues:

“Britain imposes a ‘super tax’ on remittances sent to African countries, causing a loss of £1.8bn a year from money sent home by workers. Think about it, £1.8bn is taken away from the people sending money to support their families in Nigeria.  Imagine what £1.8bn a year could do in the pockets of families depending on money sent to them from abroad? This is where blockchain technology comes in. It solves a problem like this by making it easier and cheaper to transfer and remit payments internationally.”

Nigeria has had a difficult cryptocurrency history. Early last year it was reported that the Central Bank of Nigeria was considering implementing its own cryptocurrency, but later the same year, it was advising banks to distance themselves from virtual currency, warning them, “not to use, hold or transact in any way with the technology.”

The remarks came at a time when Nigeria’s interest in cryptocurrencies was flourishing. According to data from Coindance, weekly trading volume on Localbitcoins in Nigeria surged 500 percent in 2017.  Nigeria then, was among top countries using Google to search for ‘bitcoin’, alongside South Africa, Slovenia, Holland, and Austria. Although, it was reported at this time that a Ponzi scheme may have been partly responsible for the clicking figures. The scheme reportedly cost investors UD$50 million in early March of that year.

In a press release issued in March of this year, the CBN is now reiterating its warnings of last year, suggesting that due to crypto investments being unprotected, investors will be at risk. Lady Walker maintains that it is lack of knowledge which holds back the tide of progress in the African crypto space, which in turn creates institutional and public skepticism such as the CBN’s.

“People are skeptical because that is human nature. We are natural cynics and skeptics and rarely trust what we don’t understand. This is why I urge people to truly understand the nature of the industry, asset and also yourself”

Lady Walker believes that there will come a time when all Nigerian banks will have to adopt cryptocurrencies of their own, but due to the current volatility of the crypto market, it remains a future goal of those who see cryptocurrency as the financial future. She maintains:

“Bitcoin is a reality. We have all major world governments scrambling to make sense of it and world leaders sharing their views on the currency. For the past 700 years, our world has relied on the European legacy banking system for means of payments and transactions. Bitcoin is definitely challenging the traditional way when it comes to transfer of value. Just like the internet changed how we shop, bank, date and find information.”

About 40% of Nigeria’s population is unbanked, which blocks nearly half of the population from the financial economy. To this, the fintech CEO argues “All you require is a smartphone and internet to start sending and receiving payments. No I.D required, filling out paperwork, etc… Do you know how much this could change things for the people of Nigeria?”

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Irish University Wants Government to Push Blockchain Into Mainstream

National University of Ireland (NUI) authors of a study on the adoption of blockchain have approached the government to promote a more widespread use of the technology in the country, reports The Irish Times.

The new study involving 20 selected Irish companies, conducted in association with the Blockchain Association of Ireland examined the factors that influenced them in their decisions to adopt blockchain. On its website,  the association described its aims as, “facilitating Irish business leaders, educators, policy-makers and citizens in learning how blockchain technology can be applied to make Ireland the World’s most blockchain literate nation.”

The study is expected to receive much interest as it’s the first of its kind in the country that has examined how blockchain could be implemented and hopes to increase blockchain awareness and adoption more broadly across the nation.

Research leader at NUI Galway, Dr Trevor Clohessy, sees the need for a national initiative to promote the new technology, particularly in the light of, as yet undecided border rules, between Ireland and the north following Brexit

“…Beyond business, other beneficial uses of this technology would be in voting machines and ballot boxes to address electoral fraud and potentially looking at a blockchain enabled technology-controlled border identification system that could provide a possible solution to the current North/South Brexit border challenges.”

One of the findings of the study shows that only 40 percent of companies in Ireland have embraced blockchain technology, which the researchers felt was relatively low, despite Ireland’s 13th position on Bloomberg’s 2018 Innovation Index, with high productivity scores and advanced IT infrastructure.

In recent years, Ireland has promoted itself as a hub for fintech and blockchain business. A recent report by Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF) released figures which indicated that 30% of global of financial executives had plans to commit to blockchain technology within the next 18 months.

The study is proposing that the Irish government promote the new technology to extend this level of interest within the country, overcoming executives uncertainties about embracing blockchain, such as lack of business cases and in-house expertise. It was noted in the report that association with ICO’s and digital currency was perceived negatively by executives.

In terms of awareness of the technology, five out of 20 company executives interviewed had a basic level of blockchain awareness, while six had a medium level and only nine were able to demonstrate a high level of knowledge.
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