Category Archives: Ireland

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Universities Getting Clever with New Blockchain Courses

Despite Bitcoin’s current downturn, universities are increasingly opening up educational projects for blockchain technology reports Econotimes, with the number of universities and educational facilities running blockchain and cryptocurrency courses growing as financial markets expand and absorb more blockchain-related products.

There are now many opportunities for blockchain developers but clearly not enough skilled technicians to fill these gaps. Toptal, a marketplace for hiring tech talent, has recorded a 700% increase in demand for blockchain developers since January 2017. These positions can be well paid. According to Jerry Cuomo, VP of IBM’s blockchain technologies division, the best blockchain developers can command a salary above USD 250,000.

There are have been some early starters; institutions offering courses in digital information systems, the blockchain, and cryptocurrency. In the US, the Northeastern University College of Engineering in Boston and George Mason University in Virginia run courses in blockchain technology as part of other advanced educational postgraduate Science programs.  The University of Cape Town now offers a cryptocurrency and fintech elective module as part of its wider Data Science Masters program.

In Scotland, the University of Sterling – as part of its Financial Technology Masters program, offers participants a primer to blockchain technology, which includes cryptocurrencies, decentralized applications, smart contracts, and applications and case studies.

What is changing now is the way in which blockchain hard forks and other cryptocurrency specifics are taking the technology in directions which also require new specialized skills.

Professor David Yermack from NYC Stern School of Business was an early teacher of blockchain and crypto tech on the university’s MBA program suggests business schools will have to update their curricula due to the rapid rate in which the markets are moving. His current class has doubled over the past year and lessons are conducted at a larger auditorium because of the recent surge of student applications.

In the UK, Garrick Hileman, a research associate and lecturer at the University of Cambridge and the first to develop a blockchain graduate course, said other departments including finance and law are now jumping on the blockchain educational bandwagon. “It wouldn’t surprise me to see some turf wars break out over who owns the blockchain curriculum at business schools,” comments Hileman.

Blockchain training and education is needed in many sectors now and is not simply limited to IT and finance. Even cattle farming has branched into the new tech. Take Bonita Carlson of Persson cattle Ranch in Wyoming who’s trying to create a worldwide-link-of-cattle supply chain, so that electronically tagged cattle can be on an immutable ledger verifying their free-range farming credentials.

From farming to health, the need for more blockchain specialists is clearly on the rise., and it appears that universities are now catching up with the market’s surge of new uses for the burgeoning tech across all sectors.

 

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Ireland Lines Up to Become “Global Blockchain Center of Excellence” with New Initiative

IDA Ireland has announced that it wants to promote the Irish Republic as an ideal location for international businesses focused on blockchain, according to The Irish Times.

The state body 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 companies working with blockchain technology towards promotion of the republic as a space for business for overseas companies.

Ireland currently has a 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.

One of the findings of that study showed that only 40% of companies in Ireland had 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.

The latest initiative started by the Irish Blockchain Expert Group is also backed by the department of finance, Enterprise Ireland and Consensys, a company established by Joe Lubin, one of the co-founders of Ethereum.

Consensys has said that it plans to open a new Dublin-based innovation studio that is to include a development lab where engineers will build and deliver Ethereum-based blockchain platforms and products.

IDA’s chief information officer said of the new project:

“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.”

Irish based startups, AidTech and Arc-Net, have recently developed solutions built on blockchain technology and Deloitte has a dedicated blockchain laboratory in Dublin. Enterprise Ireland has also announced a new EUR 750,000 competitive start fund for companies working in blockchain and related technologies in the republic.

 

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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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