Ireland has the capacity to be the global blockchain innovation hub

4 Nov 2016590 Shares

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Over 50 of the world’s top financial services firms are now actively experimenting with blockchain technology. Image: Enzozo/Shutterstock

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At Dublin City University, more than 150 technologists and fintech entrepreneurs will join forces for what the organisers claim is the biggest blockchain-focused hackathon in the world.

Now in its second year, the sold-out event at Dublin City University (DCU) Alpha will see the 150 attendees work together on creating new apps and services using blockchain technology.

Blockchain technology – which underpins emerging digital, virtual, or cryptocurrencies – consists of blocks that hold timestamped batches of recent valid transactions, which form a chain with each block reinforcing those preceding it.

‘Events like today allow us an opportunity to meet and mentor the talent of today who are building the technology of the future’
– DAVID TIGHE

Starting today (4 November), the event is held by Chainsmiths and sponsored by Fidelity Investments, Deloitte and Bank of Ireland. The involvement of these blue chips underpins the importance of the technology, which has huge implications for the financial and insurance sectors.

The event curator is Kevin Loaec, managing director at Dublin blockchain consultancy Chainsmiths, who said that Ireland has the capacity to be the global blockchain innovation hub.

“Building on the success of last year’s event and the evolution of the ecosystem here in Dublin, we had to make it happen again. Our sponsors reflect Dublin establishing itself as a hub for blockchain.

“Many other multinationals have also announced working on this technology from their Dublin labs. The focus for this year is not only Ireland, but a global reach. The proof is in the demand; more than 30pc of the attendees are coming from abroad. Over the past year, Chainsmiths has become an international company with a global customer base,” Loaec said.

Blockchain will be the cornerstone of the business models of the future

The blockchain hackathon brings together the industry’s best, to focus on addressing the world’s most technical issues; from financial services, health, insurance and copyright to name a small few, using blockchain technology.

“Fidelity has always believed in exploring emerging technologies to find new ways for us to provide the best customer experience in the business,” said Hadley Stern, SVP and managing director of Fidelity Labs in Boston.

“Our innovative approach has led to many breakthrough changes that have dramatically transformed our customers’ lives. Blockchain technology has the potential to become one of the most significant innovations the global financial services ecosystem has seen.

“What we are seeing in Ireland now is a widespread interest and curiosity in blockchain applications,” said Lory Kehoe, financial director at Deloitte. “Lead organisations are quickly coming to recognise the potential the technology possesses.

“Over 50 of the world’s top financial services firms are now actively experimenting with the technology and are increasingly interested in pilots, rather than proofs of concept. Deloitte’s EMEA Grid Blockchain Lab seeks to help clients through workshops, focused bootcamps, and also helping them to develop meaningful pilots and prototypes, with production-ready solutions being the ultimate goal.”

With mentors made up of the most innovative people in blockchain, €8,000 in cash prizes and a stellar set of speakers throughout the weekend, this is set to leave its mark internationally.

David Tighe, head of innovation at Bank of Ireland, said that the business models of the future will be developed, governed and owned by the communities blockchain technology supports.

“Bank of Ireland is constantly investigating how technology and innovation can improve the customer experience, while also ensuring that systems and procedures address changes in regulatory requirements being introduced across Europe,” Tighe said.

“Events like today allow us an opportunity to meet and mentor the talent of today, who are building the technology of the future.”

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Buy your tickets now!

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com