Ireland’s push for gaining prominence in the global blockchain markets received a boost last week after reports of an international working body that develops regulations for the rising technology shall hold multiple conferences in the Republic in 2019.
As reported by the Irish Times, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) will hold a meeting in Dublin May 2019, announced the Minister of State for Finance Micheal D’Arcy. The ISO is a globally-renowned body consisting of representatives from 162 national standard organizations across the globe. Together, they define quality procedures for business processes, products, and services, with the ISO 9001 series expanding to petroleum, governance, medical, and software industries.
Now, the body is turning towards setting standards for cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, ethereum, and ripple, in consultation with all its representatives. The decision to host a conference in Ireland can be presumably attributed to the country’s vibrant technology and software ecosystem, which can grow manifold in recent times and boasts of regional headquarters of some of the world’s largest tech firms.
Terry Landers, chairman of the National Standards Authority of Ireland’s consultative committee and Chief Standards officer for Microsoft Europe, called the development a “major coup.”
“We’re expecting about 200 people to attend and are planning several outreach events to coincide with it to share expertise with policymakers, small enterprises and so on.”
Blockchain developers and entrepreneurs were equally pleased with the event. Mai Santamaria, a senior financial director at the Department of Finance, who recently published a research paper focusing on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, called the Dublin event a “major development” for placing Ireland on the technology map.
The blockchain space is currently spearheaded by the likes of Singapore, Hong Kong, and Malta, who each view the technology as an economic opportunity to capture and attract talent to their jurisdictions. However, Ireland’s blockchain market has remained relatively under-hyped, regardless of the myriad of traditional companies setting up blockchain-focussed offices.
Cryptocurrency-focussed startups like Circle, ConsenSys, and Aid:Tech all have offices in Dublin while consulting giant Deloitte has a so-called blockchain “laboratory” in the city. Payments processor Mastercard has plans to introduce a similar venture at its Leopardstown facility south of Dublin.
Meanwhile, Eoin Fitzgerald, an advisor at government-owned startup incubator body Enterprise Ireland, expressed his concerns with Ireland’s ambitions. He believes the country can join the forerunners of blockchain technology, but recruitment of talent remains a pressing concern.
“We’ve so many companies fighting for talent here currently and this I think is the biggest challenge we face over the next few years,” stated Fitzgerald.
With all the nations fighting over the crown that blockchain technology presents, and understandably so, it remains to be seen if a new major economy emerges over the next few years or relegates to the second tiers if China and the U.S. happen to introduce robust measures for embracing the technology, along with attracting talent, in the near future.