As you would expect for a tech-driven city like Dublin, blockchain developments are in the news nearly every day. Here is a quick summary of the big announcements over the last few months:

(March 17th 2018)

  • PwC announced a new blockchain audit service, recognizing concerns among its own clients who were starting to use blockchain technology. PwC logs transactions on the blockchain and has developed testing criteria and controls. The service will allow users within a company to view, test and monitor transactions on the blockchain in near real time.

 (March 23, 2018)

  • Ireland’s Department of Finance estimates that 6.3 percent of venture capital invested in the country between 2012 and 2016 went to Ireland-based blockchain businesses.
  • The Department’s report “Virtual Currencies and Blockchain Technology” urges lawmakers to provide clarity to consumers about what protections are available when transacting with virtual currencies, give entrepreneurs a clear regulatory framework and “equip Ireland with a differentiating competitive advantage in securing foreign direct investment” in blockchain projects.

(10 April 2018)

  • A group of 22 EU member states including Ireland have established the European Blockchain Partnership. The partnership is aimed at coordinating regulatory approaches to blockchain technology across the digital single market by sharing technical and regulatory expertise amongst each other, as well as creating ways to promote blockchain applications across the EU and avoid “fragmented approaches”.

(May 2nd 2018)

  • Goldman Sachs is moving ahead with plans to set up what appears to be the first Bitcoin trading operation at a Wall Street bank.
  • Goldman will begin using its own money to trade Bitcoin futures contracts on behalf of clients. It will also create its own, more flexible version of a future, known as a non-deliverable forward, which it will offer to clients.

(May 8th 2018)

  • Facebook is launching its own blockchain division as part of a broader reorganization of its executive lineup. The move comes just four months after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he wanted the company to “go deeper and study the negative and positive aspects of” cryptocurrencies.
  • David Marcus, who was serving as the vice president of messaging products and overseeing Facebook Messenger, will be running the blockchain group. Instagram’s current vice president of product, Kevin Weil, will be leaving that role to join Facebook’s blockchain team as well.

(May 9th 2018)

  • ConsenSys, the blockchain consultancy group of Joseph Lubin (co-founder of Ethereum),  is opening a new facility in Dublin that will lead to the creation of 60 jobs. The new Dublin-based Innovation Studio will be a multi-functional facility including a development lab, where engineers will build and deliver ethereum-based blockchain platforms and products stemming from the company’s consulting arm, ConsenSys Solutions, as well as a centre for client collaboration.
  • Dublin will be ConsenSys’ third hub in Europe and fourth in EMEA.
  • ConsenSys, which employs more than 600 people globally, said it is looking to have 60 people based in the Dublin Studio within a year, with 70 percent of the team being blockchain and full-stack engineers.

(May 15th 2018)

  • AWS (Amazon Web Services) is looking to make it easier for customers to use blockchain with a new partnership. The cloud computing giant will team with a new start-up, Kaleido, which was born out of leading blockchain incubator known as ConsenSys. The company is aiming to give customers an "easy button" to start using blockchain.

(May 18th 2018)

  • The EU Parliament’s committee on Industry, Research and Energy voted to recommend that small businesses look into blockchain payment systems in a move aimed at relieving some of the costs associated with intermediary payment facilitators. The committee specifically suggested non-monetary uses for the technology, specifying data controls, supply chain management, land registries and in democratizing the energy market
  • The members have also called on the EU Commission to set regulatory rules for various blockchain use cases that are "innovation-friendly and technology neutral."

(June 4th 2018)

  • In the US, the SEC announced that Valerie A. Szczepanik has been named Senior Advisor for Digital Assets and Innovation. In this newly created advisory position, Ms. Szczepanik will coordinate efforts across all SEC Divisions and Offices regarding the application of U.S. securities laws to emerging digital asset technologies and innovations, including Initial Coin Offerings and cryptocurrencies.

(June 11th 2018)

  • The Irish government and ConsenSys, have launched a new platform Blockchain Ireland with the aim of creating greater cooperation between start-ups in blockchain technology, both nationally and abroad. The online platform will serve as a go-to source of information on the Irish blockchain ecosystem, assisting the promotion of Ireland as a blockchain centre of excellence.

(June 11th 2018)

  • IDA Ireland is looking to position the State as a leading centre for blockchain.
  • Separately, Enterprise Ireland has announced a new €750,000 competitive start fund for companies working in blockchain as well as other so-called deep tech such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, the internet of things and augmented and virtual reality.

(July 23rd 2018)

A consortium of nine major European banks have chosen Dublin for the base of their blockchain initiative. The group includes Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Santander. It was originally formed in 2017 to explore and develop blockchain technologies for carrying out transactions between banks and clients. The consortium’s main aim is to make cross-border transactions more efficient. Its platform is currently used for trades in 11 European countries, but these do not yet include Ireland.