"Bitcoin Chain IMG_9197" (CC BY 2.0) by btckeychain

“Bitcoin Chain IMG_9197” (CC BY 2.0) by btckeychain

 

With the aim of establishing Northern Ireland as a global focal point for innovation in technology, we are now presented with the Blockchain Association of Ireland. This nonprofit advocacy consortium will look to promote Blockchain technology, which is the digital leader in handling transactions made using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin You can find them on twitter to stay updated with their progress. It’s a big step forward for Northern Ireland and combined with news such as the success of Irish students at the 53rd BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition it is increasing Ireland’s reputation as a hub of technological modernization.

Bitcoin in Northern Ireland

Bitcoin has become the most well known of several cryptocurrencies and though there are still sceptics, Bitcoin seems set to endure as a constant in the financial sector in the last few years. The supposition was that Bitcoin would become surplus to requirements as people found it increasing easy to handle their money electronically, but many have been won over by its increasing stability and view the cryptocurrency as a more global, open and efficient system for financial transactions.

With instabilities in the euro and pound sterling in the aftermath of the Brexit decision, Bitcoin’s global backing makes it less vulnerable to localised financial variations and many businesses have been quick to join the revolution. Online companies such as the big names of Microsoft, PayPal, Expedia, Ebay and many other tech firms offer users the chance to buy products and services with Bitcoins. Moreover, you can now find many sites online that use the digital currency exclusively. Leading examples come from the iGaming sector, with the first incensed online Bitcoin casino offering Bitcoin live roulette, Bitcoin sportsbooks, Bitcoin video poker and Bitcoin virtual sports. Their embrace of the live streaming technology to provide a chance for players to connect with live dealers when playing roulette and other casino games shows that the BitCasino brand is heavily invested in new technology and understands how to implement it well – an approach that Northern Ireland has also been taking.

Some Northern Irish businesses have also been quick to join the parade with CeX, The Hydroponics Store, Busyfeet & Coco Cafe in Belfast accepting Bitcoins. You’ll even find a Bitcoin ATM on Ann Street. With the Blockchain Association of Ireland now established you should expect to see a whole host of other businesses emerging or adapting to offer Bitcoin services.


“Blockchain Partnership event” (CC BY 2.0) by gdsteam

Blockchain Association of Ireland

In the past, there were a number of informal groups and networks advancing the dialogue and use of Blockchain technologies. With the creation of the Blockchain Association of Ireland, there is a bridging of the gap between these groups and a bringing together of ideas in order to provide assistance in its application within specific markets. Possibly the biggest issue the Blockchain Association of Ireland has to deal with is the continued unfamiliarity and lack of understanding many individuals and businesses have of Blockchain technology, the ingenious digital ledger that was invented together with Bitcoin, to allow for secure transactions. By facilitating workgroups, producing white papers, organising seminars and training sessions and holding an annual summit, the group should bring the Irish blockchain community together and raise awareness of the benefits of investing in the technology. The goal is to put Ireland in a staunch position should the technology gain the global influence its advocates assert it is capable of claiming over the next few years.

It’s early days, but hopefully the new association will be successful in its aim of engaging with Irish organisations and technology entrepreneurs to communicate with the public at large to further promote this small island as a centre for blockchain technology and technological innovation at large.