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Why Ireland’s growing Blockchain ecosystem might replace London as the Fintech hub?

When it comes to Fintech innovations, London has always been the central hub for Europe. With an evolved Blockchain ecosystem that has partnered with various Financial Services firms that span across Nations London has been pretty active on the Blockchain space. But with the Brexit blues lingering in the hindsight, the set up now looks lagged and out of sync with rest of the world. Owing to this, Dublin and Ireland look poised to take over as Europe’s Fintech hub with a host of companies offering innovative solutions centered on Blockchain. Let’s dive deep into the country’s Blockchain disruption potential:

Brexit’s effect and PwC Survey:


Post UK’s decision to leave Eurozone, a PwC survey found that ‘Dublin’ would top the list of Attractive financial centers in Europe. Ireland is already a center for innovation on many technological fronts in the European continent that hosts many influential European Tech companies. With Blockchain technology being the core of many innovations of the decade, start-ups in Dublin have already started working on improvising the tech to form a user friendly Blockchain ecosystem. With one leg already in core analytics and consulting, Dublin might as well prove out to be the next Fintech hub for Europe.

Irish Government’s support and Influence:


Dublin’s Grand Canal Dock area, now dubbed ‘Silicon Docks’, are the European headquarters of Google, Uber, Amazon, Airbnb, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. IDA Ireland – the governmental agency is responsible solely for attracting foreign direct investment in the country. It has worked to provide tax breaks, logistical support and other incentives to create a favourable environment for businesses. The evolution of the strong tech industry that exists in Ireland today owing to years of consistent efforts put in by the Irish Government. The stage has been aptly set up for the confluence of technology and finance.

Private companies strengthen the web:



Many private companies have been keen to invest in finding solutions through blockchain. From Institutional Investors to companies, everyone has invested in Bitcoin and Blockchain based solutions out of Ireland. Pioneers amongst those would be Deloitte, who established the first Bitcoin ATM in the area. Following up, it has been instrumental in the Blockchain ecosystem development by organizing Blockchain Hackathon. The company has partnered with ‘Bank of Ireland’ to deliver real time solutions basing on Blockchain for identity management and post trade processing. Many other consulting and solutions based firms like PwC and Chainsmiths have contributed to the cause.

‘Big 4’ step up the Bitcoin game, EY accepts Bitcoin in Switzerland

Ever since ‘Internet of Things’ has proved itself as a prudent innovation, Big four firms have their eyes set on these innovations. The consultancy divisions of these firms are closely monitoring IOT to evaluate the possible investment opportunities for their clients. This is evident from the PwC report on IOT, released in mid-2015 exploring the unlimited possibilities and open markets for application. After the advent of Bitcoin, Blockchain technology has received no different treatment. The cryptocurrency and its underlying technology have received the same amount of attention owing to its disruptive nature. Pretty recently after Deloitte, EY made a move in Bitcoin. Let’s look into the details of how this would impact Bitcoin:

Deloitte launched ATM in September:


On Wednesday, September 7th this year, ‘Big Four’ accounting firm Deloitte has opened its first operational bitcoin ATM. The opening was quiet and took place in the downtown Toronto offices of Deloitte’s Rubix blockchain division. The bitcoin transaction machine, or BTM, is now all set to exchange digital currency for Canadian dollars. The move was intends to make Deloitte employees well acquainted with Bitcoin and Blockchain. Owing to the firm’s interest and belief in the cryptocurrency and its underlying technology, Deloitte has taken the first step towards it by this move.

EY joins the band wagon:


In a surprising move that will completely boost adoption, EY announced that their Swiss firm will soon begin accepting bitcoin. The firm also installed a Bitcoin ATM (BTM) in their main office building, next to the Hardbrücke train station in Zurich. The BTM is publicly accessible to exchange Swiss Francs for Bitcoins. The firm also gave away bitcoin wallets to all of their employees. The effort is in the direction of completely ‘digitizing’ their operations to suit the pace of the changing world.

Marcel Stalder, CEO of EY Switzerland said –

“It is important to us that everybody gets on board and prepares themselves for the revolution set to take place in the business world through blockchains, smart contracts and digital currencies.”

The impact on adoption:


Switzerland has a very amicable environment for the growth of cryptocurrency. With a well-developed bank and technological infrastructure, going cashless can definitely be the next objective for Swiss folk. KPMG has recently remarked about the same in their report “Shaping Switzerland’s digital future”. For Bitcoin, this would be a very impactful move as this would accelerate mainstream adoption. With auditing firms accepting the currency, the solution to the problem of auditing Bitcoin related transactions would become apparent.

Russian Federal Tax document confirms ‘Bitcoin is Legal’, the boost for this year’s high?

2016 has showcased one clear trend in Bitcoin trading prices, bullish move at the start of every month. No matter whether the underlying reasons are fundamental or purely technical, this move has been observed at the start of every month in the later part of the year. For over 6 months Bitcoin has traded consistently over $500. But this year’s high (till date) was marked at the start of December and the reasons around it are pretty interesting. The Indian currency demonetization has been a steady factor to take the market out of choppiness. But we believe the final push came from Russian adoption of Bitcoin that has circulated quickly among market players. Let’s look into the details of how Bitcoin has fared in Russia:

The Love Hate relationship:


Russian Rubble’s trading against Bitcoin has seen prolific volumes in the past giving hope to better adoption in the country. Russia has struggled since the fall of the Soviet Union to build confidence in the ruble. This is majorly to curb the once-common practice of Russians demanding payment in U.S. dollars and other foreign currencies. The cryptocurrency supporters were happy in 2014 when Russia announced about regulating Bitcoin. But later the Finance Ministry went on to ban Bitcoin much to the disappointment of the supporters. Though they have not imposed the legislation strictly, the local Bitcoin market was significantly affected.

National Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Network:


Although Russia has stayed away from Bitcoin, it is considering the possibility of introducing a national regulated cryptocurrency. Though it would be a cryptocurrency, Russians are planning to make it a bit centralized as against bitcoin. A Russian regulated cryptocurrency should not be a non-emission currency but it will have its issuer with rights and responsibilities. Also, an anti-trust agency within the Russian government is testing a blockchain-based document management system. Named as “Digital Ecosystem” the project involves creating a completely digitalized document ecosystem. The project aims at developing tools that can increase the speed, reliability and quality of interaction during document exchange.

Legalizing Bitcoin:


A document by the federal tax authority in Russia has revealed its first official stance on the legal status of cryptocurrencies which turned out to be positive. A summary of the document was shared by Artem Tolkachev, director at Deloitte for legal services for technology and head of the Russian Blockchain Community. It outlines that bitcoin doesn’t necessarily fall under any jurisdiction. It is so often deemed a ‘money-surrogate’ by Russian officials calling for its ban. But there are no specific laws for surrogate money and predictably, a cryptocurrency hence tendering its status to legality. While this is being considered as a loophole, no mention of any cryptocurrency ban in the latest official document can certainly been taken as a positive indication.

Big Four enter the Bitcoin game: Deloitte Sets up Bitcoin ATM

Bitcoin’s price has seen a surprise boost during the second week of September. Not only did it’s price hold above $600, but has now managed to jump above the $620 levels overnight. Let’s take a closer look into some of the fundamentals that could have been the cause for prices to go up.

Deloitte Launches a Bitcoin ATM

Deloitte Bitcoin ATM
Michael Perkin tests the new BTM at the Deloitte Toronto office

On Wednesday ‘Big Four’ accounting firm Deloitte has opened and is now operating its first bitcoin ATM. The opening was quiet and took place in the downtown Toronto offices of Deloitte’s Rubix blockchain division. The bitcoin transaction machine, or BTM, is now all set to exchange digital currency for Canadian dollars.

The move by Deloitte to house a bitcoin ATM is primarily their to let its employees interact with the blockchain. The head of  Strategy and Execution at Rubix by Deloitte, Iliana Oris Valiente, said, “We see this as being an important milestone for us as an organization. It’s a move to improve accessibility and hands-on learning as first step toward greater blockchain adoption.” Bitaccess, an Ottawa-based company, manufactured the BTM and it can accept up to 1,000 bills in multiple currencies.

Italy to tax Bitcoin as currency

Italy’s top tax office is treating bitcoin as a form of currency. Agenzia della Entrate, Italy’s top tax authority, released new information this month about its treatment of digital currencies. Recently EU court ruled that value-added tax (VAT) would apply to transactions executed using the technology. The development is in line with the same ruling and would give Bitcoin the status of a currency. Italian tax officials are applying income tax to speculative uses of bitcoin, or events in which money is made during a sale or purchase. While this indicates a mainstream adoption, there are other looming factors which are flagging concerns. Analysts believe that the ruling creates a new layer of uncertainty for businesses working with the digital currency.

Accenture and EY’s Blockchain competitions

In a bid to brainstorm and fabricate implementation of Blockchain Technology, companies are hosting challenging exercises for longer durations. These exercises aim at creating blockchain solutions to real time problems confronted by Financial Institutions. Accenture is hosting its 5th annual 12- week FinTech Innovation in London. The lab intends to help startups with product and business development. Startups attending the lab will focus on fintech applications such as blockchain technology, Internet of Thingsdevices, security and risk management, and digital media. In regards to distributed ledgers, the multinational firm predicted the technology would have a significant impact on business.

EY is also throwing a six-week challenge, except this event is on distributed ledger technology. The EY Blockchain Challenge will have startups focus primarily on two distinct industry services: digital management for the entertainment sector, and energy solutions. Entrants will have access to EY’s client mentors, educational workshops, press exposure, and networking with institutional executives.