The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform, Pascal Donohoe (TD) yesterday published a discussion paper on virtual currencies and blockchain technology and announced the creation of an internal working group to monitor developments in the area. While Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and blockchain are garnering the world’s attention, Ireland is perfectly placed to become a predictable and open ecosystem for the technology and further enhance the country’s international reputation as a centre of innovation and a business-friendly destination.

Ireland already has a healthy, burgeoning network of blockchain start-ups and the space is set for further growth under the right conditions. The Blockchain Association of Ireland (BAI), founded in 2016, which has recently been assimilated into the Irish Computer Society (ICS), has been working to build understanding of the technology in Ireland and will now liaise with Irish businesses, Government and regulators to promote the industry.

A host of new start-ups are stepping up to capitalise and build on the success of trail blazers such as Mingo. Mingo, chaired by Fran Rooney and co-founded by Joe and Deirdre Arthur, utilises DLT to aggregate multiple social media accounts and offer users a platform for exchanging virtual currencies.

Last year it raised over €650,000 in the first hour of its Initial Token Offering (ITO). A Mingo smartphone application already exists and has been downloaded more than 50,000 times in 93 countries.

On the publishing of the government’s paper Rooney said, ‘We welcome the publishing of this report and commend Minister Donohoe for his foresight in this regard. The world stands poised to create a new technology leap forward and it would be most beneficial if the Irish Government, The Department of Finance and The Central Bank all looked closely at the possibilities involved and prepare a strategy that will enable and empower Irish companies working in this area. Read more from…

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