Foreign direct investment firm IDA Ireland is looking to position the country as a leading cryptocurrency and blockchain hub. The body is now heading “Blockchain Ireland,” a project which will promote blockchain-related startups and work to encourage companies working in the technology to station themselves throughout the Emerald Isle.
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The Irish Love Their Crypto
New research by The Irish Times suggests that the attitude in Ireland surrounding crypto has shifted from one of suspicion to curiosity, and that the number of virtual asset users in the country has quadrupled over the last four years. It seems everyone from Dublin to Limerick is starting to see cryptocurrency as a valid alternative to fiat.
The study, co-headed by Amarach Research and communications agency Red Flag, found that roughly 180,000 people have at some point during the four-year period either sold, traded, or bought bitcoin. Representatives say that this was their first time officially studying cryptocurrency use.
In addition, the research suggests that men and women have been equally interested in cryptocurrency investments. The largest demographic was millennials, which researchers say are about 85 percent more likely to own cryptocurrencies than average.
Reaching for the Top of the Tech Tree
“Blockchain Ireland” was originally introduced by the Irish Blockchain Expert Group, a forum led by IDA Ireland. Other backers include Enterprise Ireland, the Department of Finance, and Consensys, which recently announced plans to hire 60 Dublin-based engineers to work on Ethereum-based applications and technology platforms.
State body chief information officer Keith Fingleton explained:
“IDA Ireland’s strategy has always been to identify and secure reference projects from leading technology companies. We regard blockchain as an area with huge potential, and we are seeing great interest among IDA Ireland’s client base. This initiative will enhance the blockchain industry in Ireland, and our position as a global blockchain center of excellence.”
Time to Hit the Books
Despite the news, Gerard O’Neill – chairman of Amarach Research – states that the level of understanding of cryptocurrency technology is still relatively low, and that the Irish will need to work on educating themselves if the country is to become the next major blockchain haven:
“This is a fast-growing sector in Ireland, particularly amongst young men, but the level of understanding is still quite low, with one in eight respondents believing [cryptocurrencies] are used mainly by criminals. Cryptocurrency advocates still have a long way to go in driving higher adoption in Ireland.”
Will the Irish accomplish the goal of becoming a crypto-powered nation? Post your comments below.
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IDA Ireland Looks to Promote Crypto Startups Through Blockchain Forum