Gibraltar’s emergence as a leading blockchain hub stems from extensive planning, collaboration between regulators and industry, as well as bold initiative. As a jurisdiction, Gibraltar has a strong track record for seizing opportunities presented by new and exciting technological innovations. Having taken a lead in developing a thorough licensing process for the gaming industry, Gibraltar laid the groundwork for building one of the most vibrant gaming markets internationally. I’m pleased to say that this trend of exploring new technologies has continued with a full embrace of blockchain technology.
Honing in on blockchain technology has enabled Gibraltar to once again set the pace on an international stage — becoming the first jurisdiction in the world to introduce purpose-built blockchain regulatory framework. The efforts behind the scenes to reach that point were substantial, with strong collaboration between regulators and industry leaders helping to establish the framework that provides the right blend of security and flexibility, giving projects room to breathe. This approach has been effective, helping to attract significant inward investment and develop homegrown talent while creating a stable, supportive environment where prospective projects are backed to succeed.
As key decision makers here in Gibraltar were setting out this ambitious roadmap, they also recognized the importance of developing educational initiatives in parallel to the regulatory framework. The reasoning behind this approach? Sustainability. There is no point in sprinting ahead of the pack, without enough in the tank to endure the long road ahead. The endurance of Gibraltar’s blockchain pursuits boils down to the integrity of the regulatory framework, as well as developing a deep talent pool of blockchain proficient workers, being educated in tandem with the evolving industry.
While issues around blockchain scalability have been well documented, scalability also relates to the talent the industry is producing. Across the globe, blockchain innovation has accelerated faster than associated educational initiatives, creating a chasm between supply and demand of blockchain talent. This global shortage has been underlined in a number of studies, including this one showing a 6,000 percent increase in demand for blockchain-related jobs between Q1 2017 and Q1 2018, meaning it was the fastest-growing skill out of
more than 5,000 skills on the site during that interval. Facebook hired a number of blockchain specialists as part of the company’s acquisition of Chainspace, indicating that blockchain employment is now most certainly in the mainstream.
Gibraltar has taken steps to ensure that similar imbalances are not reflected on home soil. A core theme that characterizes Gibraltar’s approach to both blockchain regulation and education is collaboration. Collaborative efforts between government officials, established educational institutions, and the blockchain innovators have ensured that all major stakeholders have a voice in the crafting of Gibraltar’s robust blockchain offerings. Gibraltar has prioritized the development of the New Technologies in Education (NTiE) group, a collaborative effort between the Government, the University of Gibraltar and a number of leading Gibraltar-based technology companies. The group is geared towards creating new technology-related education courses such as blockchain, giving students the chance to broaden their knowledge of the intricate workings of blockchain applications. Course content will be developed in conjunction with input from blockchain-based companies in Gibraltar which have received a full distributed ledger technology (DLT) license from the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission, or indeed in the process of being licensed.
In Gibraltar, we all want to deliver on blockchain’s promise of innovation and invigoration. We want to nurture homegrown talent, support young aspiring developers, giving them the necessary tools to sustain this blockchain revolution. This is their time — their opportunity — to become the innovators of tomorrow. With government, educational institutions and leading blockchain companies all on the same page, we can create a template for other jurisdictions to take inspiration from, helping to plug the global skills gap and ensure the sustainable growth of the global blockchain ecosystem.
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