Connect with us

Top Stories

EUROPE’S FIRST INTERNATIONAL BLOCKCHAIN CENTRE LAUNCHES IN VILNIUS

Published

on

EUROPE’S FIRST INTERNATIONAL BLOCKCHAIN CENTRE LAUNCHES IN VILNIUS

Europe’s first international Blockchain Centre launched its operations in Vilnius – the capital of Lithuania – on 27th January, 2018.  The launch attracted entrepreneurs, investors, key decision-makers and experts from around the world.  It is the first facility of its kind on the continent.  The global network of Blockchain Centres includes Melbourne, Shanghai, and now, Vilnius.  It is a not-for-profit knowledge-hub, co-working space and incubator for blockchain technology companies.

The official launch ceremony included a series of signings of cooperation agreements by Blockchain Centre Vilnius and numerous partner organisations, including PWC, the UK’s 20|30 & Pillar Project, Singapore based NEM.io Foundation, Canadian GCAC, Malaysian PUNDI X LABS, Australian Coinstop and Lithuanian Lympo.io among others.  The Minister of Economy of Lithuania, VirginijusSinkevičius, witnessed the signings.

“Experts from the world´s Intellectual centres predict diverse scenarios in cryptocurrency development; however blockchain is not just about cryptocurrency. Blockchain technology is already being adopted by many businesses and public administration sectors. The potential is enormous, therefore, Lithuania must become an important link in the global blockchain industry. I am pleased to be able to put the first block in place today”, V. Sinkevičius said at the ceremony.

The launch event featured high-level debates on the future of blockchain technology. Discussions included representatives from the European Commission, the European Central Bank, the Lithuanian Government, world-renowned companies including; NASDAQ, NEM, Pillar Project, Qadre, and other enterprises that are already applying blockchain technology.

“Lithuania is an amazing place to invest and a great place for innovative businesses.  Vilnius is going to attract people from all over the world – it already has for the opening!  We are thrilled and excited!” – said AntanasGuoga, Member of the European Parliament, founder of Blockchain Centre Vilnius, and a serial entrepreneur. “Today Lithuania can offer a globally represented blockchain hub and enabling regulatory environment. It goes along the overall positive attitude of the European Union institutions, which are ready to embrace the technology”.

Global blockchain network

The centre is part of a global network of co-working spaces that are being developed to serve as knowledge-hubs for the blockchain industry. The chain started with Australia’s Melbourne Blockchain Centre. Drawing on the experiences of the Melbourne location – which brands itself as a community of more than 2,000 blockchain technology entrepreneurs, experts, mentors and investors – the new facility’s founders say they hope to benefit from Lithuania’s favourable climate for digital businesses.

”We want to build a truly global network between Melbourne, Shanghai and Vilnius”, PauliusKunčinas, the chairman of the board of Blockchain Centre Vilnius, said at the event.  “Lithuania for the last three years has a reputation in this area – the Lithuanian Central Bank and our investment community has been actively developing the fintech industry.  Here in Lithuania we are pulling out the stops to bring the world’s top blockchain talent, ideas, investors, and regulators together to create value for both private and public sectors. There is a growing recognition in Europe that Lithuania has gained an edge in financial and digital innovation.”

Since 2014, when the first Blockchain Centre was set up in Melbourne, another centre has been established in Shanghai, China.  Melbourne-based Martin Davidson, Global Director and CEO of Blockchain Centre Melbourne, said Lithuania was a natural fit to its growing international network.

“Lithuania is the latest region in the world to be warming up to the concept and application of blockchain technology. It was selected by the Australian and Asian blockchain communities as the network’s first location in Europe due to its political and economic stability, relationship with the European Union, as well as favourable business and regulatory environments.”

Mr Davidson added that the Blockchain Centre is excited to be connecting its growing ecosystem and key stakeholders in three continents.  According to him, Blockchain Centre is a fertile ground, from which revolutionary businesses can grow. ”This is a real game changer as we can now open up Australian blockchain and cryptocurrency start-ups to the Asian and European markets allowing them to build networks and further the development of their businesses”, he said.

Top Stories

Sunak to use budget to expand apprenticeships in England

Published

on

Sunak to use budget to expand apprenticeships in England 1

LONDON (Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak will announce more funding for apprenticeships in England when he unveils his budget next week, the government said on Friday.

Employers taking part in the Apprenticeship Initiative Scheme will from April 1 receive 3,000 pounds ($4,179) for each apprentice hired, regardless of age – an increase on current grants of between 1,500 and 2,000 pounds depending on age.

The scheme will extended by six months until the end of September, the finance ministry said.

Sunak will also announce an extra 126 million pounds for traineeships for up to 43,000 placements.

Sunak’s March 3 budget will likely include a new round of spending to prop up the economy during what he hopes will be the last phase of lockdown, but he will also probably signal tax rises ahead to plug the huge hole in the public finances.

Sunak is also expected to announce a “flexi-job” apprenticeship scheme, whereby apprentices can join an agency and work for multiple employers in one sector, the finance ministry said.

“We know there’s more to do and it’s vital this continues throughout the next stage of our recovery, which is why I’m boosting support for these programmes, helping jobseekers and employers alike,” Sunak said in a statement.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by David Milliken)

Continue Reading

Top Stories

UK seeks G7 consensus on digital competition after Facebook blackout

Published

on

UK seeks G7 consensus on digital competition after Facebook blackout 2

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is seeking to build a consensus among G7 nations on how to stop large technology companies exploiting their dominance, warning that there can be no repeat of Facebook’s one-week media blackout in Australia.

Facebook’s row with the Australian government over payment for local news, although now resolved, has increased international focus on the power wielded by tech corporations.

“We will hold these companies to account and bridge the gap between what they say they do and what happens in practice,” Britain’s digital minister Oliver Dowden said on Friday.

“We will prevent these firms from exploiting their dominance to the detriment of people and the businesses that rely on them.”

Dowden said recent events had strengthened his view that digital markets did not currently function properly.

He spoke after a meeting with Facebook’s Vice-President for Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, a former British deputy prime minister.

“I put these concerns to Facebook and set out our interest in levelling the playing field to enable proper commercial relationships to be formed. We must avoid such nuclear options being taken again,” Dowden said in a statement.

Facebook said in a statement that the call had been constructive, and that it had already struck commercial deals with most major publishers in Britain.

“Nick strongly agreed with the Secretary of State’s (Dowden’s) assertion that the government’s general preference is for companies to enter freely into proper commercial relationships with each other,” a Facebook spokesman said.

Britain will host a meeting of G7 leaders in June.

It is seeking to build consensus there for coordinated action toward “promoting competitive, innovative digital markets while protecting the free speech and journalism that underpin our democracy and precious liberties,” Dowden said.

The G7 comprises the United States, Japan, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Canada, but Australia has also been invited.

Britain is working on a new competition regime aimed at giving consumers more control over their data, and introducing legislation that could regulate social media platforms to prevent the spread of illegal or extremist content and bullying.

(Reporting by William James; Editing by Gareth Jones and John Stonestreet)

 

Continue Reading

Top Stories

Britain to offer fast-track visas to bolster fintechs after Brexit

Published

on

Britain to offer fast-track visas to bolster fintechs after Brexit 3

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Friday it would offer a fast-track visa scheme for jobs at high-growth companies after a government-backed review warned that financial technology firms will struggle with Brexit and tougher competition for global talent.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak said that now Britain has left the European Union, it wants to make sure its immigration system helps businesses attract the best hires.

“This new fast-track scale-up stream will make it easier for fintech firms to recruit innovators and job creators, who will help them grow,” Sunak said in a statement.

Over 40% of fintech staff in Britain come from overseas, and the new visa scheme, open to migrants with job offers at high-growth firms that are scaling up, will start in March 2022.

Brexit cut fintechs’ access to the EU single market and made it far harder to employ staff from the bloc, leaving Britain less attractive for the industry.

The review published on Friday and headed by Ron Kalifa, former CEO of payments fintech Worldpay, set out a “strategy and delivery model” that also includes a new 1 billion pound ($1.39 billion) start-up fund.

“It’s about underpinning financial services and our place in the world, and bringing innovation into mainstream banking,” Kalifa told Reuters.

Britain has a 10% share of the global fintech market, generating 11 billion pounds ($15.6 billion) in revenue.

The review said Brexit, heavy investment in fintech by Australia, Canada and Singapore, and the need to be nimbler as COVID-19 accelerates digitalisation of finance, all mean the sector’s future in Britain is not assured.

It also recommends more flexible listing rules for fintechs to catch up with New York.

“We recognise the need to make the UK attractive a more attractive location for IPOs,” said Britain’s financial services minister John Glen, adding that a separate review on listings rules would be published shortly.

“Those findings, along with Ron’s report today, should provide an excellent evidence base for further reform.”

SCALING UP

Britain pioneered “sandboxes” to allow fintechs to test products on real consumers under supervision, and the review says regulators should move to the next stage and set up “scale-boxes” to help fintechs navigate red tape to grow.

“It’s a question of knowing who to call when there’s a problem,” said Kay Swinburne, vice chair of financial services at consultants KPMG and a contributor to the review.

A UK fintech wanting to serve EU clients would have to open a hub in the bloc, an expensive undertaking for a start-up.

“Leaving the EU and access to the single market going away is a big deal, so the UK has to do something significant to make fintechs stay here,” Swinburne said.

The review seeks to join the dots on fintech policy across government departments and regulators, and marshal private sector efforts under a new Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT).

“There is no framework but bits of individual policies, and nowhere does it come together,” said Rachel Kent, a lawyer at Hogan Lovells and contributor to the review.

($1 = 0.7064 pounds)

(Reporting by Huw Jones; editing by Jane Merriman and John Stonestreet)

 

Continue Reading
Editorial & Advertiser disclosureOur website provides you with information, news, press releases, Opinion and advertorials on various financial products and services. This is not to be considered as financial advice and should be considered only for information purposes. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or applicability of any information provided with respect to your individual or personal circumstances. Please seek Professional advice from a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. We link to various third party websites, affiliate sales networks, and may link to our advertising partners websites. Though we are tied up with various advertising and affiliate networks, this does not affect our analysis or opinion. When you view or click on certain links available on our articles, our partners may compensate us for displaying the content to you, or make a purchase or fill a form. This will not incur any additional charges to you. To make things simpler for you to identity or distinguish sponsored articles or links, you may consider all articles or links hosted on our site as a partner endorsed link.

Call For Entries

Global Banking and Finance Review Awards Nominations 2021
2021 Awards now open. Click Here to Nominate

Latest Articles

Newsletters with Secrets & Analysis. Subscribe Now