Hon. Albert Isola M.P. - Minister for Commerce of Gibraltar
Earlier this month I had the privilege of leading a Gibraltar delegation on our second trip to Beijing this year, where we continued our fruitful engagement with Huobi. We set off with the goal of signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Gibraltar and Huobi University to explore the development of blockchain education and research initiatives. I was once again accompanied by Gibraltar Finance senior executives Michael Ashton and Paul Astengo.
This followed on from our last visit to Beijing earlier this summer, when the details of this MOU were ironed out. In June I delivered the keynote speech at the ‘Discover Gibraltar with Huobi’ blockchain seminar organised by Huobi Group, where I offered an insight into Gibraltar’s evolving Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) ecosystem and supportive regulatory environment. When meeting with Leon Li, the Founder and CEO of Huobi Group in June, we discussed Huobi’s strategy for the next 24 months and identified exciting opportunities for collaboration with the Gibraltar Government and the University of Gibraltar in particular. This ‘big picture’ frame of mind has defined the relationship between Huobi and the Government of Gibraltar, a relationship underpinned by a shared appreciation of the importance of blockchain educational development. Since Huobi was awarded a full DLT licence from the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC) in November 2018, engagement has been ongoing.
When it comes to the exploration of DLT in Gibraltar, educational initiatives have always been prioritised in tandem with technological advances. One of the cornerstones of Gibraltar’s thriving blockchain hub is the University of Gibraltar – offering first-hand experience of the industry, with tailored courses including the Professional Certificate of Competence in Blockchain and Smart Contracts. The University has also played a part in the development of the New Technologies in Education (NTiE) group – geared towards developing bespoke courses around blockchain technology. By working closely with technology companies already established in Gibraltar, the NTiE group provides innovative education courses with expert input, allowing future generations to understand the workings and applications of blockchain technology.
Signing the Memorandum of Understanding with Huobi University this month is further illustration of the University of Gibraltar’s commitment to addressing the global blockchain skills shortage. LinkedIn’s 2018 U.S. Emerging Jobs report identified the role of blockchain developer as the most rapidly growing emerging job in the U.S, growing 33 times over the previous year. The momentum within the blockchain jobs market has endured, with the 2019 ConsenSys Blockchain Jobs Report providing an updated insight into the continued expansion of the industry globally.
Given this booming jobs market, promoting cooperation in education, academic research, and prioritising the development of academic programmes takes on a more pronounced significance.
With this in mind, the prospect of future collaborations between Huobi University and the University of Gibraltar is very exciting, as both parties strive to promote high-level academic research around the burgeoning DLT landscape. Huobi University have experience in delivering the courses in China, the United States, Japan, and South Korea, and have trained more than 1,000 blockchain industry elites. The pooled resources of both universities will undoubtedly lead to many exciting developments.
Following our successful engagement with Huobi in Beijing, the focus shifted to a series of meetings with insurance and fintech businesses, as well as a trip to the British Embassy. I was pleased to be the guest speaker at the ‘Can Fintech Be Applied to Traditional Companies’ seminar, held at the offices of Anshu Space in the Chaoyang District. During the seminar I was able to provide an overview of Gibraltar’s fintech sector, discuss our DLT regulatory framework, and outline the high standards Gibraltar expects of fintech businesses eager to set up operations in our jurisdiction. China continues to make tremendous progress when it comes to the pursuit of technological innovation, and it was inspiring to hear about the incredible use-cases permeating all aspects of their society.
Reflecting on this trip to Beijing, I return to Gibraltar with a renewed sense of ambition regarding the role our jurisdiction can play on a global stage, powering the DLT education agenda, providing deep level insights from a regulatory perspective, while always searching for opportunities for mutually beneficial collaboration.
Education, opportunity, start-up support, and innovation – these are the hallmarks of our DLT landscape and we are dedicated to making these principles synonymous with Gibraltar, both at home and abroad.
To keep up to date on the latest developments visit thinkgibraltar.gi and gibraltarfinance.gi