Blockchain is an area of ever-growing interest, not just in the financial sector but also in other sectors of business and PwC has identified a number of areas in which it could play a useful role and spoken in Scotland at relevant events.
Michael Young at MBN Solutions is a firm helping connect Blockchain teams with talent and he also recently held one of the country’s largest gatherings on the technology. Here, he shares his thoughts with what people and companies need to embrace to succeed on Blockchain.
“Scotland is a hotbed of technology innovation”
Is Blockchain the disruptive gamechanger it is often called?
“We often hear of disruptive technologies with great potential but Blockchain has such far reaching prospects it simply cannot be ignored.
“The full potential will only be realised when we start to see mainstream non financial use cases. This will in turn be dependent upon ensuring that the crypto security employed is robust enough to provide the trust and proof of work often required in business, government and the world at large, together with the solution to many problems in and around Blockchain such as scaling, speed and authenticity.
How well do you think Blockchain has been taken up in Scotland – by businesses and individuals?
“Scotland is a hotbed of progressive technological innovation. In particular, we have seen positive movement in respect of data scientists, insight analysts and developers providing added value solutions to the both Scottish and International businesses located within Scotland.
“However, since Blockchain as a Distributed Ledger system was born from Bitcoin, most of the Blockchain activity we have seen in the UK has come from the Financial Services Sector. Fintech and FS are strong in Scotland but this is still to reach peak maturity north of the Border which is why we have been trying to showcase how businesses and early stage ventures in Scotland can apply similar approaches to those successfully deployed in and around data to take on the existing Blockchain players and hopefully start to deliver meaningful use cases and solutions.”
What are the skills needed to succeed at Blockchain?
How can people and businesses get ahead in Blockchain?
“Blockchain came on the agenda for us a few years ago when we started to hear of clients seeking to employ Blockchain and Distributed Ledger developers.
“Traditional coding skills and general development skills are key but of great interest is an exposure and eagerness to learn at least one of the current Blockchain platforms like Ethereum, Stellar, Ripple, Hyperledger etc.
“We would suggest a good understanding of Bitcoin or other crypto-currencies and knowledge of coding in distributed database environments (including an understanding of the various distributed consensus methodologies). People with robust knowledge of cryptography will also find themselves in demand.
“The language coding skills that appear to be most in demand in Blockchain at present relate to Java, Golang, Scala, Haskell, Erlang, Rust, Python, C, C++, C#, although we are already seeing greater demand for those with hands-on experience in working on Open Source frameworks/languages such as Zeppelin and Solidity.”
What’s next for Blockchain in Scotland?
“More events, which we aim to help provide, and more tie-ins with Big Data, Insight & Analytics and other fields. There’s going to be more work around proof of concepts and an increasing thirst for knowledge in this space. All of this works to the advantage of those with an interest in the field because it brings us all together and helps everyone to be heard.”