Gibraltar Commits to Train New Generations and Professionals on Blockchain

Gibraltar Commits to Train New Generations on Blockchain and Other Cutting Edge TechnologiesImage: Library La Trobe Study, via Pixabay

The government of Gibraltar has announced the launch of a new advisory group focused on creating education courses covering new technologies such as blockchain. The New Technologies in Education (NTiE) group will be a joint initiative between the government and the University of Gibraltar in collaboration with several tech companies based in the country. The move aims to address the growing demand for related skills, the government said on Thursday.

Entrance University of Gibraltar

Entrance, University of Gibraltar,

The new courses, which are expected to commence later this year, will focus on educating individuals on the workings and potential applications of blockchain technology and will include inputs from blockchain companies based in Gibraltar.

Gibraltar’s department of education is a partner in the initiative. John Cortes, minister for education, said:

“Improving the way we prepare our young people within the schools in digital technology in all its forms is a critical part of our plans for education.”

Gilbert Licudi, the Gibraltar minister with responsibility for the University of Gibraltar, said the initiative demonstrated the country’s strong commitment to forming new generations and professionals on cutting-edge technologies and address new skills requirements.

“Providing access to innovative courses with expert input from those using this technology in the private sector is a vital component in the development of a sustainable distributed ledger technology (DLT) commercial community in Gibraltar,” Licudi said.

Members of the advisory group include several professors and executives of the University of Gibraltar, in addition to David Parody, chair of the Gibraltar Association of New Technologies, and Paul Astengo, senior executive of Gibraltar Finance.

Nadine Collado, group chair of NTiE and director of professional development and short courses at the University of Gibraltar, stressed the university’s commitment to developing and enhancing expertise in technologies such as blockchain, DLT, coding and smart contracts across the education sector.

“We are already scheduling a variety of offerings, to include a Professional Certificate of Competence within this area,” she noted.

Gibraltar’s dedication to prepare new generations to cutting-edge technologies including blockchain comes in line with the government’s desire to turn the country into a leading blockchain and cryptocurrency hub. In January 2018, the British Overseas Territory became the first jurisdiction globally to introduce legislation around DLT. Earlier this month, UK cryptocurrency exchange Coinfloor became the first company to gain a license under Gibraltar’s blockchain-specific legislation, according to the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission’s website.

In July, the Gibraltar Stock Exchange launched its Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX), a multifaceted initial coin offering (ICO) and trading platform.

UK Bank NatWest Adopts Blockchain for Syndicated Loans Market

UK Bank NatWest Adopts Blockchain for Syndicated Loans MarketImage: Loan, by CreditRepairExpert Loan, Flickr

National Westminster Bank (NatWest), a UK bank part of the the Royal Bank of Scotland, has announced its integration with a new blockchain-based platform to streamline communication between agent banks and lenders in the syndicated loans market.

NatWest will be leveraging Finastra’s Fusion LenderCoom, a platform underpinned by Corda, R3’s distributed ledger technology. The new system is set to go live in November 2018.

A syndicated loan is a loan offered by a group of lenders who work together to provide funds for a single borrower. The borrower could be a corporation, a large project or a sovereignty, such as a government.

Complex syndicated loan deals involving hundreds of lenders are now common, with over £3.5 trillion worth of deals being brokered globally in 2017, but the technology supporting this business has been slow to keep up and is outdated. This has resulted in a loans market that is inefficient, costly to operate and heavily reliant on manual processes.

“The syndicated lending industry relies on costly, manually-intensive processes, making it ripe for innovation with blockchain technology,” said David E. Rutter, CEO at R3.

Fusion LenderComm, a platform providing transparent and efficient agent-lender communication, intends to solve these issues and dramatically reduce the amount of time taken to set-up syndicated loan arrangements for customers, which can currently take months to finalize. It aims to deliver immediate efficiencies, improved transparency, and reduced costs for both agent banks and lenders.

The servicing portal enables lenders to see accurate information on-demand, get real-time access to credit agreements, accrual balances, position information and detailed transaction data directly from agent banks’ loan servicing platforms.

All lenders have a dedicated ledger node on LenderComm for their transactions, all data, operation and encrypted communications are wrapped into a web portal. The technology creates an immutable record of transactions during the lifecycle of deals.

Fusion LenderComm was developed in close collaboration with some of the world’s top global banks including BNP Paribas, BNY Mellon, HSBC, ING and State Street.

“NatWest will now be able to specify and publish lender-specific deal information to Fusion LenderComm in real-time, while its lenders can view this data which was previously only periodically provided by fax from agents or through telephone or email queries from lenders,” explained Grant Jones, vice president of Fusion LenderComm at Finastra. “This not only brings improved operational efficiency for NatWest and its lenders but it also brings much needed transparency to the syndicated loan market.”

Trish Arksey, director of the lending program at NatWest, said the bank was excited about the possibilities that Fusion LenderComm offered to transform the syndicated loan market.

“We are investing in cutting-edge technologies and working with our suppliers and partners to deliver first class customer service and efficiency to a market that has not changed significantly in the last 20 years,” she said.

Blockchain Startup Tron Announces Partnership with Internet Giant Baidu


A blockchain startup aiming to decentralized the internet is shaking hands with the field’s most prominent player. But does it matter?

Tron Foundation revealed in its latest tweet that it would be working closely with Baidu, a China-based internet giant, to use their cloud solutions. Far from what seems like an official and detailed press release, today’s announcement nevertheless confirmed to Tron’s October 12 teaser in which it admitted partnering with a giant whose valuation was worth billions of dollars.

But to many who responded after Baidu’s name came to the limelight, the Tron partnership with the internet giant was no less an equivalent of, as a tweet quoted, “a sleeper’s partnership with his pillow.”

Anatomy of a Tweet

Tron has stylized its tweet to create a right balance of hype and information. Readers might get mistaken from the first look that Tron is working as an equal – a blockchain innovator – with Baidu, perhaps on a decentralized cloud computing solution the latter wants to develop and launch anytime soon.

But a more in-depth look into the jumble of a tweet could prove that Tron is easily a customer of a cloud computing service that Baidu offers – nothing more, nothing less for now. The blockchain startup aims to build its Wave Field Tron system on Baidu cloud – simple.

Moreover, the attached image showcases an uncopiable-to-Google-Translate Chinese text which could be easily misinterpreted by the international media thanks to the fancy, subtitles-like English text below. The words like “joining forces,” “work with […] to offer blockchain solutions,” and “mass adoption” end up looking like jargons in what clearly seems like a politically correct yet misleading announcement.

CCN reached out to one of its team members to help with the translation and received the following text in return:

“Baidu Cloud service is cooperating with Tron’s Wave Field technology in basic cloud business field. Therefore, the Wave Field Tron will be built on Baidu Cloud. Both the parties have not reached any partnership on a business level, but the current partnership will be only focusing on the sale and the purchase of basic cloud computing resources.”

The translation went on about how Baidu is developing a blockchain commercialization architecture with the commercial superpartners to carry out technology exploration, revenue sharing, and build a blockchain ecosystem of cooperation. Meanwhile, the dots between Tron’s blockchain and Baidu’s cloud computing project were challenging to connect.

Tron price went up over 2 percent against the dollar after the Tron’s CEO Justin Sun’s announcement went live on Twitter. It is now trendline sideways around the intraday high established near 0.0255-fiat.


Featured image from Shutterstock.

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