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2022 Matheson | UCD Leadership Series Crypto and the Digital Assets Revolution: What’s Next?

2022 Matheson | UCD Leadership Series Crypto and the Digital Assets Revolution: What’s Next?

Michael_Jackson_Dr Niamh_Howlin_1.jpg(L to R) Michael Jackson, Managing Partner, Matheson, and Dr Niamh Howlin, Dean of Law, UCD Sutherland School of Law

On 11 May 2022, leading Irish law firm Matheson together with UCD Sutherland School of Law hosted a hybrid conference titled “Crypto and the Digital Assets Revolution: What’s Next?” at the O’Reilly Hall in UCD.

Dr Niamh Howlin, Dean of Law at UCD Sutherland School of Law, provided opening remarks and the keynote address was delivered by UCD alumna John Whelan, Managing Director, Crypto & Digital Assets at Banco Santander. The conference was comprised of panel discussions and conversations that reflected on the regulatory issues and the increasing significance of the FinTech sector in UCD’s graduate and undergraduate curriculum. 

Dr Howlin said; "The increasing significance of this area is reflected on our undergraduate and graduate curriculum. UCD now offers modules on Cryptocurrencies, Digital Finance, International Finance and Fintech.  These are cross-disciplinary areas requiring deep collaboration and engagement between academics from different fields and those who work in industry."

The discussions featured key UCD alumni within the industry and the regulatory environment (including Professor Joyce O’Connor, Founding President of National College of Ireland and Co-founder of Block W) together with members of Matheson’s dedicated FinTech team, senior executives from the international financial services industry, and addressed the opportunities, challenges and potential for Irish business in the area of blockchain, cryptocurrency and virtual assets.

 Snapshot polls that were conducted at the event found that:

  • Nearly 60% of respondents have already bought, or would consider buying crypto assets
  • 97% believe that the difference between digital currencies and digital assets is not widely understood by the public.
  • The vast majority (86%) believe that new regulation is essential for the widespread adoption of new products and services.
  • In order to trust new technology, the most important consideration is having a greater understanding (62%), followed by data security and privacy (31.5%).

Delivering the closing address, Managing Partner of Matheson, Michael Jackson said; “I want to thank our speakers and panellists for their insightful and very interesting inputs.  The clear messages which we heard today are that the pace of change in this area is fast, the use cases for blockchain and crypto assets are evolving quickly and that regulation and legislation will need to evolve at a faster pace to reflect the impact of this. It was also clear that there is a real desire and need for more education about the technologies, opportunities and risks and that businesses, consumers and regulators need to continue to have dialogue and to share experiences to continue to build trust and to ensure that regulation continues to be targeted at the right risks in an appropriate way.

UCD Sutherland School of Law

University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.