On Tuesday, 18th June 2019, the government announced that, after a Cabinet meeting, the Council of Ministers approved the Cyprus’ roadmap for blockchain technologies (https://www.financialmirror.com/news-details.php?nid=37130).
The structure of the national strategy will be separated into three levels, the first being policy governance, and the second being technology governance, which will be chaired by the Chief Scientist for research and innovation, Mr. Kyriacos Kokkinos, who will act as a general coordinator (https://www.financialmirror.com/news-details.php?nid=37130).
Mr. Kokkinos was appointed by the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Nicos Anastasiades, and is mandated to promote growth in research and innovation at the national level.
Mr. Anastasiades has stressed the need for such an institution, as research and innovation can bolster the economy, which is exemplified by the fact that Cyprus is prepared to spend a total of EUR 400 million on infrastructure related to research and innovation.
It is worth noting that the government established in October 2018, the National Council for Research and Innovation as the leading advisory body for the drafting of a national strategy (https://www.stockwatch.com.cy/en/article/politika/cyprus-sets-national-council-research-and-innovation).
Also, on a third level, a committee will be set up with the inclusion of both private and public sector bodies, following a call for interest.
Blockchain technology was first introduced by Satoshi Nakamoto, who developed this technology as the accounting basis for Bitcoin (https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf), and was created as a digital, decentralized and immutable public ledger of transactions.
Following the above, the second generation of blockchain came about and was designed as a network in order for developers to build applications. This gave birth to its evolution into a distributed virtual computer, which was made technically possible by the development of the Ethereum platform, an open-source, public, blockchain-based distributed computing platform featuring smart contract functionality, that digitally facilitates, verifies, or enforces the negotiation or performance of a contract (http://complexitylabs.io/evolution-of-blockchain/).
The great advantages of this emerging blockchain technology and verification process include the ability to customise, in order to record transactions, the transparency it affords, saving money and time, as well as reducing bureaucracy and removing intermediaries (https://cyprus-mail.com/2018/05/21/cyprus-plays-a-key-role-in-blockchain-progress/).
In addition to Mr. Kokkinos heading the national strategy for blockchain technologies, the University of Nicosia has also been, and will be, an important drive.
This is reflected by the fact that The University of Nicosia offers world class courses in cryptocurrency and blockchain, making it the first university to offer a cryptocurrency course and the first university in the world to publish diplomas of all graduate students on the blockchain. Also, it is number 1 in the world in bitcoin and blockchain education, the first university to offer a digital currency degree, and is the first university to accept bitcoin for tuition payments (http://bitcoinist.com/where-can-a-masters-degree-in-cryptocurrency-take-you-in-2018/) (http://www.the-blockchain.com/2017/11/03/university-nicosia-first-university-world-publish-diplomas-graduating-students-blockchain/) (https://digitalcurrency.unic.ac.cy).
On parallel lines, ‘The Institute for the Future’ at the University of Nicosia, presented the “Cyprus Blockchain Summit”, which took place on Wednesday, 10th July 2019, at the Hilton Park Hotel in Nicosia. At the Summit, experienced speakers, keen investors and opinion leaders examined the opportunities and threats of this emerging technology (http://www.goldnews.com.cy/en/companies/what’s-next-for-blockchain-).
Another recent example of the University of Nicosia being a global leader in blockchain education and research, is the fact that it organises the “Decentralised” Summit, which unites leading global executive and academics to debate current trends and developments within the blockchain sector. The next Summit will take place in Athens, Greece, from the 30th October until 1st November 2019 (https://www.unic.ac.cy/university-of-nicosia-announces-decentralized-2019-cyprus-mail/).
In closing, the details of the national strategy on blockchain technologies will be further explained, at a press conference, and at a later stage (https://www.financialmirror.com/news-details.php?nid=37130).