As time moves on, an increasing number of bitcoin and blockchain groups are emerging in Ireland.
We thought we’d count them to uncover just how many are out there, and to our surprise there have now been ten different groups which have tried to set up in Ireland, or run events. Some are active, others didn’t get off the ground, so check out the rundown of who’s trying what. While each of these groups seems to be different, there is some crossover between people, although none of them seem to be working together in any co-ordinated fashion.
The rather popular Meetup.com website now contains five different bitcoin or blockchain groups, four in Dublin, and one in Belfast.
The oldest and most active of all the groups, set up way back in 2013 is the Dublin Bitcoin Meetup group. These have run over 60 events since it was set up, ranging from talks by local bitcoin and blockchain companies, visits by bitcoin and blockchain people from across the world, BIP readings, as well as a number of social events.
The second oldest group formed originally as the Belfast Bitcoin Meetup, and later renamed to the Belfast Blockchain Meetup, which occasionally runs events in the North has been running on and off since late 2014.
The next oldest group is the Blockchain Techhnology Dublin Meetup group, which has run a number of events, as well as been the place where the Chainsmiths Blockchain Hackathon has been organised through, running since Autumn 2015.
In Summer 2016, another meetup group called Ireland Blockchain Meetup was set up and announced an event. However the event at the time was cancelled, and there hasn’t been any updates since, so this is considered a non-starter.
In January 2017 another meetup group Dublin Blockchain Meetup was set up, and ran their first meetup in February. In March 2017 the Blockchain Association of Ireland has set up the first of a proposed fortnightly meetup, being hosted at a Dublin city centre Bank of Ireland branch. This seems to be set up as a moderated entry unlike the other groups, so you first have to join the group, then be approved by the organisers, before you can RSVP for events.
We keep an eye on all of these groups, as well as new ones that emerge, and keep our event guide updated regularly if you want to stay on top of them all.
Three organisations exist in Ireland which have the stated aim of increasing awareness or other things around bitcoin and blockchain.
The Bitcoin Foundation of Ireland was founded in 2013, and was involved in a number of stores in the media surrounding the launch of bitcoin atm’s in Dublin. Their website has been down more often than not for since 2015, although their founder Alan Donohoe, founder of a number of bitcoin related businesses and host of only bitcoin ATM in Dublin at GSM Solutions and head of the Foundation still make comment in the media from time to time.
In May 2015, the Bitcoin Association Northern Ireland (BANI) was founded and has been involved in a number of events and initiatives in the North. Their website hasn’t been updated in some time though.
Summer 2016 saw the very quiet launch of the Blockchain Standards Association of Ireland, which claims to be a semi-governmental organisation promoting blockchain standards. However, their website redirects to their Twitter account, which is protected. The Bitcoin Foundation of Ireland website briefly came online to update it’s information on Bitex (a GSM affiliated bitcoin broker), which is the only announced member.
The most recent group to be formed is the Blockchain Association of Ireland, which ran a launch event in December 2016, and in January 2017 updated it’s website with some information. However, it is charging several hundred euro for individual annual membership, and over €2,000 for corporate annual membership. They are planning on running a series of events in May 2017 as well as the meetups mentioned above.
In addition to these groups, a number of people have listed in the past that there is a IDA Blockchain Group, although little other information is available.
So with ten groups going in different directions, there are a multitude of people trying to run events, or try and direct policy on how the sector evolves in Ireland, and we’ll continue keeping an eye on them all to let you know what they do into the future.