Global Blockchain Hub

Ethereum startup ConsenSys and the African nation of Mauritius are actively exploring a partnership. This collaboration would allow the two to create “Ethereum Island,” a blockchain technology hub for innovators hoping to extend into Asia, Africa, and elsewhere in the world. ConsenSys founder Joseph Lubin and a team of executives toured Mauritius in early July to meet with the Bank of Mauritius, the country's Board of Investment, and various authorities in both the public and private sectors.

Located 700 miles east of Madagascar along Africa's eastern coast, Mauritius is an established, offshore financial hub. Now the nation is hoping to solidify itself as a leader in blockchain technologies. In 2016, it began the regulatory sandbox license process in order to appeal to blockchain innovators.

Mauritius has also been working to become a center for the migration of tech knowledge from Silicon Valley, and other innovation locations, to the rest of the world. This has been referred to as a “Silicon Corridor” approach in a local publication. Beyond this, Mauritius offers enthusiasm for blockchain technology, a knowledge of technologies and regulatory issues more generally, and the nimbleness and ability to adopt new tools and technologies quickly that is typically associated with smaller countries.

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“We have noted around the world that blockchain technology, especially ethereum, is catching on and driving incredible business growth,” Lubin told CoinDesk. “But where we're seeing extreme traction is in smaller jurisdictions that are more homogeneous in their focus and in their intent, and where there's a strong top-down drive from government to either leapfrog technologies or take advantage of this powerful technology.”

The Partnership In Practice

For this plan to work for ConsenSys, it will need to invest locally in human capital — something that's likely to be beneficial for both the company and the local community. The company would present and establish the basics of a blockchain ecosystem as it worked to develop a talent pool within the ecosystem. A ConsenSys Academy based in Mauritius similar to the Dubai version from May 2017 is one possible human capital tactic the company could take.

The presence of a strong blockchain ecosystem will also help Mauritius to accomplish its own economic goals, aside from employing its citizens. “We are working to take our economy to another level, and these kinds of technologies are very important in our strategy,” Atma Narasiah, head of technology, innovation and services at the Board of Investment Mauritius, told CoinDesk in May.

Lubin and the ConsenSys team appear to have come away from the meetings impressed by the knowledge and enthusiasm for the technology they saw in Mauritius. Lubin emphasized, “We expected to encounter significant enthusiasm… but we were overwhelmed with the excitement that we felt in every single meeting. If Mauritius puts together a concerted effort to be a world leader, it will be.”

Disclaimer: Futurism has a personal affiliation with ConsenSys. This is a piece of editorial content. ConsenSys does not have any review privileges on editorial decisions.

Disclosure: Several members of the Futurism team, including the editors of this piece, are personal investors in cryptocurrency markets. Their personal investment perspectives have no impact on editorial content.

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