Matheson hosted Ireland’s first ever legal hackathon over the weekend, in partnership with Deloitte, IBM and run by the DCU Ryan Academy.
Participants gathered in Matheson HQ for the two-day event to focus on blockchain and the new business opportunities that it brings. The initiative is part of Matheson’s wider Smart programme, launched in 2016, which looks for innovative ideas to improve client service, efficiencies and collaboration incorporating the themes such as fintech, artificial intelligence and blockchain.
Michael Jackson, Managing Partner at Matheson, said
“We were delighted to host Ireland’s first ever legal hackathon, another piece in the innovation jigsaw here at Matheson – innovation is at the core of what we do and ensures we stay ahead of the curve. We recognise the need to change and embrace new technologies in order to provide the best possible level of service to our clients.”
Blockchain technology facilitates transactions and stores information using a secure, distributed ledger system. Its most famous application, the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, allows users to send money directly to another user’s ‘wallet’ saving time and money. Blockchain has the potential to revolutionise every industry that transacts goods and services, including law.
Speaking after the event, Rebecca Ryan Matheson partner and leader of Smart, the firm’s innovation initiative said -
“Following two very busy but rewarding days of ideas building and innovative discussions, our participants are walking away with valuable insights into the world of blockchain and the opportunities it brings for both the financial services and legal services sectors. Shaping the future of business and revolutionising the way we communicate, collaborate and create, blockchain is all about how we organise trust in our systems and in our society.”
At the hackathon, attendees pitched blockchain ideas for further development, including a distributed energy grid, a qualification registry, and a smart contract system for housing rental. Teams voted on the best ideas and spent the hackathon fleshing them out and working on their implementation. Ideas were judged on their creativity, innovation and feasibility.
Speakers included Lory Kehoe, leader of Deloitte’s Europe EMEA blockchain lab who explained the workings of blockchain, its features and the advantages it offers over existing technologies and systems while David Fisher, founder and CEO of Integra Ledger, provided insights and gave participants a hands-on, live experience of a blockchain specifically developed for the event. The schedule also included Niall Dennehy, COO and co-founder of Aid:Tech, who gave a demonstration of Aid:Tech’s blockchain, which was recently used to successfully deliver aid to Syrian refugees in a transparent, secure way.