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‘Future-proofing’ through blockchain

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Blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT) is disrupting all industries and is expected to shape the world in the future. Aware of the potentials of blockchain, Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank), the country’s Best Digital Bank, is future-proofing the country by being at the forefront of training Filipinos to acquire blockchain skills.

In 2018, UnionBank established the Blockchain Institute, a pioneering learning institution in the country, supply the ecosystem with blockchain developers. The students — mostly from information technology, computer science and engineering courses from different colleges and universities in the country — were sourced via various channels including hackathons and social media.

Everything is just beginning. Let’s start to own the future.

“If we can train our highly talented workforce to become well-versed in blockchain, we can become a leading source of blockchain talents for organizations all over the world, just like how we are seen as one of the best destinations for voice business process outsourcing,” UnionBank President and CEO Edwin Bautista said.

Indeed, the Institute produced its first batch of 100 graduates who have completed six-month training courses — NEM, Etherium, Hyperledger and Corda co-created with UnionBank’s partners: NEM Philippines, IBM, Consensys and R3. They also went through the Design Thinking and Start-Up Thinking workshops. Around half of these graduates are now employed by UBP and its subsidiaries, the rest by other companies that UnionBank referred them to.

At the Blockchain Institute, the developers were taught not just blockchain codes but also actual use cases and blockchain solutions.

Class valedictorian Brent Tudas, a product of UnionBank’s Iloilo Hackathon and who is now with UnionBank’s subsidiary UBX, expressed utmost gratitude for what he described as a lifechanging opportunity.

“I am grateful beyond words. I promise not to waste this opportunity given to me,” Tudas said.

“Let’s continue to move forward, bringing the knowledge that we gained and using it for the right purpose. Everything is just beginning. Let’s start to own the future,” he told fellow graduates.

According to Bautista, UnionBank launched the Institute after noting the lack of blockchain developers in the country. Last year, he pledged to train100 blockchain developers, all at the expense of UnionBank under its Corporate Social Responsibility Program.

The chief of one of the country’s largest banks — which continues to adopt blockchain in its internal processes — sees the eventual takeover of blockchain as an opportunity to position the country’s workforce as a major source of blockchain professionals.

Statistics show that globally, there is a skyrocketing demand for blockchain-capable professionals.

In a report by job search marketplace Hired last month, it said demand for blockchain engineers has grown by around 517 percent over the past year. This figure is seen to continue rising in the coming days.

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