Bitcoin and the rise of financial engineering jobs
New kid on the block
Heard of Bitcoin? It’s a big deal. Virtual currencies like this are just one way blockchain technology is revolutionising industries
In May this year, a shipment of soybeans was traded between Argentina and Malaysia using ‘blockchain’, a technology best known for its application in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
The transaction was a big deal – in the mainstream biz world, it shows all the signs that blockchain technology is here to stay, which means engineering expertise in financial engineering jobs is going to be a huge skill to have.
So, what’s the deal? Blockchain is a distributed log, or ledger, of transactions shared across a global network of computers. The transactions are added in batches, called blocks, which require a high amount of computing power to produce and the entire network has to agree for them to go through.
Any changes to previous transactions or blocks require everything to be recalculated – this uses up a lot of resources, making it difficult for history to be changed.
As a result, each network node participates without needing any third party or governing body – for example, in the case of cryptocurrency, people can pay each other without having to go through a bank.
Chris Natoli, blockchain researcher
“This complete decentralisation means there is no central server running or responsible for the chain, rather the entire network holds everything,” explains Chris Natoli, who is doing his PhD on blockchain technology at the University of Sydney.
His research is focused on solving some of the problems currently faced by blockchains, such as improving transaction speed and lowering energy consumption.
Blockchain is already being applied in Sweden for property transactions, and the government of Dubai wants all official documentation to be handled using blockchain by 2020. It’s putting blockchain to work in these kinds of everyday applications that Chris is pumped about.
“One of the most exciting changes to come is the adoption of blockchains into everyday life,” he says. “Each day, new projects are proposed both in academic research and in industry, presenting new opportunities for the integration of blockchains, and for the future direction of the technology.”
This year RMIT University launched Australia’s first university course specifically about blockchain technology, and according to Mick Motion-Wise, who works for the Australian Government as a technology architect specialising in blockchain, job opportunities are skyrocketing.
“New financial engineering jobs are appearing every day in for skilled developers,” he says.
– Gemma Chilton
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