Both Bank of England and Europol are seeking interns with knowledge of Bitcoin and the blockchain. The announcements, which indicate an increasing awareness of the technologies among European government institutions, follow last month’s ruling by the European Court of Justice that Bitcoin transactions are exempt from VAT.
Bank of England will select their interns through an open competition in which university students are invited to submit proposals for new uses of the blockchain. Applicants are invited to work in groups of up to six people to identify new kinds of businesses or products that can be created with the blockchain and to outline the implementation details and impact of those businesses and products.
The blockchain has been on Bank of England’s radar for over a year now. In 2014, Bank of England released a paper describing blockchain as “a genuine technological innovation which demonstrates that digital records can be held securely without any central authority.” This year, the Bank sent representatives to the first Bitcoin & Blockchain Leadership Forum.
A few days before Bank of England announced its competition for ideas on applications of blockchain, European law enforcement agency Europol also put out a job posting for an intern with cryptocurrency experience. Specifically, Europol is seeking someone with “knowledge of anonymization and encryption tools that are abused by criminals” and “elementary understanding of tracing and attribution of Bitcoin transactions and proven interest in blockchain technologies.”
Like Bank of England, Europol has been interested in Bitcoin and the blockchain for a while. In 2014, Europol threatened to crack down on dark net websites and marketplaces. A couple months ago, the agency’s annual Internet Organized Crime Threat Assessment focused in on Bitcoin’s role in cybercrime. The report stated that “although there is no single common currency used by cybercriminals across the EU, it is apparent that bitcoin may gradually be taking on that role.”
In contrast to Bank of England’s blockchain idea competition, Europol is hiring interns through a more traditional application process where applicants submit CVs and cover letters. However, both job postings highlight a growing interest in the blockchain across European institutions although neither Bank of England nor Europol has indicated outright acceptance of Bitcoin itself.
Applications for the Europol position are due December 10th while the deadline for Bank of England’s competition is December 7th. The Bank of England internship lasts six weeks while the Europol internship lasts three to six months.
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