Blockchain in Uruguay: an expanding technology with high potential

Openness to ICTs, competitive talent and specific incentives are some of the advantages that the country offers for the development of this powerful technology.
Publication date: 18/09/2020

The so-called "blockchain", is a technology in increasing demand in many industries. As part of its strategy to boost the sector and promote Uruguay as a business hub, Uruguay XXI supported the third edition of the Blockchain Summit Global, held on September 3 and 4.

The opening was in charge of the executive director of Uruguay XXI, Jaime Miller, who presented the advantages of the country as a development and testing platform for solutions in the sector. "Uruguay's value proposal satisfies the needs of the blockchain industry to develop," said Miller, and highlighted the political and social stability, high connectivity and Internet penetration, qualified talent and specific incentives, which make the country a strategic partner for companies in the technology sector.

"Uruguay has institutional soundness, high quality of life and high levels of freedom. It is a country open to new technologies and very predictable in its way of doing business," said the executive director of Uruguay XXI. At the same time, he stressed that the country is one of the few in the region with an investment grade, has grown above the average of Latin America, and this growth has occurred with equity and good income distribution.

In addition to its institutional strengths and sustained development, it has a competitive and adaptable workforce. "Talent is very important in the technology industry, in software in general and for the blockchain in particular," said Miller. He also added that blockchain is a disruptive, new technology that requires a lot of training that is not found in formal education and that trainers should be sought to train the Uruguayan workforce. In this regard, he stressed that the country has incentives to train talent.

"New industries have risks (...) having a system that makes it easy for you to decide to invest is very important," he added, stressing "the flexibility the country has to adapt to different types of operations.

To encourage the development of the sector, Uruguay offers a series of incentives to technology companies, set out in the Investment Law, the Free Zone Law and the Software Law. Likewise, the country presents a regulatory framework that facilitates business: equal treatment to foreign and local investors, free market of foreign currency, no requirement of local counterpart, no restriction of profit repatriation and a unique tax system. All these elements "are at the core of doing business in Uruguay," Miller said.

The country also has highly developed industries where bockchain can be applied: agribusiness, logistics, finance, and energy, among others. Although this technology is associated with crypto-currency platforms and Bitcoin, its use is increasingly in demand in numerous industries and sectors.

The term, which by its English name refers to a chain of blocks, gives name to a powerful tool for the communication and hosting of information that can never be lost, removed or modified, where access to the data does not require the mediation of third parties and security is guaranteed. Currently, there are projects based on this technology in Uruguay, in addition to several companies installed in the country that develop blockchain solutions, such as Aeternity, Ripio, IOVlabs and Koibanx.

Blockchain Summit Global is a regional reference event that had the participation of more than 70 Uruguayan speakers in international events and included conferences, panels and workshops on various topics associated with this technology, such as the future of the blockchain and crypto industry, education in blockchain, and legal support of the initiatives blockchain, Supply Chain and cryptomining.