A tiny province in Switzerland is proving such a magnet for blockchain startups that it’s increasingly being compared to California’s famed Silicon Valley.
The 30-kilometer stretch of land from Zurich to Zug, known as ‘Crypto Valley’, boasts progressive laws, a competitive hiring environment and low taxes, and it’s this unique mix that has attracted entrepreneurs looking for a place to gain traction amid an uncertain international legal climate.
While governments in the US, China and Russia have all taken strict or uncertain regulatory positions toward digital currencies, Switzerland has largely continued the laissez-faire philosophy that has long made its banks valuable (even if controversially so), and ‘Crypto Valley’ has become the center of the movement.
The confluence of blockchain projects and startups (which now includes the Ethereum Foundation, Shapeshift and Xapo), while no utopia, is best considered a promising work in progress that finds local governments, national authorities and startups seeking to advance technology that has struggled to find a global foothold.
One organization that has taken up the mantle is the Greater Zurich Area economic region, a public-private partnership that has helped more traditional tech companies like Google and Uber set up shop in Zurich.
Executive director of investment Lukas Sieber explained that he believes Switzerland is primed to become a global center blockchain disruptors.
Sieber told CoinDesk:
“Switzerland is the most decentralized government in the world and this is attractive to people who work with the most decentralized technology. The decentralized aspect of Zug and Zurich guarantees stability for them.”
With apparent government support and legal innovations, Sieber argued Crypto Valley is proving a stark contrast to jurisdictions abroad.
If you name it…
But even decentralized movements have to start somewhere.
Indeed, the idea for Crypto Valley goes back to January 2014, when Johann Gevers, founder and CEO of of blockchain transaction platform Monetas, first started laying the groundwork to create a global hub for blockchain firms.
During a meeting with representatives of the ethereum project, Monetas and Zug’s economic promotion office, ethereum co-founder Mihai Alisie is said to have the coined the name “Crypto Valley”. By April of that year, Gevers had announced the initiative at the Toronto Bitcoin Expo.
“The name and concept took off like fire, and the vision is well on its way to being realized,” Gevers explained in an investor document provided to CoinDesk.
Among the reasons Gevers lists for the region’s attractiveness include a “stable predictable, neutral political system”; a culture of financial privacy; access to talent; low taxes; public-private support for entrepreneurs; and the World Economic Forum’s listing of Switzerland as the most competitive nation in the world.
In October 2013, Gever founded the Bitcoin Association of Switzerland, and the following May, he started the Digital Finance Compliance Association. Now, other startups and projects are taking note.
By the latest count, 18 companies are listed in one collection of Crypto Valley startups, along with two meetups that total over 2,000 members.
Article Source: http://www.coindesk.com