As lawmakers around the world tussle over how to define and regulate cryptocurrency, the Swiss have little time to waste building a blockchain ecosystem.
Welcome to Zug, Switzerland’s so-called Crypto Valley. Here, businesses from around the world can come together to build a decentralized, cryptography-based ecosystem.
An Intro to Crypto Valley
The Swiss have always been about business. This is demonstrated by their world-class banking sector, thriving tourism industry and competitive pharmaceutical market. Though far from an economic powerhouse, Switzerland is finding new ways to embrace disruption. So when Marc. P. Bernegger introduced me to Crypto Valley, I was intrigued, excited and a bit ashamed I hadn’t learned about it before. (You’re speaking to a guy whose life is quickly being absorbed by everything cryptocurrency.)
When it comes to Zug’s Crypto Valley, Bernegger wears many hats. He is a member of the Crypto Fund AG board and Co-Founder of the Crypto Finance Conference. He recently told Swiss Trade that his country “missed most of the global fintech wave,” probably in reference to mobile payments, cloud computing, big data or a combination thereof. He’s confident that Switzerland will not miss the boat on cryptocurrency.
The Crypto Valley concept was officially coined in early 2017 with the establishment of the Crypto Valley Association, an independent, government-supported institution dedicated to building the blockchain universe. Crypto Valley aims to become “one of the world’s leading blockchain and cryptographic technology ecosystems.” It is targeting businesses involved in the development of decentralized, crypto-based ventures to essentially set up shop in the heart of Switzerland.
It’s timing couldn’t have been better. Over the past ten months, the digital asset market has absolutely exploded, leading to record valuations for bitcoin and its altcoin competitors.
A Growing Community
Crypto Valley is campaigning hard to attract the brightest minds from the blockchain community. It boasts business-friendly regulations, a highly skilled talent pool and access to sophisticated infrastructure. Put it this way: If you’re a blockchain developer, Zug is a place where you can be yourself. You no longer have to look over your shoulder in fear, or worry about the government coming after your mining infrastructure.
The municipality of Zug has already attracted high-profile names from the global blockchain community, including:
Governments to Embrace Cryptocurrency
Switzerland’s drive to become the global hub for cryptocurrency should allay fears about the speculative bubble involving digital assets. As ETH Zurich Professor Roger Wattenhofer notes, the technologies underpinning cryptocurrency have been around for more than 25 years. Their expansion in recent years is a culmination of technological advancements and pent-up demand for new forms of monetization. As investors lose confidence in central banks and traditional forms of fiat money, crypto assets are becoming more viable.
In Wattenhofer’s view, governments of the future will issue their own cryptocurrencies and they will be readily embraced by businesses.
“Asymmetric cryptography will reform many things, including all areas that so far rely on handwritten signatures,” says Wattenhofer, according to Swiss Trade Magazine. “Cryptocurrencies allow for easier and faster management and direct security.”
Of course, Wattenhofer’s view reflects the state of play currently unfolding in the global market. Russia, Kazakhstan, Estonia and Japan are all considering a state-run cryptocurrency. Hell, even the BRICS Finance Committee is considering a joint virtual currency for the emerging-market bloc. (Since this isn’t circa 2010, we should remind you that BRICS stands for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.)
It’s exciting to see what the future has in store for Zug, Switzerland. It’ll be even more interesting to examine how this market unfolds over the next two years. Vitalik Buterin tells us we should expect ‘Tokens 2.0‘ in the not-too-distant future as the period of trial and error gives way to more viable business concepts.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.