Oliver Bussmann is one of the leading FinTech experts on the world and her answered our questions about his new initiative The Crypto Valley Association.
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Mr. Bussmann could you please inform us about your new initiative?
The Crypto Valley Association (CVA) was formed to promote the area between Zug and Zurich in Switzerland, known as Crypto Valley, as well as Switzerland generally, as a prime location for blockchain and cryptographic technologies companies.
We strongly believe that Switzerland offers many important advantages to such companies, and that it can compete on equal terms with well-known hubs like London or Singapore. At the same time, we want to strengthen the already existing connections between the Swiss blockchain and digital innovation communities and the international scene, and so foster global cooperation in this space.
Our mission is to spread the word about Crypto Valley and Switzerland, to help startups and companies who want to move here, and to support the community in general with services such as liaising with policy makers, initiating and enabling research projects, and organizing conferences, hackathons, and other industry events. We also want to be active in attracting investors to Crypto Valley and bringing investors together with startups.
Why are you focusing especially on cryptography and blockchain technologies? There are many other topics for FinTech. Are there any special reasons?
At the moment blockchain and cryptographic technologies represent one of the world’s most important fields of technological innovation. Blockchain is already beginning to transform many industries, from financial services to government, and is poised to start being used on large-scale implementations for a wide variety of use cases.
The blockchain revolution is about more than just technology, however. It has also catalyzed a great deal of thinking and effort in the area of decentralized business and technology models – models which are driving a convergence with a lot of other important technology trends like artificial intelligence or the Internet of Things. Because blockchains by their nature are good at connecting and building bridges between different entities and technologies, for example through the autonomous sharing of data or trusted transaction histories, they can act as a hub to bring these capabilities together. That will play a key role in building a far more decentralized technology model for the world at large. For this reason, we see cryptographic technologies also in the wider sense of general digital innovation and transformation.
What kind of possibilities are you offering to FinTech companies with Crypto Valley?
The CVA has a number of working groups that offer services that can be of use to companies in or coming to the Valley. For example, we have an Onboarding working group that supports startups with relocation, legal issues, financing, and similar topics, helps connect startups with the local community and supports their networking. We have an Investments working group that helps connect startups with the Swiss venture capital and private equity scene. The Technology working group provides a constantly updated overview of available technologies as a reference for the community, will develop a blockchain lab, and will act as liaison to the wider international development community.
Other working groups help startups by promoting the community in general. Our Policy/Regulation working group is our voice to the Swiss government and regulators on issues of relevance to our ecosystem. The Events working group puts together a regular series of meetups and other events to support the ecosystem. The Communications working group is primarily concerned with promoting Crypto Valley and the CVA, but can also support startups and other companies that are looking to improve their marketing and communications and would like to connect with the wider Swiss marketing and PR community.
What kind of companies may apply for the Crypto Valley offerings?
All companies involved in blockchain, cryptographic technologies, or wider digital innovation are welcome. These can be startups or established companies with a single focus on such technologies, or larger institutions with blockchain/cryptographic technologies efforts in their product palette.
Which companies are based in Crypto Valley at the moment? What kind of technologies do they offering? Could you share some examples with us?
To date Crypto Valley has attracted a large number of companies and organizations both big and small. To give you an idea, the founding members of the CVA include ConsenSys, UBS, PwC, Thomson Reuters, Luxoft, Lykke, the Canton of Zug, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts and the legal firm MME. Crypto Valley is also home to the Ethereum Foundation, Xapo, Monetas and the Cardano Foundation, among many others.
Many of these are pioneers in their fields. Companies like ConsenSys, which builds decentralized apps for Ethereum ecosystems, Lykke, which is working on a blockchain-based universal marketplace, Melonport, which is building an open-source blockchain platform for asset management, or the Cardano Foundation, which is working on the next generation blockchain in the form of the Cardano protocol, are just some examples of the innovative potential in Crypto Valley.
Do you expect to see any disruptive innovation to affect the recent banking and financial ecosystems from Crypto Valley?
Yes. Any location that is home to the Ethereum Foundation is certainly on the cutting edge of blockchain technology. The recent launch of Enterprise Ethereum has the potential to have a large impact in the financial sector as well. Many of the startups mentioned before, like Melonport or Cardano, are targeting financial services among other things. Other CVA members, for example Luxoft, are active in the blockchain for financial services space, as are many of the Swiss banks.
Do you plan to establish international relations for Crypto Valley? Related to this question may we see additional Crypto Valley centers in other countries and cities in the future?
Yes, one of our goals is to support Switzerland’s already close relationship with other locations around the world. As for other countries and cities, while we want to expand our ecosystem to encompass all of Switzerland, there really is only one Crypto Valley.
Would you like to add anything else?
We would encourage everyone in Switzerland and abroad who may be interested in what we do to become members and visit Crypto Valley. The Crypto Valley is open to all!