B L O C K C H A I N
Which City will be the Capital of Blockchain Technology?
Where the escape from the silicon valley is headed
Silicon Valley has long been the de facto location for budding start-ups to gain a foothold here and grow into multimillion-dollar companies. However, it is probably not the capital of blockchain technology. As of July 2017, 62 of the 105 US companies with a value of over 1 billion dollars are located in California. To put this into perspective: New York has the second highest value with only 15 companies.
With the power of decentralization, however, blockchain-based start-ups prove that they can also find success outside Silicon Valley. Cities all over the world have begun to compete for the title “Capital of the Blockchain” and establish themselves as a stronghold for young crypto-currency companies. The cities are trying to do this through loose regulations, strong financial incentives or other factors. Although no city has yet achieved pioneering status, some regions are beginning to develop as hot spots for this new innovation.
Under the radar, Chicago is rapidly developing into a world leader in cryptocurrencies. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) were two of the first US exchanges to support Bitcoin futures trading.
Less well known is that the Illinois government was one of the first to support blockchain technology. It does this through the formation of the Illinois Blockchain Initiative (IBI). The IBI is a dedicated approach to these issues:
More relaxed legislation around blockchain technology
Implementation of blockchain pilot programs in government organizations
Developing the Blockchain Ecosystem in Chicago
The Chicago Blockchain Center (CBC) leads the third target. The CBC hosts developer workshops and meetings and supports local startups to mature. All this together has led to the growth of a large blockchain community in Windy City.
In fact, Chicago is a leading provider of startups funded by venture capital. Companies in Chicago have raised more than $69 million so far — more than three times as much as Austin, Denver, and Seattle.
Notable companies/projects: Bloq, CFX Markets
Taking in refugees from San Francisco’s overbid housing market, Austin is a collection of blockchain start-ups. Without income tax and a more natural liberal attitude, the state capital is prepared for crypto-conscious entrepreneurs.
The city has hosted the Texas Bitcoin Conference since 2014 and every spring hundreds of thousands of visitors flock to the South by Southwest (SXSW). Although SXSW did not focus on cryptocurrency, several speakers and panels focused on blockchain and its impact on other industries this year.
As one of the fastest growing cities in the US, it would not be surprising if Austin established itself as the place to set up a cryptocurrency seat.
Remarkable companies/projects: Factom, Wanchain
New York, USA
Although many have fled by introducing their “BitLicense”, New York is still a breeding ground for blockchain innovations. With its roots in the financial markets, it’s only natural that the Big Apple is home to some of the most famous crypto companies and exchanges.
In addition to New York’s pure population dominance over other cities, it also hosts one of the world’s largest blockchain conferences: Consensus. This year the conference was even extended to a whole “Blockchain Week”. CoinDesk and the New York City Economic Development Corporation have teamed up to organize the week’s events with the goal of making NYC a global blockchain capital.
With massive investment and the Winklevoss twins taking responsibility for self-regulation, New York City could easily become the new capital of the Blockchain.
Remarkable companies/projects: Gemini, Blockstack, Consensys
Rather like a country than a city, Singapore is a strong attraction for companies looking for an ICO. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has repeatedly stated that it has no plans to regulate the industry. Instead, it would provide sufficient support.
Singapore opens the blockchain in an experimental project, Ubin. The project is in partnership with R3, and the goal is to “explore the use of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) for the settlement and settlement of payments and securities. Although Ubin does not directly influence regulation, it helps MAS members understand what value the blockchain can bring.
The MAS has gone even further by providing $150 million for FinTech projects in the country.
Singapore is also home to the FinTech Festival — the largest FinTech conference in the world. More than 30 thousand people from all over the world take part in the festival and bring a lot of talent to the small nation.
Remarkable companies / projects: Digix, TenX , Zilliqa
Already today referred to as “Crypto Valley”, Zug is the current contender for the title of “capital of blockchain technology” and it is clear why. In the past, Switzerland was quite mild in terms of banking and financial regulations.
In addition, Zug has some of the lowest taxes in the nation and has adopted a business-friendly approach to the cryptocurrency. The government supports citizens who pay Bitcoin for certain services and also uses Ethereum in a digital ID system.
Bitcoin Suisse, the financial services provider behind numerous high-profile ICOs (Status, OmiseGo, SingularityNET), is also at home in Zug.
Entrepreneurs in the region have founded the Crypto Valley Association to promote the growth of the ecosystem. This organization works with partners around the world and with local government to create fair blockchain regulations. However, the canton still does not have all the answers to the regulation of this new asset class. However, it is a good sign that government officials are working openly with the people who affect them most.
Remarkable companies/projects: Bitcoin Suisse, Xapo, ShapeShift, Monetas, Tezos
I don’t want to withhold another city. Berlin can also be counted among the strongholds of blockchain technology. Many startups deal with innovative, exciting topics, such as the Blockchain. In addition, this multicultural city is characterized by internationality and cosmopolitanism.
Most German Blockchain start-ups are located in Berlin, as you can read here. Well-known names like IOTA or Lisk are at home here.
Decentralization of the capital of the Blockchain
These are just some of the regions that have made a name for themselves in the blockchain area. With the decentralized nature of the industry, it is quite possible that a single “capital of the blockchain” will never establish itself. And that’s a good thing.
In the end, we are all on the same team. Projects should continue to work together across borders to ensure the success of the entire industry. Because if the blockchain wins, we all win.