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Thriving Czech & Slovak crypto scene

Many unexpected parts outside the Silicon Valley have sat in the frontier as blockchain innovation hubs. Japan, Netherland, UK or Switzerland are closely followed by Slovenia, Ukraine, Serbia, Belarus, Russia or South Korea. All these regions have gained sufficient attention already. As a Slovak living in Prague I would love to say a bit more about our two countries ahead of the Block Stars conference.

Czech republic

Marek "Slush" Palatinus

Marek Palatinus started Slush pool in 2010 — the first mining pool for Bitcoin ever created. The urban myth says, that Slush got some substantial number of BTCs’ stolen so he and his cofounder Pavol Rusnák came up with the idea that you can isolate your private keys into a physical hardware (USB stick) filled with shit-ton of encryption. SatoshiLabs set the benchmark for protection with their Trezor wallet.

I believe that these two innovations put both states on the world crypto map, since Pavol is originally Slovak and Marek Czech. “Beautiful friendship, Luis…” Talking about maps, check out their map of all merchants accepting crypto named Coinmap.

CZ_SK region has a prosperous industry for building and running gambling machines. Leveraging this hardware and knowhow helped initially the founders of General Bytes. They assembled their Bitcoin ATM very quickly and aim to become the world leading cash to crypto gateway.

photo stolen from: http://facebook.com/vejdiven

Here comes the sun. Although it’s dark. The Paralelni Polis, a black painted 3 floor building in the Art district of Prague is not only shocking passerbies, random people and tourists. They quite substantially piss off local political scene with it’s hacktivism, or by inviting minister of finance to educate him about Bitcoin.

They opened up the gates with the world first crypto-only Bitcoin Caffe, coworking space called PaperHub and Institute of cryptoanarchy, which educated hundereds to thousands of people about cryptoanarchy and cryptocurrencies.

The whole building runs on crypto only, they organize globally recognised Hacker’s congress. Paralelni Polis opened up a branch in Slovakia in Kosice and Bratislava already and I believe they have a vision to expand.

Graffiti for Andrej Babiš quoting him that he has never heard of Bitcoin or anyone paying with it

From these three foundations — the SatoshiLabs, GeneralBytes and Paralelni Polis it grew exponentially. Below I will provide a list of what’s most interesting and than get back to Slovak scene later on.

NakamotoX — a unique trading platform, currently in its beta version.

Cryptelo did smaller ICO to bring their academic cryptographic knowledge into business.

Signals.Network, another successful ICO that took place recently, aims to provide the crypto traders a platform with easy set up of algorithms and machine learning experimentation. So, if you trade, take it to the next level.

Socifi — how to monetize your wifi? Socifi had millions of users who tried their product, alongside lots of famous brands.

Rockawayblockchain — is a blockchain branch of one of the largest European Venture Capital fund. They seem to have some nice picks in the portfolio, such Wanchain. They have a strong analytical team with great experience from e-commerce and startups and seems to be getting lucrative pre-sale deals in promising ICO’s like Zilliqa, iCON ect.

TopMonks — I am monk, so please be aware of it. We are aiming to provide tech services to blockchain startups.

Value.Market — another disclaimer — I work for them too. With TopMonks being a co-founding company. Team consisting of Artstaq, Oneprove and AA&R companies is the first to solve biggest blockchain's drawback — authenticity. We are first to securely connect a physical items on the blockchain ledger using A.I. and computer vision.

ICOIndex — now this is big. These guys have seen hundereds of ICOs and will tell you like an Oracle from Omaha what’s the next big thing. I’m overreacting, of course ;) But the knowhow is being concentrated there and I see those guys as one of the cornerstones of unifying our crypto scene. Also, thanks Jakub Greguš for all the inputs for this article!

LocaHeroes — is helping local businesses thrive by using crypto and connecting them with local people to improve their services

Blockchain Technology Hub — I’ve been there, but I still did not grasp what exactly is going on. The just started recently and aim to provide engeneering services and management training and of course, an office space. The co-founder Tom did also an ICO for another trading signals platform named Intelligent Trading.

DLT Guardian — is an emerging blockchain accelerator in Brno with global ambitions and departments across the world. It’s early to say something, but we will see. So far they have been able to connect all the SK-CZ dots and bring all those people in one place.

Fragments Network — provides a tool for microtasks which cannot be done by A.I. Users can earn tokens with their mobiles and companies are able to spread the workload among many bounty hunters.

H2Sol project is supposed to be mining coins located next to the solar fields. The project got quite a hit with the price drop so I’m curious who this will play out.

Cryptoservices — just another bunch of miners from Brno.

Exchange SimpleCoin.

Exchange and ATMs Easycoin.

Famous medium BTCTip, unfortunately in Czech only.

Crown was one of the first altcoins ever created with own blockchain and masternodes, before the ICOs spread out.

  • Important to say this. Many mining companies place their rigs & ASICs right next to the cheap electricity. Reason it's cheap lies in the EU Funding. I’m not fan of subsidised market deformation and I see these projects as short sighted.

Slovak Republic

Matej Michalko, founder od Decent

Slovakia seemed to be a little behind it’s older brother. Until Matej Michalko appeared on the scene.

He assembled a team who delivered one of the first ICOs in the world and raised 5400 BTC only via website. With his outstanding knowhow, connections in Asia and being one of the first blockchain event organizers in the world, his reputation grew rapidly and so did his company.

The original usecase for decentralized content sharing pushed guys to develop a Dcore, one of the fastest blockchain implementation in the world.

Decent already have few joint venture successes such SophiaTX which raised some 23M$ and Alax.io which is a perfect blockchain use-case for developing countries.

Bethereum — blockchain betting solution came up from nowhere (from my point of view) and disrupted how the ICO’s are being made. Really outstanding work with the community worth studying.

Biotron had a very interesting use-case, but the ICO did not go really well. They should be delivering the product soon, so I’m curious how this will play out.

Blockchain Slovakia — my favourite crypto guys 🙂 David and Marek are organising a lot of events in Bratislava under this NGO umbrella, have educated tons of people and provide marketing and advisory services for companies and ICOs.

NKBGroup — now, at last, this could be really a big thing. They are finding talents who grew abroad and are willing to come back home and work on something special. I cannot yet grasp it what exactly it is going to be, but a crypto fund, a crypto bank, a foundation to support blockchain startups, ICO advisory. This project can disrupt the traditional finance sector with TOP global talents and offices in San Francisco or London.

Pavol Luptak, man behind Nethemba, Hacktrophy, Paralelni Polis, ProgressBar, Hackers Congress, Satori…

ProgressBar — is a Bratislava hacker space. If you hadn’t been aware that czech and slovaks are on top of the global hacking scene, than check the companies of ESET and Avast. ProgressBar is an underground entity that organizes a lots of great tech talks, was visited by Vitalik in 2013 or Amir Taaki. Pavol Luptak being the co-founder, most visible crypto enthusiast and evangelist and also a person who gave the inspiration to create the Prague’s Paralelni Polis.

CryptoDiggers — they resell GeneralBytes ATMs and created PoS systems for merchants and shops.

This article is a warm-up before the Block Stars conference held on June 16th in Prague, Paralelni Polis. We will try to bring many of the mentioned people on the stage and our target audience are professionals from corporate, startups and VC funds. This is the first event, and more and bigger will follow. Stay tuned.

www.block-stars.com

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