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Could Crypto Valley overtake Silicon Valley?

Christina Comben

Switzerland doesn’t seem to have been affected by the crypto winter at all. On the contrary, both 2018 and 2019 were excellent years for the Crypto Valley and its many blockchain companies.

According to the latest report published by CVVC (Crypto Valley Venture Capital), the Swiss crypto ecosystem now has more than 800 active companies and in excess of 4,000 employees. 

Mathias Ruch, Founder and CEO of CVVC stated: 

“Crypto Winter undoubtedly left a mark on the industry, but companies with strong fundamentals and emerging use cases have significantly increased valuations.”

In fact, the biggest 50 blockchain companies in Crypto Valley have seen their valuations skyrocket in the first half of 2019. Their market capitalisation went from $20 billion in December last year to $40 billion in July. 

On the other hand, many tech companies in Silicon Valley are slowing down under the immense pressure from authorities worldwide. Tech giants have become too big, according to watchdogs and regulators, and they’re expected to review their processes to remain compliant in local markets. 

Six blockchain unicorns

Several unicorns have emerged out of Crypto Valley as well. The Swiss Crypto Valley, in fact, has become home to six startups valued at more than $1 billion – two more since the previous report. The list includes five protocol projects and a mining company. 

1) Ethereum Foundation

This Swiss non-profit organisation is the largest open-source blockchain community in the world. The Ethereum Foundation launched a new website back in May, a revolutionary concept even for the crypto world, as the platform isn’t trying to sell anything. The purpose of the new site is to provide the community with valuable information and resources. 

2) Cardano

Cardano is one of the world’s most significant protocol projects. The company aims to forge a new way of designing and developing cryptocurrencies – one that would create more sustainable ecosystems. 

3) Dfinity Foundation

Dfinity is another protocol that is looking to change the way the internet works. The company’s vision is focused on transforming the internet into a host of innovative software systems, services, and data.

4) Bitmain Switzerland

Bitmain is the world’s largest producer of mining hardware. The company is also actively involved in Bitcoin mining through a collective pool. On top of that, Bitmain runs the decentralised cryptocurrency exchange DEx.top.

5) Cosmos Network

Cosmos is a decentralised network of blockchains that can interoperate with each other. The project solves a series of blockchain-specific issues, such as lack of scalability, usability, and interoperability. 

6) Polkadot

Polkadot is another protocol that supports decentralised applications. Among its most reliable features, the project lists interoperability, scalability, and increased security. 

Bankers have joined the industry

The CVVC report also mentions a new record for banks operating in the blockchain sector. Financial institutions recorded the highest rate of employee growth, with many experienced bankers switching to crypto and blockchain companies.   

This movement is one of many confirming that the Swiss crypto ecosystem is reaching maturity. This is the result of a series of factors that contribute to and ensure continuous development in Crypto Valley. Among them, an open business environment and a supportive legal framework seem to be the pillars of Crypto Valley’s success. 

Switzerland’s favourable policy on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology enables new projects to develop more easily across the entire country.  

Blockchain-based start-ups are developing in multiple Swiss regions, including the Canton of Ticino, Geneva, Vaud, Zurich, and neighbouring Liechtenstein. The heart of the ecosystem remains in Zug, however, the city that hosts all six unicorns, almost half of blockchain companies, and the CVVC headquarters.

Crypto Valley to overtake Silicon Valley?

Crypto Valley is growing at an incredible rate, but are the Swiss companies large enough to challenge the status of Silicon Valley? It depends on how you look at it. If you’ll only count billions, Switzerland’s hub is still way behind San Francisco. 

However, it’s also important to analyse the philosophy that motivates companies and entrepreneurs. Silicon Valley is an established hub with tens of thousands of employees and a growing number of tech companies looking to become America’s next unicorn. 

However, many American tech giants currently have the entire world on their backs, asking for better privacy policies and a lower impact on the environment. Many of them invest in blockchain, but they’re also keeping legacy solutions alive. 

On the other hand, Crypto Valley is still young, with many of its top 50 companies in their infancy. They’re exclusively focused on disruptive technologies that involve blockchain and crypto-related products. This positions them in a niche market. As crypto products expand and gain in popularity, these companies could grow much faster than their American competitors, mostly because they aren’t tied to any outdated processes.

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