John Jacques's Avatar
published in Blogs
May 30, 2018

Will Ireland and Switzerland Become Cryptocurrency Hubs?

Cryptocurrency is a true worldwide phenomenon. While most of its power players have centralized operations in a handful of locations, new locales are aiming to make themselves crypto-friendly. Indeed, there is an economically-driven incentive for many places to transform themselves into the next international hubs for blockchain and digital currency. Dublin, Ireland, and Zug, Switzerland would not have been on anyone’s shortlist as the next big crypto cities, but each city has outsized ambitions to become just that.

Ireland is not one of the world’s traditional financial capitals, but Crypto Coast, an incubator based in an old ferry terminal in suburban Dublin, has designs to change that. Crypto Coast was co-founded by Reuben Godfrey, who created the Blockchain Association of Ireland in 2015. That organization laid the groundwork for Ireland’s burgeoning crypto community – the “dance floor,” in his parlance. “As a place to do business, Ireland is absolutely world class,” said Godfrey, citing Ireland’s healthy venture capital economy, well-educated, multilingual workforce, and geographic proximity to the United States, Europe, and the Middle East as reasons to headquarter in the country.

International companies have listened: Russian and US startups Coinfideal and Rewards Token, respectively, have relocated their operations to Dublin. Crypto Coast also organizes meetups designed to make cryptocurrency further accessible to the general public, the most crucial of which is a casual Saturday morning mixer called Crypto AM. Interest has exceeded expectations, leaving Godfrey confident positive momentum will continue. “[The Irish] have some of the best brains I've ever come across,” explained Godfrey. “For sparky, innovative stuff that we need to be doing with blockchain, there could be nowhere better. I am absolutely adamant about that.”

 

 

Then there’s Switzerland, a country that already has considerable international recognition for its famed private banking sector, but little popular acknowledgment of its crypto industry. Economy minister Johann Schneider-Ammann’s early 2018 announcement of his desire to make Switzerland a “crypto-nation,” however, did not come as a surprise to those familiar with Switzerland’s track record of low-regulation, decentralized government, and direct democracy. Zug has been friendly to the cryptocurrency community since 2013 when the Ethereum Foundation based itself in the town just south of Zurich. 150-plus crypto firms have since based themselves in the area, lured by a 14.6% corporate tax rate that far outstrips Zurich’s 21%. There are now an additional 90 blockchain-centric companies, and reports estimate that one-quarter of 2017’s $5 billion in ICOs was raised in Switzerland – four ICOs of which were based in Zug.

While neither country embraces a free-for-all mentality, their crypto-friendly policies stand to gain them new businesses as regulatory climates grow more extensive. With each offering unique advantages, Ireland and Switzerland may soon join Korea, the United States, and others as leading lights of the crypto world.

 


 

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