The ever sunny California is known for its tech hub, Silicon Valley, a product of the “dot com” era and home to many startups turned giants. Fewer people know that there also exists a much newer creation, Silicon’s foggy crypto twin, if you will, known as Crypto Valley, located in the town of Zug, right by the lake of the same name, near Mount Zugerberg, in Central Switzerland.
The mastermind behind this whole endeavour is Johann Gevers, who without too much coyness, rather straightforwardly, describes himself in the following way:
“I am the founder of Crypto Valley, the world’s leading cryptofinance ecosystem, and founder of Monetas, an award-winning transaction platform that brings the world’s most advanced financial and legal services to everyone with a mobile phone. Cryptofinance technologies are revolutionizing the global financial landscape, and will profoundly improve the lives of people everywhere by enabling them to live in freedom and to generate limitless prosperity.”
While Monetas may be a somewhat less familiar name to those involved with the Blockchain, Gevers’s more recent child, Crypto Valley, is becoming more and more of a household name. The Valley is a relatively new phenomenon, having been established in January 2017 as the Crypto Valley Association (CVA), whose goal is to “develop the world’s best ecosystem for Blockchain and other Distributed Ledger Technologies and businesses”.
Interestingly, the CVA has the backing of the local Swiss government—undoubtedly, the founder’s commendable achievement—which is why numerous Blockchain companies take to flight precisely there, while many others have since moved to the Valley from elsewhere. All in all, there are over 300 Blockchain companies from 20 different countries residing in the Valley at present.
As a result, it comes as no surprise that the whiz kid Vitalik Buterin of Ethereum, though born in Russia and raised in Canada, chose Crypto Valley as his project’s starting point. Not everyone may know that Buterin’s now well-known crypto creation was born and saw its development as “Eth-Suisse” (Ethereum Switzerland GmbH) back in 2014, later also evolving into “Stiftung Ethereum” (Ethereum Foundation), a non-profit organization. Unsurprisingly, Ethereum-backed Consensys, as well as Tazos and Xapo also have offices in the Valley.
The Business and its Vision
CVA has a high-end commune type structure with its own code of conduct and seemingly limitless willingness to invite new talent, from developers to legal aid:
“We support and connect startups and established enterprises through policy recommendations, projects across verticals, initiating and enabling research, and organizing conferences, hackathons, and other industry events.”
Among some of the CVA’s divisions of labor are:
Research and Development
Accounting and Structuring
Policy and Regulation
In this respect, Crypto Valley truly is an multinational hub where some of the best cryptographers, programmers, engineers, regulators, security experts, and financiers, to name only a few categories, are said to be living side by side. For those wishing to get involved and/or invest, the CVA also promises complete commercial transparency and proximity to global markets.
It is, therefore, a no-brainer that Crypto Valley is also the organizer of the Crypto Valley Blockchain Summit: the last one was held in April of this year with the industry’s top guns and members of the European Parliament having attended. This event goes hand in hand with the Valley’s public proclamation:
“With active connections to similar hubs around the world, we also ensure Crypto Valley’s participation in the global efforts to foster Blockchain and cryptographic technology innovation.”
Beyond the Valley
Crypto Valley has been pushing the envelope ever since its inception. But, having been enveloped in all things Blockchain, the local Zug community itself is now undergoing a major crypto change. In July of this year, Swiss authorities declared that a Blockchain-based voting trial they had been running was a success, not to mention the fact that the municipality of Zug was the first place in the world to accept Bitcoin as an official means of payment back in 2016.
To top it off, Switzerland’s Minister of Economics, Johann Schneider-Ammann, made the headlines this January when he vowed to make Switzerland a “crypto nation in five to ten years” and thereby adopt a national cryptocurrency in the process. Similar voices had been heard before from Venezuela and even China (despite the apparent ban on ICOs), but this was the first time a high-income developing country in the West said anything of the kind.
With the eager fintech minds of the Valley cooking up applied cryptography as we speak and local governments—who know too well where the money is—bowing in support, Switzerland is likely to make yet more headlines in the months and years to come and emerge as a mighty crypto force of the modern era.