Zurich: The New Crypto Capital of the World
As we all know, several new crypto and blockchain businesses have sought to make their homes in Switzerland thanks, in part, to the region’s easy-going regulatory stance on digital currencies. The country is even home to what is affectionately known as “Crypto Valley,” a section that’s devoted strictly to crypto startups and product developers.
The area takes its name from Silicon Valley, which is stationed in Northern California and houses some of the world’s leading tech hubs, including Google, Facebook and Apple. However, Crypto Valley is devoted entirely to blockchain businesses, and there’s a lot of them.
In Zurich, traditional banking services have somewhat dissipated, dropping by roughly one-fifth since the year 2017. The gnomes – a slang term for those involved in the banking arena – were often seen in suits and ties making their way from building to building as they worked their way through gold and traditional money ladders.
Nowadays, however, more employees are visible wearing casual clothing not necessarily because they’re out of work, but because crypto is taking over, and blockchain services rarely require that one wears fancy clothes. Thomas Meister, general manager of Trust Square, says that 40 crypto companies or more dominate the area. He explains:
I think 80 percent of the men would’ve been wearing a suit and tie. Not it looks different.
Much of the lack of banking stamina in a region that was once known for a very high level of traditional financial services can be attributed to a lack of trust; that and the fact that technology is really paving the streets of the financial space. With everything resorting to digital means, the days of going into a bank and deposit a paper check are shrinking, and many of these once traditional money houses are being replaced by blockchain companies.
ETH Zurich is also a huge draw. Despite the term “ETH” appearing in its name, ETH Zurich has nothing to do with the cryptocurrency. Rather, it’s a university that ranks only behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford in terms of the tech and blockchain talent its producing.
Tech Is Growing from Every Corner
Urs Holzle, Google’s senior vice president for technical infrastructure, comments:
It’s really a credit to Zurich itself, the region, the ETH, the location, the city, the tax regime, the higher income that makes Switzerland an attractive place to work.
Besides serving as Google’s European headquarters, the region also plays host to a Disney Research unit that does special effects work for the latest “Avengers” and “Star Wars” films. In addition, Facebook has also established an 80-person office in Zurich devoted to the establishment of its new Libra cryptocurrency.