Crypto Valley Roundup – Summer 2021

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The Crypto Valley is known to be one of the most “crypto-friendly” regions in the world. But what specifically is happening within the Blockchain ecosystem? The “Crypto Valley Roundup” aims to provide insight and highlights from selected events every two months.

With the first Blockchain companies settling in the area of Zug from 2013 onwards, the term “Crypto Valley” was soon born in reference to the “Silicon Valley”. Thanks to politics and regulation, Switzerland was able to create the necessary legal certainty for a flourishing ecosystem around Blockchain and cryptocurrencies at an early stage.

The local regulator has been active since 2015. Internationally, this is very early for the Blockchain space. Last but not least, the space has enjoyed new company settlements and steady development. The ecosystem has advanced into various industries and the Crypto Valley has also grown geographically far beyond the canton of Zug. So it’s high time to take a closer look at what’s going on.

Deutsche Börse acquires Swiss startup

The merger of the traditional financial world with the rising crypto-system is in full swing. At the end of June, Deutsche Börse Group acquired a majority stake in Crypto Finance AG – a Swiss crypto startup specializing in digital asset services. The financial group is under the consolidated supervision of the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) and primarily targets institutional clients.

As part of Deutsche Börse, the Swiss crypto firm will be able to further scale its digital assets business and expand its range of services. Through the acquisition, Deutsche Börse creates a direct entry point for digital asset investments, including post-trade services such as custody. The aim of the acquisition is to build a neutral, transparent, and highly scalable digital asset ecosystem under European regulation.

Blockchain apprenticeship launched in Switzerland

By 2028, Switzerland will need more than 117’000 new skilled workers in the field of information and communication technologies (ICT). This demand for talent is also emerging in the fast-growing Crypto Valley, where new technologies are calling for additional expertise. The education company TIE International has recognized this need, which is why it is working with two Swiss companies to set up Switzerland’s first blockchain apprenticeship.

The blockchain apprenticeship is based on the computer science and mediamatics apprenticeship – extended by the focus on blockchain technology and its development. The IT apprenticeship is sharpened with blockchain modules on topics such as fintech, cryptocurrencies, and smart contracts. From the 2nd year of apprenticeship, apprentices work in their training company and gain their first experience in the blockchain environment. In August, the first apprentice will start at Inacta.

Venture capitalist from Zug expands internationally

By opening its first office in Cape Town, crypto venture capitalist CV VC is pushing its geographic expansion. Over the next four years, the new hub’s goal is to invest in 100 different blockchain startups. The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), as well as the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), are accompanying the company as partners in the region. As a result, the innovation hub from the Crypto Valley can be promoted internationally.

South Africa was chosen as the next location due to the high adoption of crypto and blockchain applications. The country also has a good understanding of the technology by international standards. The expansion follows a capital increase of 13 million Swiss francs, which is intended to launch the next phase of the company’s growth.

First Picasso gets tokenized

Swiss crypto bank Sygnum and art investment pioneer Artemundi have teamed up to fragment the ownership of a Picasso painting into security tokens. The company says tokenization has the potential to create transparency in the industry and democratize the $60 billion annual art market.

In my 37 years of collecting art, I never imagined this could happen. Artistic, cultural objects of universal appeal, once reserved for an elite group of collectors or the museums, can now be safely and directly owned without the burden of high entry barriers, such as information, knowledge, connections, and capital. The art market is absurdly opaque and inefficient, but these traits will soon be relics of a bygone age.” – Javier Lumbreras, co-owner and CEO of Artemundi

According to Sygnum, the art market is complex and often requires deep technical knowledge, personal relationships, and millions of dollars to enter. Tokenization, which creates digital representations of financial and real assets on the blockchain, enables fractional ownership, lowers financial barriers, and democratizes access to pieces of art history.

University of Basel publishes crypto course

The University of Basel (UniBas) has been offering various blockchain courses since 2017. From courses on Bitcoin and Blockchain or Smart Contracts to seminars that dive deeper into more advanced topics. Students have many opportunities to learn the basics of this promising technology.

Due to high demand, not only from students but also from the general public, the University of Basel has decided to make the introductory course at the Bachelor’s level available in an open-access format. In just two weeks, it has reached over 1000 registered users from 66 countries. The lecture videos are accessible on their YouTube channel and a dedicated platform.

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The CVJ editorial staff consists of a team of blockchain experts from the Crypto Valley and informs daily and independently about developments in the crypto space.

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