Switzerland’s ‘Crypto Valley’ Is Bringing Blockchain to Zurich

Switzerland’s “Crypto Valley” is centered on Zug, a tiny, semi-infamous tax haven hamlet known for harboring embargo-breaking oil trader Marc Rich in the 1980s, tax shells in the 1990s and tech companies in the age of bitcoin.

Zug and its Silicon Valley-esque moniker are 30 minutes’ drive south of Zurich. But if a new partnership between Zug’s crypto lobbyists and Zurich’s tourism czars pans out, the Crypto Valley could soon expand northwards.

Zurich is full of financial traditionalists – the city headquarters a third of Switzerland’s banks. Alongside well-established legal and health services, it hosts a wide population of tech-minded individuals, including 150 blockchain-related companies.

The growth is because of Crypto Valley Association (CVA) which has been fostering growth of the Swiss crypto space. The organization, an association of fintech ventures and individuals, has lobbied Swiss regulators for years – putting forward 14 different draft laws.

CVA Executive Director Alexander Schell said:

“We’re not just waiting for things to happen. We’re actively involved in proposing regulation.”

CVA has now partnered with Zurich Tourism, the region’s marketing wing, to bring blockchain awareness, tourism and business to Zurich. The pair even signed a memorandum of understanding “to grow the Swiss blockchain ecosystem.”

“We’re trying to establish an ecosystem of law firms, banks, startups, and other players who might be interested in this space,” Schell said. “We can make the best circumstances for them and the best prerequisites for businesses to be successful.”

Zurich Tourism will focus on bringing in cyber newcomers with internationally minded conferences and events.

Through hosting conferences for international audiences and reaching out to existing businesses in the tech-minded city, Vanessa Reis, Relationship Manager of Zurich Tourism, said that the relationship will find success.

“From our side, we can support CVA in sponsorship, in event planning, searching and attracting international guests, because this is where we have the network.”

Zurich skyline image via CoinDesk archives

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