Zurich, 10.09.2019

Zurich on its way to becoming Crypto City

 

Whenever blockchain technology is mentioned, it is not long before Crypto Valley in Zug is mentioned, too. “And rightly so,” said a front-page report in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung last Saturday. It went on to mention how some half of the 800 blockchain companies registered in Switzerland are in the canton of Zug, citing the Ethereum Foundation as one example. It also mentioned how companies set up here benefited from good fiscal conditions and strong political support, the cantonal director of finance, Heinz Tännler, for example, also being chairman of the Swiss Blockchain Federation.

In addition to the many blockchain companies set up in Zug, there are now 140 registered in Zurich, many more than in Geneva, where there are 45 and where Facebook is looking to set up its Libra currency. Other blockchain start-up companies can be found in the Ticino, where 43 have been registered, and in the canton of Vaud, where 26 have.

Naturally, with Zurich being a renowned financial centre and the site of highly regarded educational institutions such as the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the university, it is not surprising it is able to lure companies specialising in innovative technology. The largest such hub established in the city so far being at prestigious, but temporary, premises known as Trust Square at number 3 Bahnhofstrasse, from where 40 start-up companies employing 250 operate. In four months’ time, the premises will have to be vacated as the tenancy comes to an end.

It was also mentioned (in a separate article in the NZZ that day) how many Crypto companies in Zug already have a second office in Zurich, for research and development purposes, for example. The proximity of the afore-mentioned institutions of higher learning playing a role here.

Among the visitors invited to events staged at Trust Square has been the US ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Edward T. McMullen Jr, who mentioned how great the interest in Zurich as a location for blockchain start-up companies was.

Alexander Brunner, the author of “Crypto Nation. Switzerland amidst Blockchain Fever,” a member of the board of Utopia Music of Zug, mentioned how blockchain technology meant decentralised networks would be able to be established, enabling digital currencies or information to be transferred more quickly, more safely and more cheaply, meaning also that banks and insurance companies as we know them may lose out if their mediating role is no longer required. He also mentioned that it would take some time before blockchain technology really took off. “No-one would notice today if there was no blockchain technology. But this could well be different in a few years’ time, when the world would be linked-up with the new technology, from governing the heating and cooling of our homes to cross-border customs handling. “Zurich and Switzerland have the opportunity of taking part in this development, the course having already been set,” he said.