This article is from our magazine Building Blocks. Ralf Kubli, from CV VC, and Roger Darin, on behalf of the Bitcoin Association Switzerland, introduce the Crypto Valley and provide an overview of related events and meetup opportunities for bitcoin advocates as well as industry newcomers.
Meeting the elves in crypto valley
Projects in Crypto Valley have matured considerably since the arrival of just a few developers who were big in concept only. Today, we can observe the development of the future computational infrastructure for decentralised economies. Teams are working on projects such as Tezos, Polkadot, Dfnity, and Cardano. Starting from just a few globally dispersed people, who would meet and incorporate in Switzerland, we have seen many projects evolve to large-scale software development undertakings, many managed by a core group in Switzerland or Liechtenstein. It has also become clear that traditional corporations are now taking a serious look at blockchain technologies to enable efficiency and the conception of new business models.
As CV VC is focused on blockchain-enabled business models and digital transformation, the Crypto Winter has resulted in a unique opportunity. With the end of the hype and elimination of the noise, investors are now able to find start-ups that survived and are now more mature, building their solutions on top of the most innovative protocols.
The most recent statistics support this positive assessment of market sentiment. The Top 50 Report, published by CV VC, PWC, and Strategy&, lists 800 companies active in crypto and blockchain in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Market capitalisation of the 25 largest companies amounts to CHF 43 billion and the workforce is about 4,800 persons in Switzerland and Liechtenstein alone.
It is remarkable how quickly everything in Crypto Valley recovered from a very hard and long winter. All the unicorns (Bitmain, Cardano, Dfnity, and Ethereum) in Crypto Valley survived, and have shown a remarkable recovery in their valuation when compared to the end of 2018 – something that also holds true for many smaller companies and projects.
With the advent of Spring, many observers wonder if they should get involved in this space: one of the questions I hear most often, asked by people who work in the financial sector, is « how can I get involved in crypto, perhaps find a suitable job? »
The best way to do so is to join one of the many community gatherings. You see, there are regular events happening that you can track easily on meetup.com. These are the most useful sources:
The events organised by the Bitcoin Association Switzerland (BAS) are of high quality. Switzerland’s oldest « fintech » group has built their a reputation for quality – both in the audience and speakers. In other words, these meetups never included any ICO pitches that were so common during the « pay-to-play » summer of 2017. Their last major event saw famous bitcoin evangelist Andreas Antonopoulos fill the Volkshaus concert hall in Zurich. This does not mean that the BAS only holds landmark events; on the contrary: every other week, they meet in small informal gatherings at a popular drinking hole where new joiners can ask embarrassing questions with much less discomfort than in front of a crowd of 300 people or more.
This group is also run by the Bitcoin Association Switzerland and focuses on everything that is not bitcoin, also known as altcoins. While they still maintain a strict policy on speaker selection, the variety of topics is much more flexible. Just as with the other events organised by the BAS, the majority take place in Zurich.
Our very own meetups have the widest range of topics available in all of Crypto Valley, as we provide a platform to anyone who has a story to tell or wants to beat their drum a little. As you browse through the list of past events, I am sure that you will find at least half a dozen meetups that you would have loved to join, had you known about them. As far as networking goes, I want to point out the Wine & Vision events that take place every other Friday. They are either sponsored (usually along with a brief presentation) or subject to a symbolic charge of CHF 10 in order to be able to offer an open bar.
The first meetup group with a focus on Zug is the Crypto Valley Forum: it was initiated by Soren Fog, who later went on to co-found the Crypto Valley Association. The group habitually meets on the first Tuesday of every month at varying places in Zug, although other events are posted on this meetup group as well.
All of these meetups are great opportunities to reach out, get to know people, and start building a network in the Crypto Valley. Most of the people I know who were hired in this space, came to their jobs via their personal network. Some built it through events such as these, and others through their network of friends or job ads on social media. Of course, to see the « right » job ads on social media, you must be connected to the « right » people, which brings us back to these meetups.
I hope you find that the hospitality of the elves of Crypto Valley lives up to its reputation and that you feel comfortable. Feel free to drop in at CV Labs anytime for a casual conversation: we’re quite helpful elves ourselves.
About the authors
Ralf ’s goal is to enable easy-to-use technology delivering the promise of decentralisation on a global scale. Prior to joining CV VC and working with CV Labs, Ralf built the business of an artificial intelligence start-up in the USA. In the legacy world, he spent 18 years in automotive, aerospace, and specialty chemicals in senior management positions. Since 2015, when he discovered blockchain and crypto through angel investment, he cannot ignore the potential of distributed ledger technologies. Ralf ’s own start-up experience includes a lending start-up focused on SME working capital financing, indoor plant growing technology, and crypto mining.
With his first IT start-up founded at age 17, Roger Darin has always been enthusiastic about technology and entrepreneurship. While he then pursued a more traditional career in investment banking, working in several major financial centres such as Singapore, Tokyo, and Sydney, he continued to nurture his interests in technology. His first professional foray into bitcoin was in 2014 when his company started to offer seminars, demonstrating the vast implications that came with blockchain technology. Today he represents the Bitcoin Association Switzerland as a Board Member and Community Manager. After working as a product manager for a wealth management platform, he joined inacta in Zug to be at the intersection of finance and technology.Lire la suite