June 8th, 2018

The best locations for developing your Fintech/Сrypto business

The recent wave of emerging financial technologies significantly reshaped a number of important industries and daily habits; however, it also brought out a lot of scepticism and hardly conquerable competition.

On the first case, not all governmental institutions are ready to accept the change in finance and technology and this issue is solved by imposing various bans or restrictions. For example, China has completely forbidden all crypto-related activities what forces potential entrepreneurs and investors to look for another location, expressing a more liberal approach towards innovations. Also, financial technologies are endorsed due to their convenience and accessibility (for example, the advent of banking applications for smartphones, such as Revolut, has reshaped the habits of many groups, including travellers). However, it should not be forgotten that the influence of major players in finance and banking is significantly larger as well as they are also adapting technological approach, as seen from the example of Barclays and one of their latest developments, the Barclaycard.

As a result, the pathway of Fintech businesses might not seem that easy and smooth due to the reactions of both public and private sectors. On the other hand, this rule does not ultimately apply for some regions globally. They are more than ready to improve the local economy while accepting and collaborating the growth of innovative start-ups.

The Baltic States

Counting the third decade of independence after half of a century under the planned economy in the Soviet Union, Latvia, Lithuania and, in particular, Estonia could boast of making a large jump in the context of Europe while growing and developing their economies as well as holding the large passion for technologies. Adding the privilege of low taxes, this location should be put under consideration while looking for new business locations and opportunities.

In addition, regarding the Baltic countries, the investment in tech is quite large in comparison with undoubtedly larger European economies, including Spain, France or Italy. This is also an obvious indicator of excellent conditions and national interest in Fintech businesses.

Analysing the empirical examples of crypto investments, Lithuania should be seen as one of the friendliest states worldwide considering cryptocurrencies and Blockchain technology. Along with the first Blockchain Centre in Europe which was opened exactly in the capital Vilnius, this spring the Bank of Lithuania expressed the wish to collaborate with crypto community, regulators and traditional banking institutions in order to create the safe and attractive environment for crypto investments. This could be considered as a compromise, especially in the context of previous policies of the central bank which were less liberal.

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(Tech investment per capita in Europe, source: Labs of Latvia)

Switzerland

Switzerland is already famous of a particular strong tradition of mainstream banking, what might seem as a potential struggle for crypto businesses to adapt in this country. Surprisingly, it is not a case and the situation is even the other way around: at the moment, Switzerland is one of the main dream destinations for Fintech innovations and companies. The acceptance of innovations in this country can be noticed and developed through establishing hubs mixed with relatively liberal regulations which are ensuring safety rather than seeking to restrict alternative banking and finance activities. Even the academic institutions, such as Lucerne University of Applied Sciences, are currently introducing the impact of Fintech in their research.

In addition, the successful practice of the ICOs based in Switzerland may encourage new players to join the field. This country is one of the leaders amongst ICOs which raised more than 10 million USD as well as amongst the raised funds for crypto projects overall. It is clear that excellent conditions for business development allowed to achieve these impressive results. In other words, pro-market approach and encouragement for innovative activities which are supported by local businessmen and government may determine the bright future for Fintech in Switzerland.

(Switzerland is one of the leaders regarding the funds raising for ICOs, overcoming such large and strong economies as Canada and the UK. Source: fintechnews.ch)

Gibraltar

The small territory in the Mediterranean sea is not particularly visible in the global landscape of business, but the advent of cryptocurrencies allow it to become one of the most
crypto-friendly countries worldwide. However, it should not be perceived as a role of offshore which is absolutely not suggested to invest in. The Gibraltarian institutions are considered to be especially positive regarding Fintech (hence, crypto is included!) start-ups and Blockchain technology; on the other hand, the plans of regulations were already relevant in 2017. However, it should not refrain potential companies to set up there.

The government of Gibraltar has already established particular regulations for the performance of crypto markets, but it is a bit different than restrictions seen in other states. For example, Coindesk announced that the approach taken by the representatives of Gibraltar is based on the development of crypto market rather than on certain laws which would become an obstacle for investors and entrepreneurs: in other words, the ideas in this British overseas territory are based on the consensus and market-driven values.