Supported by the Senate, the BerChain alliance wants to turn the German capital Berlin into a crypto metropolis.
New technological developments have a habit of choosing a specific location in which to set up their headquarters. The choice usually falls on areas that offer particularly favourable (tax) conditions and a good infrastructure. Other factors such as a high standard of living, and a socially Ethereum Code compatible environment for workers in the respective industry should also not be underestimated. The Bay Area around the Californian coastal city of San Francisco has fulfilled all these factors for Google, Facebook, Apple and Co. and has offered the tech industry worldwide a haven for decades with Silicon Valley. While not all tech giants are based there – Microsoft, for example, is located around 1,300 kilometres further north in the US state of Washington – start-ups founded after the turn of the millennium in particular have opted for the sunny Bay Area.
Something similar happened in Switzerland, not only several years ago with the still internationally significant banks and credit institutions, but also a few years ago with the blockchain scene. It has chosen the central European nation as its headquarters and has spawned cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Polkadot, Tezos and Cardano. Zurich is sometimes called the „crypto-city“ for this reason, and the canton of Zug is considered „Crypto Valley“. But in a comparatively young industry, these location issues are anything but settled. And when it comes to decentralised currencies, other regions of the world may also stake their claim as crypto headquarters.
Berlin also wants to be at the forefront and offer the crypto scene a home. And it is even getting support from the Senate. The BerChain association wants to make Berlin the crypto capital.
The goal of the data-driven endeavour is to compile Berlin’s crypto space in a clear manner in order to give interested parties a better overview of the state of blockchain start-ups in Berlin. These interested parties could be investors or employees looking for a new job, or founders looking for a suitable location for their start-up. The registered association was founded almost exactly two years ago.
BerChain e.V. also wants to use Berlin’s regional advantages to advance blockchain technology – „especially its democratic potential“. With this in mind, the non-profit association organises events around the topic of blockchain, which currently take place virtually, otherwise physically. Workshops, trainings, publications and public discussions are also on the BerChain agenda. To pursue the ambitious goals, they have secured official support – in the form of the Berlin Senate. Norbert Herrmann from the Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Operations is championing Berlin as a crypto location. Why is Berlin such fertile ground for (blockchain) start-ups?
There are many reasons for this, says Herrmann. Of great importance, he says, are the already established alumni of the „first wave“ of start-ups that became successful in Berlin and then stayed in the federal capital. Today, they serve as „mentors, teachers, multipliers and investors“, Herrmann tells BerChain. In addition to comparatively cheap housing and offices, the availability of talent, technology and Berlin’s tolerance are also important, he said. For some time now, Berlin has been „attractive to a very heterogeneous group of innovative people“, he says.
Bringing this group of people together in the crypto-space is the self-appointed task of the BerChain association.