America has Silicon Valley, Asia has Singapore – but what’s the tech hub of Europe? This is a much contested topic yet one of the most often discussed. But let’s be more specific – what is Europe’s blockchain technology capital?
Some people may suggest Switzerland, where many blockchain tech companies are based – but where are the teams of the big projects located? Where are the hackathons, the meetups, where do the developers eat and sleep? Easy answer – Berlin.
This is incredibly evident given a quick look at the city’s vibrant blockchain scene – it may just be bigger than anywhere else in Europe. And it’s growing faster than ever.
Back in 2017 during the first ICO craze, it seemed all the biggest names in crypto seemed to call Berlin home. Take a look at Lisk, the blockchain startup with its own chain which launched in 2016. At the time of its ICO in which it raised 14,000 BTC, it was the second most successful crypto crowdfund as of yet. Lisk is supported by its team, part of Lightcurve, who still proudly calls Berlin home.
Berlin is also home to crypto projects like IOTA, Parity Technologies (known for Polkadot, it was founded by one of Ethereum’s original founders, Gavin Wood) and even homes the first known all-blockchain tech co-working space – Full Node – in the hip neighborhood of Kreuzberg. Full Node is currently home to projects Gnosis and Cosmos/Tendermint.
But why is Berlin so attractive to the blockchain scene? Let’s take a look at a few possible reasons.
1. Berlin is always on the fringe of the new.
Berlin is a city of constant change, a place that’s always on the edge of a new identity, though never settling for one. This philosophy exquisitely parallels the ideals behind blockchain technology – a technology that seeks to recreate the world around it, while pushing all known boundaries. This is what makes Berlin meetups and hackathons so vibrant and the perfect meeting ground for collaboration and idea-generation.
2. Berlin is non-judgmental and gives people room to grow and improve.
Blockchain technology is not exactly perfect. The industry has been rife with problems and controversies from the beginning as individuals navigate this unknown territory. The blockchain industry embraces creativity, ingenuity, and the new, even if they come with mistakes along the way. Berlin is a forgiving city. It gives its people a chance to create, explore and constantly improve. Many individuals are not only trying to accomplish goals but are also trying to improve themselves on a personal level – and Berlin fosters that individual growth.
3. Berlin is cheaper than most cities of its quality.
In places like Silicon Valley, you need a lot of money to run a startup, let alone survive. Comparably, Berlin is cheap. You can still find shared apartments for 400 EUR per month for a room, or even 900 EUR if you want to live alone – and not only in a box-sized room. You can easily eat for less than 6 EUR a day if you want to live frugally – it’s easy if you cook, or opt for the much-loved street kebabs. Although Berlin does offer the luxurious life, many blockchain technology developers are focused on accomplishing their goals, and possibly bootstrapping their projects – so the less life costs you, the better.
Although the cost of living is slowly going up in Berlin, it is still one of the best places to live in Europe, with relatively low cost-of-living. It’s also home to some of the brightest minds in blockchain tech today.