The influence of governments on the welfare of cryptocurrencies is incredible. The changes in Bitcoin price against the background of regulation restrictions in Asia perfectly illustrate this interconnection. However, some countries are willing to benefit from the rise of cryptocurrencies and see the development of blockchain as a gold mine. This February Slovenia made a big step towards becoming a global blockchain destination.
Lots of entrepreneurs prefer to move to big countries like United States or China claiming to have more opportunities. Nevertheless, developing blockchain community may be significantly efficient in small countries – and the recent events in Slovenia are a powerful argument in favor of this position.
On the 7th of February 2018 the number of Slovenian politicians including Prime Minister dr. Miro Cerar and the Minister of Economic Development and Technology Zdravko Počivalšek attended the meeting of the domestic blockchain start-ups. The office of Viberate, the company that creates live music ecosystem, became the negotiation venue.
During the meeting the representatives of both blockchain industry and government raised lots of different issues. They were talking about the perspectives of Slovenia as blockchain-friendly country and discussed the ways of supporting the homegrown startups and attracting foreign companies to the country.
The government of Slovenia feels optimistic about entering the crypto sphere. The Prime Minister, dr. Miro Cerar, said:
“The government is aware of Slovenia’s involvement in the global flows, and with our vision of modernisation and digitisation promotion in all areas, we are bringing to the fore the introduction of new technologies. We thus recognize blockchain technology as an exceptional opportunity: in this respect, Slovenia is at the forefront and one of the most recognized blockchain destinations in Europe. For our export-oriented and small-scale economy, it is essential to encourage the development and application of business models that enable access to the international capital market and users. The ICO transactions show the potential to develop into an efficient and safe mechanism of corporate financing when properly regulated. The government closely monitors the area and, like the EU, will pursue moderate, gradual and appropriate regulation that will protect stakeholders from the highest risks. For now, individuals and entrepreneurs are invited to act with care and responsibility and to learn about all risks; moreover, they should handle any investments in accordance with capabilities and in a way that does not compromise their financial security.”
That was not the first time officials and blockchain enthusiasts of Slovenia had a substantial and constructive discussion on the topic. The first steps were made on the World Economic Forum in Davos where promising Slovenian companies like Viberate, InsurePal, ICONOMI and SunContract had an opportunity to present to the government representatives the results of their work.
The high level of interaction between the politicians and businessman is highly appreciated by the blockchain community of the country. Vasja Veber, the COO and co-founder of Viberate, made a good point speaking about the range of opportunities business in Slovenia: “Small size is not always a disadvantage, and only a small country can enable a young company to meet with the prime minister and four ministers and directly present how the government can help it in the development of the entrepreneurial environment. I cannot imagine a year-old start-up in Silicon Valley that would be able to achieve this. If ever, now is the time when Slovenia has an unrepeatable opportunity to become a driving force in an advanced economic area, and it should not be missed. I hope that such cooperation with the government can be upgraded and that we will truly make Slovenia a target destination for blockchain companies from all over the world.”
One more distinctive features of the development of the blockchain technology in Slovenia is close cooperation between companies. The intense competition is replaced with cooperation. The companies even established an economic-interest alliance called Blockchain Alliance CEE.
Matej Gregorčič, the General Director and co-founder of Viberate, gave a clear picture of the blockchain community in the country:
“The Slovenian blockchain companies are already closely cooperating and do not compete with each other. We constantly assist each other in business development, share business contacts and open doors to each other. With the economic-interest alliance, Blockchain Alliance, we have only formalized and further consolidated such cooperation, and I hope that this form of cooperation provides an example to other industries. It may sound trite, but we are truly stronger together.”
The geography of cryptocurrencies is evidently changing at the moment. The market is tough and some companies are ready to play dirty in order to win the blockchain race. Some governments see the spread of cryptocurrencies as a thread. And here comes Slovenia: supportive community of blockchain-based projects who have a direct contact with the government.