Europe’s first international Blockchain Centre launched its operations in Vilnius – the capital of Lithuania – on 27th January, 2018. The launch attracted entrepreneurs, investors, key decision-makers and experts from around the world. It is the first facility of its kind on the continent. The global network of Blockchain Centres includes Melbourne, Shanghai, and now, Vilnius. It is a not-for-profit knowledge-hub, co-working space and incubator for blockchain technology companies.
The official launch ceremony included a series of signings of cooperation agreements by Blockchain Centre Vilnius and numerous partner organisations, including PWC, the UK’s 20|30 & Pillar Project, Singapore based NEM.io Foundation, Canadian GCAC, Malaysian PUNDI X LABS, Australian Coinstop and Lithuanian Lympo.io among others. The Minister of Economy of Lithuania, VirginijusSinkevičius, witnessed the signings.
“Experts from the world´s Intellectual centres predict diverse scenarios in cryptocurrency development; however blockchain is not just about cryptocurrency. Blockchain technology is already being adopted by many businesses and public administration sectors. The potential is enormous, therefore, Lithuania must become an important link in the global blockchain industry. I am pleased to be able to put the first block in place today”, V. Sinkevičius said at the ceremony.
The launch event featured high-level debates on the future of blockchain technology. Discussions included representatives from the European Commission, the European Central Bank, the Lithuanian Government, world-renowned companies including; NASDAQ, NEM, Pillar Project, Qadre, and other enterprises that are already applying blockchain technology.
“Lithuania is an amazing place to invest and a great place for innovative businesses. Vilnius is going to attract people from all over the world – it already has for the opening! We are thrilled and excited!” – said AntanasGuoga, Member of the European Parliament, founder of Blockchain Centre Vilnius, and a serial entrepreneur. “Today Lithuania can offer a globally represented blockchain hub and enabling regulatory environment. It goes along the overall positive attitude of the European Union institutions, which are ready to embrace the technology”.
Global blockchain network
The centre is part of a global network of co-working spaces that are being developed to serve as knowledge-hubs for the blockchain industry. The chain started with Australia’s Melbourne Blockchain Centre. Drawing on the experiences of the Melbourne location – which brands itself as a community of more than 2,000 blockchain technology entrepreneurs, experts, mentors and investors – the new facility’s founders say they hope to benefit from Lithuania’s favourable climate for digital businesses.
”We want to build a truly global network between Melbourne, Shanghai and Vilnius”, PauliusKunčinas, the chairman of the board of Blockchain Centre Vilnius, said at the event. “Lithuania for the last three years has a reputation in this area – the Lithuanian Central Bank and our investment community has been actively developing the fintech industry. Here in Lithuania we are pulling out the stops to bring the world’s top blockchain talent, ideas, investors, and regulators together to create value for both private and public sectors. There is a growing recognition in Europe that Lithuania has gained an edge in financial and digital innovation.”
Since 2014, when the first Blockchain Centre was set up in Melbourne, another centre has been established in Shanghai, China. Melbourne-based Martin Davidson, Global Director and CEO of Blockchain Centre Melbourne, said Lithuania was a natural fit to its growing international network.
“Lithuania is the latest region in the world to be warming up to the concept and application of blockchain technology. It was selected by the Australian and Asian blockchain communities as the network’s first location in Europe due to its political and economic stability, relationship with the European Union, as well as favourable business and regulatory environments.”
Mr Davidson added that the Blockchain Centre is excited to be connecting its growing ecosystem and key stakeholders in three continents. According to him, Blockchain Centre is a fertile ground, from which revolutionary businesses can grow. ”This is a real game changer as we can now open up Australian blockchain and cryptocurrency start-ups to the Asian and European markets allowing them to build networks and further the development of their businesses”, he said.