Lithuania is lobbying blockchain and fintech startups in the U.K. to set up their businesses in the small Baltic nation instead. Several firms have already registered to maintain access to E.U. market in case of a so-called “hard Brexit” that cuts Britain off from the zone.
Recently, Lithuania capital Vilnius inaugurated Europe’s first Blockchain Centre, which aims to provide crypto industry startups an opportunity to develop a trusted network that serves both public and private sectors.
The new location will serve as a globally connected and recognized ground for crypto enthusiasts. It’s scheduled to open its doors for startups on January 27th, 2018.
Paulius Kuncinas, chairman of the Blockchain Centre, said: “As part of this effort, Blockchain Centre Vilnius is already in touch with U.K. start-up community, regulators, and potential adopters of blockchain technology.”
Competition in this new industry seems to be heating up in Eastern Europe. Just yesterday we reported that nearby Belarus is adopting a positive stance towards blockchain and cryptocurrencies in order to capitalize on its rapid growth. Baltic neighbor Estonia has also thrown its hat into the ring, inviting startups via its e-residency program and proposed “Estcoin” token.
Blockchain Centre – Strong Platform for Startups
Blockchain Centre — a co-working space for blockchain startups and innovators — is a non-profit association which has a partnership with existing Blockchain Centres in Melbourne and Shanghai. “Brexit”, or the U.K.’s upcoming departure from the European Union, has been a significant factor in moving fintech business to Lithuania.
The Baltic country has already drawn several big investors to move there. Recently, U.K. based digital banking alternative Revolut indicated its plan to set up a financial institution in Lithuania.
“Lithuania is positioning itself as a gateway to Europe for Asian partners looking for opportunities in blockchain driven technologies,” said Kuncinas.
Lithuania is potentially an ideal country for fintech and blockchain startups. The country prides to have one of the fastest internet networks. Additionally, it only takes three days to set up business and fulfill government formalities. In response to growing interest in the country, Lithuania initiated a “Startup Visa” to facilitate non-E.U. citizens to work there as well.
Lithuania Grabs an Opportunity
Just days before, Marius Jurgilas – Bank of Lithuania Board member said: “We jumped at the opportunity.” Responding to why UK companies move to Lithuania, he explained, “It is just pure business decisions… they want access to the E.U.”
Blockchain Centre Vilnius founder Antanas Guoga said:
“London already hosts the largest pool of Lithuanian talent working in IT, innovation, finance, and technology. As U.K. companies and entrepreneurs consider their next move in light of Brexit, Blockchain Centre Vilnius is offering a globally-networked blockchain hub and a friendly regulatory environment. It goes with the overall positive attitude of E.U. institutions, which are ready to embrace blockchain technology.”
The Australian and Asian blockchain community chose Lithuania as the first location on the European continent due to its political and economic stability. The country now aims to develop itself further in order to be the fintech capital of the Baltic region.
Will the Baltic country attract more big players of the blockchain industry? Let us know your views in comments section below.
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