With the Football World Cup in Russia on the way, the whole world is caught up in the World Cup fever. The intense competition and sense of nationality are what most of the world waits for 4 years.
There is another global competition which has been continuing for the past 5 years but has recently picked up steam. It’s the World Cup of Blockchain Revolution-: the race to reinvent the internet as we know it.
The blockchain is the most disruptive technology since the creation of the World Wide Web. By creating an immutable, decentralized ledger upon which we can transact things of value without the need for intermediaries, it’s created nothing less than the second era of the internet.
Given below is the list of cities ranked by their readiness to transform their economies and lead this technological revolution. To qualify for, regions have to be more than tax havens for the crypto rich. They have to be networked hotbeds of blockchain innovation; have regulatory clarity on the use of cryptocurrencies and ICOs; participation from banks and incumbent financial services; corporate and private venture funding; favorable immigration policies; strong higher education; robust energy and internet infrastructure; and enforcement of human rights and rule of law.
Even though China has been not too crypto friendly, they have wholeheartedly embraced blockchain technology. With grand incentives as One Belt One Road, China is dominating the crypto world in spite of its draconian ban of ICOs, closure of crypto exchanges, and its lack of regulatory clarity and oversight.
New startups from the city include Energo Labs, Genaro, VeChain, Viewfin, and ZerOne.IO. Billions in research are being spent not only by corporations but government too.
Japan has always been at the forefront of tech revolutions, blockchain is no exception. The metropolitan government recently launched its “Blockchain Business Camp Tokyo” accelerator program to attract foreign startups to the city.
However, the Japanese government’s heavy-handed regulatory measures have restricted its blockchain and crypto sectors. To get ahead on the list Japan will have to lower the hurdles to entrepreneurialism created by its restrictive immigration system.
The capital of Korea has been a hub for crypto innovation, the city is collaborating with Samsung to develop blockchain solutions for delivering public services. Even their mayor announced plans to create Seoul’s own cryptocurrency.
Companies like ICON in enterprise blockchain networks and Zikto in health care are leading efforts to clear some of the higher hurdles to widespread blockchain adoption. However, the government’s effort to regulate the industry and repeated hacks of their crypto exchanges has hindered the growth of adoption of the technology.
London has been the financial capital of the world for decades now. As an international center of commerce and banking, and home to such pioneers as Blockchain.com, London has become a particularly fertile ground for FinTech, with regulatory sandboxes for blockchain startups in the space. Identity management, one of the primary application of Blockchain has become a priority for the British government as it attempts to combat the country’s high rate of identity theft.
However, Brexit will have a profound impact on the community of available talent, and smart leaders in mainland Europe will be looking to capitalize on this disruption.
The opportunities for blockchain to bring transparency to China’s significant gray markets are notable. This is why China is the only nation apart from the US to have 2 cities on this list. Chinese president Xi Jinping recently praised blockchain as having “10 times” the disruptive potential of the internet.
They appear to view blockchain as an enormous opportunity to improve its infrastructure, reduce tax fraud, and manage its national identity system.
5. Toronto-Waterloo Corridor
The Canadian government supports innovation, but largely as a means of transitioning from a purely resource-based economy. Funding goes more to artificial intelligence and quantum computing than to the distributed ledger platforms on which AI and the Internet of Things could run.
The corridor boasts of an amazing network of tech accelerators and incubators such as MaRS, OneEleven, and Ryerson University’s DMZ. Toronto is home to leading startups like Aion, Decentral, Paycase, Polymath, and Shyft.
Switzerland ended up making policies which are the most open and supportive blockchain and the crypto regulatory environment in the world. Zug, a town 35 km south of Zurich has emerged as a hotbed of innovation in the ecosystem. Home to members of the Ethereum development team and start-ups such as Bitcoin Suisse, Shapeshift, and Tezos, Zug now hosts many of Europe’s largest blockchain and crypto conferences.
Notably, Swiss financial-market supervisory authority has been somewhat tougher on token sales.
3. Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley has been synonymous with tech revolution and they do not lack too far behind in blockchain revolution too. One of the more exciting prospects of blockchain technology is its ability to disrupt the tech hegemony of Silicon Valley. In particular, decentralization threatens to disrupt those digital conglomerates in the business of collecting and monetizing other people’s data for free.
The region is home to some of the giants of the blockchain industry, including Ripple, Coinbase, and the Hyperledger Foundation.
Singapore has an attractive amalgamation of stable but business-friendly government. They have regulated cryptocurrency with a ease and created blockchain research networks within its post-secondary institutions.
Singapore’s access to Asian markets and the region’s rapidly growing middle class makes up for its relatively small population, and it is expected to have a continued growth in the city-state’s blockchain ecosystem.
1. New York City
The Big Apple is home to leading innovators in the blockchain space, from Blockstack and the Winklevoss's Gemini to ConsenSys and L03 in distributed energy grids. Wall Street may be bearish about cryptocurrencies, but many of the big banks are heavily invested themselves. The efficiencies to be gained in global payments have proven enticing.
The financial capital of the US is reinventing media, advertising, and the creative industries through blockchain technology.
Other blockchain friendly cities to have narrowly missed out on this list are Berlin, Paris, Dubai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Munich.