Is Bitcoin & Blockchain Still Just a Hype?

By Reto Gadient, CEO of B.ACADEMY LLC
Follow: @Gadienre

I am very often approached by my old friends from investment banking with the question of how sustainable the whole Bitcon and Blockchain hype is. My answer is: look around you. Look at your industry: how sustainable is your current service model given the latest developments in world economics. Regarding Bitcoin & Blockchain we can say: What has begun with a whitepaper in November 2008 from an unknown circle of crypto nerds has become a hot topic today that is discussed not only by people on the street but also by global business leaders from WEF to all the central banks of this world. Although in general still a niche and in concept mode some areas have become real.

The first time I stumbled on the Blockchain was mid 2014 when I was running a crowd innovation challenge for the wealth management arm of UBS. Blockchain was just a theme for nerds in the IT department. At the same time my friend Alex Batlin, that time innovation leader at Group IT of UBS took the lead of the first Blockchain lab for UBS at Level 39 in London, Europe’s largest Accelerator for Fintech. We both had the special gut feeling that Blockchain is the next big thing for banking and beyond. We decided to bring Blockchain out of the tech lab down to the mainstreet – to Bahnhofstrasse in Zürich. We organized an event with the intention to educate our folks and send a clear and bold message to our colleagues: Hey Bankers, it’s time for a new technology. In the future, you’re not needed anymore. It was the same time, when the crypto pioneers Johan Gevers together with Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of the Ethereum Foundation and some other guys settled in Kanton Zug, a little city in the heart of Switzerland and had the vision of building up the Crypto Valley.

Today, four years later, many things happened in Switzerland and in the world. In 2017, I co-founded the Crypto Valley Association and since then organize seminars and events for a rapidly growing crypto ecosystem in Switzerland. Alex Batlin became the founder and CEO of Trustology, a Blockchain based Fintech startup. Just recently the European Union announced the establishment of a EU Blockchain Observatory and forum, where I am invited to facilitate the discussions of Blockchain and Crypto Currency experts. We see a constantly growing number of individuals and merchants using cryptocurrencies that are traded on more and more exchanges. Although cryptocurrencies are still a niche, we see the U.S. regulating ICOs and China sanctioning mining, we see countries like Venezuela and Japan, issuing or accepting cryptocurrencies. We see political leaders such as Schneider-Ammann declaring Switzerland to become a crypto nation. The topic is on the political agenda. But it has not become mainstream. Not yet. The question is: when does this happen. In one year? In three years? In ten years? Nobody really knows. But everybody has the chance to actively explore the new technologies and find new ventures. The next CryptoValley Tour, where you can meet with leading experts, entrepreneurs and investors from the Blockchain ecosystem, is an efficient way for you personally an answer the question: Am I part of it or not?

Reto Gadient, CEO of B.ACADEMY LLC and Co-Organizer

Sign up to the CryptoValley Tours on 24-25 May 2018 here.