Small Nations — Large Blockchain Hotspots: Cyprus Joins New Tech Trend
While 2018 was a terrible year for cryptocurrencies, with most of them losing 80% of their prices or more, the blockchain market is a completely different story. In 2018, blockchain managed to make some major leaps when it came to adoption and regulations. It has become particularly noticeable that smaller nations are more willing to work on their legislation to create a friendly environment for the new technology.
Switzerland, for example, is already well-known around the world as one of the most popular destinations for blockchain firms. The same can be said for small islands such as Bermuda or Malta. Now, another small island nation is ready to become a blockchain hotspot, although it is already well known as a prime location for the fintech industry. This is, of course, Cyprus.
Cyprus is already housing some of the largest Forex brokers and online trading platforms in the world. There are hundreds of large companies which found a home in the small island nation located in the Eastern Mediterranean. Considering that the country already pretty much conquered the traditional financial markets, many in the country — including entrepreneurs and authorities — are now looking to take the next step and go for blockchain.
Cyprus 'goes blockchain'
Three months ago, on December 4, seven members of the EU participated in signing a declaration that set a course for their technological development, agreeing to promote DLT and blockchain application. Cyprus, one of the participants, had already started entering blockchain partnerships before that.
For example, the country's national investment partner, Invest Cyprus, announced that it would enter a collaboration with VeChain, a blockchain platform based in Singapore. The goal of the partnership is to bring forth useful innovations and push the development and adoption of new technologies. Meanwhile, Cyprus regulator, the CySEC, has been exploring blockchain technology for years.
The regulator even has started a blockchain innovation hub recently, with its chairwoman, Demetra Kalogerou, stating that it is time to formalize their approach to innovation. Additionally, back in August 2018, the country's government created a group that will dedicate its efforts to the development of blockchain technology.
University of Nicosia
While numerous institutions have already joined different groups that are dedicated to blockchain research, one entity plays a large part on its own, and that is the University of Nicosia. The University has been a supporter of blockchain and Bitcoin for a long time, and it even came up with the first certified online course for this technology. Not only that, but it is the first educational institution in the world to offer a master's degree for cryptocurrencies.
According to some reports, the course has been very successful, attracting over 25,000 students. Irene Patrikios, the University's enrollment manager, stated that their graduates are the only people around the world who have an academic proof that they know what they are talking about when it comes to blockchain.
The University is also often contacted by companies from all over the world, offering to recruit their students due to the lack of workers who have a proper understanding of the blockchain space. As a supporter of blockchain tech, the University feels obligated to support all entrepreneurs willing to expand and develop this technology further.
Cyprus is providing a lot of incentives when it comes to the development and study of blockchain, and these incentives are coming from all sides, including the authorities. Considering all of this, it is not surprising that the island continues to rapidly grow as a hotspot for entrepreneurs and blockchain-based firms from all around the world.
An organization called Bitcoin Club Cyprus has already welcomed several hundreds of people in 2018 during their weekly meetups. As a result, they have established deep connections, not only with blockchain businesses but also with the country's regulators. The organization even worked with multiple firms to host a huge blockchain event — Nakamoto's Den — named after Bitcoin's mysterious creator, Satoshi Nakamoto.
The country already provides a very beneficial infrastructure for blockchain, but that is not the end of the benefits and advantages that foreign entrepreneurs might experience if they relocate to Cyprus. The country is also known for its extremely low tax plans, which are among the lowest in the whole of Europe. The corporate tax is 12.5%, while immigrants can even enjoy additional reductions. The bureaucratic limitations and demands are also rather few, which only adds up to the island becoming a business paradise, in addition to being a tropical one.