Europe’s first Blockchain Centre launched its operations in Lithuania’s capital Vilnius on 27 January, attracting entrepreneurs, investors, decision-makers and experts from around the world to the first facility of this kind on the continent.
Blockchain Centre Vilnius is placed minutes from the city’s UNESCO-listed Old Town, located in an A+ energy certified riverfront office building. The outlet aims to draw entrepreneurs willing to accelerate their European expansion through the Baltic state, connecting key stakeholders in Europe, Asia and Australasia.
The centre’s declared objective is to allow blockchain entrepreneurs, developers, investors, and regulators from around the world to share ideas, know-how, and best practices. By offering co-working space combined with a wide range of functionalities, the centre plans to serve as a one-stop shop for technical, legal, and financial advisory services, with a particular focus on helping blockchain start-ups expand.
The official launching ceremony was accompanied by a series of signings of cooperation agreements by Blockchain Centre Vilnius and numerous partner organisations, including Cryptonews.com. The signings were witnessed by Lithuanian Minister of Economy Virginijus Sinkevičius.
"This is a technology that has not fully demonstrated its potential yet, and it is great, because it is just like Lithuania, a country that has not fully unlocked its potential yet,” Sinkevičius said at the ceremony.
A moment from a panel discussion. From left to right:
Dirk Bullmann, FinTech coordinator and advisor to the Director General, European Central Bank; Pierre Marro, Team leader Fintech, blockchain, Access to finance, European Commission, DG Connect; Vlad Radysh, Government Relations Director of Bitfury Group; Paulius Kunčinas, Chairman of the Board, Blockchain Centre Vilnius; Siân Jones, Founder of European Digital Currency and Blockchain Technology Forum, COINsult; Dr. Atif Ansar, Programme Director at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford; Layla Dong, Foundation board member at the WEF Global Shapers Community.
(Picture by Mantas Bartaševičius)
Global blockchain network
The Vilnius-based centre, led by the CEO Eglė Nemeikštytė, is part of a global network of outlets that are being developed to serve as knowledge hubs for the blockchain industry, started by Australia’s Melbourne Blockchain Centre. Drawing from the experiences of the outlet, 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.
"Lithuania is an amazing place to invest in. A great place for innovative businesses," said Antanas Guoga, a Member of the European Parliament, the founder of Blockchain Centre Vilnius, and a serial entrepreneur. Cryptonews.com is also backed by Guoga.
Since 2014, when the first Blockchain Centre was set up in Melbourne, further centres have been launched in China. With new facilities expected to be opened in Australia and Asia this year, the facility in Vilnius could become a regional hub for the European markets, according to Martin Davidson, the global director and CEO of Blockchain Centre.
"We’re looking for like-minded, passionate entrepreneurs who want to be part of this movement, and take their companies to the next level," Davidson tells Cryptonews.com.
According to Davidson, owing to its cooperation with what he describes as Australia’s leading blockchain community and knowledge hub, the outlet in Vilnius can fully benefit from the synergies ensured by the centre’s international network that spans three continents.
"We want to build a truly global network between Melbourne, Shanghai and Vilnius," Paulius Kunčinas, the chairman of the board of Blockchain Centre Vilnius, said at the event.
More pictures from the event can be found here.
You can watch blockchain experts discussions here.