Blockchain in Berlin: Is Berlin becoming a global hub?

Mindset, skills and creativity spark interest in the capital city 

The heart of the international Blockchain scene lies at the Spree, the experts of this year’s blockchain breakfast at the Factory Berlin agree upon. Hundreds of Blockchain companies have been founded in the German capital since 2013, two successful examples are ZKsystems and Concensum.

What is the underlying potential of the Berlin Blockchain ecosystem? 

Berlin offers ideal conditions for start-ups. Next to young talents and motivated tech experts, you will find accelerators to increase business growth, big corporates to share know-how, coworking spaces to collaborate with other intelligent minds and investors to invest money here. With this strong base, Berlin is already considered the blockchain capital of Europe. But is there more to come? Will Berlin become a global blockchain hub?

This question was addressed to the following experts during a Blockchain brunch at the Factory within the Blockchain week in August: 

  • Jasmine Zheng – CEO of Longhash Germany, an investment and incubator company, 
  • Silvan Jongerius – President of BerChain and Managing Partner of TechGDPR, 
  • Ricardo Garcia – Head of Partnerships & Blockchain Advisory at ScanTrust and The GoodChain Foundation, 
  • Arnim Falk Bonow – who, in addition to his position as COO of Factory Berlin, invests in blockchain start-ups and 
  • Pavel Romanenko – Head of Marketing and Partnerships at ZKsystems.  

Good basic conditions, but synergies too weak
The Berlin start-up ecosystem offers the perfect breeding ground for innovation. Numerous contact points offer information and first access to investors, accelerators, event and coworking spaces. Within a short time it is possible to build up a broad and solid network. However, statistics show, once a start-up entered the market, the entrepreneurs are often left to their own.
“There are many start-ups, many ideas and many opportunities,” confirms Silvan Jongerius, “but the synergies are lacking. The community does not exchange enough information with each other.” In his opinion, the Berlin blockchain ecosystem could benefit considerably if entrepreneurs exchanged more information. BerChain, an association for the networking and promotion of the Berlin Blockchain scene, is doing massive development work accordingly. They want to attract attention to the topic. In order to connect the community better, they regularly organize (network) events.
To our surprise, developers feel quite comfortable in the colorful Berlin. The metropolis is comparatively cheap and scores with its high cultural diversity. This, in turn, promotes motivation and keeps the hands-on mentality at the highest level.

More opportunities than challenges
A particular strength lies in the many talents that live in Berlin. They have proven their creative ideas in many respects, and additionally pursue a strong will to bring projects to a conclusion and not to give away potential.
As such, Berlin is very attractive for investors. “New York and London are more investment driven,” emphasizes Silvan Jongerius, “but real use cases are developed here.” The Berlin mindset wins: Ideas over money.
Jasmine Zheng sees a further difference to the Chinese market: “In Germany, there are far fewer investors active in the blockchain sector, which speaks for great growth potential”. 

Does Berlin have the potential to become a Blockchain world capital?
Berlin is a rising star in the blockchain scene: motivated talents, numerous ideas, low maintenance costs and many information centers – the basic prerequisites speak for a driving force behind the rise of the dynamic metropolis.
If one believes Pavel Romanenko, the diversity of blockchain-based solutions in the Berlin region is enormously high, many markets are addressed. Nevertheless, initiatives such as BerChain must ensure that the potential is not only recognised, but that the movements are also driven forward – both at national and international level.
The panel’s conclusion is reinforced by the basic idea behind Blockchain: the participants agree that Berlin is an extremely interesting city, but for a decentralized solution, there should not be a single Blockchain capital. That would be the wrong approach.

**Regular events such as Blockbeers bring the Berlin scene together. But niches can also be opened up, because within the Berlin Blockchain scene there are other very specific communities.


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