Blockchain, the technology of the future, is in the spotlight of different governments today: several countries are fighting for the right to become Europe’s Silicon Valley in the field of decentralized technologies. Like Cyprus and Malta, known for loud statements of their politicians about blockchain, Slovenia strives to receive the title. Chances are high it will succeed.
The country’s high officials are not only building their own strategy on decentralized technologies but also taking part in European projects and actively studying the experience of other countries.
On December 12, Ljubljana will host the conference, where representatives of the Slovenian government will meet blockchain entrepreneurs and Vit Jedlicka, the President of Liberland, where blockchain has been already implemented in the state administration and cryptocurrency Merits has been introduced as the official payment means.
Status of blockchain in Slovenia
The issue of the legal status of cryptocurrencies and blockchain, disputable in many countries, is practically resolved in Slovenia today. Due attention was paid to the matter in the anti-money laundering legislation. The cryptocurrency notion was defined there, whereas brokers and exchanges received the status of financial institutions.
As for blockchain, it is mentioned in the Development Strategy for the Information Society until 2020. This paper, called Digital Slovenia 2020, announces the establishment of the Blockchain Slovenia initiative and invites all interested participants of the community to join it.
Communities supporting Bitcoin
A call for public action is not a mere formality: there is Bitcoin Association in Slovenia, headed by cryptocurrency enthusiast Jure Pirc. The organization represents a truly unique experience, as the cryptocurrency community does not protect its interests in such an organized way in other countries of the world.
The Association’s mission is to promote Bitcoin, create conditions for the dialogue between the authorities and community, organize events dedicated to digital currencies and blockchain.
Decentralized technologies also interest AmCham Slovenia, a reputable business community that combines over 300 companies, including international.
Slovenia – a homeland to blockchain companies
The government’s loyal attitude, the interest of the society, and favorable legislation are the seeds that gave birth to a great variety of blockchain companies in Slovenia. Some of them are well-known throughout the world today.
· Bitnik – Bitcoin company that buys and sells the ‘first cryptocurrency’ and provides consultancy services focusing on the issues of its safe storage and use.
· ICONOMI – blockchain platform for investors.
· Cofound.it – service for establishing blockchain-based businesses.
· Bitstamp – cryptocurrency exchange.
· SunContract – blockchain service for purchasing and selling electric power.
· Viberate – ecosystem for musicians and their fans that works with copyrights, selling music content, and honoraria.
Some firms were founded by foreign entrepreneurs and registered in Slovenia; others are startups raised in the country.
There are nine Bitcoin ATMs in Slovenia, owned by five operators, as well as the world’s largest exchanges and marketplaces, including the Slovenian service Bitnik.
In 2017, several major events took place in the country, dedicated to cryptocurrencies and blockchain: conferences, meetups. For the first time ever, Slovenia has joined the international celebration of Bitcoin pizza anniversary, commemorating the purchase of the first real product for Bitcoin (Laszlo Hanyecz ordered pizza on May 22, 2010).
This year, Ljubljana will host the international Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference for the first time. Presentations will be given by the president of Bitcoin Association Slovenia Jure Pirc and State Secretary in Office of the Prime Minister Tadej Slapnik, and foreign experts: the President of Liberland (the first blockchain state) Vit Jedlicka, head of Red Flag USA (large US blockchain consultancy agency) John Collins, and others.
Despite the fact that the government is sceptic about cryptocurrencies, blockchain is definitely given a green light in Slovenia. Decentralized startups have rather comfortable conditions there. Therefore, the country is quite likely to launch national blockchain services for trials soon.