Imagine a place where start-ups can meet with investors, bounce ideas off each other, and grow and learn more about this emerging technology and its use cases together.
Of course, there have long been tech incubators in places like Silicon Valley and New York. And while Crypto Plaza in Madrid isn’t exactly Crypto Valley in Zug, it’s an excellent starting point.
Crypto Plaza, Madrid
Last week, Crypto Madrid Week was held in Crypto Plaza in the Salamanca district of Spain’s capital city. On Friday, the week of meetups and discussions came to a close with an info-packed forum on the crypto economy.
There was no hype, there were no frills, and there was no free food or merchandise. Just a gathering of like-minded and curious people doing some cool things in the crypto space.
Among the key topics of debate were discussions over custody solutions, how exchanges can meet their compliance obligations imposed by the FATF in 2020, Security Token Offerings (STOs), the growth of the Lightning Network, the future profitability of staking, financial inclusion and the blockchain, and the news that Santander Bank is currently running a pilot project to issue bonds on the blockchain.
While the team is still ironing out the finer details, the bank will interestingly be using the public Ethereum blockchain for its smart contract platform and transparent qualities.
Soon, investors could find themselves buying bonds online via blockchain technology through a simple interface that cuts out layers of complexity and expense. They would be more liquid, allowing people to buy and sell automatically with a few clicks of a mouse.
We’ll definitely be hearing more about Santander’s experiment with blockchain bonds and the Ethereum blockchain in the months ahead.
The state of Security Token Offerings (STOs)
Jorge Serna, VP of product strategy at Securitize, a company with an office inside of Crypto Plaza, also gave a talk about the growth of STOs. Honestly, I rather thought that STOs had failed to take off as a fundraising method, but he set the record straight.
With investors from Santander and Coinbase to Ripple and Tezos, Securitize is a registered transfer agent with the United States SEC. The company is using securities exemption laws to allow for legally compliant token sales in the United States in areas from real estate to equity funds.
The company has only managed double-digit numbers so far, but as Serna pointed out, it is growing fast, with presence in several countries including the US, Israel, and Spain.
How to analyse cryptocurrencies
Daniel Ferraro from IntotheBlock gave a thought-provoking presentation about how we need new methods to analyse new assets. ITB is an intelligence company that uses machine learning and statistical modelling to create a different, more effective type of intelligence for crypto assets.
The team is made up of data scientists and AI and cryptocurrency experts who aim to provide the most relevant intelligence in the market. The company, based once more in Madrid, says that it found “too many unanswered questions” about crypto assets, so it built a platform that leverages machine learning to analyse them.
The crypto community is growing steadily in Spain
Undistracted by exhibitors trying to promote their products and services, the day was long and the discussion deep.
The Spanish crypto community is getting down to work. It’s small and almost everyone knows each other on first-name terms. Those who are new are welcomed in, and contacts and people that may help you move forward are immediately suggested.
The crypto community helps each other in Madrid, and the ecosystem is growing. There is also an increasing need for blockchain and cryptocurrency material available in the Spanish language.
I had the chance to speak to Arturo Monzón, a life-long traditional banker who stumbled into Bitcoin and is now throwing all his efforts into helping others find out more.
He was part of the team responsible for translating Phil Champagne’s “The Book of Satoshi” into Spanish for the Spanish-speaking community.
I also chatted with Colombian YouTuber Juan en Cripto, another individual trying to put out more information in Spanish and advance the community further.
I left the forum feeling positive and informed. Crypto Plaza is a hive of interesting conversations and innovation. It even has a Bitcoin ATM.
Cryptocurrency is spreading throughout the world, and it’s getting bigger thanks to the hardworking individuals and pioneers pushing it forward.