Building Blocks Interview Series: This Place

Not to be outdone by other startups from around the world, teams from here in Europe are also vying to claim the Blockchain Competition’s top prize!

London has long been known as a hub for many different things – most of all finance – but there are plenty of bright minds working on blockchain ideas as well!

Please meet This Place!



Blockchain Competition Award Show – the culmination of it all

From over 100 applications and 3o countries, it’s going to come down to this – the Blockchain Competiton Award Show!

On 22 November the Top Ten teams will pitch their ideas live before the Jury and audience. But that’s not all. Beforehand there will be a chance to meet the startups and connect with the Crypto Valley Community. The event itself will feature perspectives on innnovation for insurance from both industry leaders and other startups who are more advanced in their mission to revolutionize insurance.

Should you be there too? Definitely!



Building Blocks Interview Series: Creative Dock

Did someone say Czechia? Haven’t we been here before?

Yes – it seems the small country in the middle of Europe has quite a few creative minds when it comes to blockchain for insurance! Maybe one of them will take home $100 000!

For this fourth installment of the Building Blocks Interview Series, we present the team from Creative Dock, based in Prague.



Building Blocks Interview Series: CML Consulting

We continue our journey eastwards – this time outside of the European Union – to Ukraine, and in particular to Kiev. There are a lot of exciting things happening in the former Soviet Union and amazing energy and interest in blockchain, crypto and everything in between.

For this third installment of the Building Blocks Interview Series, we present the team from CML Consulting.



Building Blocks Interview Series: Adahoy

Central Europe is one of the fastest growing regions for tech advancement with loads of talented programmers and young entrepreneurs in countries such as Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria pushing into new frontiers – including blockchain.

That also includes Czechia – until recently known as the Czech Republic. While it may be one of the smaller nations in the heartland of Europe, that definitely doesn’t put it at a disadvantage!

In this second installment of our Building Blocks Interview Series with applicants to the Blockchain Competition, we present a startup from Prague that has a unique perspective on the possibilities for changing the insurance industry using blockchian.



Building Blocks Interview Series: ZirconTech

We are super excited to see a fabulous response to this first edition of the Blockchain Competition – #blockchain4insurance!

Who wouldn’t be excited about teams from 25 countries, all trying their best to change and improve the insurance industry and settle in Crypto Valley?

But we don’t want to keep all the excitement to ourselves – it’s too good and too interesting to do that! So that’s why we are bringing you the Building Blocks Interview Series – a sneak peak at some of the teams that entered this year’s Competition.



A Brief History of Crypto Valley [infographic]

When something special happens, there is always a story.

Sometimes it’s longer, sometimes shorter. The history of Crypto Valley is as interesting as the technology that has driven its growth – with pioneers, visionaries, rebels all playing a part and a fair dash of circumtance thrown in.

And not to forget, the favorable setting of Switzerland itself, one of the most innovative and business-minded countries in the world.

To give an overview of the events that have led up to Crypto Valley becoming “the” place to be for blockchain and crypto startups – we offer this brief timeline, including several recent events that point to the fact that the history of Crypto Valley is ACTUALLY just about to get really exciting.



Etherisc joins the Blockchain Competition as partner & advisor

The Blockchain Competition – a first-of-its-kind startup contest aimed at blockchain teams and startups working on insurance use cases – has gained a valuable new partner.



What’s Happening with InsurTech Funding?

Something funny is going on with insurtech funding.

Funny in a way that doesn’t exactly make people in the space smile from ear to ear. In fact, for some – it’s reason enough to not smile at all.

Insurance technology (insurtech or InsurTech or insuretech or…the spelling variations are multiple) was supposed to be a golden cousin to financial technology (which has a more standardized short form in “fintech”). Given that fintech has pretty much taken the world by storm – with strong showings from relatives adtech and martech – it was assumed that insurtech would come along nicely in their wake.

After all, the insurance industry is almost as lucrative as financial services – to the tune of $15+ billion dollars in profit every year in Switzerland alone.



Breaktheblock hackathon makes blockchain for insurance totally real

Who ever heard of blockchain for insurance?

Actually quite a few people – given that InsurTech is on the rise and blockchain continues to fall from the lips of just about everyone remotely interested in technology, from C-level executives to developers in the trenches, brainstorming their next killer app.

Enter the Breaktheblock blockchain in insurance hackathon.



Why should you apply to the Blockchain Competition?

Are you ready? Maybe not. Probably not. No, definitely not.

If you are considering whether or not to submit your use case/idea/prototype and apply to the Blockchain Competition, there is a good chance you may be worried that it’s not good enough. Or that it doesn’t fit. Or that it has no chance of winning.

Sure – everyone thinks that.

But actually, that’s just the point. This initiative isn’t about getting together a collection of Fortune 500 companies to duke it out. Quite the opposite.



Blockchain, Business and the Educational Perspective

Startups are a breed of business all their own. Blockchain startups are even more special – or crazy depending on who you ask.

But there are few who could argue with the fact that blockchain business is one of the hottest topics today – with the potential to turn whole business sectors and business in general totally and completely on its head.

In the face of this rapid revolution, industries are struggling to keep up. And higher education is no exception.

Just look at the number of LinkedIn adverts for blockchain-related talent. Simple equation – demand outstrips supply. Will it stop there?

To talk about this and how business, education and startups should work together we caught up with two experts: Christine Parlour from the University of Cal-Berkley and André Wolke, CEO of Validity Labs, a blockchain education company based in Switzerland’s Crypto Valley.



What are Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)? [graphic]

$200 Ether. Bitcoin soars over $2 000 mark.

The headlines are hard to ignore… But for a large majority of the business world (and in particular the investment community) the idea of crypto curriences and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) remains a dark mystery.

The thing is – that has to change.


The growing Crypto Valley ecosystem [video]

It takes a village to raise a child – or so they say. To make a success out of a startup, it takes an ecosystem. Or at least a lot of help and support.

The growing Crypto Valley ecosystem is one example of this. While shockingly successful ICOs  and their rapid rise in value grab headlines around the world, it’s easy to forget that behind the scenes there is a lot more to it than millions of dollars piling up in a few minutes, there is more to the process than meets the eye.



Where is Crypto Valley exactly?

Everyone knows where Silicon Valley is. But what about Crypto Valley?

One and the same? Not quite.

Despite the fact that the world-famous Valley has more than one address (Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Mountain View and on and on…), one name it cannot claim is Crypto Valley.

Because that would be in Switzerland.

Much like its American predecessor, Crypto Valley isn’t confined to one postal code. Roughly speaking it stretches from Zurich southwards, through Zug, going as far as Lichtenstein.

So what put Crypto Valley on the map?



Insurance and InsurTech in Switzerland [infographic]

Insurance is a big thing – insurance in Switzerland is a very big thing.

In a country of only 8 million people, the insurance industry has grown to a multi-billion dollar giant featuring well-entrenched companies like Zurich, Pax and Swiss Re. With some of the highest salaries in Europe and prices just as high, there is plenty of reason for Swiss people to cover themselves as much as possible.