Switzerland’s Silicon Valley, Estonian Digital Citizenship, and Czech Crypto-Firsts

The world’s first café that only accepts bitcoins, the second largest producer of bitcoin ATMs in the world, the first hardware wallet, and the first “mining pool” that is still in use today: These all come from the Czech Republic. This is thus a natural place for a discussion about digital identities and cryptocurrencies, as well as blockchain technologies in general, which launched the development of cryptocurrencies and hold the potential to disrupt a myriad of industries and state administration.

A Practical Blockchain Discussion Without Myths

What is and isn’t blockchain, where its use makes sense, and what businesses and a digitizing state administration can expect from the technology are among the chief themes of Future Port Prague (FPP) 2018, which will take place at the Prague Market in Prague-Holešovice on September 6-7, 2018.

“The goal is to make visitors aware of blockchain as a quickly-developing area with massive practical potential, and not just for cryptocurrencies. We will discuss using blockchain in sectors like fintech, transport, logistics, and the above-mentioned digitalization of the state administration, for example,” said Martin Holečko, festival director and the co-founder of Etnetera Group.

Europe’s foremost authorities will gather in Prague and share their experiences. They include Dolfi Müller, the Mayor of the Swiss city of Zug, which last year became the first city in the world to accept payments for local administrative services in bitcoin; and Martin Ruubel, Vice Chairman of the European Cybersecurity Organization, who helped transform Estonia into one of the most digitalized countries in the world.

Czech Firsts

The blockchain debate will of course include the technology’s most common current use – cryptocurrencies, where the Czech Republic is surprisingly active. The first hardware wallet used to store cryptocurrencies was created in the Czech Republic, as was the first “mining pool,” which is still active today. This system allows people mining cryptocurrencies to share processing power. Prague is also home to Paralelní Polis – the first café in the world where you can only pay in cryptocurrencies. Finally, General Bytes manufactures its bitcoin ATMs and payment terminals in the Czech Republic and exports them around the world.

Conservative Switzerland and Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been in the media spotlight over the last year thanks to a meteoric rise and fall, causing sharp and controversial reactions that claim everything: from saying they will change the world for the better; to warnings of the biggest financial bubble in history. FPP will thus focus on the practical applications of cryptocurrencies and crypto-technologies. Dolfi Müller’s talk is highly anticipated, as he has supported the CryptoValley project as Mayor of the Swiss city of Zug in the eponymous canton for several years, creating a global hub for crypto-technologies modelled on Silicon Valley. Last year, Zug became the first city in the world to allow its nearly 30,000 inhabitants to pay amounts up to 200 Swiss francs (about 4,874 koruna) using bitcoin.

 “We can’t defend against something that’s coming and is all around us. We had to try it and go into it with an open mind,” Müller said. Under his leadership, the city council launched the project as an example in a region where many firms provide services associated with cybernetic currencies. Inhabitants of the city can even acquire a digital identity based on blockchain technologies. Switzerland’s trailblazing in cryptocurrencies can also be seen by the Swiss-based commodity fund Tiberius Group planning to launch TiberiusCoin, the first digital currency backed by precious and industrial metals, such as aluminum and copper, which are in high demand because of the technology boom.

Estonia, the Most Advanced Digital Society in the World, and its Digital Citizenship

Digital identities (e-citizenship) are closely related to blockchain technologies. Just as Switzerland leads in cryptocurrencies, Estonia leads in e-citizenship, incorporating blockchain technology into regular use as part of its digitalization in 2012. Citizens and foreigners that have residence in Estonia can digitally access a series of civic services. The system is based on a national identification card that was implemented in 2000 and includes a microchip that allows anyone with a computer easy access to various state and private services ranging from online prescriptions to proof of identity using a legally-binding digital signature.

This topic will be discussed by European Cybersecurity Organization Vice Chairman Martin Ruubel, who participated in the digitalization of national institutions in Estonia and now works on a united European approach to cybersecurity.

Blockchain Exhibits and Workshops

A wide range of workshops focused on exponential technologies and the essential exponential-era business management and development methods will also be discussed at Future Port Prague. Several will debate blockchain technologies, while others will create chatbots, further uses for nanofibers, or discuss the lifecycle of investments into exponential technologies.

The Future Port Festival will also present a bitcoin ATM and the above-mentioned hardware wallet.