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The 15 Most Influential Crypto Cities In The World

The 15 Most Influential Crypto Cities In The World

Authored by Jeff Benson, Scott Chipolina and Jason Nelson via Decrypt.co,

Crypto is a global community of people who are increasingly living in a digital metaverse. But even as they…

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The 15 Most Influential Crypto Cities In The World

Authored by Jeff BensonScott Chipolina and Jason Nelson via Decrypt.co,

Crypto is a global community of people who are increasingly living in a digital metaverse. But even as they embrace a decentralized world, physical places still matter very much—after all, no one can live entirely in a blockchain.

That's why Decrypt has assembled a list of the most influential crypto cities in the world. These 15 places are shaping the technology, culture and policy that make crypto what it is. They were chosen not because they are desirable places to live (though many are) but because, for one reason or another, they have exerted an outsized influence on crypto.

The list was the product of intense debate among a small group of group of Decrypt editors and staff writers and represents regions from around the world. Did your town make the cut? Read on to discover our rankings, beginning with number 15.

15. London, England

London's status as a major financial hub has long given it an edge in attracting crypto innovators. The original Bitcoin wallet provider, Blockchain.com, calls the U.K. capital its home as do newer firms like Ethereum wallet Argent and digital asset custodian Copper.

The city was crucial enough to host the second-ever Devcon, Ethereum's largest event back in 2015.

But its influence is waning. The U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has taken sharp aim at crypto, chasing off top crypto exchange Binance and telling crypto investors to be “prepared to lose all their money." Couple that with the UK's split from the EU, and companies may give serious consideration to basing their European operations elsewhere.

14. Cheyenne, Wyoming

As New York state was making it tough on crypto companies and the federal government hemmed and hawed over how exactly to construct a regulatory framework, Wyoming went all in. The Republican-led legislature in Cheyenne, the state capital, worked with private industry to craft the most friendly blockchain tech and cryptocurrency laws in the country. 

Now, Kraken, Avanti and others are setting up banking outposts in the Cowboy State. More are sure to be coming, thanks to Bitcoin-friendly pols like Senator Cynthia Lummis, who calls Cheyenne home.

13. Lagos, Nigeria

You know when people talk about Bitcoin's use as an inflation hedge? When they talk lovingly about the freedom of peer-to-peer transactions? They're talking about what's going on in Nigeria.

Lagos is the largest city and financial center of Africa's biggest economy, which has been battered by six consecutive years of double-digit inflation.

The Nigerian capital has been ground zero for popular resistance against the central bank's monetary policy and restrictions on cryptocurrency. This year, Nigeria topped the list for peer-to-peer trading volume in Africa—and came in second only to the U.S. worldwide.

12. Tel Aviv, Israel

Tel Aviv is Israel's primary tech hub and a hotspot for startups—it has more per capita than any other city outside California. Blockchain tech is no exception. The city of over 432,000 claims 90 of Israel’s 150 blockchain companies. One such company, Unbound Security, which uses a new type of cryptography to store digital assets, was acquired by Coinbase in November 2021. Bitcoin lender Celsius Network opened an office there in February.

11. Zug, Switzerland

Zug was almost left off the list due to a technicality: It's not big enough to be a city. But the Swiss town of 30,000 punches above its weight. It's the headquarters of the Ethereum Foundation, which helps guide a cryptocurrency with a market cap of nearly $500 billion.

The Zug canton, known as "Crypto Valley," has also attracted Ethereum rivals Tezos, Dfinity, Bancor, and Cardano. And as of this year, those companies can even pay their taxes in crypto. Zug, known for its sleepiness and slopes, drew up the crypto-friendly playbook that more exotic locales like Miami have only just capitalized on.

10. Singapore

Singapore is a major financial hub, and it has only gained stature in the crypto world as China has clamped down on crypto activity and Hong Kong falls under the mainland's orbit. Coinbase and Binance, two of the world's largest exchanges, are seeking licenses from the Monetary Authority of Singapore to operate there. 

Even without them, the city-state already has a lively crypto scene that includes the headquarters for market data firm Nansen, exchange Crypto.com, and DeFi protocol Kyber Network.

9. Berlin, Germany

The markets of Kreuzberg district in Berlin became renowned all the way back in 2013 for accepting Bitcoin, at one point having the most cryptocurrency-accepting businesses per meter of anywhere in the world. But Berlin has been hip on the Ethereum scene for almost as long. It was the site of the initial Devcon in 2014, then became the hottest hackathon space in Europe with ETHBerlin. At least 15 blockchain companies today call Berlin home, including Centrifuge and Gnosis.

8. Toronto, Canada

Still waiting for a Bitcoin ETF? Not in Canada. The Ontario Securities Commission, headquartered in Toronto, has approved loads of exchange-traded funds this year—Ethereum, Bitcoin, and crypto combinations—so that they can trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

While Bitcoin ETFs have yet to make it to Canada's much bigger neighbor to the south yet, Toronto is known for exporting innovation. It's the adopted home of Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin and the birthplace of co-founder Joseph Lubin, who went on to build Web3 software and investment company ConsenSys.

7. Lisbon, Portugal

Portugal is one of the few countries that doesn't tax capital gains on cryptocurrency earnings, meaning that digital ledger devotees can let their hair down in Lisbon.

This fall, Ethereum community members and Solana stans descended on the city and its beaches to attend ETHLisbon and Solana Breakpoint. With London's waning influence and Portugal's welcoming attitude toward financial innovation, Lisbon is primed to attract more than just parties and hackathons in the future.

6. New York City, U.S.

Fairly early in Bitcoin's existence, the New York state regulatory framework known as the BitLicense drove out crypto companies like ShapeShift and Kraken. But New York City’s next Mayor, Eric Adams, is pushing to attract and retain companies in the U.S.'s financial capital. Adams has vowed to take his first three paychecks in BTC, upping Miami Mayor Francis Suarez’s commitment to take one paycheck in BTC.

Adams is also looking to create a cryptocurrency specific to NYC.

Even without NYC Coin, it's hard to argue against the city's influence, where Wall Street has blended with fintech to give investors Galaxy Digital, Gemini, Paxos and Grayscale—not to mention ConsenSys and OpenSea.

5. San Salvador, El Salvador

Bitcoin maximalist and El Salvador President Nayib Bukele has become one of the loudest and proudest advocates for the flagship cryptocurrency ever since announcing it as legal tender earlier this year

Bukele has also shown a commitment to mining Bitcoin with renewable energy—from volcanoes. Though that hasn't caught on yet, the proclamation from San Salvador has other Latin countries that are struggling with inflation and meager foreign reserves thinking about adopting Bitcoin as a national currency, too.

4. Miami, U.S.

With lockdowns and restrictions having limited gatherings for a year, Bitcoin and cryptocurrency advocates needed a place to go. Nearly 15,000 people were welcomed to Bitcoin 2021 Miami by its amiable mayor, Francis Suarez. 

Suarez has put crypto at the core of his agenda—pushing to allow city workers to be paid in Bitcoin, advocating for the asset to be added to municipal coffers, and, of course, encouraging companies to set up shop.

Which they did. In June 2021, crypto exchange Blockchain.com announced it would be moving its U.S. headquarters from New York City to Miami. FTX, meanwhile, splashed out tens of millions to get the naming rights for the Miami Heat stadium. Suarez's embrace of Bitcoin has other companies rethinking where to locate their headquarters.

3. Beijing, China

Beijing won't be a crypto fan favorite, but few other cities can boast having such an impact on the industry. 

Since 2017, China has prohibited cryptocurrency trading. The Beijing-based government went one better this year when it banned mining. The move sent crypto prices into freefall and fundamentally changed the geopolitical makeup of the Bitcoin mining industry.

In April 2021, China commanded approximately two-thirds of the world’s Bitcoin mining industry. Now, it's all but vanished. But don't discount China's lingering influence.

With a fast-moving centralized government, Beijing could snap its fingers to lower electricity prices and woo back mining firms, as Russia has done. For now, though, it's happy to focus its efforts on the digital yuan. Success with its massive pilot could sway other countries to explore a central bank digital currency.

2. Washington, D.C., U.S.

Crypto markets rise and fall on the legislative and regulatory rumors that leak out of D.C.

And there's been plenty of leaking. Under new chairman Gary Gensler, the SEC has pushed for tougher consumer protection laws, claimed the DeFi space is teeming with unregistered securities, and even threatened to sue one of the biggest companies in the industry, Coinbase. Add that to an infrastructure bill that snuck in language redefining crypto brokers, and you might think the U.S. capital was out to kill crypto.

But Bitcoin advocates like Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) have kept the flag flying, while industry lobbying groups such as Coin Center and The Blockchain Association have gained the ear of policymakers while increasing their clout with consumers.

1. San Francisco, U.S.

You may have read that everyone is fleeing San Francisco because of the pandemic. Don't believe the FUD: It still holds sway. Kraken, OKCoin, and Robinhood all have big footprints there—not to mention Coinbase, whose executives are still clustered in San Francisco even as the firm professes to be decentralized. And the Bay Area is home to not only Google but also the crypto-powered search engine that hopes to supplant it: Brave.

Want funding? Chances are you're headed to see Andreessen Horowitz down the road in Menlo Park. Just looking to get off the ground? You'd probably be overjoyed to be accepted to Y Combinator in Mountain View, as Coinbase was.

The Bay Area remains the center of the blockchain universe.

Tyler Durden Wed, 12/29/2021 - 04:15

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Crypto job market holding up despite tech industry cutbacks

Crypto-specialist recruiters say they have not witnessed a downturn in crypto-related job opportunities, despite a myriad of staff lay-offs in the wider…

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Crypto-specialist recruiters say they have not witnessed a downturn in crypto-related job opportunities, despite a myriad of staff lay-offs in the wider tech industry.

The crypto job market shows few signs of slowing down despite high-profile cases of staff layoffs and hiring freezes across big tech companies. 

In recent weeks, several major tech companies have announced a paring back of staff, citing a downturn in the traditional market and narrowing demand for products that had boomed during the pandemic. Recently announced hiring cuts include Twitter, Uber, Amazon and Robinhood.

On Tuesday, movie streaming service Netflix terminated the roles of 150 mostly United States-based employees amid a slowdown in revenue growth. Earlier this month, Facebook parent company Meta instituted a hiring freeze for most of its mid- and senior-level positions after failing to meet revenue targets.

A Netflix employee post on LinkedIn

The crypto industry has not been totally immune. On Tuesday, Coinbase announced it was slowing down its hiring, after posting a $430 million loss in Q1. Coinbase chief operating officer Emelie Choi told employees in an internal memo that plans to triple the headcount in 2022 were on hold due to market conditions that require the company to start “slow hiring and reassess our headcount needs against our highest-priority business goals.” 

So, are we at the beginning of a major slow down in crypto industry hiring? Crypto recruiters Cointelegraph spoke to don’t think so.

“We have not seen a slowdown in crypto hiring. We are as busy as ever,” said Neil Dundon, founder of Crypto Recruit.

Dundon’s firm specializes in recruiting exclusively within the blockchain and cryptocurrency space:

“We have a team based globally across the US, Asia/Pac and European regions and demand is equally as high across the region.”

Kevin Gibson, founder of Proof of Search, told Cointelegraph that lay-offs in the tech sector have had little to no impact on his crypto industry clients so far. 

“I’ve only heard of two companies letting people go,” said Gibson. “This may change in the next month, but any slack will immediately be taken up by well-funded quality projects. As a candidate, you won’t notice any difference. if you do lose your job, you will also have multiple offers pretty quickly.”

VC funding runways

Gibson said that most crypto projects are still in the startup and early stages of their life cycle, and are still operating off venture capital (VC) funding secured last year:

“The vast majority of quality projects were funded last year, so they will continue to build and hire. There was such an imbalance of talent to role that any pull back from pre-funded projects will not be noticed.”

CB Insights’ “State of Blockchain Q1 22” report stated that blockchain and crypto start-ups saw a record-breaking funding quarter, with venture funding reaching an all-time high in the three-month period, raising $9.2 billion and beating the preceding quarter of $8.8 billion in Q4 2021. It was the seventh-consecutive quarter of record blockchain funding.

Dundon said he has seen more traditional tech companies and employees venturing into the crypto space, further enriching the crypto job market:

“At a minimum, most forward thinking tech companies are allocating some budget to look at how they might incorporate blockchain into their existing models. Not only are more companies venturing into this space but candidates are flocking over as traditional tech downsizes.”

A study from LinkedIn released in January this year found that crypto-related job postings surged 395 percent in the U.S. from 2020 to 2021, compared to only a 98 percent increase in the tech industry in the same period. The most common job titles demanded included blockchain developers and engineers.

According to Glassdoor, the average annual blockchain developer salary is $109,766. The average annual blockchain engineer salary sits slightly lower at $105,180.

Related: Analysts note parallels with March 2020: Will this time be different?

When asked whether the current crypto bear market may translate to more crypto company lay-offs, Dundon said that he doesn’t expect a similar situation to play out as it did in 2018.

“Crypto hiring in the past has tended to slow right down when the Bitcoin price tumbles. It was almost directly correlated to its price,” explained Dundon:

“This time, it’s different, though, as crypto companies now manage their treasuries in a much more responsible manner. This all translates to a much more stable hiring market.”

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Crypto jobs market holding up despite tech industry cutbacks

Crypto-specialist recruiters say they have not witnessed a downturn in crypto-related job opportunities, despite a myriad of staff lay-offs in the wider…

Published

on

Crypto-specialist recruiters say they have not witnessed a downturn in crypto-related job opportunities, despite a myriad of staff lay-offs in the wider tech industry.

The crypto job market shows few signs of slowing down despite high profile cases of staff layoffs and hiring freezes across big tech companies. 

In recent weeks, several major tech companies have announced a paring back of staff, citing a downturn in the traditional market and narrowing demand for products that had boomed during the pandemic. Recently announced hiring cuts include Twitter, Uber, Amazon and Robinhood.

On Tuesday, movie streaming service Netflix terminated the roles of 150 mostly U.S.-based employees, amidst a slowdown in revenue growth. Earlier this month, Facebook parent company Meta instituted a hiring freeze for most of its mid and senior level positions after failing to meet revenue targets.

A Netflix employee post on LinkedIn

The crypto industry has not been totally immune. On Tuesday Coinbase announced it was slowing down its hiring, after posting a $430 million loss in Q1. Coinbase chief operating officer Emelie Choi told employees in an internal memo that plans to triple the headcount in 2022 were on hold due to market conditions that require the company to “slow hiring and reassess our headcount needs against our highest-priority business goals.” 

So are we at the beginning of a major slow down in crypto industry hiring? Crypto recruiters Cointelegraph spoke to don’t think so.

“We have not seen a slowdown in crypto hiring. We are as busy as ever,” said Neil Dundon, founder of Crypto Recruit..

Dundon’s firm specializes in recruiting exclusively within the blockchain and cryptocurrency space.

“We have a team based globally across the US, Asia/Pac and European regions and demand is equally as high across the region.”

Kevin Gibson, founder of Proof of Search told Cointelegraph that lay-offs in the tech sector have had little to no impact on his crypto industry clients so far. 

“[I’ve] only heard of two companies letting people go,” said Gibson. “This may change in the next month but any slack will immediately be taken up by well funded quality projects. As such as a candidate you won’t notice any difference… if you do lose your job you will also have multiple offers pretty quickly.”

VC funding runways

Gibson said that most crypto projects are still in the start-up and early stages of their life cycle, and are still operating off venture capital (VC) funding secured last year.

“The vast majority of quality projects were funded last year so [they will] continue to build & hire. There was such an imbalance of talent to role that any pull back from pre-funded projects will not be noticed.”

CB Insights’ State of Blockchain Q1 22 report stated that blockchain and crypto start-ups saw a record-breaking funding quarter, with venture funding reaching an all time high in the three-month period, raising $9.2 billion and beating the preceding quarter of $400 million in Q4 2021. It was the seventh consecutive quarter of record blockchain funding.

Dundon said he has seen more traditional tech companies and employees venturing into the crypto space, further enriching the crypto job market.

“At a minimum most forward thinking tech companies are allocating some budget to […] look at how they might incorporate blockchain into their existing models […] Not only are more companies venturing into this space but candidates are flocking over as traditional tech downsizes.”

A study from Linkedin released in January this year found that crypto-related job postings surged 395 percent in the U.S. from 2020 to 2021, compared to only a 98 percent increase in the tech industry in the same period. The most common job titles demanded included blockchain developers and engineers.

According to Glassdoor, the average annual blockchain developer salary is US$109,766. The average annual blockchain engineer salary sits slightly lower at US$105,180.

Related: Analysts note parallels with March 2020: Will this time be different?

Asked whether the current crypto bear market may translate to more crypto company lay-offs, Dundon said that he doesn’t expect a similar situation to play out as it did in 2018.

“Crypto hiring in the past has tended to slow right down when the Bitcoin price tumbles. It was almost directly correlated to its price,” explained Dundon.

“This time it’s different though as crypto companies now manage their treasuries in a much more responsible manner […] This all translates to a much more stable hiring market.”

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Candidate supported by Bankman-Fried-linked PAC loses Oregon primary

Record spending in a Democratic House primary could not give a political newcomer the boost he needed to overcome a local politician with a long career….

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Record spending in a Democratic House primary could not give a political newcomer the boost he needed to overcome a local politician with a long career.

Andrea Salinas has won the Democratic primary election for the newly created Oregon 6th District seat in the United States House of Representatives. Practically since it started, the election race was the object of intensive media attention that most often centered around Salinas’ opponent Carrick Flynn, whose campaign was generously funded by the Protect Our Future political action committee (PAC) backed by billionaire FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried. The PAC paid for a flood of advertising supporting Flynn. 

Salinas won the seat with 38% of the vote, while Flynn came in second at 19%, with the remaining votes split among seven other candidates.

Salinas had a solid political background, serving three terms representing Portland’s upscale Lake Oswego suburb in the state House of Representatives. Before that, she was a legislative aide in Washington and worked for an Oregon environmental group. Flynn, an Oregon native who left the state after he graduated from college in 2008 and returned in 2020, was lifted from obscurity through the support of the PAC.

Flynn was also the recipient of $1 million in support from the House Majority PAC, which is closely associated with House speaker Nancy Pelosi. Sen. Elizabeth Warren countered that move by endorsing Salinas. Flynn appeared to be a serious contender in a poll released May 7. Protect Our Future changed its advertising tactics a few days after that, shifting from ads predominantly featuring Flynn’s difficult rural childhood to attack ads on Salinas, accusing her of being under the sway of the pharmaceuticals industry.

Protect Our Future’s stated goal is “to help elect candidates who take a long term view on policy planning […] guided by a series of key principles” that include pandemic prevention and a belief in science. These themes echo a philosophical trend called effective altruism, which both Flynn and Bankman-Fried are known to admire. Estimates of the amount spent by Protect Our Future on Flynn’s campaign are in the range of $8 million to $10 million.

“This is, by all accounts, about three times higher than any other Super PAC efforts in any congressional primaries in the country,” Jim Moore, director of political outreach at the McCall Center for Civic Engagement, told Cointelegraph in an email:

“The ads bought Flynn name recognition, but not victory. They created a backlash among the other candidates and apparently a number of voters about outside money trying to buy a congressional seat.”

Flynn’s election opponents formed a united front in condemning him, and local media made much of Flynn’s loose ties to the state, his spotty voting record and the possibly questionable motives of the PAC backing him. The controversy soon attracted national coverage as well.

“Flynn’s political future in Oregon will depend on whether he becomes an active player in state or local political efforts,” Moore said. “If not, he will end up being a trivia question about the time a cryptocurrency billionaire and the House Majority PAC tried to snatch Oregon’s new district for reasons that were never made clear in the campaign.”

Related: Coinbase forms a second PAC to support crypto-friendly candidates

Protect Our Future’s abundant financial support has proven to be controversial in other election races as well. The PAC’s donations were used in ads by an opponent of Jasmine Crockett in Texas District 30. Crockett has received about $1 million from the PAC. Protect Our Future is also among the PACs choosing between Democratic candidates Carolyn Bourdeaux and Lucy McBath in the contentious battle for Georgia’s 7th District.

Flynn, Andreas and Protect Our Future president Michael Sadowsky have not responded to Cointelegraph's requests for comment at time of publication.

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