The 2023 Crypto Valley Conference (2023) just concluded in Rotkreuz, Switzerland. There are plenty of details to share but first, we want to thank the wonderful team behind the conference - especially the President of the Crypto Valley Association Emi Lorincz and the CVA Executive Director Niki Csanyi. Of course, we can't forget the esteemed Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU) team for hosting us.
Now that we got the pleasantries out of the way, we're thrilled to share a quick recap of the two and a half productive days at CVC.
CVC 2023 was even larger than the first after COVID affected attendance at last year's conference. Not only were there more attendees, but we even attracted some bigger names than in years past.
YouHodler was joined at the event by representatives from NASDAQ, CME, Circle, Kraken, Cardano, Coinbase, FireBlocks, Ledger, Signum, Post Finance, Sony, Bitcoin Suisse, PWC, MME, BitGo, Talos, IMC, Ripple, SumSub, Elliptic, Kaiko and many others.
The crypto industry has always had a problem with extremists on both ends. Surely, you've heard of these bold statements like "Bitcoin will replace traditional fiat money" or "Crypto is here to disrupt banks." While these statements were important in the early stages of development, the market is maturing.
Now, these statements seem a bit outdated. At this year's CVC, it was clear that Bitcoin - and crypto - maximalism is no longer the leading train of thought. Instead, after last year's events - and the number of epic crashes - a lot has changed.
We see signs of a maturing market with several arguments supporting this thesis:
The entire FinTech industry is progressing rapidly. Blockchain technology and crypto are partially to thank for that. The quality of infrastructure solutions and satellite products is also increasing, as evidenced by:
Compared to legacy financial institutions, one can see how progressive all these companies are. YouHodler is confident that traditional banks, exchanges, etc. will soon adopt these services
The worlds of crypto and TradFI are no longer separate. We already have many traditional institutions joining the space. That relationship is only getting stronger. At CVC, TradFi giants like NASDAQ, CME, Sony Bank, Post Finance and more were in attendance.
They see the value of blockchain technology and are looking for the best ways to utilize it right now. In addition, blockchain technology is not just interesting to these TradFi companies, but those in other industries as well.
For example, it was exciting to learn about Chiliz. Chiliz is a sports company that is currently implementing Layer 1 solutions for fan engagement Web3 infrastructure.
One highlight of the event was when attendees cheered on representatives from Metaco - a Lausanne-based custody provider - and Ripple. The crowd reacted warmly to news of a new deal between the two organizations.
Collaboration such as this and M&As are increasing in the industry, and it is a good sign for development.
Collaboration was a key talking point from YouHodler's Masterclass led by our own Vaida Saltenyte.
Amid a global recession and having limited access to VC funds means it's even more important to collaborate, grow together and create sustainable revenue streams. For example, YouHodler is offering its Lending and Trading as a Service products to help other wallets, neo-banks and payment providers generate new revenue streams.
One of the panels featuring representatives from Allnodes, BitGo, Fireblocks, Metaco, and YouHodler addressed the question: “How self-custody & centralized crypto infrastructure can co-exist in Web3?”.
We concluded that a hybrid approach is the best. This entails combining the benefits of two sides. On one hand, centralized institutions need to develop better practices for custody management while self-custody providers need to focus on the improvements of UI/UX and security.
To illustrate this concept, we can touch on recent developments at YouHodler and THORWallet, discussed during the networking sessions at CVC. Both of these companies started from two very different positions:
Today, however, YouHodler is implementing non-custodial wallets while THORWallet is implementing centralized fiat payment solutions. Hence, this is a prime example of taking a hybrid approach to Web3 to advance the industry.
You can't go to a crypto conference without running into "the r-word." Regulation is always at the top of agendas. Oftentimes, the number of lawyers attending these conferences is equal to that of engineers!
This year, however, the regulation fans were buzzing due to significant progress with European crypto regulations.
“MiCA: Green Light for Crypto Assets in Europe?: Unpacking the Good and The Bad.” was one of the most interesting legal-related CVC23 panels. Experts from CVA, Lexcellence, MLL, SDX, Xerof and YouHodler discussed the good and bad of MICA.
Regulation content is never at the top of anyone's "wish list" but surprisingly, everyone is quite optimistic about MiCA.
MiCIA is adding something the crypto market has never had: harmony. There has never been a harmonized framework for issuing, trading or providing services for digital assets in the European Union. Now, MiCA provides a clear and comprehensive framework that will result in greater legal certainty and investor protection.
Together, with the Transfer of Funds (ToF) regulation, MiCA will impose new compliance requirements on crypto service providers.
Robust compliance programs will help ensure service providers adhere to the new ToF regulations. If they don't, they risk losing credibility, reputation and, most importantly, the ability to operate.
Perhaps the only downside to all of this is an increase in compliance-related costs. In reality, though, this will be paid back by a higher adoption rate thanks to new users, and new companies, entering the market.
Regarding regulation, another conversation frequently comes up regarding the U.S.A. In recent years, and specifically this year, companies from the U.S. started leaving for more favourable regulatory climates like the E.U., Switzerland and the U.A.E.
We believe MiCA will only hasten this exodus. Legitimate companies want to go to a place that lets them be innovative and has an established framework clearly showing them how they can do so. Switzerland, Europe and to some extent, the U.A.E. have these qualities
In an ideal world, the S.E.C. in the U.S. will use MiCA as a template to improve its regulatory situation. However, considering the S.E.C.'s recent actions against Binance and Coinbase, it seems the U.S. is only getting more close-minded towards cryptocurrency.
This could soon make the E.U. and Crypto Valley the next hub for Web3 development.
CVC is not your typical crypto event. Switzerland is not some beachside party city that hosts other large crypto events. Swiss quality speaks for itself.
This was well noted by Nikita Sachdev, who visited CVC for the first time.
"Even the attire of Swiss attendees is different from many other events," she said.
This year we had up to 1000 guests from Switzerland, the E.U., the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and the U.S. There were no random people using crypto as an excuse to party. Every attendee was an industry professional interested in exchanging experiences, sharing ideas and networking.
Over two days, there were Master Classes, panel discussions and high-quality keynote speakers. Despite all this, it was not easy to get people to the comfortable and well-equipped conference rooms.
Everyone was so focused on networking! We do not see this as a negative. Today, collaboration is an indicator that the market is developing and starting its next phase.
In addition, all this content will be available online - CLICK HERE for the link - meaning people wanted to take advantage of face-to-face networking while they had the chance.
Lastly, it was especially great to see the progress made by the CVA’s Latin America Chapter and see interest from Thailand, UAE, and Japan representatives. All of them seemed very intrigued by the "Swiss Experience."
Speaking of representatives from Japan, members from Sony were in attendance. YouHodler had some interesting and deep discussions with them regarding Swiss culture, blockchain technology and how great it would be to make a cultural phenomenon like the Sony Walkman again - but in the form of a Pocket Web3 wallet.
In what is now tradition, the event ended with a YouHodler-sponsored boat cruise on the crystal clear lake outside the venue. YouHodler loves to make our clients, partners and colleagues happy. Hence, it was only natural to host this cruise together with IMC.
We could go on about the great times and conversations we had but we'll let the photos speak for themselves.
Well, that’s a wrap on CVC 2023. YouHodler hopes to see you at next year’s event for more fun, innovative discussions and networking opportunities. Until then, here are some resources for you: