Hot on the heels of issuing of the Europe’s fastest e-money (EMI) license to the numerous global tech companies, Lithuania now hosts Europe’s first international Blockchain Centre. The state-of-the-art coworking and shared office space for blockchain startups, created by AKTA – Vilnius based studio operating in the field of interior architecture.

Europe’s first international Blockchain Centre launched its operations in Lithuania’s capital Vilnius on 27 January, attracting entrepreneurs, investors, decision-makers and experts from around the world to the first facility of this kind on the continent. The global network of Blockchain Centres, which includes Melbourne, Shanghai and now, Vilnius, is a not-for-profit knowledge hub, co-working space and incubation for blockchain technologies.

The official launching ceremony was accompanied by a series of signings of cooperation agreements by Blockchain Centre Vilnius and numerous partner organisations, including PriceWaterhouseCoopers, British 20|30 & Pillar Project, Singapore based Foundation, Canadian GCAC, Malaysian PUNDI X LABS, Australian Coinstop, Lithuanian, and others. Lithuanian Minister of Economy Virginijus Sinkevičius witnessed the signings.

The Vilnius-based centre, led by CEO Eglė Nemeikštytė, is part of a global network of outlets that are being developed to serve as knowledge hubs for the blockchain industry, started by Australia’s Melbourne Blockchain Centre. Drawing from the experiences of the outlet, which brands itself as a community of more than 2,000 blockchain technology entrepreneurs, experts, mentors and investors, the new facility’s founders say they hope to benefit from Lithuania’s favourable climate for digital businesses.

“Lithuania is an amazing place to invest in. A great place for innovative businesses. Vilnius is going to attract people from all over the world. It already has for the opening. We are very thrilled and excited,” – said Antanas Guoga, a Member of the European Parliament, the founder of Blockchain Centre Vilnius, and a serial entrepreneur.

Since 2014, when the first Blockchain Centre was set up in Melbourne, further centres have been launched in China. Melbourne-based Martin Davidson, Global Director and CEO of the Blockchain Centre, said Lithuania was a natural fit to its growing international network.

“Lithuania is the latest region in the world to be warming up to the concept and application of blockchain technology. It was selected by the Australian and Asian blockchain communities as the network’s first location in Europe due to its political and economic stability, relationship with the European Union, as well as favourable business and regulatory environments.”

Mr Davidson added that the Blockchain Centre is excited to be connecting its growing ecosystem and key stakeholders in three continents. According to him, Blockchain Centre is a fertile group, which revolutionary businesses grow from. “This is a real game changer as we can now open up Australian blockchain and cryptocurrency start-ups to Asian and European markets, allowing them to build networks and further the development of their businesses”, – he said.

“We want to build a truly global network between Melbourne, Shanghai and Vilnius,” Paulius Kunčinas, the chairman of the board of Blockchain Centre Vilnius, said at the event. “Lithuania for the last three years has a reputation in this area – our Central bank and our investment community has been actively developing fintech industry. This has provided us with a lot of information and know-how. The Lithuanian Central Bank is very proactive and progressive in this area, as well.”

Blockchain Centre Vilnius incubates and accelerates blockchain and cryptocurrency start-ups, while providing a platform to build a trusted network within public and private sectors. It is their mission to unlock the economic and social value of blockchain technology across various industries. The outlet in Vilnius is placed minutes from the city’s UNESCO-listed Old Town, located in an A+ energy certified riverfront office building Green Hall 2.

Blockchain Centre Vilnius’ declared objective is to allow blockchain entrepreneurs, developers, investors, and regulators from around the world to share ideas, know-how, and best practices. By offering co-working space combined with a wide range of functionalities, the centre plans to serve as a one-stop shop for technical, legal, and financial advisory services, with a particular focus on helping blockchain start-ups expand.

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