Cryptocurrencies, blockchain, NFT and new trends

Lisbon, Berlin, Paris among emerging crypto hubs in Europe, survey finds

Companies • May 3, 2023, 2:00AM EDT

Quick Take

  • A Greenfield Capital survey of European founders named Lisbon, Berlin and Paris as the top crypto hubs in Europe. 
  • The survey also found that regulation is seen as the most crucial development in the sector this year but suggests founders do not view the MiCA regime as an obstacle. 

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A new survey produced by Greenfield Capital, the European crypto investor, names Lisbon, Berlin and Paris within a list of the world’s top ten crypto hubs.

Lisbon topped the list of crypto-friendly locations, with half the survey’s respondents listing the Portuguese capital when asked to name three hubs.

Jascha Samadi, co-founder and partner at Greenfield, said in an interview that early-stage crypto outfits are “looking at the world in terms of: what are the risks in my venture?” There is a “clear indication” that startups are now favoring Europe and in particular Lisbon, he added.

The results come amid significant concerns over the viability of the United States as a base for crypto firms, as regulators stateside pile the pressure on both startups and their banking partners.

MiCA seekers

The venture capital firm surveyed 68 founders of crypto projects with a European presence earlier this year on a range of topics.

Of those, 70% identified regulation as the most significant development to watch for the sector over this year. According to the survey, the Markets in Crypto Assets regulatory regime — which was officially passed by lawmakers in April — and the clarity it offers are seen by founders as advantages rather than an obstacle.

“MiCA’s not perfect,” Samadi said, but it offers significant benefits, including “clarity and a clear framework” for centralized companies. “MiCA does tell you a little bit about the thinking of regulators, which is understanding and acknowledging what they don’t yet know well enough, which is DeFi.”

European protocols appear to be reaping the benefits of optimism within the sector locally. An index featured in Greenfield’s survey found that 42 protocols with a strong footprint in Europe boasted 1,300 monthly developers collectively in the first quarter, over 300 more than at the end of last year, based on GitHub data. That is the largest quarterly increase since the tracking began in January 2020 — and it comes despite a punishing year for crypto firms. 

Greenfield has raised three funds since 2018. It closed its most recent, a $160 million fund, in November 2021. Samadi said the number of European investments made in that latest fund has “increased massively” compared to previous funds, accounting for up to 70% of its bets.