London has so far been considered as the financial powerhouse of the European Union. With Britain, all set to separate from the EU following its Brexit vote, the position is now open for others to fill in. While Germany and Switzerland remain the most favored replacement for London, there are two unlikely contenders — Greece and Lithuania making a hard push to attract fintech and blockchain startups into their country.
Since the announcement of Brexit, UK’s fintech industry has started to show signs of a slowdown. A recent report by one of the business magazine shows a considerable fall in the inflow of funds into financial technology startups which include Bitcoin and Blockchain companies. The funding in the previous quarter has fallen by over 40 percent compared to the same period last year.
In spite of the financial hardships faced by the country, Greece has emerged as one of the countries with a huge potential to drive the fintech industry. The tech savvy, skilled workforce in Greece are more than capable of driving the fintech sector with innovative products and services. The prolific startup ecosystem and their workaround solutions to overcome the financial disaster have given birth to a whole new breed of entrepreneurs. Also, the Greek entrepreneurs are well versed and comfortable working with Bitcoin and blockchain applications, which offers an added advantage.
Lithuania, another European Union nation contends with Greece’s skilled workforce by offering concessions and relaxed regulations to fintech companies. The Bank of Lithuania, Invest Lithuania and Sorainen — a law firm have collaborated to create a new regulatory regime for authorizing innovative startups. The collaborative arrangement has already achieved some success by securing EU passporting rights for fintech and blockchain startups willing to set up shop in the country.
Also, the country has made it easier for the companies to receive pre-approved licenses and access to payment networks. In the coming days, the competition will get much intense between EU nations as everyone wants to grab a chunk of the fintech pie.
André Beukes is an EU Management Consultant to international companies doing business in Europe. He provides clients with practical business support that makes a real difference doing business in the EU. “Put simply, I am here to help you meet your challenges. I believe in the importance of doing things correctly, meaning risks are reduced and problems are avoided.”