Cryptocurrencies have seen sharp rises and dramatic falls this past year. But one thing is certain – electronic cash and the underlying blockchain technology are here to stay and offer exciting investment opportunities.
Just like Zug outside of Zürich, Dubai and the United Arab Emirates have developed into dynamic hubs for start-ups in the blockchain sector. Advantageous decisions, where crypto assets are treated as commodities and fall under free-zone regulations, as well as the explicit goal of the Dubai government to conduct at least 50 percent of its transactions in blockchain-technology within the next two years, have contributed to the buzz.
“We see many exciting, innovative start-ups here in Dubai and the UAE,” says Urs Stirnimann, Vice President of the Swiss Business Council and Chairman of the Swiss Financial Group. “Many Zug-based companies in the sector are opening offices in the region and local financial centers are very active, working to attract new, international businesses.”
The market for cryptocurrencies has proven volatile, with the rise and fall of Bitcoin as a prime example. In the wake of Bitcoin, a large number of other cryptocurrencies have joined the hype, only to quickly fade away. However, as in any immature market, where there is a high risk there are also potentially high rewards.
“As with any new product or technology, it is impossible to know at an early stage which companies will survive and prosper. Just look at the automobile industry, only a few companies have made it long-term,” Mr. Stirnimann points out. “This is a risky market, but there are many opportunities for investors. Now we see the focus shifting more and more to blockchain technologies and the vast array of possibilities that they offer, such as smart contracts.”
Urs Stirnimann emphasizes that despite the security concerns and risks that we see today, blockchain technologies are sure to become established, integrated parts of how we conduct transactions in the future.
“We estimate that blockchain technology will play a role in virtually all types of transactions in the future. It will take a few years, but it has started to happen and it is happening fast.”