Crypto Valley has been growing rapidly over the past year despite COVID-19. The hub, which includes both Switzerland and Liechtenstein, is home to 960 blockchain/cryptocurrency companies, among which 11 unicorns, that employ over 5,000 people, a new research by venture capital investor CV VC found.
The 6th edition of the CV VC Top 50 Report, released on March 3, 2021, shows striking growth in Crypto Valley in spite of the public health crisis. Between July 2020 and February 2021, the number of companies specialized in blockchain in Crypto Valley rose 4.4% from 919 to 960, total employment by blockchain companies grew from 4,784 to 5,164, and the number of unicorns increased from 6 to 11.
Crypto Valley’s 11 unicorns and Top 50 companies
Joining the six blockchain unicorns of July 2020 are Aave, Cosmos, Solana, Near and Nexo. These 11 blockchain unicorns in Crypto Valley are all protocols and focus on areas such as scalability and security.
With the ongoing crypto frenzy that began in late-2020, markets have seen a surge in valuations with Ethereum reaching US$152.2 billion, making it the biggest blockchain project in the hub that represents more than 60% of the total capitalization of the blockchain sector in Crypto Valley. Ethereum is followed by Cardano (US$40.6 billion), and Polkadot (US$29.3 billion).
Like previous editions, the CV VC Top 50 H2 2020 report names its selection of the Crypto Valley Top 50 companies. Out of the 50 companies, 24 focus on blockchain technology, providing services related to data and analytics, hardware and infrastructure, and platform and protocol; 22 are applying blockchain in financial use cases such asset management, crypto banking, and payment and stablecoins; and 4 use the technology in other areas including art, insurtech, media and supply chain.
Together, these 50 companies are valued at a combined US$254.9 billion, have raised a total of US$3.7 billion in funding, and employ more than 800 people.
Big names that made the list include Bitcoin Suisse, a regulated Swiss financial intermediary providing prime brokerage, trading, custody and lending services, among other things, serving both private and institutions clients. Bitcoin Suisse, which is valued at an estimated US$302 million.
Nexo, which recently reached unicorn status, is another Top 50 blockchain company. It specializes in lending and has some US$4 billion worth of assets under management.
Diem, previously known as Libra, is a stablecoin project led by Facebook that seeks to use blockchain technology to enable open instant and low-cost movement of money. Diem is valued at US$1 billion and has raised US$210 million in funding.
Other notable brands and blockchain companies in the CV VC Top 50 H2 2020 list include Crypto Finance, a firm serving institutional and professional investors, Mt Pelerin, a tokenization specialist, and Sygnum, the world’s first digital asset bank.
Blockchain trends in Crypto Valley
With the price of bitcoin reaching new highs, institutional adoption of cryptocurrencies has increased, and new financial applications, or so-called decentralized finance (DeFi) projects, have risen to prominence.
DeFi projects including Curve.fi, Enzyme and Oxygen were added to the Crypto Valley Top 50 list due to recent interest surge and booming activity. Curve.fi enables the direct exchange of stablecoins. Enzyme is the follow-on protocol of Melon, providing on chain asset management infrastructure. And Oxygen is developing infrastructure for prime brokerage services in DeFi.
Beyond financial services, use cases in other areas including supply chain, track and trace, healthcare, and non-fungible tokens (NFT) continue to develop, signaling that adoption of blockchain technology is rising across the board.
Maps.me, an offline mapping tool counting 140 million users, was added to the Crypto Valley Top 50 list for its rapidly growing user base. Modum, another Crypto Valley Top 50 company, specializes in supply chain traceability. Meanwhile, 4Art Technologies and inacta are building the application infrastructure and ecosystem for the traditional art space to be fully digitized.
As of February 2021, Zug remained the largest blockchain hub in Crypto Valley, being home to more than 400 companies or 45% of all companies in the zone. Zug is followed by Zurich (178), Liechtenstein (83), Geneva (57) and Ticino (49).
Crypto Valley Top 50
|Bancor||Bancor is a blockchain protocol that allows users to convert different virtual currency tokens directly and instantly instead of exchanging them on cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase. It is a decentralized financial network that seeks to provide liquidity to small- and microcap coins and returns for liquidity providers. It utilizes two token layers that facilitate its liquidity pools and functionality: BNT and ETHBNT. Bancor and its competitor Uniswap are the leaders in a new wave of decentralized financial systems.|
|Aeternity||æternity blockchain is an Erlang-based scalable smart contract platform engineered by programming pioneers to address some of the most fundamental challenges native to earlier blockchains. By redesigning blockchain technology at the protocol level, the æternity developer community has enabled the core protocol to understand and integrate a rich set of functionalities as built-in oracles, off chain smart contract executions, naming service, or type safe VM, out of the box.|
|Cardano||Cardano is a decentralised public blockchain and cryptocurrency project and is fully open source. Cardano is developing a smart contract platform which seeks to deliver more advanced features than any protocol previously developed.|
|Aragon||Create value without borders or intermediaries. Aragon is being built because so that decentralized organizations can solve the world’s worst problems. Aragon is a project that aims to disintermediate the creation and maintenance of organizational structures by using blockchain technology. The company wants to empower people across the world to easily and securely manage their organizations. Aragon provides the tools for anyone to become an entrepreneur and run their own organization, to take control of their own lives.|
|Casper Labs||The Casper Network is a fully decentralized (permissionless), scalable, and highly secure Proof-ofStake layer 1 blockchain. Casper has solved the layer 1 trilemma; it is secure, fully decentralized, and scalable/fast. Powered by Highway, an innovative, correct-by-construction (CBC) Casper-based Proof-of-Stake consensus protocol, Casper is leveraging popular workflows, innovative developer tools and multiple programming languages. Casper makes blockchain services easier to use, more upgradable and more predictable, thus removing barriers to mainstream adoption.|
|Concordium||When launched in 2021, the Concordium blockchain will be a Level-1, Proof-of-stake, regulatory-compliant, enterprise-grade blockchain with verified identity of users built-in at the protocol level and with application of zero-knowledge proofs. Technological innovations will enhance its performance and allow the blockchain to be fast without compromising security, be scalable, offer interoperability and it’s partial synchronicity adjust to the speed of the internet and ensure that Concordium won´t break under any circumstances.|
|Deon Digital||Deon Digital leverages more than 10 years of academic research, a world-class team, and the power of distributed ledger technology to turn paper contracts into digital contracts. Contracts are at the core of a company covering all its operational aspects: sales/purchase, production, loans, insurance, pensions, transportation, mobility, logistics, etc. Deon Digital Technology captures them all; it stores, executes and monitors digital contracts securely and privately. It dramatically reduces the amount of time that is spent to reconcile data|
|Cosmos||Interchain Foundation, a Swiss non-profit, which is responsible for co-ordinating fundraising and allocating funds to get the network off the ground. The foundation will suggest a distribution of Atoms according to the results of the fundraiser. Users will ultimately decide the distribution for themselves when they run the software. The Interchain Foundation will suggest that 5% of the Atoms go to its initial donors, 10% go to the Interchain Foundation, 10% go to the company developing most of the software, and the remaining 75% to be distributed according to the results of the private and public fundraisers.|
|Dfinity Foundation||The DFINITY Foundation is a not-for-profit organization based in Zurich, Switzerland, that oversees research centers in Palo Alto, San Francisco, Tokyo, and Zurich. Our mission is to build, promote, and maintain the Internet Computer — and by doing so, improve the world. The Internet Computer extends the functionality of the internet from connecting billions of people to also providing millions of developers and entrepreneurs with a public compute platform — creating a revolutionary new way to build software, DeFi and open internet services. In turn, this generational shift in computing aims to return the internet back to its free and open roots.|
|Cysec SA||CYSEC SA is a data security company based at the EPFL Innovation Park in Lausanne, Switzerland. CYSEC brings 360° security in one click for container-based workloads and platforms through its ARCA trusted OS software. CYSEC partners with leading cybersecurity research centers to develop technological innovations in the area of Confidential Computing and delivers its cybersecurity solutions for any vertical sectors.|
|Ethereum||Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third-party interference. These apps run on a custom built blockchain, an enormously powerful shared global infrastructure that can move value around and represent the ownership of property. This enables developers to create markets, store registries of debts. or promises, move funds in accordance with instructions given long in the past (like a will or a futures contract) and many other things that have not been invented yet, all without a middleman or counterparty risk.|
|Golem||Golem is a global, open source, decentralized supercomputer that anyone can access. It is made up of the combined power of users machines, from PCs to entire data centers. Golem creates a decentralized sharing economy of computing power and supplies software developers with a flexible, reliable and cheap source of computing power.|
|Lisk||Develop and publish blockchain applications with your own sidechains on the open-source Lisk Platform. Promotion of new technology developments and applications, in particular promotion and maintenance of new open decentralized software architectures. In the foreground - but not exclusively - is the promotion and development of the so-called Lisk protocol and the corresponding technology as well as the promotion and support of applications using the Lisk protocol.|
|Hdac Technology||Headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, Hdac Technology AG is a blockchain technology company that aims to develop and provide a decentralized platform that meets a variety of needs required in the hyper-connected society. This is done by combining blockchain with other core technologies including IoT, Cloud, Big Data, and others.|
|NEAR||NEAR is a decentralized storage and compute platform that is secure enough to manage high value assets like money or identity and performant enough to make them useful for everyday people, putting the power of the Open Web in their hands.|
|ICON||The ICON project is building one of the largest decentralized networks in the world. Promotion and development of new technologies and applications, especially in the areas of new open and decentralized software architectures. In the foreground - but not exclusively - is the promotion and development of the so-called ICON protocol and the corresponding technologies, as well as the promotion and support of applications using the ICON protocol.|
|Polkadot||Polkadot will enable a completely decentralized web where users are in control. The platform is built to connect private and consortium chains, public and permissionless networks, oracles, and future technologies that are yet to be created. Polkadot facilitates an internet where independent blockchains can exchange information and transactions in a trustless way via the Polkadot relay chain. Polkadot makes it easier than ever to create and connect decentralized applications, services, and institutions|
|Santiment||Santiment creates tools to help analyze the crypto market and find data-driven investment opportunities. The project provides clean and reliable on-chain, social media and development information on over 1000 crypto assets, and develops unique metrics, signals, strategies and reports on top of their custom datasets.|
|Status||Status is an interface to access Ethereum, built for Android and iOS. Enjoy encrypted messaging, a cryptocurrency wallet, and seamless access to DApps. Status strives to be a secure communication tool that upholds human rights. Designed to enable the free flow of information, protect the right to private, secure conversations, and promote the sovereignty of individuals|
|Securosys||Securosys SA is a technology company headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland. We secure data and communications. Our products are developed and manufactured in Switzerland and with vested European partners using a trusted supply chain. There are no backdoors. Our flagship product is the Primus Hardware Security Module used to protect the Swiss banking system SIC, blockchain and crypto assets solutions, and Public Key Infrastructure Systems.|
|Tezos Network||The Tezos protocol is a blockchain technology that evolves by upgrading itself. Stakeholders of the Tezos blockchain vote on amendments to the protocol to reach social consensus on proposals, creating a secure and organic upgrading system. The protocol’s on chain governance system, Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus algorithm, and ability to facilitate formal verification, make Tezos an ideal long-term solution for digital transactions.|
|Solana||Solana is a highly functional open source project that banks on blockchain technology’s permissionless nature to provide decentralized finance (DeFi) solutions. While the idea and initial work on the project began in 2017, Solana was officially launched in March 2020 by the Solana Foundation with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The Solana protocol is designed to facilitate decentralized app (DApp) creation.|
|Velas||Velas is a Swiss headquartered technology company led by a diverse team of engineers, cryptographers, researchers, mathematicians and results-driven business leaders. World’s first Artificial Intuition optimised consensus and Blockchain, including an ecosystem of decentralized products, designed in an user-friendly way, allowing anyone to feel the benefits of blockchain technology seamlessly|
|Waves Platform||Waves creates the economics of free, perfect and instant. The Waves Platform is a global public blockchain platform, founded in 2016. Waves Platform’s mission is to reinvent the DNA of entrepreneurship around the world by providing a shared infrastructure, offering easy-to-use, highly functional tools to make blockchain available to every person or organisation that can benefit from it.|
|Bitcoin Suisse||Founded in 2013, Bitcoin Suisse is the Swiss crypto-finance and technology pioneer and market leader. Bitcoin Suisse has helped to shape the crypto and blockchain ecosystem in Switzerland and has been a driving force in the development of the ‘Crypto Valley’ and ‘Crypto Nation Switzerland’. As a regulated Swiss financial intermediary and undergoing licensing as a Swiss and Liechtenstein bank, Bitcoin Suisse offers prime brokerage, trading, custody, lending, staking and other crypto-financial services for private and institutional clients. Bitcoin Suisse has built a team of 220 highly qualified experts at its locations in Zug, Copenhagen, and Liechtenstein.|
|21 Shares AG||Zürich-based 21Shares AG is the world’s premier issuer of crypto exchange-traded products, with over $1 billion in AUM across eleven index, single-asset, and inverse crypto ETPs listed on the Swiss SIX, Deutsche Börse, & Weiner Börse.|
|Bittrex||Bittrex Global provides a proven and secure platform for its customers to access the opportunities of digital asset trading. Built on Bittrex’s cutting-edge technology, Bittrex Global provides an institutional grade experience for professional and novice customers alike.|
|Aave||Aave (fun fact: the name is taken from the Finnish word for “ghost”) is a decentralised, open-source, and non-custodial liquidity protocol on Ethereum. Depositors earn interest by providing liquidity to lending pools, while borrowers can obtain loans by tapping into these pools with variable and stable interest rate options. Aave Protocol is unique in that it tokenizes deposits as aTokens, which accrue interest in real time. It also features access to Flash Loans and Credit Delegation as uncollateralised loan options.|
|Bity||The Swiss gateway to convert money into cryptocurrencies and digital assets. Buy and sell bitcoins and ethers. Introducing Bity Kiosks, the easiest way to acquire or sell bitcoins with cash. Only a phone number is required. Bitcoin ATMs are currently located in Geneva, Lausanne, Montreux, Neuchâtel, Zürich Hauptbahnhof and Zürich Hardbrücke.|
|CoreLedger||CoreLedger provides a decentralized, modular and extensible operating system for token economies, designed for all types of assets. The company’s core product is TEOS (Token Economy Operating System), which comes with user-friendly whitelabel tools such as a marketplace, wallet and portal. It features a patent pending multi-party settlement mechanism and simple powerful add-ons to ensure regulatory compliance. With TEOS, businesses can tokenize any types of assets, or use it in Sandbox mode to quickly showcase and model blockchain business ideas|
|Curve.fi||Curve is an exchange liquidity pool on Ethereum (like Uniswap) designed for (1) extremely efficient stablecoin trading (2) low risk, supplemental fee income for liquidity providers, without an opportunity cost. Curve allows users to trade between DAI and USDC with a bespoke low slippage, low fee algorithm designed specifically for stablecoins and earn fees.|
|Cryptix||Cryptix AG is the central venture-building platform and umbrella for a European cluster of businesses in Crypto Valley. The company founds, promotes and maintains subsidiaries and participations that work under one vision to create the “People’s financial marketplace”. The Group consists of companies in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria and Slovenia. Cryptix Labs GmbH, the in-house R&D center accompanies these initiatives with studies and technology around Blockchain and DLT.|
|Diem||Diem, previously known as Libra, is a payment system built on blockchain technology to enable the open, instant, and low-cost movement of money. People will be able to send, receive, and spend their money, enabling universal access to financial services. The Diem Blockchain is the technological backbone of the payment system, operated by a network of validator nodes. The software that implements the blockchain is open source and is able to scale so that billions of people can depend on it for their financial needs.|
|Crypto Finance||The Crypto Finance Group provides institutional and professional investors products and services with a level of quality, reliability, and security that is unique in the digital asset space today. The group provides asset management, with the first regulated asset manager for crypto asset funds authorised by FINMA; brokerage services for 24/7 crypto asset trading; and crypto asset storage infrastructure and tokenisation solutions. Since its founding in 2017, the group has been recognised several times, including as a Crypto Valley Top 50 blockchain company, Top 100 Swiss Start-up, and 2019 Swiss FinTech Award winner.|
|Eidoo||Eidoo, a Ticino based blockchain startup, has officially launched the ICO Engine to allow crypto companies and startups host and manage their token sales safely and with ease via the Eidoo mobile app.|
|Enzyme||Enzyme empowers you to build and scale investment strategies of your choice - from discretionary and robo to ETFs and market making. Security is our priority. Our second generation smart contract-enforced platform is thoroughly tested and audited before any mainnet deployments are made|
|Mt Pelerin||Mt Pelerin is a Swiss FinTech company based in Geneva, specialized in providing tools and solutions to bridge traditional finance with the crypto world. It provides an open-source asset tokenization platform for the issuance and management of compliant digital securities, which processes the largest number of ERC-20 security tokens in circulation. It also provides a non-custodial mobile wallet with crypto-fiat banking features, as well as various tokenization, KYC/AML and crypto brokerage services. Mt Pelerin is currently working on the creation of a full-reserve institution that will leverage its tokenization and banking technologies|
|Flovtec||Flovtec is an award-winning leader in the field of liquidity provision for digital assets. As a key player in the Blockchain ecosystem, flovtec fosters price stability and reduces transaction costs, for the benefit of all market participants. The firm is built on three pillars: a highly experienced and visionary team, tested investment strategies and a professional operational structure. The team is comprised of Blockchain pioneers with detailed insights into the ecosystem of digital assets and its future, experienced asset management professionals with proven track records and quants that can deploy investment strategies in a quick and efficient manner.|
|Nexo||Nexo is the world’s leading regulated financial institution for digital assets with $4 billion in assets under management. The company’s mission is to maximize the value and utility of cryptocurrencies by offering tax-efficient Instant Crypto Credit Lines™, a high-yield Earn on Crypto & Fiat suite, and sophisticated trading and OTC capabilities, while providing the top-tier custodial insurance and military-grade security of the Nexo Wallet. Nexo has processed $5+ billion for 1,000,000+ users across more than 200 jurisdictions.|
|Metaco||METACO is the leading provider of security-critical infrastructure enabling financial institutions to enter the digital asset ecosystem. The company is trusted by top banks, exchanges and infrastructure providers globally|
|Oxygen.org AG||Defi prime brokerage. Oxygen enables you to custody a portfolio of assets, lend them out, borrow against them and trade all in one place. Oxygen is built on the liquid and growing Serum ecosystem, running on Solana’s scalable blockchain, and seeded by the 140M users of Maps.me 2.0, an on-chain mapping and fintech application.|
|SEBA Bank||SEBA Bank is a pioneer in the financial industry, providing a bridge between digital and traditional assets. SEBA Bank is the only global smart bank providing a fully universal suite of regulated banking services in the emerging digital economy. SEBA Bank enables clients to invest, safely keep, trade and borrow against traditional and digital assets, as well as issue tokens all in one place. The broad, vertically integrated spectrum of services combined with the highest security standards, make SEBA Bank’s value proposition unique.|
|Taurus Group||Taurus is a technology company providing end-toend digital asset infrastructure for financial institutions. Multi-assets, multi-blockchains. EU market leader with more than 1 bank out of 2 running Taurus infrastructure. We offer a suite of applications to manage the entire lifecycle of any digital assets (private assets, crypto assets and digital currencies) in one platform: issuance, tokenisation, custody and blockchain communication. Easy to deploy or integrate: API-based, available on premise or SaaS. Future-proof solutions: our engineers are among the few teams in the world that master the full technology stack across software development, secure DevOps, cryptography and blockchain technology|
|SwissBorg||Born out of an ICO, today SwissBorg is advising over 200,000 people in crypto wealth management.|
|Zulu Republic||The Zulu Republic aims to mitigate the adoption problem, leveraging blockchain technology to create a sustainable cryptotoken ecosystem composed of individuals, merchants, and larger businesses, bolstered by enterprise-level activity and product “exports”—creating a place where people can not only make use of blockchain technology in their daily lives but thrive in the process of doing so.|
|Sygnum||Sygnum is the world’s first digital asset bank, and a digital asset specialist with global reach. With Sygnum Bank AG’s Swiss banking licence, as well as Sygnum Pte Ltd’s capital markets services (CMS) licence in Singapore, Sygnum empowers institutional and private qualified investors, corporates, banks and other financial institutions to invest in the digital asset economy with complete trust. Sygnum operates an independently controlled, scalable and future-proof regulated banking platform. Sygnum’s interdisciplinary team of banking, investment and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) experts is shaping the development of a trusted digital asset ecosystem.|
|Maps.me||Leading offline maps mobile app with 140 million registered user. Creating embedded FinTech story on this basis with a strong defi angle.|
|4ARTechnologies||4ARTechnologies is setting a new digital standard for the art world. The company combines the blockchain with its patented Augmented-Authentication-Technology and offers all art world participants more transparency, security and process efficiency. Using a smartphone camera, the microscopic structure of an artwork is captured and converted into a digital “fingerprint”. Together with the provenance of an artwork, this fingerprint is secured with the blockchain as a “biometric passport”. Once stored, the artwork is safely and uniquely assigned to its digital certificate.|
|Utopia Music||Utopia Music is a technology company that leverages big data in order to enhance the global music industry through increased revenues, reduced costs, accelerated payment cycles and improved insights, while creating an ecosystem where music and tech foster creativity & joy|
|ETHERISC||Etherisc’s mission is to build decentralized insurance applications, making the purchase and sale of insurance more efficient, enabling lower operational costs, increase transparency of insurance compared to traditional operations, and democratize access to reinsurance investments.|
|Modum||modum.io sensor devices record environmental conditions while physical products are in transit. When a change in ownership occurs, the collected data is checked against a specific smart contract in the blockchain. This contract validates that the transaction meets all of the standards set out by the sender, their clients, or the regulator and triggers various actions. The first product of modum.io offers an efficient system to comply with recently tightened regulatory requirements for the transport of medicinal products for human use in the European Union.|