Austria as NFT ‘paradise’ and Europe’s hidden blockchain hub

Interview of CryptoRobby with on Austria and its active blockchain and NFT startups landscape.

The following is an interview I did with with Aaron Woolner.

It is my opinion that even though Austria is the least known country of the
D-A-CH region (Germany (D), Austria (A) and Switzerland (CH)) in terms of blockchain and crypto, it is well ahead of the game.

Source : Pexels

Vienna may have been a mystery to 80s pop band Ultravox but the global blockchain and crypto sectors will soon become more acquainted with its burgeoning start-up scene. 

Aaron Woolner

Approximately 200 blockchain-related organizations and start-ups operate in Austria. In comparison, we recently surveyed Germany and found between 350 and 400 similar companies operating there with no unicorns, in spite of a population ten times that of Austria, i.e. 80 million people. Crypto exchange Bitpanda has become Austria’s first unicorn by trading a range of digital tokens from high profile coins such as BTC to less known ones such as HBAR.

There is a long tradition of Switzerland being a leader in the fintech sector. It has a greater number of blockchain firms and a more advanced legal framework for the sector than Austria. With its Crypto Valley, centered in the city of Zug, Switzerland has a more active blockchain scene than Austria, with 14 companies with a market capitalization of at least $1 billion.

Source : Pexels

However, it is situated outside of the European Union, which means it cannot use the passporting system for financial services. The passporting system in the EU means that financial products licensed in one EU member state may be sold in any of the other 26 member states, giving access to nearly 450 million consumers relatively easily. 

The primacy of EU financial regulation is one of the benefits Austria derives from its EU membership. However, individual nations still have a say in taxation matters and Austria implemented a crypto tax of 27.5% from 1 March of this year.  In contrast, this tax regime does not apply to non-fungible tokens (NFTs). 

Source : Belvedere Museum

An NFT linked to Gustav Klimt’s Kiss painting was sold earlier this year by Austria’s world-renowned Belvedere Gallery, suggesting that NFTs’ exclusion from tax legislation may not have been an oversight. 

Author: CryptoRobby

Robby Schwertner [CryptoRobby] CEO INNOMAGIC GmbH

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