Silicon Valley and Crypto

Silicon Valley has long been the global hub for technology development.

This may not be the case for cryptocurrencies.

The valley has historically been in this position thanks to a concentration of capital and talent. Startups have had access to large, reliable, and risk-tolerant sources of capital. Moreover, employees generally stay in the area after their original tours of duty are over. They found and join the next generation of companies, and transfer helpful institutional knowledge with them.

I've noticed for a while that, compared to traditional technology, less crypto projects are based in the Valley (or even the US for that matter).

The main driver behind this is regulation. The US has strict laws around finance (KYC, AML, the New York BitLicense). If teams find a way to access capital and talent without being hindered by regulation, they will do so.

This has begun to happen. Cryptocurrencies provide a native technique for raising capital (ICOs). Moreover, the space is young and inherently global. Teams often comprise only remote employees. And there is not yet a particular city that has attracted a strong network of experienced operators.

I was reminded of these facts after reading an exchange on Twitter.

Happily, the Valley still has some players in the space (Coinbase, Cosmos, Protocol Labs, etc.). But the network that has historically characterized the area is no longer singular in its attraction.