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Europe drives institutional crypto adoption: Blockchain Expo Amsterdam

by Harry Garcia

The cryptocurrency ecosystem continues to find fertile ground in Europe, with speakers at Blockchain Expo Europe 2023 in Amsterdam highlighting the region’s favorable regulatory environment compared to other jurisdictions. The event, which is part of a larger Tech Expo event in the Netherlands, attracts prominent industry players from various sectors to showcase how blockchain technology is being used to power innovative solutions.

One of the main topics discussed at the event was regulatory matters. The European Union’s Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) regulations were described as a progressive step in providing a framework for the growth of the cryptocurrency sector while ensuring user protection. Speakers emphasized that institutions feel more comfortable operating in jurisdictions with clear regulatory parameters, which sets Europe apart from countries like the United States where regulatory uncertainty prevails.

The establishment of clear regulatory parameters across the EU and the United Kingdom has allowed crypto-related firms to continue their business operations. Major players like Coinbase are attracting interest from institutional clients who want exposure to cryptocurrencies outside of the United States. Coinbase currently serves over 1,300 institutional customers globally.

In addition to Europe, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is also emerging as a fast-growing crypto and Web3 hub. The UAE actively seeks to attract major firms in the industry, with Binance already establishing a presence in the country. Coinbase was reported to be exploring setting up operations in the UAE earlier this year.

Tokenization was another key topic discussed at the event. Various institutions, including mainstream banks and financial firms, see tokenization as an opportunity to issue and manage debt and investments. Dutch bank ABN AMRO recently issued a digital green bond using Polygon’s layer-2 Ethereum scaling technology, showcasing the potential of blockchain technology for capital markets. ABN AMRO aims to serve both traditional capital market players and smaller businesses looking to raise funds.

The value of nonfungible tokens (NFTs) for institutional users was also discussed. Mia Van, EMEA lead for blockchain and digital assets at Mastercard, highlighted how luxury brands like Breitling and Louis Vuitton are using NFTs to provide digital twins of items, proving their authenticity and provenance. Mainstream brands like Adidas and Nike are also exploring NFTs and metaverse activations, giving users ownership of objects in both the physical world and metaverse environments.

Mastercard itself has become involved in the Web3 ecosystem, with a $30 million investment in neobank platform Hi. The platform offers a customizable NFT-styled crypto debit card, allowing users to display their owned NFTs on their physical payment card.

Overall, the Blockchain Expo Europe 2023 demonstrated that Europe remains a promising region for the cryptocurrency ecosystem due to its favorable regulatory environment. With clear regulatory frameworks, institutions feel more comfortable operating in these jurisdictions, enabling the continued growth of the industry. Additionally, tokenization and NFTs are seen as valuable tools for institutions, providing new opportunities in capital markets and offering unique experiences to users.

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