Vilnius will hold the largest bitcoin conference in the Baltic states in April 2016, organised by the venture capital fund Nextury Ventures. The international event will gather experts on virtual currencies from all over the world.
Bitcoin is popular in the Baltic countries. Among bitcoin-accepting businesses here are Lukoil gas stations in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, as well as a Lithuanian taxi service Vilnius veža, two sports arenas, numerous restaurants and four e-commerce websites. Lithuanian Air adopted bitcoin payments for plane tickets in 2014.
The Bitcoin Conference 2016 will take place on 8 April. One of the event’s co-organisers is Vilnius City Municipality, which sounds quite enthusiastic about fintech innovation. The Mayor of Vilnius Remigijus Šimašius expressed interest in assisting young financial businesses.
“The conference scheduled to take place in April will provide an excellent opportunity to find out about the latest financial innovations and, with the assistance of professionals, scrutinise the possibilities that bitcoin has to offer,” he said.
The discussion of bitcoin regulation is awaiting the decision of EU authorities. In 2014 Bank of Lithuania released a warning that bitcoin is not recognised as a legal tender in the country and warned the citizens about high risks associated with digital currency.
“We think that technologies such as blockchain, cryptocurrency and bitcoin are among the latest and most exciting financial innovations. Lithuania and Vilnius have serious intentions to invest into breakthrough in this area and to become a leader on the regional and global scale,” said Marius Skarupskas, Lithuanian Vice-Minister of Economy.
The founder of Nextury Ventures Ilja Laurs explained the choice of Vilnius City for the conference by the favourable climate for innovations in the city. Recently Barclays technology centre was inaugurated in Vilnius, while Scandinavian banks expressed their willingness to move their IT and back-office operations there.
Nextury Ventures was established in 2013 and cooperates with Lithuanian business and technical education institutions, as well as with advisors from the Silicon Valley.