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July 2018

Lithuania: Land of (Crypto-Techno) Opportunity

The week-long Pillar Unconference 2018 was a deep “mine” of information expertly “blockchained” together.

Puns aside, it was a great success and my thanks go to David Siegel and the Pillar Project team for a well (un)organised and (un)executed (un)event. I can’t help my(un)self. Ok, enough. I will provide my thoughts on the event, technologies discussed and current challenges in this area elsewhere. Here I want to provide my thoughts on the setting of Unconference: Lithuania.

I was surprised to find such a strong and passionate community of technologists and programmers that are rapidly developing blockchain and other software solutions, delivering them locally as well as to the wider community across Europe and the world. Whilst at the same time attracting leading technology and cutting edge software development companies. The level of activity and creativity to solve disparate technological and service shortcomings is exceptional and very exciting. There are many examples, but a couple that stood out were the teams at Cryptodus and Dealoyal. In commerce, Cryptodus are actively building smart contract solutions on the NEM platform to solve a variety of data record, supply chain and regulatory issues, whilst for consumers, Dealoyal are harmonising fragmented loyalty programmes to simplify and democratise rewards.

So what is it about Lithuania that has produced such a creative technology community?

  1. Macro view: as part of the EU, Lithuania is a stable, advanced economy, with borderless access across 28, maybe soon 27, countries. As such it has an immediate potential market and workforce of 500 million people.
  2. Micro view: Lithuania is politically stable, if socially conservative, with a growing economy, a young workforce, with a high level of technical education, particularly around software and scientific instrument engineering.
  3. National view: the climate is pleasant with warm summers and cold, yet snowy, winters. A central part of the Lithuanian lifestyle is nature; forests, lakes, fresh air and outdoor activities are enjoyed by all. Vilnius is directly connected to the other Baltic countries as well as air connected to the major capitals of Europe and beyond.
  4. Local view: modern Lithuania is young and westward looking, young Lithuanian’s are keen entrepreneurs with the spirit, ambition and will to try something new in the full knowledge that, as is the case in tech, failure is a very real prospect.
  5. Individual view: though passionate in the pursuit of delivering new ideas, products and solutions, Lithuanian’s value the quality of life and seem infinitely able to balance their ambition and work with their personal life: the much sought work:life balance.

All of which makes Lithuania a true destination, for work, for entrepreneurs, for tech, for tourism, for life.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I am married to a Lithuanian lady, but the charm of the wonderful people, beautiful scenery and rich culture of Lithuania is undeniable.