The University of Cape Town’s (UCT) MPhil in Financial Technology class of 2021, along with the newly established Algorand–UCT Financial Innovation Hub, recently travelled to Zug and Zürich in Switzerland to learn more about disruptive fintech technologies.
Also known as “Crypto Valley”, Zug is home to the world’s leading blockchain companies and foundations. Recent reports estimate that there are 960 crypto and blockchain start-ups in Switzerland, making it the most ideal location to learn from the worlds greatest.
The group were hosted by companies such as Flovtec, Vereign AG, Cardano Foundation, Algotrader and Bitcoin Suisse. During the sessions with these companies, students were given an opportunity to hear from founders and senior executives about the growing blockchain ecosystem in Switzerland.
The group also participated in a bilateral workshop hosted by the University of Zurich Blockchain (UZH) Center. This workshop had presenters from both UCT and the UZH Blockchain Center. Titose Chembezi and Francisco Rutayebesibwa presented Nautilus Wallet. PhD Candidate Julian Kanjere presented FoodPrint, a blockchain start-up that he established during his MPhil in Financial Technology studies. Takunda Chirema from the Algorand–UCT Financial Innovation hub also had the opportunity to present Axone, a non-fungible token start-up he developed.
“The highlight for me was spending a day in Zug … where the drive and passion for innovation from each blockchain start-up we engaged with was palpable and infectious!”
“The FinTech study tour to Switzerland was a peek into what is happening on the global scene with blockchain technology. Seeing crypto ATMs, bitcoin cards and even crypto asset service provider ads on airport billboards gave a strong sense of the art of the possible when regulators, innovators and citizens find common ground and adopt this emerging technology,” said Kanjere. “The highlight for me was spending a day in Zug … where the drive and passion for innovation from each blockchain start-up we engaged with was palpable and infectious!”
Rachel Swallow, another student on the trip, added: “The study tour was amazing – definitely opened my eyes to opportunities and new ways of thinking. All the speakers we visited were so interactive and happy to answer all our questions. Switzerland was beautiful and I loved exploring the city on our days off.”
For Francisco Rutayebesibwa, the study tour was a unique opportunity to gain insights on how blockchain-based companies operate and manoeuvre through this space. “The bilateral workshop with UZH was my standout as it promoted collaboration and knowledge about the latest research being conducted in the blockchain space,” he said.
Liso Nyandu echoed the rest of the group’s sentiments: “The whole trip was incredible. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to see a different part of the world, to learn and be inspired.”
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