Crypto City: Exploring Finland’s Crypto Culture in Helsinki
Welcome to Helsinki, the capital of Finland and a thriving hub for crypto enthusiasts. In this guide, we will explore the crypto culture in Helsinki, including notable projects, the city’s financial infrastructure, where you can spend your crypto, and where you can find blockchain education courses. Let’s dive in!
Helsinki: A Northern Metropolis
Helsinki is situated on the Gulf of Finland and is the most northern metropolis in the world. With a population of 1.55 million, it is home to 30% of Finland’s population. Despite its cold and dark winters, Helsinki residents enjoy 11:00 pm sunsets in the summertime.
The city is well-connected to other major population centers, with Tampere and Turku just a two-hour drive or train ride away. Regular ferry services also connect Helsinki to Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. The Helsinki-Vantaa airport serves as the country’s main international gateway, making it a convenient transfer hub for travelers.
Finland, known as the happiest country in the world, has a unique financial infrastructure with a high-income tax rate of 56%. Helsinki hosted the 1952 Summer Olympics and joined the European Union in 1995. In 1999, Finland adopted the euro as its currency, and in 2023, it became a member of NATO.
Notable Crypto Figures from Helsinki
Helsinki has its fair share of notable crypto figures, including Martti Malmi, a software developer. Malmi made history in 2009 when he sold 5,050 BTC for a $5.02 PayPal transfer, marking the first time Bitcoin was exchanged for fiat currency. If he had held onto his Bitcoin, it would be worth $171 million today.
Helsinki is also the birthplace of Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, and Stani Kulechov, the founder of Aave. While Kulechov has since moved abroad with his company, Helsinki continues to be a hotbed of technical innovation.
Helsinki’s Crypto Culture
The crypto community in Helsinki and Finland is somewhat disorganized and divided, with enthusiasts focusing on specific facets like Bitcoin, NFTs, or Web3. However, there is a grassroots energy and enthusiasm for crypto projects in the city.
While paying with Bitcoin is not yet common in Finland, there are a few establishments that accept crypto. Faro restaurant, Taudo Baari, Time Bar, and Osuva shooting range are among the places where you can use your crypto to make purchases. However, the biggest obstacles to wider adoption are the payment infrastructure and bookkeeping.
Crypto Projects and Companies
Helsinki is home to several crypto projects and companies that are making waves in the industry. One of the most well-known companies was LocalBitcoins, a P2P exchange that employed about 50 people before closing its doors in February 2023.
Another notable company is Bittiraha, which translates to “bit money” in Finnish. Founded in 2012, Bittiraha installed Finland’s first Bitcoin ATM at the Helsinki railway station in December 2013.
Other local projects include Fungi, a platform for building NFT-based communities, and HABBO NFT, which operates the 23-year-old online chat room game HABBO Hotel and is currently developing an NFT-based game. The Future of Art is a group dedicated to promoting digital art and running an NFT gallery.
In terms of Web3 projects, Kleoverse is a “proof-of-talent” platform for recruiters and jobseekers, while Phaver is building a Web3 social media app powered by Lens Protocol. STRGL, a tech design studio, specializes in protocol-level Web3 solutions and has worked with many local projects.
Crypto Education and Community
If you’re interested in blockchain education, Helsinki offers several options. Web3 Helsinki, a student-run organization, organizes events and conferences for crypto enthusiasts. The annual Slush startup conference, which draws 25,000 participants, is also held in Helsinki.
The Finnish Bitcoin Association was established in Helsinki in May 2023, with membership fees paid primarily with Bitcoin via the Lightning Network. The association aims to bring together the crypto community and promote the adoption of cryptocurrencies in Finland.
Helsinki is a vibrant city with a growing crypto culture. From notable crypto figures to innovative projects and companies, the city is a hotspot for crypto enthusiasts in Finland. With its thriving tech and startup scene, Helsinki is at the forefront of blockchain innovation. Whether you’re looking to spend your crypto or further your blockchain education, Helsinki has something to offer. Come and explore the crypto culture in this “Crypto City”!