Almost immediately after the announcement of Brexit, Bitcoin and Blockchain startups started thinking of leaving Britain to other Fintech hubs such as Germany and Belgium. To prevent a shortage of Fintech startups and talents in the country, London is forming a Fintech bridge with Belgium’s financial sector.
Earlier this week, Belgium’s finance minister and a delegate from the Belgian Fintech sector entered into a strategic partnership with Innovate Finance, a non-profit industry body serving the Fintech community of the UK.
Sources revealed that the Belgian government-owned platform “B-Hive” signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Innovative Finance to ensure that Fintech startups from both countries collaborate with each other for the development and commercialization of innovative financial technologies.
Belgian Finance Minister Johan Van Overtveldt stated:
"London is the financial sector of Europe – there’s a lot of infrastructure...there's a huge talent pool that is there, there's the capital availability that is there, so of course even with Brexit, that won’t go away just like that. It’s an important change but we should not underestimate the resilience of London as a financial (and Fintech) center."
In July of last year, many German agencies, research firms and politicians echoed the sentiments of Senator Cornelia Yzer, who told her audience at London Fintech Week 2016 that over 100 startups were considering moving to Berlin post-Brexit.
Startups and entrepreneurs expressed their concerns towards the lack of connection between the UK and European countries, which is presumed to limit the growth of the Fintech industry significantly.
In particular, Yzer emphasized that Berlin is ahead of London due to the willingness of international funds to support local German startups. Brexit effectively restricted the level of investment international investment firms could make to startups in the country.
"Sorry to say we also were ahead of London. This will probably improve. Most of the money came from international funds of course; those who are based in London today, many of them have money from the European Investment Fund, in some cases the investment fund is the anchor investor.”
In consideration of Belgium’s position in the European Fintech industry and their influence over the EU, it is likely that some considerable changes will be made within the financial sector of Brexit. Fintech, Blockchain and Bitcoin startups will see light in terms of investments and the establishment of international connections.