By Irakli Zviadadze

The Baltics have become an unexpected blockchain hotbed, having been named a crypto paradise based on high concentrations of Bitcoin full nodes, the amount of ICOs per capita, as well as the support from the local governments. Last November, all three countries came together to form a Memorandum of Understanding to pledge support for blockchain innovation. It’s clear that the countries, rather than standing in the way of crypto and blockchain development, are looking to cultivate it.

As a result of the drive from both public and private sectors blockchain has flourished in the Baltics. This is a quick overview of the main players in blockchain in the Baltics; individuals who you might want to keep an eye on to witness what they develop next.

Who’s who in blockchain in Latvia

Thanks to different government initiatives to support startups, through the startup law and startup visa, for example, it’s easier than ever for innovative startups to initiate blockchain and crypto-based projects.

Latvia holds the largest blockchain event in the Baltics – the Baltic HoneyBadger Bitcoin Conference. The nationally owned airline, AirBaltic, became the first airline to accept crypto payments, and the Latvia is the first Baltic country to accept crypto payments for real estate.

Max Keidun – CEO of Hodl Hodl (currency exchange platform): based in Riga, the organizer of the biggest baltic blockchain event – the Baltic HoneyBadger Bitcoin conference and also on the advisory board of the LBAA.

The Baltic HoneyBadger conference is the first major event in Latvia dedicated to Bitcoin and all the technologies built around it. As the organizer, Max is in charge of creating an educational and community-driven event with high-profile speakers from all around the world and with different backgrounds, from engineers to cyber security professionals.

Valerijs Vavilovs – co-founder, CEO of BitFury: a leading full-service blockchain technology company.

Though not currently found in Latvia, Valerijs is from Latvia, often participates in the local ecosystem and has helped BitFury raise $120 million, making it the highest capitalized Bitcoin startup. Valerijs’ entrepreneurial experience and passion for blockchain technology led him to found the company in 2011, when blockchain technology was just beginning to capture the world’s attention and imagination.

Reinis Skorovs – co-founder of Monetizr: a blockchain-based monetization engine for mobile apps and games.

Reinis helps build a better gaming experience by rewarding loyal gamers and celebrating magical gaming moments in the physical world. By enabling the sale of products within mobile apps and games, Monetizr drives revenue and increases engagement for developers and enables marketers to target specific user demographics inside the app itself.

As of now, they’re in the pre-sale stage as they’re undergoing an ICO. They already raised $500,000 and their audience reach exceeds over 2,000,000 gamers. By 2019, they hope to be in the maturity stage and continue the circulation of MTZ tokens and growth.

Kristaps Vaivods – founder and project lead of HashRush: a strategy game that mines crypto while playing

Kristaps founded ETHInvest and built his own mining rig in 2016. He launched HashRush in 2017 and became the first hash-powered game to launch an ICO. The game is strategy-based, and mines crypto while playing and rewards the players with Rush Coins. The ICO went on to raise $1.83 million.

Konstantins Vasilenko – COO of Paybis: digital & cryptocurrency exchange.

An IT expert with over 15 years of extensive experience in enterprise IT project management, CRM systems, digital payments, blockchain and cryptocurrencies, Konstantins founded Paybis in 2015. With the goal of becoming a global leader in digital and crypto currency exchange, Konstantins deals with the business development side of things, internal IT services, project management, customer support and operations, legal matters and more.

Aleksandrs Malins – co-founder, CEO of Forty Seven Bank

Aleksandrs is a strong business development professional with a master’s degree in information technology. Aleksandrs is an experienced executive with a demonstrated history of working in the IT financial services industry. He founded Forty Seven Bank to provide safe, high-quality and user-friendly digital services, such as supporting cryptocurrency transactions and digital assets processing procedures for both retail and institutional clients.

Konstantins Rukins – owner of  AXIOMA: development of online startups, web and mobile applications, and blockchain solutions.

Konstantins started his career in 2002 as a director of a small web development company, worked in the IT industry and then co-founded his first IT company, AXIOMA, 8 years ago. Through AXIOMA, he now provides blockchain development services and turn-key solutions to new businesses in the crypto world.

Kristaps Mors – co-founder, CEO of Power Miningcustom hydro mining crypto farms.

Kristaps Mors co-founded Power Mining in 2017 with Janis Grinbergs to build their own crypto mining farm and help others buy and host mining hardware. Kristaps’ first experience with Bitcoin was in 2013 and since then has participated in a couple of ICOs and seen several exchanges go bust. Kristaps bought his first Bitcoins when their price was $400, and later exchanged 50% of his Bitcoins to Ethereum, when it was $10. At this point, he has invested 90% of his coins into mining to get even better returns in the long run.

Janis Kirsteins – founder, CEO of ICO Pass: a blockchain-based KYC solution for ICO organizers who are about to launch their token sale.

Having worked on developing the Latvia State ID card architecture and an e-Signature solution before, Janis founded ICO Pass with other professionals to create an easy way to do KYC checks. By using blockchain technology, they utilize higher security at a lower cost, placing them ahead of the rest of the competition. They’re planning a KYC & a token sale and will announce the date on their website soon.

Kristians Vunge – Chairman of the Board of Blockchain Development Association of Latvia

As the chairman of LBAA, Kristians helps in creating a favorable business environment and legislative framework for companies in developing blockchain solutions in Latvia. As part of the association, he helps organize educational events about blockchain and the benefits it brings.

Read more about who’s who in Lithuania

Read More about who’s who in Estonia

Irakli Zviadadze is a writer at Truesix with an almost unpronounceable name. From Georgia (the country). Huge fantasy nerd. Only somewhat addicted to coffee.

By Irakli Zviadadze

The Baltics have become an unexpected blockchain hotbed, having been named a crypto paradise based on high concentrations of Bitcoin full nodes, the amount of ICOs per capita, as well as the support from the local governments. Last November, all three countries came together to form a Memorandum of Understanding to pledge support for blockchain innovation. It’s clear that the countries, rather than standing in the way of crypto and blockchain development, are looking to cultivate it.

As a result of the drive from both public and private sectors blockchain has flourished in the Baltics. This is a quick overview of the main players in blockchain in the Baltics; individuals who you might want to keep an eye on to witness what they develop next.

Who’s who in blockchain in Latvia

Thanks to different government initiatives to support startups, through the startup law and startup visa, for example, it’s easier than ever for innovative startups to initiate blockchain and crypto-based projects.

Latvia holds the largest blockchain event in the Baltics – the Baltic HoneyBadger Bitcoin Conference. The nationally owned airline, AirBaltic, became the first airline to accept crypto payments, and the Latvia is the first Baltic country to accept crypto payments for real estate.

Max Keidun – CEO of Hodl Hodl (currency exchange platform): based in Riga, the organizer of the biggest baltic blockchain event – the Baltic HoneyBadger Bitcoin conference and also on the advisory board of the LBAA.

The Baltic HoneyBadger conference is the first major event in Latvia dedicated to Bitcoin and all the technologies built around it. As the organizer, Max is in charge of creating an educational and community-driven event with high-profile speakers from all around the world and with different backgrounds, from engineers to cyber security professionals.

Valerijs Vavilovs – co-founder, CEO of BitFury: a leading full-service blockchain technology company.

Though not currently found in Latvia, Valerijs is from Latvia, often participates in the local ecosystem and has helped BitFury raise $120 million, making it the highest capitalized Bitcoin startup. Valerijs’ entrepreneurial experience and passion for blockchain technology led him to found the company in 2011, when blockchain technology was just beginning to capture the world’s attention and imagination.

Reinis Skorovs – co-founder of Monetizr: a blockchain-based monetization engine for mobile apps and games.

Reinis helps build a better gaming experience by rewarding loyal gamers and celebrating magical gaming moments in the physical world. By enabling the sale of products within mobile apps and games, Monetizr drives revenue and increases engagement for developers and enables marketers to target specific user demographics inside the app itself.

As of now, they’re in the pre-sale stage as they’re undergoing an ICO. They already raised $500,000 and their audience reach exceeds over 2,000,000 gamers. By 2019, they hope to be in the maturity stage and continue the circulation of MTZ tokens and growth.

Kristaps Vaivods – founder and project lead of HashRush: a strategy game that mines crypto while playing

Kristaps founded ETHInvest and built his own mining rig in 2016. He launched HashRush in 2017 and became the first hash-powered game to launch an ICO. The game is strategy-based, and mines crypto while playing and rewards the players with Rush Coins. The ICO went on to raise $1.83 million.

Konstantins Vasilenko – COO of Paybis: digital & cryptocurrency exchange.

An IT expert with over 15 years of extensive experience in enterprise IT project management, CRM systems, digital payments, blockchain and cryptocurrencies, Konstantins founded Paybis in 2015. With the goal of becoming a global leader in digital and crypto currency exchange, Konstantins deals with the business development side of things, internal IT services, project management, customer support and operations, legal matters and more.

Aleksandrs Malins – co-founder, CEO of Forty Seven Bank

Aleksandrs is a strong business development professional with a master’s degree in information technology. Aleksandrs is an experienced executive with a demonstrated history of working in the IT financial services industry. He founded Forty Seven Bank to provide safe, high-quality and user-friendly digital services, such as supporting cryptocurrency transactions and digital assets processing procedures for both retail and institutional clients.

Konstantins Rukins – owner of AXIOMA: development of online startups, web and mobile applications, and blockchain solutions.

Konstantins started his career in 2002 as a director of a small web development company, worked in the IT industry and then co-founded his first IT company, AXIOMA, 8 years ago. Through AXIOMA, he now provides blockchain development services and turn-key solutions to new businesses in the crypto world.

Kristaps Mors – co-founder, CEO of Power Mining: custom hydro mining crypto farms.

Kristaps Mors co-founded Power Mining in 2017 with Janis Grinbergs to build their own crypto mining farm and help others buy and host mining hardware. Kristaps’ first experience with Bitcoin was in 2013 and since then has participated in a couple of ICOs and seen several exchanges go bust. Kristaps bought his first Bitcoins when their price was $400, and later exchanged 50% of his Bitcoins to Ethereum, when it was $10. At this point, he has invested 90% of his coins into mining to get even better returns in the long run.

Janis Kirsteins – founder, CEO of ICO Pass: a blockchain-based KYC solution for ICO organizers who are about to launch their token sale.

Having worked on developing the Latvia State ID card architecture and an e-Signature solution before, Janis founded ICO Pass with other professionals to create an easy way to do KYC checks. By using blockchain technology, they utilize higher security at a lower cost, placing them ahead of the rest of the competition. They’re planning a KYC & a token sale and will announce the date on their website soon.

Kristians Vunge – Chairman of the Board of Blockchain Development Association of Latvia

As the chairman of LBAA, Kristians helps in creating a favorable business environment and legislative framework for companies in developing blockchain solutions in Latvia. As part of the association, he helps organize educational events about blockchain and the benefits it brings.

Read more about who’s who in Lithuania

Read More about who’s who in Estonia

Irakli Zviadadze is a writer at Truesix with an almost unpronounceable name. From Georgia (the country). Huge fantasy nerd. Only somewhat addicted to coffee.

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