There are numerous crypto-conferences throughout the year. Conferences held in Switzerland are rather rare. In January 2018 a conference took place in St. Moritz for the first time. The Crypto Finance Conference (CFC) will celebrate its third anniversary in January 2020.
The Crypto Finance Conference (CFC) has quickly developed into a globally recognised crypto conference with high-ranking speakers and networks.
While well-known conferences in the blockchain sector stand out primarily due to their size and reach on “social media”, the CFC is deliberately different. The number of participants is limited to a maximum of 200. The slogan is: “The most private crypto finance and blockchain conference for investors“. The speakers are chosen carefully; this year the Winklevoss twins and Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis will speak among others. Media appearances and distribution via social media will be very selective, if any. The concept of CFC can be described as “small but fine”.
How did this conference come about in the middle of the mountains and who is behind it?
We were able to ask these questions in a conversation with the CEO of the CFC, Nicolo Stöhr.
Let’s go back to the origin of the CFC. How did the idea of setting up an investor conference on crypto currencies in St. Moritz first emerge and who came up with it?
My brother Andrea and Tobias Reichmuth, who is closely associated with the Engadine and lives in St. Moritz, were on a bicycle tour together and discussed in mid-2017, that a conference should be held in the area of crypto finance and blockchain in the Engadine. They then activated their network and brought six other Swiss entrepreneurs on board in addition to themselves (including former Banker Eric Sarasin, Investor Daniel Gutenberg, Series Entrepreneur Marc P. Bernegger and Event Guru Schoscho Rufener; editor’s note). Together they hosted the first Crypto Finance Conference in the Engadine.
What separates the CFC from other crypto conferences that take place annually around the globe?
We focus exclusively on investors and are therefore not a start-up or technology conference. We also have a selection process to ensure the quality of participants, sponsors and speakers. In order to bring the relevant topics closer to the investor, we do not have company presentations, but purely content-related discussions and lectures. And last but not least, we attach great importance to making people feel comfortable. We do this, for example, with sufficiently long breaks so that a “circle of friends” can develop.
In 2018 the first CFC took place in St. Moritz. The third conference will be held in January. In your opinion, what has changed over the last three years in terms of the conference, participants and environment?
The focus of topics in 2017 and early 2018 were ICO’s. This has changed – today it is more about concrete implementation, regulation, developments such as stablecoins and central banks. You can see that the industry is developing.
St. Moritz is a prominent and specially located location in Switzerland. How did the conference come to be held here and not in a city centre like Geneva, Zurich or Zug?
We deliberately chose St. Moritz for 2 reasons:
- Since we have the conference one week before the WEF, the participants can be in Davos in 1.5 hours. Thus we allow our participants to attend two relevant conferences within a short time.
- We have consciously opted for the “resort idea”. In a city there would be the risk that the participants would only sit in the room for certain lectures and would otherwise be in the city. This would mean that we might not really be able to create the atmosphere that makes up CfC St. Moritz. In St. Moritz everyone stays at Suvretta House and enjoys a break from everyday life.
What is St. Moritz’s attitude towards the conference and crypto currencies respectively? Is it now possible to pay for a ski pass with Bitcoin?
The support for the St. Moritz conference is manageable – the relevance to the topic of crypto finance and blockchain certainly still needs to be pointed out and explained. Apart from the payment of the ski pass, no other projects have yet been implemented in the Engadine. Other places like Laax have already recognised the potential and are working on various projects.
CFC has already been carried out outside of St. Moritz, more precisely in San Francisco.
Will the CFC conference be held in the future in changing international capitals next to St. Moritz?
Yes, that is the plan. In the next two years we will hold the conference in St. Moritz and then expand to Asia and America. We plan to hold 2-3 conferences per year – always according to the same scheme as in Switzerland: investor conference / resort / 200-250 people / top industry experts.
You are the CEO of CFC and work for the conference all year through. Can you give some insight into the work that such a conference brings with it?
A conference like the one we hold is based on trust and personal exchange with the people and companies involved. This means that I invest a lot of time in meeting people in person, exchanging ideas with them, discussing developments in the market to ensure that we have the experts and companies at the conference that are relevant to the participants. It’s also about including feedback for the next conference, making improvements and keeping what’s proven. And then there are the issues of administration, accounting and human resources, what needs to be done.
How do you see the development of the CFC, conferences in general, but also crypto currencies in the coming years?
The hype has certainly vanished a bit, but that doesn’t mean that the topic itself is losing importance – on the contrary. With the involvement of large and recognized companies from the financial world, it has become clear that the entire industry is professionalizing and taking itself to a new level. Topics like Libra or the Digital Renminbi from China, have the potential that we are at the beginning of something that will change the world as we know it today.
Thank you for the interview.
Strategy and operations management for the CfC St. Moritz and all side events. Graduate of the University of St. Gallen with a Master in Business Innovation, with a strong entrepreneurial mindset and professional experience in the areas of business development, project management and expertise in business development.