The Crypto Head's (Short) Guide to Zug
It might not seem easy to get too terribly lost in Zug - a city of only 30 000 inhabitants.
Jokingly described by one die-hard crypto head and Palo Alto transplant as a "lovely overpriced village," Zug is charming enough to explore, but somewhat harder to "get into" if you roll into town expecting to find a huge sign, welcoming you to Crypto Valley.
With that in mind - you will find this short guide useful...and perhaps insightful.
Gubelstrasse 11 (MME Legal)
You cannot come to Zug and not pay homage to Gubelstrasse 11 - the Zug office of MME Legal. If you walk straight in the front door, past the oversized painting on your right - you'll come to a small conference room. Here is the hallowed ground where Vitalik and company sat down and established the Ethereum Stiftung.
Chances are if it hadn't been for that meeting - and a few other things - you wouldn't be visiting what is now known as Crypto Valley.
(If you're looking for an address to register your crypto company - this is a good spot. There are close to a million there already.)
Park Hotel (Melonport)
Just around the corner from MME, you'll find the Park Hotel. You may know it already if you decided to spend the night there - but don't be fooled by the elegant entrance and stylish decor - this is core crypto country.
Because upstairs - among all the rooms playing host Glencore executives and Russian emigres - is the "office" of Melonport, a crypto asset management startup.
Thanks to an introduction by Andre Wolke (see below), former Goldman Sachs trader and VP Mona El Isa and Retro Trinkler from ETH Zurich came together to found one of hottest startups to actually operate fully in Zug.
(Hence the rented suite in one of city's biggest hotels - there was no where else to go...)
WHY SWITZERLAND IS A SPECIAL CRYPTO NATION
Starbucks - Metalli
Speaking of infrastructure - plans and projects always work better with a cup of coffee. But again - don't be fooled into thinking you're just going to a coffee shop.
Located just across the street from Zug's train station, this is an epicentre of crypto meetings, deals and general blockchain conversation.
Before the explosion of co-working spaces and dedicated crypto business centres, this is where crypto startups got going. (Just ask Lucas Betschart, President of the Bitcoin Association of Switzerland...)
If you avoid the influx of frappucinno-sipping teenagers in the afternoons, and come in the mid-to-early morning, you are quite likely to run across the Who's-Who of Crypto Valley.
If you're in need of some nourishment, your best bet is to stop in at Speck, the two-storied cafe on the corner of Gotthardstrasse and Alpenstrasse. The assortment of soups, salads and entrees will be more than enough to tide you over while you hash out the details of your ICO.
If you want to guarantee your success - and a pleasant afternoon - you'll finish things off with at least one or two Speckli - the local version of a mandeleine.
And if you're in need of comfortable spot to schedule an extended coffee meeting with prospective clients or investors - this is the place.
Gotthardstrasse 26-28 (Lakeside Partners & Crypto Finance AG)
After lunch, you can make your way down and around the corner, following Gotthardstrasse along the train tracks to numbers 26 and 28. Your attention will be drawn immediately to the presence of Ernst and Young. But that isn't where the action is at.
Gotthardstrasse 26 houses the Lakeside Business Centre - home of Lakeside Partners, a blockchain-focused advisory firm and its sister-company, inacta. The Zug commercial registry will also tell you that Number 26 is the registered address of such illustrious crypto companies as Consensys and Bitmain. True to Crypto Valley tradition, however, you won't find many representatives of either one on-site.
More interesting is the fact that Lakeside Business Centre played host to Swiss Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann in his first exploratory visit to Crypto Valley in August 2017.
That in addition to the fact that until October 2017, Lakeside Business Centre had one of Zug's only public bitcoin ATMs - until it was mysteriously stolen in the middle of the night by a lone robber.
Next door at Number 28 is Crypto Finance AG - the combined venture of Jan Brzezek (CEO), Tobias Reichmuth and Marc Bernegger (Board Members) - among others. If you happen to pass by early enough in the morning, you may see Tobias out walking his dog.
Grabenstrasse 17 (Elea Labs)
Technically a journey to Grabenstrasse takes you outside the strict limits of the city of Zug - but since the only McDonalds in the metropolitan Crypto Valley area is actually in neighbouring Baar - the short walk (or bus ride) north, will be worthwhile.
It's also worthwhile to venture out to discover the blockchain innovation happening at Elea Labs (formerly known as the Crypto Property Lab). Real estate on the blockchain is a relatively new subject - but Lutz Thelen and his hardcore bitcoin believer CTO Justin Smith (formerly of Monetas) are tackling it with quiet fire.
Dammstrasse 16 (Crypto Valley Labs)
Speaking of real estate, Swiss property giant Alfred Mueller was the former owner of the building which is now known as Crypto Valley Labs.
Dubbed "The Worldwide Home for Blockchain" - the co-working space is operated by Lakeside Partners and inacta and provides part-time and full-time access to infrastructure for startups who want to set up shop in Crypto Valley.
Postplatz (Validity Labs)
Crypto Valley Labs is not Zug's only co-working facility however. (No, one would not generally consider the Park Hotel to be a co-working space. Not yet, anyway...)
The historic former post office in the centre of Zug has also been renovated to serve the start scene in Zug. Its future days as a true co-working space may be numbered however, with the continued growth and expansion of Zug's largest blockchain development company Validity Labs - to the point of taking up the entire building.
Founded with a emphasis on blockchain education by Andre Wolke, the company now focuses on applications (mostly Ethereum-based) for a range of industries.
Yes, there are many local watering holes in Zug - enough to give visitors a wide range of choices. Until recently, the choice for crypto heads on the first Tuesday of each month was Schiff Bar, located just above Zug's beautiful lakefront.
It was here that Soren Fog with the support of other local crypto enthusiasts started gathering as the Crypto Valley Forum (Meetup Group). The informal get-togethers, often with visiting speakers and international presentations were the impetus towards the formation of the Crypto Valley Association - launched in March of 2017.
Today the Crypto Valley Forum supports a wide range of meet ups and partner events in the Valley - at various locations, though unfortunately no longer at Schiff.
House of Wines
Albert Osmani may not profess to be much of a crypto head himself, but his wine shop was the first in Zug (or in Switzerland for that matter) to accept bitcoin as payment - a distinction that made his locale an attraction to many - including the Financial Times.
Fridays are an especially popular time at House of Wines - with locals and international visitors often sharing a glass together during what is informally known as "Crypto Friday."