The Madeira archipelago in Portugal is witnessing the birth of a startup hub focused on emerging technologies like blockchain and artificial intelligence. Rogério Gouveia, finance secretary of Madeira’s regional government, says the technology sector represents about 30% of the island’s businesses – a considerable increase for a traditionally tourism-driven economy.
The local tech community is behind the Madeira Blockchain Conference, a two-day event to promote startup networking and discuss how blockchain can be used to solve real-world problems.
Cointelegraph participated in the event held at the Cultural and Research Center of Funchal (CCIF) for the second consecutive year. The main points of the conference are explained further.
Traditional gaming studios are quietly adopting blockchain, staying away from discussions
gaming companies The discovery of blockchain technology is facing a backlash from players and developers, prompting some studios to stay away from Web3-related buzzwords.
Redcatpig, a traditional game studio, faced obstacles in adopting blockchain features into its games. CEO Marco Bettencourt highlighted the difficulty in getting startup teams to explore the potential benefits of integrating blockchain into game development.
Although the studio is working on the technology, it has avoided buzz-words. “We all know there is new technology. We all know about NFTs and proprietary technology. And you won’t sell games using buzzwords. […] Players don’t need to know whether it is Web3 or Blockchain. The only thing they need to know is that if they buy a skin, they own it, and they can sell it tomorrow if they want,” Betancourt said.
In 2024, the company will launch its first blockchain-based game, offering non-fungible token (NFT) skins and drones that can be traded and purchased in-game with fiat or cryptocurrency.
Is your startup raising money? Not all money is the same
During the event, Subvisual’s Head of Venture and Strategy, Alexandre Mendes, provided key insights for Web3 startups raising capital. According to him, startups looking for funding should keep in mind that “not all money is created equal.”
Startups need a clear strategy regarding what type of investors they are looking for and how they will participate in governance. “So lockup or no lockup, vesting, carry, these are very strategic and demanding topics that we need to pay more attention to,” Mendes said.
Mendes also explored the “infinite dilemma” of launching a token and building a product at the same time. In his opinion, not every project needs a token. “We don’t always need tokens. […] The number of startups that successfully launched a token and then failed to ship the product is quite significant.”
Many founders often don’t know what they’re building for, Mendes said, adding that some projects are more technology demonstrations than product. “It tells us what are we trying to build here, is this a technology demonstration, or are we actually trying to build a company?”
Madeira bets on startups to strengthen its economy
Madeira is embracing new technologies by offering major incentives for startups. One of the benefits for tech companies is its free trade zone, which offers tax benefits to companies, including one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the EU and capital gains tax exemptions.
“For companies aiming to establish a presence in the region, the most important tax incentives are found in the Madeira Free Zone or International Trade Centre. The region offers a preferential tax regime, limiting the corporate tax rate to a competitive maximum of 5% Does.” Gouveia told Cointelegraph, emphasizing that the region is not an offshore paradise, but rather operates under a set of rules and guidelines to promote Madeira’s economic development.
Madeira is developing a payments network aimed at connecting local merchants and making currency exchange easier for tourists. The network, which is currently in the feasibility study phase, is expected to run on blockchain technology, allowing tourists to load funds onto a single debit card for use throughout the archipelago. The same card system is also planned to optimize government functions, including the distribution of public benefits such as scholarships to residents.