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Future of crypto just might depend on the Balkan Region, 12 startups spearheading Web3 revolution


The Balkans is increasingly positioning itself as an internationally attractive IT hub, with venture studios & accelerators in the region boasting some of the largest and fastest-growing projects in crypto. Web3 has already gained traction within the Balkan developer community and companies alike. Success stories are already emerging and are attracting significant investments from global VC funds. Crypto startups in the region raised over $92M last year, without including Celsius Networks’ $750M financing and Polygon’s recent $450M raise.

The NEAR Foundation last week announced its collaboration with the Borderless Tech Association to launch a regional hub in The Balkans. This move is one among recent strides by the NEAR Foundation in expanding its footprint and follows its partnership with Sankore in launching a NEAR hub in Africa’s Silicon Savannah to support the ongoing blockchain innovation as well as educate and develop talent throughout both regions. Ida Pandur, the General Manager of NEAR Balkans in a conversation with TFN’s founder and editor-in-chief, Akansha, explained that the Balkan market was chosen for its massive tech maturity experienced in the past 10 years.

Additionally, Ida stated, “The Balkans has been proven to be a really good onshore destination for Western Europe countries and also really a good offshore destination for countries like the US because there is a huge amount of the IT talent here. English is almost like a natural language to the majority of the people, timezones are friendly, and the quality of output is quite high.”

Ida also highlighted the growing presence in the Balkans by Web3 companies, explaining its effect on the ecosystem, “We can really say it’s booming because what we see now is that there is even in the Balkans, a significant fight for the talent happening all across. Whether it’s with the companies that are situated here or the companies that are from outside of the Balkans.”

NEAR Balkan’s GM Ida highlighted interesting startups such as Tenderly, the most popular Ethereum developer platform from Serbia and other early-stage companies like Endemic, an NFT marketplace that allows for greater creator-buyer interactions. TFN is presenting you with a detailed list of Balkan-based Web3 startups that are gaining traction and attracting investors who want to build the next iteration of the internet:


Image credits: Tenderly

Country: Serbia
Founders: Andrej Bencic, Bogdan Habic, Miljan Tekic & Nebojsa Urosevic
Year of founding: 2018

The Belgrade-based startup offers Ethereum developers a means to monitor and test their smart contracts which power their DApps (decentralised apps). It achieves this through its dashboard and API which the company maintains, with a key focus on smart contracts.

“Tens of thousands” of developers from apps such as Uniswap, Circle, Yearn Finance, Chainlink, Gnosis, Nexus Mutual, Instadapp, DeFi Saver, and the NFT marketplace & decacorn OpenSea use Tenderly to monitor the health of smart contracts & DApps. A remarkable fact about the company is the claim that it works with the majority of the top 100 Ethereum projects.


Image credits: Blinking

Country: Serbia
Founders: Alex Migitko, Miloš Milovanović, Miroslav Minović & Uroš Šošević
Year of founding: 2017

Also from Belgrade, Blinking is a company bragging mastery in building & developing blockchain and biometric-based security solutions. Its founders are university professors and blockchain engineers with academic knowledge and extensive research experience in biometrics technology. Blinking’s solutions are multi-platform and assist in the creation, confirmation, and management of users’ identities, enabling organisations to receive a reliable, safe and easy way of confirming their users’ identities whereas their end-users retain ownership and control of their own private data.

By combining Hyperledger Fabric blockchain architecture, a private, permissioned and scalable blockchain solution as well as cloud services infrastructure and in-house developed biometric recognition algorithms, its digital identity management platform can handle user onboarding, ID verification and data & document management.


Image credits: Ambire

Country: Bulgaria
Founders: Dimo Stoyanov & Ivo Georgiev
Year of founding: 2017

Formerly known as AdEx Network, Ambire has developed the Ambire Wallet which is a non-custodial smart wallet for Web3 which focuses on DeFi and the EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine). The Ambire wallet has a native token with the ticker symbol $WALLET, tradable on many platforms. It also provides secure email authentication, is easy to use and powerful, with its availability currently on Ethereum, Polygon, Avalanche and BSC. 

Ambire AdEx, the company’s other offering brings full transparency to digital advertising in an effort to reduce ad fraud and protects end users’ privacy. It’s the first ad network based on Ethereum blockchain technology. The Ambire AdEx also has its tradable native token with the ticker symbol $ADX.

Jarvis Network

Image credits: Jarvis Network

Country: Bulgaria
Founders: Pascal Tallarida
Year of founding: 2019

Jarvis network is a set of protocols on Ethereum that assist users in bringing traditional assets on-chain. The startup’s primary focus is to enable an on-chain Forex where the network’s protocols allow anyone to self-issue user-collateralized synthetic fiat and to exchange on DEXes or trade them through a trustless broker. These protocols are secured and managed by a DAO.


Image credits: KnowMeNow

Country: Greece
Founders: Damian Mifsud & Godwin Schembri
Year of founding: 2017

The global infrastructure for identity (KYC, AML/FCT) checks is still plagued by inefficiencies that often make it too repetitive and cumbersome. Enforcing compliance has often meant considerable delay, attached with soaring costs for service providers and deep frustration for genuine would-be customers. This issue is especially challenging for global firms that have diverse compliance regulations to meet in the various jurisdictions they operate in. Genuine clients experience much frustration as delays in verification imply delays in securing required services.

KnowMeNow addresses the problems, harnessing the power of the blockchain with the aim of delivering more efficient, secure and reliable ways of verifying and sharing data. The Malta-based startup’s solution has the ability to significantly reduce current delays, costs, and duplication of effort that may be caused by clients having to repeatedly produce verification information, every time a user attempts to secure services with new providers across distinct sectors.


Image credits: BlockPegnio

Country: Greece
Founders: Savvas Lazopoulos
Year of founding: 2019

BlockPegnio developed The Six Dragons; a fantasy game that boasts a massive open world for players to explore freely, fight, farm, harvest and create more than 300 unique blockchain items. Players also have the ability to pave their own paths by creating unique classes of characters with unique combinations of abilities based on wizards, warriors and clerics.

Although the game is single-player, gamers can assemble into groups of five companions and embark on quests. BlockPegnio plans to release PvP battles, an e-sports mode with standard equipment and a joint game supporting two to four players.

As with other blockchain games, item creation is the driver of the game’s internal economy. Six Dragons has its own token (TSDT) which is tethered 1:1 to Enjin’s coin to facilitate free transactions for various gaming mechanisms such as crafting.

On top of producing a high-quality gaming experience for mainstream players, the Athenian startup is also utilising its technical stack and expertise to onboard talented game developers and help them better reap the benefits of blockchain technology.



Country: Bulgaria
Founders: Yoni Berger & Yuval Gov
Year of founding: 2016

CryptoPotato is a globally recognised source of news, analysis and information for investment into digital currencies as well as its underlying technology, the blockchain. The company covers news and analysis on the trends, investing strategies, price movements, technologies and crypto projects in the digital currency world.

The website brags 300K monthly visitors worldwide and is primarily English based with a fully translated Hebrew version as well as partially translated German and Hindi versions.


Image credits: Balkaneum

Country: Serbia
Founders: Daniel Dabek
Year of founding: 2018

Balkaneum is an open-source software development company based in Belgrade, Serbia that is most commonly known for being a key development contributor to the Safex Blockchain. The Safex Blockchain provides a distributed marketplace that allows people to trade goods and services over its Blockchain in return for Safex Cash, a cryptocurrency that is obtainable through Proof of Work Mining.

The startup is also a principal participant in the development of Hash Bringer; a cryptocurrency automated exchange machine. The team at Hash Bringer are pros in embedded hardware development as well as in user experience and interfaces. With the aim to provide a physical interface to convert cryptocurrency for cash anywhere in the world, Hash Bringer hopes to bring cryptocurrency closer to everyones’ everyday life.

A 2019 report highlighted that Balkaneum was responsible for nearly half of the investment spend on Blockchain and Cryptocurrency software development in Serbia in that year.


Image credits: Block.IS

Country: Montenegro.
Backers: EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
Year of founding: 2019

Block.IS Montenegro is a fork of Block.IS EU; a new acceleration program which aims at building an open and collaborative cross-border, cross-sectoral innovation ecosystem. The program embraces & fosters the use of blockchain technology in three vital sectors of the European economy: agri-food, logistics and finance.

The accelerator supports Blockchain ICT SMEs and startups all the way from ideation to commercialisation offering them tailored business and technical support on top of direct funding. To assist founders to build high-tech venture-backable enterprises, Block.IS offers €2.8M of total funding through 2 open calls.


Image credits: BlankNFT

Country: Croatia
Founders: Marko Marinovic, Mislav Tomic & Nebojsa Veron
Year of founding: 2019

BlankNFT is a full-service white-label NFT development agency enabling its customers to develop smart contracts & landing pages. Furthermore, it integrates Web3 to customers’ websites allowing for NFT minting and collection generation from artwork, providing technical assistance.

By helping NFT projects build on NEAR, the startup plays a vital role in the ecosystem. Not only are such startups expanding use cases but they are also pushing for mainstream adoption of these unique digital assets.


Country: Croatia
Founders: Dean Thomas & Alex Ng
Year of founding: 2022

Powered by NEAR protocol’s Aurora, Chai enables Aurora native DeFi users to enjoy an affordable, secure and fully EVM compatible medium to easily swap, lend, borrow and earn a yield on their digital assets. Chai boasts 10X higher throughput than L1 solutions allowing lightning-fast transactions, affordable gas fees at an average execution cost of $0.01 and much more.

Via its lending platform, users are able to lend out their cryptocurrencies by depositing them into Chai pool. They then receive chTokens in return to accrue interest. These chTokens are redeemable for the underlying coins at any time for more than initially deposited. Chai also has in its ecosystem a one-stop decentralised Trading and Liquidity platform supporting yield farming on Aurora. The Chai DEX is an automated market maker (AMM). 


Image credits: Endemic

Country: Croatia
Founders: Marko Marinovic, Stipe Plejic, Hrvoje Zuanic & Nebojsa Veron
Year of founding: 2021

Based in Split, Croatia, Endemic provides a decentralised marketplace for digital assets on the Ethereum blockchain, except, besides the usual buying and selling of art, the platform encourages the connecting and interaction of all its users.

With various integrations such as likes, comments & blogging, artists benefit from the deeper connections that result from interactions with their supporters whereas collectors and buyers can experience the art much better prior to making purchase decisions. Also, social interaction between users has resulted in a marketplace platform that’s full of life. The marketplace was initially on Ethereum, then later bridged to Near to solve the high fees hustle.

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