Blog Archives

Now Is the Time to Visit Vilnius, Lithuania’s Sophisticated Capital

Lithuania’s capital city has remained fairly under the radar as a design destination, but this will undoubtedly change with the debut this week of the MO Modern Art Museum, the first privately funded modern and contemporary art museum in the country, designed by architect Daniel Libeskind. “This is a classic European town which hasn’t been marred by Soviet intervention, so it retains a quality unlike many other cities that the Soviet Union destroyed,” observes the much-lauded architect, who originally hails from Poland. The museum is situated at the border of the Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the new, gleaming white “articulated box” contains over 4,000 works of art by 226 Lithuanian artists, dating from the 1960s to the present day. It was amassed in a relatively short period of time by financier and philanthropist Viktoras Butkus and his wife, Danguole Butkiene, who saw an “urgent need” to create this collection and make it available to the public. This is a first for the country, as it is not a state-owned museum. It is also the first time Libeskind has incorporated a spiral staircase into a design. “I always avoided it because they always look the same,” he says of the architectural element, “but this is geometric and angular—it was an epiphany.”

Visitors to this city of about 500,000 may also experience an epiphany of sorts while wandering the streets, with their varied architectural styles from the baroque of the Old Town to the numerous Gothic churches to the brutalist structures built by the Soviets. Here, we present a design roadmap of Vilnius, a city that, Libeskind comments, has changed more in the past five years than it did in the previous 20, with more to come.

Lithuania positions itself as China’s FinTech gateway to Europe

Lithuania is ready to welcome Chinese FinTech companies and serve as a gateway providing access to CEE and EU markets. Marius Jurgilas, a board member at the Bank of Lithuania, presented Lithuania’s experience and future plans in the field of FinTech at a key China Investment Forum held in Prague in mid-October.

“We have already established close ties with Asian authorities regarding maintaining regulatory flexibility, and are building bridges for FinTech businesses in the region,” said Mr Jurgilas. “Banks, electronic money and payment institutions can all gain easy access to Europe’s fast-paced payments market via infrastructure provided and maintained by the Bank of Lithuania.”

According to Mr Jurgilas, Lithuania is boosting its international standing as a FinTech-friendly jurisdiction by developing a FinTech coordination centre of the 16+1 framework in the country’s capital Vilnius.

In addition, the country is organising a high-level FinTech conference to be held in Vilnius in October 2019.

To date, the Bank of Lithuania has already issued four Chinese companies with electronic money institution licences and one payment institution licence. There are also an addition 10 companies looking to join the bank’s central payment system Centrolink.

In particular, Mr Jurgilas highlighted the quick authorisation process and broad choice of business models, ranging from electronic money or payment institutions to specialised banks, as some of the key elements of Lithuania’s FinTech regulatory regime.

Cultivating a FinTech-conducive regulatory and supervisory ecosystem and fostering innovations in the financial sector is part of the bank’s key strategic goals for up to and including 2020. The bank and local authorities in Lithuania are working hard to create an environment that would attract new FinTech companies and encourage them to innovate in Lithuania.

The 16+1 framework is a Chinese initiative aimed at expanding China’s cooperation with 16 countries in emerging Europe: 11 EU member states (Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia) as well as five countries in the Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia), in the fields of transport, investment, finance, agriculture, healthcare, education and culture.

Lithuania and Ukraine to co-operate in Fintech

itas Vasiliauskas, Chairman of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania

The central banks of Lithuania and Ukraine have committed to working together to promote the development of financial innovations and have signed a Co-operation Agreement in the Area of Innovation Development.

According to a press release by the Bank of Lithuania, the deal has been signed last week in Indonesia, during an annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund.

«Given the avid interest from our Ukrainian counterparts and the knowledge we have acquired as part of our successful cooperation with the Monetary Authority of Singapore, we stand ready to share the best practices in developing a FinTech-conducive regulatory environment, providing consultations to innovation-oriented market participants and paving the way for more convenient mobile payments,» commented Vitas Vasiliauskas, Chairman of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania.

The cooperation agreement is expected to allow both central banks to exchange experiences in FinTech regulation and supervision, explore joint innovation projects and develop FinTech-friendly regulatory environment, wrote the Bank of Lithuania.

16th October 2018

We use cookies to improve our website. By continuing to use this website, you are giving consent to cookies being used. More details…