Updated: Apr 12
Have you ever felt like you're on the verge of achieving something unprecedented in your life, but at the same time, you're on the brink of losing everything? Do you remember that feeling in your gut when you've worked for years and you're about to reach what you've been pursuing, but at the same time, you know you could lose it all at any moment? Do you remember the World Cup, Messi's figure, and the possibility of consolidating his history or losing it in penalties? Something like this is happening to the world with web3...
Last week, I had the privilege of attending the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center on Lake Como, Italy, as a member of the Young Global Leaders community. We gathered there to discuss, along with the Economic Forum and the Rockefeller Foundation, the meaning of decentralized digital identity and web3 for the world, given the global urgency to upgrade our institutions to face the looming technological powers. It is believed that if anything can counter the unprecedented power of artificial intelligence, it will be decentralization, especially as we move from #DeFi (decentralized finance) to #DeGov (decentralized government).
One of the most interesting things was the exchange with leaders from around the world about what web3 means and its opportunities. For many, very much like when blockchain was said and people thought of Bitcoin, today saying web3 sounds like Metaverse, a virtual reality game for nerds and nothing more. This is alarming, as we are on the brink of global digital mistrust, underestimating the transformative potential of web3. This is taking with it a digital economy with an estimated potential of $20.8 trillion, which is devastating not only in economic terms but also socially.
At the same time, while this is the global perception, the European Commission is debating whether they will be the first to create a "single digital market," leading the DeGov movement. Europe, unlike the rest of the world, has taken three important steps to not miss this opportunity:
Publish the standards and weave an ecosystem of what would be a multinational blockchain service infrastructure (EBSI).
Establish the rules for what could be a new sovereign digital identity for individuals and businesses working in the European Union (eSSIF).
Agree on a shared identity authentication service (eIDAS) to be able to give legality to decentralized identifiers, which will be key to identifying transactions in that new digital market.
They have even started talking about "conformant wallets" that is, digital document holders that are freely chosen by citizens to interact with their governments. It seems that the European Commission understands something that others do not, something that can be summed up in the fact that web3 is the foundation that eliminates the frictions of social and economic development. It can reduce bureaucracy, create safer data environments, and detonate an unprecedented digital economy that brings greater income for everyone, not only increasing people's purchasing power but also increasing the capacity of our governments to provide better education, health, or some other social assistance programs.
Europe knows that it has a unique opportunity to consolidate a chapter in human history, an evolution towards trust in digital worlds that gives us the opportunity to have a digital economy that changes everything to improve the lives of many. However, European regulation is limiting the ability to move more agilely, preventing startups from creating technology for governments.
This is where we see a key moment for Latin America. A region where regulation is not blocking innovation and is presenting itself as a fertile market, as an invitation for govtech and web3 startups. Startups can find not only a great financial reward, but also the opportunity to make a difference in our world. Although it can be a difficult path, nothing of value has ever been easy, and this moment could represent the greatest opportunity to consolidate the history of a region.
After our experience in Bellagio, we are even more convinced that OS City's purpose of creating a technological kit that facilitates governments' approach to web3 is necessary. By facilitating technology, education, and regulation that promotes it, there are possibilities to boost economic growth, improve privacy, strengthen democracies, and create a true modern economy. However, it is also important to recognize that if we do not take action now, this could be the greatest opportunity that we miss.