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No phrase has become more synonymous with Web 2.0 than Silicon Valley. Companies like Facebook, Apple and Google are nearly equivalent to the Bay Area and its walled garden of innovation.
However, 2021 was an inflection point in technological history. For the first time, the notion of Web 3.0decentralized and community-backed technology had a chance of upending the centralized behemoths that have dominated the internet since the late 90s.
With that possibility in mind, builders began leaving Silicon Valley in droves to explore new locales and work alongside crypto natives who had previously been dubbed as outsiders.
While the future of crypto is still uncertain, today there’s an outsized opportunity for Web 3.0 to not only be decentralized when it comes to the underlying technology but also when it comes to where this industry is being built.
As a result, savvy political leaders from both sides of the party line are leaning on their own entrepreneurial sensibilities and signaling to Web 3.0 innovators with a very specific messagetheir respective towns, states and countries are crypto-friendly.
However, to make this possible, this new breed of entrepreneur-politicians will have to operate in novel and unexpected ways. Here’s what that looks like.
Politicians will have to think and operate like founders
In September of 2021, El Salvador made history by becoming the first country to make Bitcoin legal tender. President Nayib Bukele thought like an entrepreneur and decided to lean on an emerging technology to solve a widespread problem helping roughly 70% of El Salvadorians who lack access to traditional financial services step into the future.
While the volatile nature of Bitcoin and the most recent market crash has led many to question the president’s decision and its impact on his country’s economy, El Salvador’s move to embrace Bitcoin was a huge step forward for crypto one that helped catapult the notion of DeFi onto a global stage.
Additionally, Mayor Francis Suarez of Miami has taken on an approach typically reserved for tech founders taking to Twitter to engage with a community of like-minded builders and garnering their support when it came to his attempt to turn Miami into a bonafide tech hub.
To date, the mayor has pioneered an experiment called MiamiCoin – a city token designed to drive new community-backed revenue to the local government. He’s also been instrumental in attracting top VC firms and has even convinced some of the biggest names in the game to trade the Bay Area for Miami’s beaches.
For Web 3.0 hubs to truly take hold outside of Silicon Valley, more politicians and leaders will have to think critically about how they can attract top builders and crypto companies to their jurisdictions.
Lobbying and educational efforts will be instrumental in diving mass adoption
Even though lobbying for crypto and DeFi is just getting started, it’s already punching well above its weight. Compared to pharma, tobacco and securities and investments industries that have existed for decades the spend in support of crypto a considerably new industry has been significant.
Coinbase, Ripple and the Blockchain Association have been the largest donors so far, with support from the Blockchain Association growing from $540,000 in Q1 of 2022 to $590,000 in Q2 of 2022 (and equaling over 60% of the total industry spend for Q2).
This support is essential to the widespread adoption of crypto as thoughtful regulations are needed to stabilize the industry and encourage more institutions to take part in investing in digital assets.
Therefore, politicians who can thoughtfully appeal to this fledgling industry and work together with Web 3.0 leaders to build the kind of legislative environment that will allow crypto to thrive will garner unbelievable backing from a sphere that’s set to only grow when it comes to both money and influence.
At the same time, political leaders who are actively pushing for crypto education and exposure are set to have a leg up in terms of getting support from top Web 3.0 players.
Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve who is piloting public NFT art projects and a new initiative that would allow the city to publish historical registries to the blockchain is focused on offering those living under her jurisdiction frictionless exposure to Web 3.0.
By making the onboarding process effortless, Mayor Schieve has a real opportunity to harness the power of crypto and create positive downstream effects for everyone in her city.
Leaders will need to effectively evaluate the promise crypto holds
While the current bear market has shaken up the crypto industry and exposed a number of bad actors in the ecosystem, the fact of the matter is that 2021 truly showed the world how decentralized technology has the ability to revolutionize the internet as we know it.
The potential impact of crypto has yet to be fully realized. However, right now, government officials still have the chance to capitalize on this potential, and their best option is to operate like entrepreneurs themselves by actively welcoming crypto builders to their jurisdictions and fighting for regulations that preserve the ethos of decentralization. If they don’t, top talent and revenue will inevitably flow elsewhere.
There are still many challenges for entrepreneur-politicians to overcome, especially in light of the negative effects of 2022’s bear market, and so, Web 3.0 will need the support of vocal political leaders to help it fully actualize.
However, if crypto and entrepreneur-politicians can find a way to effectively work together, then there’s no question that the future of Web 3.0 will look exactly like what promised to bea culmination of many voices dedicated to building a more equitable and innovative future.
Simon Yu, CEO and co-founder of StormX, is a crypto and e-commerce expert. He previously worked as a financial analyst intern for Amazon and senior credit risk analyst for KeyBank. After graduating from the University of Washington in 2014, he participated in a Berkley Blockchain Xcelerator held by the University of California in 2020.
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