A new online community devoted to supporting New Zealand initiatives in the Web3 space has attracted hundreds of members and has big plans to help foster innovation in one of the fastest-growing areas of tech.
Hosted by Callaghan Innovation, Web3NZ is part information hub, part social network, giving critical mass to efforts to navigate commercial, legal and regulatory issues, find talent and allow members to network and learn from each other.
Web3NZ went live in March and arrived at a critical time for the Web3 industry following a tumultuous period in cryptocurrencies and the collapse of major industry players Terra-Luna, Celsius and FTX.
Those failures sent shockwaves around the world, but have served as an opportunity for Web3 entrepreneurs, developers and investors to focus on sound fundamentals as they explore uses of the technology. Those uses range from decentralised finance (DeFi) apps and supply chain traceability services, to non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for digital asset sales and digital identity systems.
“Events in the crypto industry have grabbed the headlines, but there’s plenty of evidence to suggest decentralised ledger technology more generally is transforming industries and creating new options for running organisations in more democratic and transparent ways,” says Kevin Whitmore, Business Innovation Advisor & Web3 Lead at Callaghan Innovation and an executive council member of industry body BlockchainNZ.
The New Zealand Web3NZ community, Whitmore adds, is small but tight knit and collaborative. Firms operating in this space range from Easy Crypto, the country’s largest cryptocurrency trading platform to FreeDAO, which offers any group the tools to create their own DAO (decentralised autonomous organisation). At least one local venture capital firm, Global From Day 1, has a fund specifically devoted to Web3.
A survey of Web3NZ members revealed that gaining access to potential investors, keeping abreast of regulatory changes, and access learning and knowledge resources, were the three top reasons they gave for joining Web3NZ. Many are keen to share their own knowledge for the good of the community.
“To thrive as a community, we need to put back more than what we take out. I am open to assist any members who need help in understanding how to build for Web3,” one survey respondent noted.
“I would like to see NZ become a world-renowned provider of innovative IT expertise and services in Web3,” wrote another.
Registered users have access to a wide range of information resources, including a regular webinar series that focuses on issues of particular interest to the community. Past webinars have provided context and expert commentary on regulation of Web3 assets in New Zealand, crypto security standards and how to build a strong Web3 startup team.
Web3NZ is also tapping into international expertise, which is only appropriate given the distributed nature of many Web3 projects. In March, Aya Miyaguchi, Executive Director of the Ethereum Foundation, visited New Zealand for the first time, visiting Callaghan Innovation and the founders of several local Web3 start-ups.
Small is good
“The big benefit I see is that New Zealand is a small country,” she says.
“There is a lot of experimentation with smaller-scale projects and the community can work together closely.”
Circle is Web3NZ’s social network, which allows members to share information, ask for advice, message each other, and network with like minded collaborators.
“We’ve already seen some great relationships forged on the platform,” says Whitmore.
“We’ll extend this with in-person events around the country.”
Web3NZ will hold its first meet-up events in Auckland and Wellington in late May and has a busy schedule of webinars, events and areas of focus for the rest of the year.
You can register to join Web3NZ here.
Check out some of the Web3-related events that will be running during Tech Week 2023.
Web3NZ, a new online community devoted to supporting initiatives in the Web3 space, has attracted hundreds of members and aims to foster innovation in one of the fastest-growing areas of tech.