Smart regulation, collaboration and skills push critical to Web3’s success
As Web3NZ, the country’s first platform dedicated to people working on Web3 projects launches, key players in the industry see it as an opportunity to give critical mass to an already thriving category of the tech sector.
Web3 is a term that entered the general lexicon in recent years and spans everything from decentralised finance (DeFi) and distributed ledger technology (DLT) to decentralised autonomous organisations (DAOs) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
There’s no single definition of what Web3 is, but at its heart, it involves the use of decentralised internet technologies. That includes products and services that empower the user over platform monetisation, embrace anonymity and pseudonymity over the sale of and mining of personal data, and reduce single points of failure.
New Zealand is already a hotbed of Web3 development and Web3NZ will serve as an information hub and networking platform for everyone involved in Web3. But what does New Zealand need to take Web3 development to the next level?
Fit for purpose regulation
“Web3 is becoming increasingly regulated, which is a good thing if that regulation is clear, principles-based and outcomes-focused,” says Janine Grainger, the co-founder of Easy Crypto, the country’s largest cryptocurrency trading platform.
Grainger sees Web3NZ playing a valuable role enabling “transparent channels of communication between industry and regulators” to foster information sharing, cooperation, and mutual understanding.
“By doing so, policy developers, regulators and ministers are kept informed of the latest technological advancements and trends, and industry leaders are aware of any regulatory or policy changes that may impact their operations and future Web3 plans,” Grainger explains.
Her colleague Paul Quickenden, who heads up Easy Crypto’s New Zealand operations, sees scope for Web3NZ shining a light on what the community actually needs, such as access to “banking and basic financial services”, which has been problematic for Web3 start-ups in the past, as well as government support for the community in key areas such as developing digital identity frameworks.
He also hopes the media will “stop jumping on all the negative news and spot the positives” in Web3, which has been unfairly associated with the high-profile collapses of FTX, Celsius and the massive drop in value of cryptocurrencies.
Janine Grainger, Co-Founder of Easy Crypto
Challenging the status quo
For Mark Pascall, founder of The Wellbeing Protocol and TheDao.Agency, the big opportunity ahead of the Web3 community is to use decentralised technology to tackle the “unprecedented challenges/threats” facing the world.
“We need new global structures for human coordination and capital allocation that are independent of geo-political regions and shareholder/profit driven organisations,” says Pascall, one of New Zealand’s leading experts in DAOs who, since 2020, has been running a successful community-based DAO pilot at Cannons Creek in Porirua.
“I don't care what country people live in or whether NZ has more Web3 people and companies than the next country. I do however believe that NZ has some distinct advantages that could allow people who are based here to take leadership in starting important projects and organisations,” says Pascall.
Those advantages, he believes, include our small size allowing us to develop a high-trust network of people in the Web3 space and the ability to move quickly in dealing with the government, which “have to be part of the answer”.
“Rightly or wrongly we have an international reputation for "doing the right thing" e.g. Christchurch accord and our response to Covid. We can leverage that trust,” Pascall concludes.
Mark Pascall, Founder of the Wellbeing Protocol
Community is key
Jerome Kelsey, Founder and Systems Design Lead at FreeDao, which creates tools that allow any group or organisation to “launch truly democratic DAOs” sees community as central to the ongoing success of the Kiwi Web3 scene.
“There is a need for greater collaboration to help promote innovation, attract investment, and create a supportive environment for startups and entrepreneurs,” says Kelsey.
That means boosting links between government, industry and academia and developing a “skilled and diverse talent pool”.
“This may involve initiatives such as education and training programs, networking events, and funding opportunities,” he suggests.
Kelsey also sees scope for potential trials by government bodies and large institutions, such as banks, to speed the adoption of services built on Web3 technology and principles.
Education and adoption of these technologies within the country—potentially trials by government bodies, and large institutes such as banks.
Jerome Kelsey, Founder and Systems Design Lead at FreeDao.
Web3 Aspirations for 2023
Web3NZ aims to stimulate discussion and foster collaboration on all of the issues highlighted above. As Pascall suggests, it can and will aim to “create a place where purpose/value aligned New Zealanders who are or who want to become part of the Web3 world, can connect and create ‘real’ high trust relationships.”
2023 looks to be a pivotal year for Web3 developments. So what does our Web3 panel of experts and entrepreneurs hope to achieve this year?
“Continue to create easy-to-use platforms that allow people to interact with blockchain-based services. This is something the industry hasn't truly solved for, not in a way that will enable mainstream adoption. I want to help bring decentralised technology closer to the real world by providing the tools, education and support to empower more people to get involved with Web3 technology.”
“Hopefully we can launch some cool stuff and make/continue to keep NZ at the head of the pack.”
“We now have funding from three government agencies to run an important trial. If this is successful, this model can be replicated across the country (and across the world). We want to build out a team who can grow the concept towards our end goal of creating a community development DAO.”
“My personal goal for the Web 3.0 space in 2023 is to continue to develop and promote the Freeos Economic DAO and our upcoming DAO-building service as tools to incentivize and enable the creation of valuable goods and services in a decentralised, equitable manner.
“Additionally, I hope to continue to explore and push the boundaries of the intersection of game design, Web3 and machine learning that I have been recently engaged with—with the goal to create new, innovative experiences for users and other developers.”
The Web3NZ community platform, powered by Callaghan Innovation is now available and you can sign up here. If you are involved in Web3 initiatives, register to access our Web3 community via Circle and contribute ideas and content to the local ecosystem.