Mass Blockchain Adoption is in Sight
Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing tragic war have been occupying much of the world’s attention. But in the meantime, blockchain technologies are making huge leaps towards mainstream audiences. This is not only because blockchain technology has been employed to aid both humanitarian and military efforts to help the people of Ukraine — with around 100 million USD worth of digital assets donated to the cause. Governments, politicians, and cities, as well as private companies have been announcing measures that suggest that we are on the cusp of a massive Web3.0 revolution.
So much news, it is difficult to recount. But let us take a quick review of blockchain adoption news from across the globe!
Governments and politics: steering ships towards blockchain mainstreaming
Naturally, many had been anxiously waiting President Biden’s Executive Order on digital assets — a potential make-or-break moment. Concrete regulation has not been announced. Some were even positively surprised how favourable the Executive Order is towards blockchain assets. Perhaps its most important measure is that the US will officially explore the possibility of establishing the dollar as a central bank digital currency.
This is not exactly an innovative step. Multiple central banks have already launched such project — or even already the digital currencies in some form — from China to the European Union to Russia. Nevertheless, it is important for the technology that there are
Also, it is well-known that there is already a country where bitcoin is a legal tender: El Salvador. However, the country’s dissatisfactory democratic and economic development makes this a highly problematic experiment for the blockchain community. Because of the manifold problems, the people of El Salvador are not actually embracing bitcoin as a currency, but are using US dollars — absent a stable local currency:
“Opinion polls show a clear majority against the idea. This may reflect a fear of the unknown: fewer than 5 per cent understand bitcoin, according to one survey. But citizens also worry about taking payment in a currency whose value has varied between $10,000 and $63,000 over the past year” — by the Financial Times Editorial Board in September 2021.
But also, what has driven the news lately was what did not happen. This week — despite anxious warnings to the contrary — the EU did not ban the proof-of-work consensus mechanism. While this is far from adoption, it definitely does not run contrary to it. With the emerging Markets in Crypto Assets (often abbreviated as MiCA) legislation, some analysts argue that more certain regulation will lead to more confident blockchain adoption.
But there are bolder movements on the horizon in different corners of Asia. Both Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and the newly elected conservative president of the Republic of Korea have their eyes on becoming new, leading hubs for blockchain technologies — and Thailand has taken an important step towards attracting blockchain investors. Dubai has recently already adopted a cornerstone law on digital assets and established a government agency to execute it. Even before assuming the office, President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol has already vowed deep reforms to bolster the position of digital assets in Korea. In South East Asia, Thailand has just done so by giving blockchain currencies VAT-free status.
While not exactly related to DeFi, the move by the Marshall Islands to become the first nation in the world to legally recognise DAOs as essentially limited liability corporations can open a lot of new opportunities for independent, community-led organisation of any kind.
The signs that the general public’s awareness regarding blockchain technology is increasing is there in politics, too. Before the crucial 2022 mid-term elections in the US, when Americans elect many of the senators representing their states in the upper chamber of Congress, there are at least two “pro-bitcoin” candidates who are running for office. One of them is the far-right Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel in Ohio; and the other is the Democrat Senate candidate Bryan Solstin in the State of Washington. Both of them have to win their respective state primary election first — which, for now, seems unlikely. Even if they are not to win the offices they had set their eyes on, the fact that politicians on the two opposing ends of the aisle may agree on making bitcoin a legal tender in the US is a remarkable development. Perhaps, in the future, there will a stronger, bipartisan consensus emerging around the issue.
But below the national level, cities are already taking action. The capital of italophone Switzerland, Lugano is moving to make bitcoin and tether a de facto currency under its jurisdiction. And back in the US, the mayor of the capital city of Texas, Austin, known for its emergent tech start-up scene is exploring options to introduce blockchain currencies as legal tender.
Private entities: forward-looking solutions for a blockchain future
Nevertheless, we do know that private companies, organisations can do more to achieve a global goal than all the governments in the world combined.
This may be especially true in the case of the Facebook parent company Meta. Instagram is now reportedly working on including NFTs into its platform. US fast food chain Shake Shack is trialling a bitcoin-based customer loyalty reward program. Thanks to efforts like these, millions of users and customers could be exposed to blockchain technologies from one day to the next. Business partnerships, predictably, are picking up, too. Recently, the megabank HSBC have been charting its entry to the metaverse by partnering with The Sandbox.
But the news closest to the heart of the Debond team is about the UBx platform by a bank in the Philippines which uses blockchain technologies in several ways.
“The Philippines is a rapidly developing economy of over 100 million. However, 70% of citizens have limited access to banking services. One-third of the population lives on less than $2 per day”
— says Komfie Manalo’s article on BeInCrypto. In this underbanked environment, UBx’s platform enables local merchants and small businesses to offer trustworthy financial services to rural communities.
These are the values and the mission we at Debond also believe in. More inclusion, more transparency will not only make DeFi, but also the world a better place to be for everyone. And the more initiatives we are seeing, the more confident we are that we will deliver on this promise.
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