Canadian Crypto Coalition Launches Web3 Council in Aim to Solve Digital Currency Image Problem

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A sign advertises a Bitcoin ATM in a store in Halifax on February 4, 2020.Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

Crypto has an image problem, but a new one The Canadian industry coalition hopes to change that.

Launched by 11 blockchain companies and digital asset exchanges on Tuesday, the Web3 Council of Canada hopes to give a single voice to this country’s cryptocurrency industry, with the aim of convincing local, provincial and federal governments to take technology more seriously and adopt a national strategy for it.

Given all the high-profile crypto-related hacks, examples of shoddy trading practices in exchanges, stories of market manipulation, and the documented use of digital currencies to facilitate crime, it is not not difficult to understand why the reputation of the sector is tarnished.

Council members say this is why it has become important to de-stigmatize crypto, educating people about its technological applications and economic potential. The group hopes this will lead to new policies and fewer restrictions for the industry.

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Members of the Web3 Council are Aquanow, Axiom Zen, Chainsafe Systems, Dapper Labs, Ether Capital, ETHGlobal, Figment, Informal Systems (Cosmos), Ledn, Wealthsimple, and WonderFi Technologies Inc. Notably absent from the group are Tokens.com and CoinSmart Financial. .

Bringing the companies together took longer than expected, executives said in interviews. The coalition was originally slated to launch in January, but protests by truckers — who barricaded border crossings and shut down central Ottawa, prompting the federal government to invoke the Emergencies Act — began using crypto -currencies to circumvent the crackdown on their fundraising efforts.

“A lot of people had to learn about crypto quickly or get used to it when they saw it being used during the protests,” said Hatcher Lipton, chief operating officer at ChainSafe Systems, a research firm and development based in Toronto. which specializes in blockchain technologies.

“It’s debatable whether seeing crypto used during the protests was for better or for worse,” he added. “The problem is that as soon as you mention the word crypto now, some people will immediately put you in this bag of bad actors, and I don’t think that’s fair. What we really don’t want is for a few loud voices to take up the most space in a room, and that’s where this advice fits in to take back control of the narrative.

Jarrett Vaughan, a professor at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business who studies blockchain and cryptocurrencies, said the first thing he noticed about the board was its choice of name.

“I found it quite interesting that they chose to call it ‘Web3’ instead of ‘crypto’,” he said. “It’s a great strategy because it communicates a constructed and elaborate narrative, much like this advice hopes to do. I think it will remove the unpredictability that we’ve seen so far with the wild west side of things with cryptography.

Still, Prof Vaughan said he finds it ‘a little ironic that the council is trying to centralize a message for a sector that is entirely based on devolution’.

Web3, also called Web 3.0, is touted by its proponents as a new, more decentralized wave of the Internet – distinct from Web 2.0, a digital landscape based on user-generated content and social media applications, the creation of which was led by giant tech companies such as Facebook and Google. Web 1.0 refers to a period between 1991 and 2004, when much of the web was filled with static text pages.

Web3 is a work in progress. Its proponents say that all of this new internet architecture will not require the operation of traditional banks or government institutions, as it will instead rely on digital tokens, often based on blockchain ledgers.

In a Web3 world, these tokens would be involved in the inner workings of almost everything people do online – even things that have nothing to do with money. Due to the expansive nature of the concept, Web3 has become a buzzword used to describe all sorts of new internet technologies and businesses, especially those related to the crypto and blockchain industries.

Brian Mosoff, founding member of the Web3 Council and CEO of Ether Capital, a public company that offers investors direct access to Ethereum, said the group never intended to represent all of Canadian crypto. .

“We probably won’t agree on a lot of issues, and there are definitely a lot of people we won’t represent with what we say. But I think it’s worth trying to put our ideas in one place, especially for regulated players and those seeking regulation. Because right now a lot of these conversations are happening in silos,” he said.

Mr. Mosoff said negative news stories about crypto “usually focus on a very specific case to push certain beliefs against the industry.” He noted that while cryptocurrency has been used to fund the Freedom Convoy protests, it is also being used to support Ukraine’s efforts to resist Russia’s invasion.

“I think the interest of this group is really to have mature companies around the table who think about the long-term impacts of all the decisions we make,” said Mauricio Di Bartolomeo, co-founder of Ledn, a cryptocurrency. Toronto-based savings and loan company.

“Canada is in an incredible position with Web3, where we can really lead the charge here. We didn’t get there with Web 2.0, but it’s not too late to become a leader in it.

Sonja Solomun, research director at McGill University’s Center for Media, Technology and Democracy, said she thinks the Web3 Council’s emphasis on the economic importance of cryptocurrencies is a way to make ordinary and unavoidable risks of technology.

“The reality is that the public is actively reshaping that future by challenging those very assumptions through critical debates about the social, economic, and environmental implications of crypto and bitcoin mining,” she said.

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