In these countries, Web3.0 is their bread of tomorrow.
Web3.0 is the future for these countries.
Author: Wu Tianyi
“WAGMI” is a slang in the Web3.0 community, which stands for “We All Gonna Make It”. It originally represented the community members’ recognition of the project, and has now become a catchphrase for Web3.0 practitioners. This phrase is also strongly believed by Wu Xiao, the founder of “Pure White Matrix”.
When Wu Xiao entered the Web3.0 field, it was a time when the industry was not well-regarded. However, he firmly believed in the power of decentralization and spent several years visiting various countries and regions, connecting with local developer ecosystems. Compared to the economically stable and technologically advanced countries in Europe and America, he was more impressed by some small countries in Asia and Africa. In those places, Web3.0 has become a bank for deposits and withdrawals, an employer, and even a stock market, while cryptocurrencies have become daily necessities. Recently, Wu Xiao shared his stories about exploring the applications of Web3.0 in Turkey, Nigeria, Egypt, and other countries with Pengpai Technology (www.theLianGuaiper.cn).
Wu Xiao, founder of “Pure White Matrix”, participating in a Web3.0 offline event in Turkey.
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“Blockchain should not become a tool controlled by big companies”
Pengpai Technology: Why did you join the Web3.0 field and travel to different countries?
Wu Xiao: I entered the Web3.0 field at the end of 2017. At that time, I came across the Ethereum game “Crypto Kitties” and discovered for the first time that distributed ledgers could be used to write programs. For example, Ethereum allows you to write Turing-complete programs. At that time, there were various Dapps (decentralized applications) on Ethereum, including crypto celebrities, crypto countries, and other strange crypto-related games. I played these games. When we were playing these crypto games in the early days, most Chinese people couldn’t understand smart contracts. They only followed a rule like “the earlier you buy, the lower the price will be” when playing, which resulted in Chinese players losing money.
Later, some people who understood technology and were willing to play appeared, which led to a phenomenon where some people focused on the smart contract address and others focused on the front-end and back-end addresses. Then a group of Chinese people bought together, which was like launching a counterattack against foreigners for the first time. They called it “fighting against foreigners” and it was a bit like an expedition.
After that, I started writing code myself. After entering this industry, I found it to be very new and interesting. Every day, new technologies are being developed, which is advantageous for us who understand technology. In the early days, we developed blockchain games such as “Cell Evolution” and “The Last Journey” because blockchain games were not as popular in that era. We naturally transitioned to Web3.0 development.
I think one reason why I entered the Web3.0 industry is because of the market and opportunities, and secondly, because I received positive feedback here. Although Web3.0 was not popular in the previous cycle, I finally found something I could do. At that time, the blockchain game we designed won various awards from Google, Facebook, and others, and received about four to five million in prizes. This is the driving force behind the positive feedback we received.
In fact, as early as 2019, when the entire industry was in a bear market, we had already started interacting with overseas markets. We went to the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco to communicate with developers on the international stage, participated in InfoComm (International Audiovisual Exhibition) in the United States, attended top conferences in the computer field and interacted with scientists, and connected with overseas projects. At that time, we were actually confused and wanted to see what the situation was like abroad. After going out, we found that the situation in foreign countries at that time was also very pessimistic, but we still insisted on communicating with the outside world. There are still a group of people abroad who believe in the native power of blockchain and think that writing various programs on the blockchain is right, and it should not be isolated from its tokens or change its incentive layer, ultimately becoming a tool controlled by foreign governments or large corporations.
As time went by, Web3.0 gradually entered this cycle. Not only did the market return, but many commercial scenarios have also been implemented overseas. Whether it’s NFTs, DeFi, or Compound, there are more and more applications on the Ethereum network. The entire market is thriving again, and those who couldn’t see hope before, like us, have become stronger. In this cycle, we are more willing to go out because we hope to connect with more developers and understand what developers in different countries are doing and paying attention to.
“Even fish sellers know about Web3.0”
Pengpai Technology: Why is Web3.0 becoming a tool for survival in some countries?
Wu Xiao: Apart from becoming a developer, I have actually been to many places. I have conducted field investigations and governance construction surveys for Web3.0 in the Middle East and North Africa, which are relatively backward compared to advanced Europe and the United States.
Speaking of this, it stems from when we were doing blockchain education-related content a few years ago. First, we went through African countries with Web3.0 ecosystems online. One thing that impressed me was when I was giving a lecture one day, a Nigerian developer told me that the Nigerian central bank announced that buying cryptocurrencies was illegal, but at the same time, he also told me that the depreciation rate of their government currency is as high as 40%.
Wu Xiao witnessed Turkish drivers paying close attention to cryptocurrency “K-line”.
He also said that they believe in Binance (cryptocurrency exchange) because many American exchanges are unwilling to provide services to Africans, but at that time Binance was expanding its Binance Chain and they valued Africa. Therefore, many Nigerians purchased cryptocurrencies when their national currency depreciated by 40%, and many people’s lives underwent tremendous changes. In Africa, cryptocurrency may be their bread for tomorrow. If someone is willing to teach them coding so that they can start their own businesses, they can develop applications and sell them to international buyers.
This made me curious, so we connected with developers in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia and Vietnam. We found that each country has different situations and developers are doing different things. In Pakistan, the locals don’t really have a concept of Web3.0. When we first went there, we taught them about NFT, but we found that everyone is interested in learning new knowledge. In rich places like Abu Dhabi and Dubai, they would ask us to schedule classes and organize forums for the locals. The Middle Eastern wealthy countries have abundant oil production, and they hope to turn the advantages of these natural resources into advantages in technology, because oil will eventually run out.
At Istanbul Airport, the driver who picked us up was looking at related cryptocurrency “K-line”, which surprised me a lot. I felt that the Web3.0 atmosphere in Istanbul was very strong. You could see many NFT trading markets on the streets, and the locals were also buying a large amount of cryptocurrency.
The unemployment rate among young people in Turkey is very high. They are like apprentices. As long as someone provides transportation expenses or bread, they are willing to work for free for 8-12 months, because they can’t find a job without work experience, which is a strange paradox. Many young people have no way out.
I know some local university Web3.0 groups. They would rent a house together, even though they haven’t graduated yet. I asked them why they didn’t go to school, and they said that the knowledge taught in school is too outdated and cannot keep up with the development. They created a developer studio, with two rooms dedicated to Web3.0. It’s like the show “Silicon Valley”, with a group of people working in one room, and the other room is the living area.
The local university students introduced me to a small village in the south, which is very small, but has a strong Web3.0 atmosphere. Even the fish sellers there know about Web3.0. I asked a fish seller what Web3.0 is, and he said that there is a physical building dedicated to Web3.0 in their area, where activities are held every day. Sometimes it gives me the feeling of a “Web3.0 paradise”. In places like Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, it’s already good to have one event per week, but there they can have events every day.
Locals are so exaggerated that even the dowry for marriage is directly paid in Bitcoin. In that place, many people have lost hope, unable to find jobs or opportunities, and some choose to grow together with Web3.0. But overall, with Web3.0 comes a mixed state, with both opportunities and risks, and this group of people continues to move forward in this mixed state as a ladder.
Jordanians have a relatively low level of popularity and awareness of blockchain, but they are relatively knowledgeable about blockchain games. Jordan has developed almost all mobile games in the Middle East. Besides games exported from China, the largest mobile games in the Middle East are made by local Jordanians. They combine blockchain with games. Some local universities, such as the Jordan University of Science and Technology, offer majors in game design, which is actually rare in other countries.
I also met some Filipino and Korean tourists during my journey, and they also bought coins, which proves the large-scale and wide-ranging application of Web3.0—it has penetrated into various countries, groups, and peoples.
Egyptians are also involved in some Web3.0-related content. Besides China, Egypt is the only country that is also involved in consortium chains. They have some consortium chains related to education and logistics. In addition, because Egyptian law explicitly prohibits the use and creation of blockchain exchanges, Egypt has a very large black market.
The black market is disguised as a shopping mall, but in reality, when you enter a small dark room and hand over the local currency to a person, they will send Bitcoin or Ethereum to your bank account within 24 hours. It is reported that this black market has been operating for more than 3 years and even attracts a group of local companies to go to the small dark room to buy Bitcoin when investing abroad, which is something I did not expect.
In short, any economy needs exports and imports. In some regions, the entry point may be electronic pets in blockchain games. For example, some rich housewives who like electronic pets will hire Filipinos or Vietnamese to play games for them, and these people make a living from it. Traditional banks cannot reach certain impoverished areas. In China, everyone thinks that saving and withdrawing money is a common thing, but in some places abroad, it may not even be possible to open an account.
In a documentary, an elderly Southeast Asian couple obtained cryptocurrency through “gold farming” (playing games to earn cryptocurrency) and exchanged it for bread and medicine. They have no visas, no green cards, and no bank accounts. And there are many countries like this, for example, in Thailand, 40% of young people have bought cryptocurrency, and in Latin America, over 51% of people have bought cryptocurrency using Mastercard. This proportion will continue to increase. With so many bottom-level enterprises and developers gathered together, along with some new applications bringing new business models, new products, new services, and some smart regulators pushing forward, a collective force will be formed. This force requires political support.
“Equality for everyone in the face of Web3.0”
Pengpai Technology: What are some impressive scenes during your travels to different countries?
Wu Xiao: In Karst, there are many Russian programmers and engineers. When we went to give a presentation, a bunch of people crowded into a small room to listen to Web3.0 and blockchain. I felt quite shocked. They had a spark in their eyes and a fire in their hearts. They were born at the bottom, but they wanted to change their destiny, they wanted to learn. Their willingness to fight is truly magical.
At some events in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, some leaders dressed in white robes and said they wanted to embrace Web3.0. We suddenly felt that Web3.0 seemed to have undergone a tremendous change. These politicians and managers became very welcoming of Web3.0, which was completely different from the situation in the past where everyone was against it.
At the largest technology exhibition in the Middle East, I didn’t contact anyone from Alibaba in advance, but we developed a Web3.0 developer tool. The next day, Alibaba’s colleagues invited me to speak on stage. Not only Alibaba, but also Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Huawei, these big companies are now actively embracing Web3.0. It is completely different from the feeling in the past where we couldn’t afford a booth and were looked down upon by everyone. We have a great sense of achievement.
Pengpai Technology: Are there any aspects of these countries that are worth learning from and drawing on?
Wu Xiao: Definitely. I think domestic colleagues, especially those in Hong Kong, where the policies are relatively open, should go and explore the opportunities of Web3.0. It’s not just about considering investment, but also about building Web3.0.
Today, there are many blue oceans in Web3.0, and there are many things to do. This is a great time to find your own direction, to occupy your own position. In three to five years, if the Web3.0 industry matures, it may also become old and rigid. If you don’t venture into it now, when the industry is truly mature, there will be no opportunities.
Think about the level of informatization in countries where the technology development is not good. There, even people without a technical background dare to take risks. Many of our colleagues who are interested in it should also get involved and take a step forward. Today’s Web3.0 is a world that is worth building.
Pengpai Technology: What is the significance of Web3.0 and blockchain in your eyes? What might be the ultimate form of development in the future?
Wu Xiao: Equality for everyone in the face of Web3.0. In poorer countries that develop from the bottom up, they need a channel to move upwards. Web3.0 is a tool that can climb up regardless of the rules of the battlefield, and this is why these places rely on Web3.0. If they were to engage in traditional businesses, young people would have no opportunity at all. Among them, some are involved in investment and trading, while others have learned Web3.0 technology to change their lives.
This upward channel changes fate, and to some extent it can also bypass the economic situation, because it does not need a bank, it can be operated directly with an internet connection, even people from the lower class can have opportunities. In the past, even if some people understood the Internet and wanted to work for Americans, they couldn’t even open a bank account without a visa, and the US dollars couldn’t be deposited, but on the blockchain, any cryptocurrency can be sent to someone from anywhere in a matter of seconds.
What does Web3.0 and blockchain mean to me? In the future, humans will definitely spend more than 90% of their time living in a virtual world. In such an environment, there will definitely be some rule-based designs. Web3.0 and blockchain are definitely the most important economic systems. You cannot expect that in such a world, you can only use dollars or euros, even if you have game coins, they must be blockchain-based game coins.
Therefore, Web3.0 is first and foremost the infrastructure of the economy, and secondly, it may be the infrastructure of law and rules. What kind of person did what kind of thing inside, and what kind of punishment will be imposed, all these rules must be open, transparent, and automatically executed. This is particularly suitable for the blockchain, which has already gathered consensus from global users and developers, to carry out certification and write some rules with smart contracts. Since everyone is developing and using this chain, it means that everyone has already implicitly agreed to comply with the rules of this chain. The chain itself is not biased, and these rules are suitable for and can only be formed using blockchain.