I was invited to the Barcelona Blockchain Week 2019 by an anonymous and disruptive friend and although I was expecting some geeky talks, I did not expect to sit in to what seemed like a a New World Order (potential) Architects Meetup !!
Something was different here though… unlike your typical underground revolutionary group meetup in a Berlin warehouse, not only was this open to anyone and in the heart of Barcelona but government officials came to speak too ! Ok so the government officials were from the Catalan government whom have been particularly controversial lately but still, it started with high expectations !!
The first impression upon landing at the venue, Casa Llotja de Mar was WOW !! A gob-smacking, beautifully maintained building on Barcelona’s seafront, separating ‘el Gotico’ with ‘el borne’.
It turns out that the building is instrumental to promoting the economic powers regionally and nationally as we observe on the ceiling the work of Bonaventura Planella Conxello representing the Board of Commerce and the commercial relationship between Barcelona and the Americas.
The beauty was slightly tarnished by thoughts of the buzzing slave trade which would have taken place in these very walls as far back as the XIVth century..
Not sure what to expect, I took my seat and the day unrolled as follows:
As I sat down, @Jordi Puignero i Ferrer, conseller de Polítiques Digitals i Administració Pública del Govern de la Generalitat de Catalunya took to the stage.
Jordi opens his speech by suggesting that distributed technologies may help us, as humans to govern ourselves in the future; but more importantly he affirms, that the government of Catalunya wants to ensure that these new ‘governance’ models will : be fair, guarantee equality, be participative, be more transparent, (all K-LAGAN values) to resume, be more Democratic.
Further key points included:
@Democracy4all should be more than a ‘motto’, it should be a ‘claim’ to help us all realise the importance of technology and how it affects us all.
Here in Barcelona, we are already in terms of event the mobile capital of the world, so for us (the Catalan government) it is important to define ourselves with events such as these as they are the next big thing..
Jordi personally believes that in a digital society, Citizenship Empowerment should be the basis; and that it could only be achieved using technologies such as DLT (‘Distributed Ledger Technologies’ otherwise known as ‘blockchain’).
He goes on to mention what he calls ‘the emergence of the 5th Power : ’Digital Citizenship Empowered Citizens’ which sounds like a warning by George Orwell and resonates with one of his famous quotes ‘Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past’.
The World Economic Forum tells us that in the next 20 years, 3 principle topics will affect humanity and these are : ‘Migration’, ‘Climate Change’ and ‘The Digital Revolution’ (which @Michael Saylor, CEO of MicroStrategy actually dedicated a whole book to on the subject, called ‘the mobile wave’) which to me are linked based on the digital revolution being ‘mobile’ in essence.
Mr Puignero i Ferrer then closed by stating that the only option for Catalunya is to be digital and monetize on technologies like 5G, Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain else it will not survive. I am not entirely sure if that was aimed at keeping Catalunya ahead of Madrid or the world in general but the intention to stay ahead of the game in terms of technologies related to the digital wave are clear and here to stay… Or is it just PR ?? It didn’t feel like it but at the end of the day, the only way to know is to throw yourself in; I remember meeting with the ministers of Finance @Gilbert Saboya and Energy @Albert Moles of Andorra exactly 2 years ago in mid January of 2018 and the strategy to attract investors was clear but this did not match the expenditure planned to develop the areas promised to investors so the political will may be there but at the end of the day, the budget to build this high tech promise land needs to be approved !! That is where the ‘mentality’ of the ‘approver’ crucially requires an interest and basic understanding of how future technologies can improve population as well as government needs…
Part 2 takes us to our next speaker, Ismael Pena I Lopez, Director General for Public Participation, Secretariat for Transparency & Open Government who will take us through the journey of a e-participation citizen.
Written by @Stephane Rodicq