Barcelona calls for a plural and citizen-owned metaverse

Catalonia hosts the main international congress on technopolitics

Record participation in the Democracy4All event 2021, with more than 70 speakers and presenters diving deep into blockchain impact on 12 principles of good democratic governance in the digital age

Quirze Salomó: "we have to empower the population to prevent big corporations from ruling not only our physical but also our virtual reality"

The magnificent venue Casa Llotja de Mar has hosted for two days the international reference event in the sector of technopolitics: Democracy4All, the conference organised by the CBCat (Centre Blockchain of Catalonia). More than half a thousand people from around the globe followed over thirty keynotes, panel discussions and workshops on the hottest and most relevant topics around digital governance. More than 70 speakers uncovered the impact that blockchain technology can have on each of the 12 principles of Good Democratic Governance formulated by the Council of Europe. The event, in a hybrid format, could be followed both in person and online, raising many inspiring and insightful conversations among all the participants both online and within the walls of the Llotja.

"The purpose of this conference is to discuss the latest developments in politics and technology, especially blockchain," states Quirze Salomó, executive president of the CBCat, "recently, Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has announced its intention to become the metaverse of global reference," adds Salomó, "we have been talking about metaverses for some time now, virtual realities that, thanks to new technologies, offer more and more possibilities for leisure, work, social relations... The important issue here is to see who is in charge of these virtual realities: we have to empower the population, to prevent large corporations from ruling not only our physical reality, but also the virtual one, the metaverse".

The president of the CBCat called for action to "prevent the metaverses from falling into the hands of large corporations, and called for citizens to be empowered to know how to govern these digital spaces. Blockchain is the tool to improve the quality of social democracy; it will soon enable utopian democracies to become a reality".

The conference began with a minute of silence in honour of John McAfee, who was one of the most famous speakers at Democracy4All, and continued with over thirty panels and keynotes led by experts and prominent entrepreneurs from all over the globe. More than seventy speakers took the stage at Democracy4All, including John Denton, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Helen Köpman, leader of the blockchain and innovation unit of the European Commission, and Vit Jedlicka, president of the Liberland micronation. In addition, there were representatives from more than a hundred companies, both local (i.e. Vocdoni, Validated ID and Scytl) and international (i.e. Nozama, Decentology and BSV Blockchain).

"The growth of blockchain has been exponential around the world and also in Catalonia, which is home to some of the world's best digital democracy projects", according to Vasilisa Marinchuk, Managing Director of the Democracy4All conference, and International Relations Director at CBCat, "this is why the event is being held in this city. The goal of this year was to demonstrate that blockchain is becoming an essential component of digital governance with it’s many applications. In the near future we will see very real applications of blockchain used in democratic processes and everything will hinge on the proper implementation of the digital identity in European Union as well as all around the world". The director of the congress stressed that once digital identity powered by blockchain technology becomes a reality for the majority of the states, "many democratic and participatory processes will be encouraged".

With regard to the future, both representatives of the CBCat believe that it will now be possible to move towards systems of "direct and liquid democracy" where the citizens "become the legislative power of democracy, with people voting for the policies and initiatives rather than for the policymakers and representatives". Overall, the organisation of Democracy4All celebrates the success of participation and attendance, and has announced that it intends to grow even more next year.