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Web3 in Europe: A Roadmap for True Digital Sovereignty?

by Sophie Smith

The European Union (EU) is leading the way in the development of Web3, the next generation of the internet. Web3 aims to create a secure and decentralized system that gives users and organizations control over their privacy and network systems, thereby addressing the imbalance of power currently held by big tech firms.

The EU has long been committed to prioritizing personal privacy and digital sovereignty. It was the first to implement data protection regulations, and digital sovereignty is a common theme within its policies such as GDPR, the Digital Markets Act, and the Digital Services Act. However, these policies often face criticism for potentially hampering innovation and international collaboration.

Web3 technology addresses the main problem of centralized networks by allowing users to control their data and build their own network systems. European leaders are pioneering Web3 technologies to preserve digital sovereignty without impeding progress.

The growth of blockchain legislation in the EU is also contributing to the advancement of Web3. The European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI) leverages blockchain to create cross-border services that verify information and make services trustworthy. It uses a network of distributed nodes and cross-border applications to exchange data and verify credentials. The EU has also passed comprehensive crypto regulation known as the Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) regulation, providing legal certainty for the crypto industry.

Web3 presents new economic opportunities for Europe. The acquisition of London-based nChain for €516m showcases the economic benefits that Web3 can bring. nChain’s patents have a global influence on the cryptocurrency market and corporate offerings. Web3 is also creating new revenue streams for legacy corporations, such as German engineering firm Bosch’s collaboration with the EU and blockchain companies to develop a decentralized IoT mobility network.

Europe’s embrace of Web3 could solidify its position on the global innovation scale. By creating the necessary frameworks and infrastructure, European policymakers are empowering a dynamic world of web services that leverage innovation for collective benefit.

Like any natural evolution, Web3 builds on the progress made while addressing the challenges of the digital era. Europe offers a glimpse into a future where digital sovereignty and innovation go hand in hand, leading the way in embracing the potential of Web3.

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