Maine needs to cultivate the Web3 industry

By: Opinion Contributor
November 26, 2023

Our digital landscape of finance and technology is undergoing transformative changes, and Maine’s positive engagement with and support of Web3 technology businesses and workers alike would be timely, wise and lucrative.

You may ask, what is Web3? It is an emerging paradigm that aims to shift control from centralized authorities back to individuals and is often referred to as the decentralized web. Rooted in innovative disruptive technologies like blockchain, DeFi (decentralized finance) and cryptocurrencies, it is a global trend that is about preserving and expanding freedom, options, utility and security of our digital environment.

So, why would Maine want to foster the growth of Web3 technology businesses, including the cultivation of skilled workers for that industry? Because financial technology, including Web3, is a multibillion-dollar industry generating waves of change, with huge opportunities for entrepreneurs, investors, computer programmers, salespeople and more. This activity directly stimulates widely sought after objectives including job growth, business investment and tax revenues.

Maine has a nascent but not insignificant cluster of Web3 technology businesses. This emerging cluster of small to mid-sized businesses is proving to deliver — both in terms of technological innovations but also jobs and taxable revenues. I know this, because my company is one of them. Let us lean into this momentum with constructive support of this burgeoning industry.

Supporting this high-growth industry represents a significant first step forward for Maine’s technology and entrepreneur sectors for several reasons. First, it fosters innovation and entrepreneurship. Second, support for blockchain startups, digital artists and developers nurtures a creative ecosystem that attracts talent and investment, ultimately driving economic growth. Third, Maine has long searched for answers to attracting younger talent. Engagement in these new technologies can attract younger workers and foster a more diverse workforce.

Beyond the financial and economic significance, Web3 empowers individuals by enabling them control and self-custody of their data, assets and digital identities, versus relinquishing control to tech giants. It aligns with Maine’s values of self-reliance and community. Maine has long been a state known for its fierce independence and strong work ethic. By empowering individual approaches to data security and online activities, we can enhance the collective internet experience. It also makes it an essential consideration in today’s world of increasing digital threats.

Finally, Maine’s embrace of Web3 can help build resilience in the face of centralized systems’ vulnerabilities. In real time these days, we’re seeing colossal breaches and failures of centralized banks, exchanges and financial providers. By leveraging blockchain and DeFi-based solutions, we may permanently address longstanding conflicts of interest, security attack vectors and shrinking consumer choices, which are all problems inherent to a system made up of a few centralized providers. Consider a future with authenticated voting systems, the ability to secure and control your own health care records, choices for the type of money you use, more interest-bearing passive income opportunities and countless other possibilities that Web3 is already beginning to unlock.

Maine’s commitment to Web3 should be a forward-thinking approach that positions our state at the forefront of technological advancement. Blockchain is coming and today Maine has the opportunity to embrace the future and be part of transforming the online experience while encouraging transformative economic development.

In years past, there were few prospects for workers to land a great job in the technology sector if living outside of the tech hubs of Boston, San Francisco or Austin, for example. Today, given that remote working is now mainstream, many young people demand opportunities and the ability to live in places with a higher quality of life.

As a lifelong Mainer, I chose to grow into the expanding and exciting field of blockchain with its infinite possibilities. The fact that I could do so, while living and raising a family in Maine and making an impact on the future of digital assets and technology, is an outcome I could only have dreamed of 10 years ago. Today it is reality, and one that can be replicated for the next generation of workers looking to make a difference globally while investing locally.

With its rich history of innovation, Maine can work to not just keep pace with the evolving digital landscape but help shape it. The potential benefits for our state, its residents and the technology community at large are vast, the potential benefits of embracing a growing industry and attracting young workers are equally as exciting. I encourage our congressional delegation and state legislators to help facilitate this blossoming global industry

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