It's Not Unicorns, It's Local Geniuses - Web3's Quiet Revolution in the Global South

It's Not Unicorns, It's Local Geniuses - Web3's Quiet Revolution in the Global South

Web3 promises to uplift the Global South. But it's missing one critical piece.

It's Not Unicorns, It's Local Geniuses - Web3's Quiet Revolution in the Global South

Table of Contents

One of the most often repeated mantras in web3 is its promise to “bank the unbanked.” It’s a promise to offer digital services to millions of people who haven’t been served by web3’s brick-and-mortar counterparts — albeit in a decentralized and individually empowering way. This is especially relevant when we’re talking about the Global South: countries in Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.

But, can we say that this promise has been little more than an altruistic narrative for the industry?

Web3 is part of a broader effort to bridge the "technological gap" that exists in these regions. This initiative begins with establishing the necessary infrastructure and education. Ultimately, the success of web3 in the Global South relies on supporting local developers and their projects.

Exploring Tangible Impact – Real Use Cases for Web3

Many countries in the Global South face limitations with traditional systems and infrastructure, but web3 and decentralized technologies offer innovative solutions to longstanding challenges in areas like finance, healthcare, and supply chains.

Web3 enthusiasts in these regions are leveraging blockchain to create more inclusive and equitable systems tailored to local needs. For example, DeFi projects like Wala and AZA Finance are improving access to financial services in Africa by providing low-cost banking, lending, and cross-border payments.

The Iris Network uses blockchain for secure digital identities, helping underserved populations access essential resources like healthcare more easily. Blockchain also enhances transparency and record-keeping for healthcare providers.

In industries plagued by opacity and exploitation, like agriculture and manufacturing, blockchain ensures product traceability and ethical sourcing. Web3 governance models enable direct community participation in decision-making, empowering marginalized groups.

The Importance of Web3 Education

One explanation for this boom is that physical infrastructure projects that provide internet access across these regions are common and well-funded. Internet penetration has been on the rise in these regions with African countries like Nigeria leading the way with the largest number of new users.

But infrastructure is only half of the equation. The goal of sharing the benefits of internet connectivity goes hand in hand with education around its use cases and how these novel technologies can improve quality of life. Web3 education should be a fundamental part of these efforts.

A major barrier to web3 growth in the Global South has been limited access to quality developer education. To tackle this, an increasing number of protocols are expanding their presence in these regions. Their aim is to provide an environment where aspiring developers can learn web3 skills and advance their expertise without obstacles. By investing in educational resources and supportive communities, these initiatives hope to cultivate the next generation of web3 talent from the Global South.

On the Ground Stories

The web3 ecosystem in Africa is rapidly expanding, driven by amazing communities tirelessly supporting developer growth. Organizations like DLT Africa provide cohort-based learning focused on full-stack development and building projects for real-world use cases. HER DAO and Web3Ladies concentrate on empowering women in web3 by equipping them with relevant blockchain skills.

There are a growing number of events especially event models that enable a more conducive environment for developers to learn, explore and excel in blockchain.

A great example of this is Web3Bridge, a program created in 2019 to train Web3 developers in Africa. They regularly partner with leading Web3 projects to onboard local developers, most recently partnering with Cartesi for a masterclass in Lagos. The team led an educational effort where participants in a web3 Masterclass developed all kinds of projects using the Cartesi tech stack for 4 weeks.

These initiatives reflect the region's determination to foster web3 talent despite challenges. As more projects invest in educational resources and local dev communities, it unlocks a wave of new opportunities. Africa's web3 future is bright, limited only by the imagination of its rising developer force.

By prioritizing hands-on training tailored to real-world applications, these communities nurture expertise and drive innovation across DeFi, identity management, supply chains, and beyond. Their efforts ensure the Global South can contribute to and benefit from web3's transformative potential.

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