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“The most valuable thing about Ethereum is the community that is ready to help.”

October 28, 2020

Juan David Reyes is co-organizer of Ethereum Bogotá and co-founder of Cointelegraph en Español spoke to him in Colombia to find out his vision of blockchain technology and Ethereum.

Fernando Quirós (FQ): What potential does blockchain technology have in Latin America?

Juan David Reyes (JDR): We Latin Americans share a common context and in some cases face similar challenges. Blockchain technology can help us solve coordination problems, especially when trust between participants is the biggest challenge. I see the blockchain as a protocol of trust that, thanks to its technical advantages, can have a positive impact on people’s lives.

“The most valuable thing about Ethereum is the community that is ready to help.”
“The most valuable thing about Ethereum is the community that is ready to help.”

QQ: And the Ethereum network in particular?

JDR: If we understand Ethereum as a programmable money and coordination tool on a global level, we can create new forms of interaction in which we can incorporate a level of value.

The inclusion of this level opens up the possibility that previously non-cooperative games can become cooperative scenarios. A tool that helps us to get out of suboptimal equilibria, typical of the “prisoner’s dilemma” or the “tragedy of the community”. Put simply, makes it easy to build trust in a digital world.

Beyond the technical details The most valuable thing about Ethereum is the community that is ready to help. A space where the rarest ideas are accepted. And not only that. It is also advertised to do things that were unthinkable in the logic of web2. All through a group of people who share common ideals and put on the hat I once had as an economist. The Ethereum is not Adam Smith’s invisible hand, but rather the arms and legs that give the coordination power to avoid the inherent failures of centralized systems.

QQ: What do you think of the regulatory attempts?

JDR: I believe that by now the legislature in Colombia understands the importance of the debate on these issues. In the case of Colombia, there are two pieces of current news that give hope for a slightly more harmonious future for the use of blockchain in the financial sector.

The first was the introduction of the Financial Sandbox by the Superintendency, which allowed transactions over cryptocurrencies in a controlled environment for financial companies to present rules, requirements and procedures. The second is the bill regulating crypto asset platforms. Here I highlight the words of Congressman Mauricio Toro, who puts the issue on the table: “Non-regulation endangers competitiveness, lack of investment and development in science, technology and innovation.“It cannot be synthesized any better and I hope that this effort will pay off.

QQ: How did the Ethereum Bogotá Community come about and what are you doing?

JDR: It arose from the interest that we have with my colleague Emilio Silva in talking about this technology. We want to create an open space that focuses on the technical part. We organize monthly discussions on a topic and try to create spaces in which people can put what they have learned into practice.

We program with Ethereum’s own tools. We are also in contact with churches across Latin America. We are building bridges and want to use the pandemic as an opportunity to run synchronized virtual events.

QQ: Do you think smart contracts will play an important role? In which areas?

JDR: The smart thing about contracts isn’t that they’re smart per se. In Colombia, the creation of obligations was already recognized in Law 527 of 1999, that is, it allowed the recognition of the freedom of form and the validity of contracts made through data messages. In fact, most contracts are born electronically. Therefore, these are relevant in that they are used in environments where trust and coordination of many agents is required.

In general, the disintermediation of markets such as art, logistics or finance has emerged as the first use cases. However, I’m more motivated by public uses, for example adding transparency to government contracts can be revolutionary.

QQ: What do you think of Ethereum 2.0?

JDR: This year was one of the big steps in improving the scalability of the network. The tests with Medalla, Spadina, and others were experiments to learn how to make this transition hand in hand with the community.

The address for depositing 32 ETH will be announced shortly for those who wish to have a validation node. Hence it is important to have the correct source for this use.

In view of the explosive use of DeFi projects, I also see the use of Layer 2 solutions as a positive consequence, which has expanded the use cases. I like this kind of innovation that, given the DeFi summer congestion, has encouraged the creation of solutions that will keep evolving.

QQ: Devcon will have its own edition in Colombia. How do you prepare for it?

JDR: That’s something we’re really excited about! It is a unique opportunity for the region to create community on the way to this important event as the 4 days of August and other related activities that will take place in Bogotá will be important. Most important, however, is how to get to Devcon 6 and what will happen next.

Our mission as community leaders in Latam is to create a fertile environment for collaboration, creation, and education around Ethereum.

The pandemic, on the other hand, forced us to hold virtual events, which enabled us to build bridges between communities in other countries. That is why we are creating a fraternity between communities that makes this event an ideal place for people interested in Latam.

QQ: What is your role as a community?

JDR: Our job is to train more people who understand how to implement the tools that make blockchain work. More training is required not only for technical profiles, which are most in demand at the beginning, for designers. From then on, many professions will adapt to this new way of interacting on the Internet.

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