Jean-Noël Barrot, minister delegate in charge of the digital transition and telecommunications, was invited to X Day, the crypto event organized by Elrond blockchain in Paris. Numerama met him.
” France is ‘the place to be‘ for cryptos and metaverse “. This is how Jean-Noël Barrot, minister delegate responsible for the digital transition and telecommunications, chose to open his speech. The minister was invited to X Day, an event organized by Elrond blockchain in Paris on November 3, 2022. In addition to recalling France’s interest in the crypto ecosystem, Jean-Noël Barrot showed above all his enthusiasm for Web3 and Metaverse.The minister is sure: Web3 will help make the Internet a better place “.
However, the game is far from over. Web3, a decentralized version of the Internet, is based on blockchain technology (a technology highly valued by tech entrepreneurs but still little used by the public). As for the metaverse, it struggles to gather enough users to be profitable and currently remains an ever-distant dream.
Numerama was able to discuss with Jean-Noël Barrot the government’s plans for Web3 and the metaverse. It shows that, despite the sector’s difficult beginnings, the government believes in these two new technologies – and wants to make France a ” global focal point of the domain.
France must not “let the Web3 train pass”
” Web3 is one of the trends that will redraw the contours of tomorrow’s Internet “, says Jean-Noël Barrot, ” and it will undoubtedly make it possible to correct some of the imperfections of the previous generation of the Internet, which was partly privatized by digital giants. There is promise in Web3 that a number of these security, privacy and interoperability issues can be addressed.. »
This is one of the declared goals of the famous Web3: to allow a freer model of the Internet, where giants like GAFA would no longer have so much weight, where privacy would be respected and where users would enjoy decision-making power thanks to cryptocurrencies.
However, there are many points of criticism. Jack Dorsey, the creator of Twitter, believes that it is a version of the web with “ a financial vision of the Internet, strongly supported by investors and [crypto] speculative currencies “, and that in the end it would just be a” centralized device with a different brand. »
However, Jean-Noël Barrot believes that he “ is important that Europe and France […] are active, rather than letting the Web3 bandwagon pass, and that the decision centers are not located in Europe. The minister cites the internet and artificial intelligence, two areas where France would not have been successful in making its voice heard enough, and which is doing so today ” depending on powers outside the EU “.
The France 2030 investment plan, which the Élysée launched, should precisely correspond to the government’s ambition to place itself at the forefront of the Web3 sector, the minister reminds.
The Metaverse Will “Solve Problems”
It is not only in Web3 that the government wants to position itself. NFTs and the metaverse are the government’s other big ambitions. Emmanuel Macron had already raised the issue during his campaign and expressed his desire to create a ” European Metaverse and the government announced its willingness to invest in the NFT sector. Recently, a report on Metaverse, commissioned by the government and written by several researchers, best illustrated management’s attraction to technology.
But with NFT sales plummeting and the metaverse still struggling to find users, is it really a good idea for the government to invest in the space? ” There are cycles “, ups and downs, recognizes Jean-Noël Barrot.
There are also the many issues raised by Metaverse and Web3 in terms of environmental impact and privacy protection. ” The metaverse opens up a number of new questions and issues that raise legitimate concerns that we need to address he says. But, “ the desirability of metaverses will come with awareness of their abilities to solve health or environmental problems “. How could they help solve these problems? We don’t know anymore.
Above all, for Jean-Noël Barrot, the question is not so much about the use of these technologies. ” The goal we have is to ensure that France masters a number of the technological bricks of the Web3 and the metaverse like blockchains and immersive technologies. Either with ” Dassault Systeme’s digital twins “or even with video games” whose motors create immersive spaces France wants to develop skills in these advanced technologies “.
Ultimately, the government remains convinced that the metaverse and NFTs are part of the technologies of the future. ” It is important for France not to miss these revolutions, to choose them more than to undergo them. “. And for that you must make the land “ a global hub for Web3 “. It is not yet clear how the government will manage to do this – but the recent installation of Binance and Crypto.com in Paris is a sign that the message has got through to crypto-entrepreneurs.