Metaverse Blog

Exploring the Metaverse: Enhancing Public Services for Citizens

In a recent discussion with Prof. Dr. Naseem Naqvi, the President of The British Blockchain Association, we delved into the subjects of the Istanbul Fintech Week (IFW), the association itself, and the implications of the metaverse for both utilities and citizens.

The metaverse emerged as a standout topic within blockchain technology last year, attracting attention through various projects, despite occasionally sparking debate. Platforms like The Sandbox and Decentraland have been at the forefront, suggesting the metaverse’s potential to become a significant resource for citizens and public services worldwide.

Prof. Dr. Naqvi shared insights during a session titled ‘Metaverse for Citizens and Public Services’ at the Istanbul Fintech Week, discussing the role of the metaverse in enhancing public utilities and services for citizens.

Question: What is The British Blockchain Association doing? Can you tell us a little about what you do?

Exploring the Metaverse: Enhancing Public Services for Citizens

Prof. Dr. Naseem Naqvi shared that the British Blockchain Association (BBA), founded in 2017, stands as the premier global industry body promoting the evidence-based adoption of Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT). The BBA has been instrumental in crafting the UK’s ‘National Blockchain Roadmap’ and is renowned for publishing The JBBA – the Journal of The British Blockchain Association. This journal is notable for being the world’s first peer-reviewed publication dedicated to blockchain research, available both in print and online.

The association’s efforts extend to various other initiatives, including the establishment of the Evidence-Based Blockchain Center (CEBB), the first industry think tank of its kind focused on developing evidence-based applications for blockchain and crypto assets. Additionally, the BBA oversees the Blockchain Associations Forum (BAF), a global forum encompassing blockchain associations from 53 countries, offers BBA Scholarships (FBBA), organizes Blockchain International Scientific Conferences (ISCs), among other blockchain-related activities.

In a groundbreaking move last year, the BBA announced the establishment of its headquarters in the metaverse, becoming the world’s first blockchain industry association to take such a step in the web3 space.

As the founding chairman of the BBA, Prof. Dr. Naqvi is tasked with guiding the association’s long-term vision and strategic mission, providing significant value to its members, partners, and the broader blockchain ecosystem. Earlier this year, his contributions to blockchain and Web3 technologies were recognized with a King’s Honor in the UK.

Question: You will give a speech as part of Istanbul Fintech Week. What do you think about the importance of the event in terms of blockchain technology? Do you think such events are important to increase adoption?

Exploring the Metaverse: Enhancing Public Services for Citizens

Prof. Dr. Naseem Naqvi pointed out that many fintech events often fall short in terms of quality. He highlighted the importance of the quality and relevance of speakers to the program and the broader ecosystem as critical factors for organizing an event. Such considerations ensure that attendees have a high-quality experience and that the event achieves its intended impact. Prof. Dr. Naqvi commended the organizers for their excellent work on the Istanbul Fintech Week (IFW) and expressed his anticipation for attending the event. He also noted the growing significance of fintech within the Web3 and metaverse economies, emphasizing the necessity of understanding fintech as a “tool for goodness” for the pragmatic adoption of blockchain technologies.

Question: You will be giving a talk on ‘Metaverse for Citizens and Public Services’ at Istanbul Fintech Week. What will you tell here? What are the headlines of your speech?

Exploring the Metaverse: Enhancing Public Services for Citizens

Prof. Dr. Naseem Naqvi: “We stand at the threshold of a new era in public service, where crafting a metaverse centered around citizens presents a formidable yet immensely rewarding challenge for governments and the public sector. This was a key message I conveyed during a metaverse keynote in India. If implemented effectively, the Metaverse promises to deliver significant benefits for nations for many years ahead.

Two years ago, we designed an infographic that encapsulates the open metaverse economy, highlighting three pivotal enablers: technology, creators, and finance. Additionally, this infographic delineates seven essential elements, including permanence, a user-centric economy, open-source principles, accessibility, and interoperability.

In my upcoming talk, I will unveil further insights from our latest work on the metaverse ecosystem. I’ll also outline strategies for companies, governments, and policymakers, offering a global perspective on the applied metaverse. To hear more, you’ll need to join my session in Istanbul!”

Question: How important is attending IFW for The British Blockchain Association?

Prof. Dr. Naseem Naqvi: “International cooperation lies at the core of our long-term strategy. The JBBA boasts editors hailing from 74 countries, the BBA’s Blockchain Associations Forum includes 53 member associations from 48 countries, and the BBA’s Evidence-Based Blockchain Center is supported by members and advisors across 41 countries. Among the 12 languages in which we publish our infographics, Turkish is a significant one. We eagerly anticipate joining the IFW community and initiating meaningful conversations with the Turkish fintech community.”

Question: What are the uses of blockchain technology in public services? How far can it expand, does it have an end?

Prof. Dr. Naseem Naqvi: “Public trust in social infrastructures and central institutions is waning. To suggest that blockchain technology will significantly impact utilities is to greatly understate its potential. Governments and public sector entities worldwide are delving into how blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) can influence daily strategic operations and reshape long-term public service delivery. Blockchain is transforming the government’s role in service provision, information dissemination, and citizen interaction in a secure, immutable, auditable, and efficient way.

A key recommendation from the UK National Blockchain Roadmap, authored by the BBA in 2021, is the evaluation of blockchain applications’ effects on society and public services. Various governments globally have ventured into applications such as land registry (in Georgia, UK, Sweden, India, South Africa), digital identity management (Switzerland, Estonia, Luxembourg), birth certificates (Brazil), immigration (Finland), organ donation and transplant (UAE), taxation (China), among others. An instance of this adoption includes the exploration by company registration departments into using DLT for processing firms’ registration data, as revealed in research published in the JBBA.

Very recently, a proposal by the BBA to investigate blockchain’s utility for electronic voting was introduced as a bill in the UK Parliament.”

Question: Is Metaverse just a hype? How do you see the Metaverse?

Prof. Dr. Naseem Naqvi: “The citizens of tomorrow are already navigating today’s metaverse. The British Blockchain Association takes pride in leading numerous ‘world-first’ metaverse initiatives, distinguishing ourselves as the inaugural not-for-profit blockchain industry association to set up its headquarters within the metaverse. We’ve disseminated blockchain research findings pertinent to the metaverse and host regular events in this space, where our members and partners can network, connect, and delve into the future of web3 in a setting that is simultaneous, persistent, and immersive. Our Metaverse headquarters has been officially recognized as a ‘point of interest’ within the metaverse, an accolade awarded to locations that have demonstrated an active engagement through hosting events, fostering community, showcasing leadership, promoting education, encouraging collaboration, and driving innovation.”

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