Situated on the bay of Naples and guarded by the still-active volcano Mount Vesuvius, Napoli, a city in southern Italy is rising again with the help of Blockchain technology. If you happen to be a historical fiction reader, “Last Days of Pompeii” was probably one of your childhood summer reads. Does that ring a bell? Yes, it’s the historic town which was once famous for gladiators. It still boasts of the ruins of Roman glory. Napoli and Pompeii are neighbors and some years after, one of them would soon be the center of attraction for cryptocurrency geeks and technology fanatics.
The “Commune Di Napoli” in its official website has recently declared that a “focus group” would be created and its focus will be to “develop and eventually implement objectives related to blockchain technology”(in Italian). After the news went online, a significant number of scholars, experts, professionals, and enthusiasts have signed up as the volunteers of the program. Currently, there are 300 enthusiastic participants eagerly waiting for it to begin.
An associate of the mayor of Naples, Mr. Felice Balsamo has explained one of the very first institutional projects in Italy in an interview to the cointelegraph website. Felice’s confident speech about ICOs, cryptocurrencies and blockchain made it quite clear that the Italian government is committed to the project.
The project was first sketched in December. After six months of hard work, the administration department has found a group of dedicated students, engineers, developers, lawyers, accountants and spokespeople to work with integrity to achieve a blockchain based ecosystem. This will be specifically targeted towards governmental work.
The central theme of this project is to maintain “transparency” in government works. The group of volunteers will examine and create possible solutions for birth records, elections and public administration whereas another group will be dealing with the issue of transparency from a different angle. Apparently, the group will start out with public administration related jobs but will slowly migrate towards achieving a more stable economy that involves domestic and international business investments.
Among other goals, the group wants to train small and large enterprises about the usage and advantages of Blockchains and deliver more knowledge about cryptocurrency payment systems. Further, it wants to develop a healthy partnership among other active or aware cities of different countries including Spain, Portugal, Argentina, and Venezuela.
Rumor has it, the city will conduct fundraising programs for nurturing the projects and also creating an ICO to run in the city. Aimed at establishing an ICO for native projects and local transactions, the planned ICO can bloom into internationally accepted crypto coins in near future.
Though the blueprint of this large-scale city project seems lucrative, it also has a lot of challenges that come free with it. One of them is to maintain a standardized cryptocurrency transaction platform. The city council receives donations from various sources. Maintaining a blockchain based cryptocurrency exchange service is of primary importance, as per Mayor’s representative. To address the situation, The Italian Agency of Revenue (Agenzia delle Entrate — the governmental body aimed at collecting taxes and revenue) has also participated in the consortium.
Vision of the Mayor
The below mentioned section is taken from a part of interview with Luigi de Magistris, mayor of Naples.
Cointelegraph: Do you think these new technologies could be beneficial for an economy such as that of Naples?
Luigi de Magistris: Naples is considered the capital of the Mediterranean. In the last years we introduced important innovations in the field of administration, implementing a proper grassroots democracy. Just think of all our decisions considered innovative, such as the registry for civil partnerships we introduced, or the collective use of public assets: our experience is considered an example by many Italian and European cities. We were the first major city to issue an electronic ID through 24 registration ATMs.
Thinking about an economy based on blockchain, based on participation by the people, could be a valid solution for the regulatory and historical constraints of traditional finance.
Combining traditional economy with a new economy based on cryptocurrencies could lead to a huge economic potential for over 3.5 million residents of the metropolitan city of Naples.
Cointelegraph: What’s the purpose of “generating, distributing and using a new cryptocurrency (ICO) tied to the economy of the city,” as you can read on the official page of Naples City?
Luigi de Magistris: I have to say something first. In the last few years Naples has become the Italian city with the fastest-growing tourism sector, our airport is the first in terms of traffic, Naples is the most searched city for tourism on the web. This revolution, which happened in just a few years, involves the adjustment of supply and demand. This means improving our services and public transportation, experimenting with innovative payment systems, attracting a very different target, deploying an alternative system for electronic payments throughout the territory.
We are studying other [Italian] towns like Rovereto, or other cities in Europe like Barcelona, or Portugal, or our neighbor Switzerland. But in our case we want to open this new technology to cryptocurrency owners, generating a new economy in the city, regardless of whether we develop a new currency or not: this will be a long process, as shown by over 300 experts who signed up for our “public calling” from all over the world.
We want to involve trader associations and businesses in our city, that could expand their market thanks to the current availability of cryptocurrencies.
The creation of our ICO, in compliance with other programs already existing in Europe, could be one of the objectives of our project Napoli Autonoma [Autonomous Naples].
Our economy will be based on the specific historical features of the city, fueling a real economy based on our products, on the quality of our craftsmanship, on tourism, on our monuments, on our food. An economy based on the historical and social value of the city of Naples.
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It’s a known fact that the future will grow on the grounds of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. Among other cities, Barcelona administration wishes to establish a digital center for escalating the growth and development of the blockchain ecosystem whereas, in Dubai, a virtual business-to-business market in the pipeline was developed in a bid to improve tourism industry that is based on blockchain technology.