Bringing Latinos into the Future: Our Generation’s Opportunity to Change the Face of Web 3.0
As a woman, Latina, and CEO of a nonprofit organization, I’m used to being in rooms where I don’t see a single person who looks like me. This is a problem to be solved for future generations. As I learn more about Web 3.0, I am wondering where the Latino community is in this space and why women are underrepresented. From conferences on cryptocurrencies and NFTs, to events focused on virtual reality and the Metaverse, I found that very few projects involved Latino communities or Latinos more specifically.
Since these Web 3.0 tools are fairly new and most people are still trying to understand what they are, let alone how they can be used to generate income and create a better quality of life, the problem with this division in technology it may not be obvious. However, as we saw with the birth of computers and later the Internet, we learned that late starters often have trouble catching up with technology and reaping its benefits later. According to the Pew Research Center, “Approximately a quarter of adults with a household income of less than $30,000 a year (24%) say they don’t own a smartphone. Roughly four in ten adults earning less than $30,000 a year do not have broadband services at home (43%) or a desktop or laptop computer (41%)… “while” each of these technologies is ubiquitous among adults in households earning $100,000 or more a year.”
We already know that from a cryptocurrency consumer point of view, Latino communities are interested in cryptocurrency. A survey by Morning Consultant found that almost a quarter of cryptocurrency users in the United States are Latino. Perhaps it is because our communities have been left behind by traditional banking institutions, or because of the lack of options for sending “remittances”, or sending money across borders. This apparent consumer-side interest in cryptocurrency demonstrates that there is a real need for our Latino communities.
For young Californians, Web 3.0 is the future of work, of how we socialize, how we learn, how we transact, and how we live our daily lives. Why then is this not talked about in schools? Why does the government take the time to integrate these technologies into our daily lives instead of making them more accessible so that they are equitable for all? Instead of just discussing cryptocurrency regulation, we should be discussing integration
Education is extremely important to my family. When I was three years old, my family and I emigrated from Mexico to the United States. My family moved to the cheapest house they could find in the best school district to give me a good education. We lived in a one-bedroom house behind the farm where we worked to make ends meet.
Facing adversity at a young age inspired me to found Celebration Nation, a non-profit organization focused on helping the Latino community and farmworkers through donations of food, household supplies, baby necessities and much more. We have grown to serve meals to 10,000 people each month.
We are now embarking on our greatest journey as a nonprofit: building our own metaverse to educate Latino youth. Our metaverse includes a museum and a university, in which we plan to create a decentralized education system so that students can learn how to earn NFTs. We plan to open a resource center in Monterey County for youth and provide virtual reality goggles to access the Metaverse. If students are interested in joining the program, we will provide them with scholarships where they will learn how to buy and sell their first NFT. They will also be taught how to handle blockchain technology.
California has been the heart of technology for decades. This is due, in large part, to the strength of our academics, our workforce, and the government that creates policies to drive innovation. From our state elected officials, to our local cities, we must push for policies that not only spur innovation, but also inclusion and equity. We must prioritize marginalized communities that have not traditionally had access to technology so that they can also participate in the Web 3.0 revolution.
As this technology advances, more jobs will be available for those who know how to use it. Our schools and our elected officials should focus on cryptocurrency, blockchain technology, and the metaverse to ensure these new technologies are taught to our young people so that we can build a pathway to future job opportunities. The time to do so is now, as these spaces are developing rapidly, to ensure Californians are not left behind.
For me, this is personal. By being proactive, building my own metaverse community, and teaching what I know to the next generation, I know I’m doing everything I can to ensure girls who look like me have to be alone in fewer rooms in the future.
Flor Martínez is the founder and CEO of the Celebration Nation Foundation.