The digital revolution is in full swing in ancient Rome, where a party founded less than a decade ago, around the same time as bitcoin, has sealed a deal to rule Italy.
The coalition agreement between Five Stars and the far-right North League mentions digital 12 times, blockchain only once where it says:
“It is necessary to invest in developing technological innovation in the supply of financial services and products (blockchain and FinTech), also in order to guarantee greater transparency in financial transactions.”
That’s only the surface of what this party aims to achieve where digital maters are concerned, for they are unlike any other party that is to rule one of the world’s biggest economy.
Formed on the internet in 2009, they have direct democracy. People log into an online portal, then vote on candidate matters or on issues, as well as propose and discuss them.
Five Star Movement’s voting portal.
Participate in change. Make your voice heard through Rousseau, the portal’s name. So the above says. While the agreement has this reward and acknowledgement to the role the internet played:
“The principle of digital citizenship should be introduced from birth, providing free access to the Internet for each citizen.
It is also essential to introduce an effective system for assessing the performances of the public administration as a whole, of the personnel and of the public management, also through the involvement of the users.”
Digitization will be front and center. That means blockchain too. Davide Casaleggio, one of the top leaders of the Five Star Movement, says:
“We are already working on new projects. One, above all, is to apply blockchain technologies to online voting. This will allow a decentralized certification of every online vote.”
That too is just scratching the surface. They’re cryptonians, or at least crypto friendly. Luigi Di Maio, who may soon become Italy’s Prime Minister, we have previously described as:
“A geek, some call the 31 year old Di Maio, who started his youth first as an engineering graduate, then jurisprudence, then a webmaster.”
While an Italian crypto media, under the title of “The secret weapon of the M5S: Bitcoin” says:
“Many of these speak with technical language, others driven only by profound intolerance towards the world banking system.”
We’ll have to go centuries or at least decades for another likewise event which can’t really be called anything else but a peaceful revolution.
The previously established political parties have been decimated in Italy. The now soon to rule party can’t even be called a party in the traditional sense.
“We live in a ‘post-ideological phase,’ an age in which the failure and inadequacy of 20th century ideology has become evident to the people, who are disenchanted by concepts like socialism, communism, fascism, capitalism, and even ‘left’ and ‘right’.”
That’s what they believe, with their guiding principles being what you hear an ordinary man or woman down the street complain of. Anti-corruption, anti-revolving doors, anti-career politicians, anti-one rule for the rich and another for the rest.
The context of this revolt is Italy’s descent into the sick man of Europe. The country is deep in debt. Their young have been leaving to Britain or elsewhere. Jobs fewer and fewer, while at the same time the country is at the frontline for entrance to Europe.
That makes this one of the most optimistic and hopeful times for Italy, and yet one of the most dangerous. Populism untampered can quickly become chaos. Dreams, far too often, can turn into nightmares.
Yet these are Italians. Envious of Britain and America. Keen for more capitalism. Annoyed they are falling behind, to technology they look for salvation.
That means the country may soon become the most crypto friendly nation on earth. They’ll probably soon want to speak to Estonia, and learn from their significant advancements. From Switzerland too, their neighbor. Perhaps even from Britain.
With keys to all things and a full mandate, the birthplace of finance could soon transform itself to play a role in what some say is a technological renaissance.
Yet, with so much to do, distraction could soon be found, or indecision paralysis. The two dangers here are their treatment of immigrants, which can easily go wrong and overshadow everything they do, give those that want to see them fail an easy excuse.
The perhaps even bigger danger is their relationship with Germany. Merkel and Di Maio are decades apart. One, a millennial, the other, a baby boomer.
Italy feels ill done by EU. Merkel feels it her duty to preserve it. Both will want to work together, but miscalculations on either side can be far too easy to see.
The danger here is more for Germany. The young there are itching for their own movement to join the other millennials. In Britain, in America, in Italy it has been peaceful. In Germany they have settled for continuity.
With so much instability around, continuity may be desired in Europe’s biggest economy. But the wind of change is in the air. The longer that’s delayed, or if they feel ill done or that they are being too unkind towards their neighbors, the more the chances are increased that rather than the young bright German ones, their more stupid friends gain the upper hand.
Whatever the future might hold, the feeling of the present seems undeniable. Optimism is in the air. The sun shines once again.