Op-ed: How crypto turned Portugal into a promised land for entrepreneurs
Cryptocurrencies and blockchain helped Portuguese entrepreneurs realize they could create a parallel global economy, free of government interference.
The following is a guest post from Carlos Prada, CEO, and founder of Masterblox.
The crypto industry has seen tremendous growth in the past few years. It took less than four years for cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology to go from a niche industry to a global powerhouse able to move markets and shape regulation.
It’s safe to say that the opportunities that arose from this growth changed the world, but this change is most evident in places where economic growth stagnated.
This is the case with Portugal, whose reputation as a sunny tourist haven was slowly overshadowed by its low wages and declining living standards.
Despite being an EU member state and having sprawling natural resources, Portugal was long seen as Europe’s underdog. The country struggled to keep young people within its borders, as better wages and more welcoming regulations for businesses pushed them to migrate to neighboring countries.
Growing up in a small town outside Lisbon, I experienced this myself. Job opportunities were scarce, and young people struggled to find reasons to stay in a country that valued them so little. In the mid-2000s, agriculture was one of the few industries that offered a sense of stability. It became the career of choice for many young people.
Innovation and entrepreneurship were hard to find and even harder to execute in Portugal. Those whose ambition survived these conditions were then faced with various bureaucratic issues that further stifled progress.
The Portuguese are cursed with caution. Our grandparents lived through hardships and found themselves struggling instead of being liberated in the post-dictatorship era.
The uncertainty and instability they lived through kept them in a survival mode they passed on to their children, making it the default mode of living in the country. This led to a lack of ambition among the general population. Despite having big dreams, many fear overspending, reaching too high, and stepping out of their comfort zones.
And while this was slowly changing for the better, it took blockchain to get these changes into high gear.
It’s safe to say that blockchain technology has completely changed the tech and business landscape in Portugal. The creation of cryptocurrencies became the black swan event that shook the country to its core and created a better future for its young people.
Over a decade after the first Bitcoin block was minted, blockchain technology helped combat unemployment in the country and instilled a sense of ambition into young people. The possibilities it opened helped Portuguese entrepreneurs realize they could create a parallel global economy free of government interference.
Driven by the endless possibilities blockchain technology opened, I founded Masterblox, an incubator company aimed at helping crypto startups scale. With no external funding and a small but dedicated team, we managed to use cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology to impact the world positively.
In its early days, the crypto industry was dominated by tech-savvy traders and developers. Such a homogenous community made it hard for others to enter and grow their businesses. However, in 2023 the crypto industry is filled with diverse experts, ranging from bankers and analysts from traditional finance to lawyers, psychologists, and marketers. Having a wide array of experts working in the industry creates strong support for new companies looking to tap into the blockchain space.
At Masterblox, we took advantage of this diverse talent to help our clients scale and grow their crypto startups. We quickly grew to a team of 20 and achieved the professional success that would be hard to reach in a traditional corporate environment.
All the crypto and blockchain companies in Portugal, including Masterblox, now have access to the global market. We can all succeed based solely on our talent and effort, unburdened by the limitations of our local market.
This mindset makes it easier to weather bear markets. At Masterblox, we know that there will always be new opportunities for Web3 professionals because we make the opportunities ourselves.
While Portugal is one of the best examples of the potential cryptocurrencies and blockchain have, their effects are felt in many other countries. It’s a miracle to see the opportunities and potential blockchain technology created. People can now challenge traditional systems and address inequality from almost every corner of the world.
Guest post by Carlos Prada from Masterblox
Masterblox is a leading european web3 accelerator with a solution for emerging technology or enhancement of legacy projects. On the Labs, the company has the ultimate techniques of growth hacking, while on Masterblox Foundation, acceleration programs with the biggest names in the industry.More about Carlos Prada