In what is widely seen as an endorsement for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, Chief Strategy Officer at Human Rights Foundation, Alex Gladstein published a very thought-provoking and interesting article in the Time magazine. Published on December 28, the article titled, “Why Bitcoin matters for freedom,” made a strong case for the digital currency exhorting its usefulness for the people of the nations marred by high inflation, authoritarian regime, and oppressive governments. The author argued that Bitcoin could prove to be very useful in protecting the wealth and the interest of around 4 billion people worldwide from the impact of hyperinflation and autocratic rulers. The article noted that the real benefits of the cryptocurrencies had been overshadowed by the high volatility of the market, speculations, and various incidents of frauds. Bitcoin can emerge as a valuable financial tool for the people by acting as a censorship-resistant exchange medium.
Bitcoin’s role in Authoritarian Nations
Citing the examples of countries like China, Russia, Zimbabwe, and Venezuela, the article noted the important role played by Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in changing the economic landscape of these countries. Especially in the reference of Venezuela, the published article highlights the current situation of the country and economic plight of its citizens. Venezuela is currently ruled by a government with increasingly authoritative gestures. As a result, the nation is reeling under high inflation rates. The country is counted amongst one of the worst performing economies in the world for the last few years. The citizens are unable to support living with their current salaries, and on top of that, authoritarian regime in the country is not allowing the other political parties to operate in a fair and just manner. In these miserable conditions, one look at the Localbitcoins reveals that Bitcoin is recording exceptionally high business in a country with purchases reaching the all-time high of 1,974 BTC in this week. Commenting on this development, Martin Weyer, Business editor at Spectator said that undoubtedly Venezuelans are in love with Bitcoin and the present chaos in the country may well be the reason behind it.
China and Russia Scenario
Besides these countries, the article also throws a light on how the Bitcoin and related digital coins can help the residents of China and Russia. Increasing state vigilance in China is a matter of concern for many and use of Bitcoins can help the people to avoid mass surveillance. Besides, the refugees who don’t have access to basic banking services in China can also derive benefits from digital currencies. As far as Russia is concerned, the country is feeling the heat of International sanctions. Most of the Western countries have severed their relationship with Russia, and it is now isolated on the world forum. In the backdrop of these economic sanctions, the Russian government is making it difficult for the citizens to take the money out from the country. However, with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, such restrictions will not hold, and the people can continue to do their work despite having the sanctions in place.
The article also noted that while Fiat currency can also be used without any government permissions, it can be easily rendered useless by the high inflation rates. Besides, the push towards becoming a cashless economy by many countries is also strengthening the case of cryptocurrency across the globe. There are issues with the Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies like high volatility, complex user-interface, government restrictions, etc. However, with enhanced sensitization, improved exchange platforms, SMS payments, and mobile wallets, cryptocurrencies can bring (and are bringing) a world of difference to the lives of 4 billion people living in the authoritarian regimes across the globe. The article concluded by suggesting putting efforts and resources to develop user-friendly crypto wallets and educating people about the Bitcoin to help those living under suppressing conditions without having access to the banking system.