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According to an article published by Time Magazine, an award-winning New York-based media outlet which has given rise to multiple media outlets since its creation in 1923 and established the formats followed by most US magazines, Bitcoin could be used as a medium to escape strict financial controls imposed by the government of countries operating authoritarian system of government. This was opined by Alex Gladstein, Chief Strategy Officer at the Human Rights Foundation in an article titled “Why Bitcoin Matters for Freedom.”
Gladstein highlighted some countries such as Venezuela, China, and Russia with authoritarian governments and how the citizens could circumvent the ridiculous censorship and control using Bitcoin. Instead of transacting with banks and losing a great percentage of money sent to them for upkeep, the Venezuelans have begun experimenting and adopting the use of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.
This form of payment is not only easy and effective, but it also excludes any form of censorship and other government imposed laws on the citizens’ cash. They can receive money from their loved ones abroad within minutes through a peer-to-peer transaction. The complete value of the money in Bitcoin will be credited to their Bitcoin wallets which they can exchange for fiat currency through their local exchanges. This way they get to be in total control of their cash and could leave the country for good with their savings intact.
He advised further that citizens of China could also use Bitcoin to circumvent the ridiculous scrutiny on transactions through WePay and Alipay. Russian-based NGOs can also opt for Bitcoin to escape freezing of their bank account by the government, havoc which can be unleashed at any point in time.
Yes, every emerging technology has its dark sides. The theory does not apply exclusively to Bitcoin or blockchain technology. Rather it applies to every emerging technology including Artificial Intelligence. In the wrong hands, blockchain technology can be used to enslave an entire country as seen in some authoritarian countries such as Iran, Venezuela or Saudi Arabia whose governments are working towards mutating the technology to gain sovereignty over all transactions in the country. But that does not erase the fact that Bitcoin and its underlying technology, Blockchain, can be used as a freedom fighting tool for countries under authoritarian regimes.
Instead of focusing on the drawbacks, Gladstein advises that we should rather invest and build tools like Bitcoin, Zcash, IPFS, Signal, goTenna, etc., which are sure to help us escape the surveillance and control apocalypse about to hit our financial systems. If it hasn’t begun already. Gladstein also points out to the fact that Bitcoin is yet a nascent technology, and as such it may not offer the speed, usability, and privacy that we seek for; but with active efforts being made in the cyptosphere, we can rest assured that the time would come when Bitcoin would be easier to use and more accessible for the masses.
This is such a great source of hope for crypto enthusiasts who have lost hope or are about to give up on Bitcoin or blockchain technology. Having Time Magazine, a major player in the media industry, report such a pro-Bitcoin story is all we need right now to stand by a future technology which is just observing some minor drawbacks.