The COVID-19 era has been marked by plenty of economic troubles. And this is coupled with aggressive political consolidations all over the world. Protests have sparked in many cities around the world. From Nigeria to the United States, Belarus, Hong Kong, and even Thailand. All these protests have their underlying causes: fight oppressive political classes, call for elections to be reexamined, or even oppose police brutality. Most of these fights are with powerful individuals with their tentacles deeply rooted in the existing systems. People who want their voices heard and the world to change have to find a way around that power to create meaningful dissent. Let’s take a look at how cryptocurrencies have helped uphold the rights of protesters around the world.
Role of Cryptocurrencies
Cryptocurrencies have come a long way both in terms of security and ease of spending. As such, they have become a powerful, central tool for protesters all around the globe to get around certain restrictions imposed by domestic banking systems. If you need a payment processor, you don’t have to rely on third parties to facilitate your transfers. Using open-source software readily available on the market, you can get around pesky third-party companies that vet or even sensor your payments. Additionally, since the whole system is decentralized, processing fees are incredibly low, if any. This helps keep more money in your pocket. Wherein traditional banking systems charge anywhere from 1%-5% on every transaction.
For instance, in Nigeria, a group of activists known as the Feminist Coalition has encouraged people from all over the world to donate to their cause in Bitcoin. This is in an attempt to end police brutality in the ongoing #EndSARS movement.
The group explained while talking to reporters:
“Over the past two days, we have experienced repeated restrictions on all the centralized Nigerian financial channels we have utilised for donations. Our payment channels have been taken down multiple times, making it harder for us to receive donations, and forcing us to move to decentralized currencies in order to continue to ensure that Nigerians have access to the funds they need to enable safe and peaceful protests.”
This comes after the group announced that its bank accounts had been shut down. The same thing happened to a donation link that was provided to them by payment processor Flutterwave. Flutterwave has deep political connections with the former deputy governor of the nation’s central bank as its chairman. As such, cryptocurrency like Bitcoin not only helps groups such as these in avoiding financial monitoring. It also helps their donors from wherever they may be to feel more comfortable when making donations to causes that are highly criticized.
Cryptocurrency: A Refuge and Protection
In many of these places where violence and protests have risen, we can see a lot of state monitoring and tracking. People are looking for options that allow them to reach their goals. And it should come with the provision of not being followed or monitored by internet service providers. People have created tools that anonymize transactions to make sure their origins are undetected. In fact, people have turned to the Tor network to keep their identities a secret. In China, the Hong Kong Free Press, a pro-democratic media organization, has also turned to cryptocurrency in the wake of its new national security laws. These laws make it possible for the state to cut off their access to their finances. This means that they will cease operations sooner or later. People and companies that donate to organizations advocating for democracy can also be tracked. By using crypto, you have a level of insulation that helps keep you safe.
In the wake of these protests against injustice around the world, popular payment system PayPal has recently announced that its customers will now be able to buy and sell Bitcoin and other such currencies straight from their accounts. With PayPal being the most popular payment platform globally, many people can benefit. Every merchant can now accept these new digital currencies without worrying about the exchanges. When a company such as PayPal embraces cryptocurrency, it further goes to stabilize the prices. The perception of it being for a niche audience can then be disproven, which strengthens it. Different organizations around the world can cut the red tape using cryptocurrency as a tool for justice and freedom. It will also help to boost the fight against oppression and inequality.