Privacy. Affordability. Efficiency. Decentralization. Pick a reason: blockchain-based projects have been running on rocket fuel the past year, and it’s easy to see why. More than just a tool for making people rich, cryptocurrencies have huge potential to improve the lives of people worldwide. 2018 is poised to be another banner year for crypto, but let’s take a step back to see why Bitcoin and Blockchain can really reshape the world as we know it.
South America’s Savior
Venezuela is currently embroiled in massive poverty, with historical inflation rates. Venezuela is an oil powerhouse that used to have one of the strongest economies in South America. Now its currency is worth so little, shopkeepers weigh stacks of it to gauge value. Venezuelan citizens face long lines and high prices to get food, water, and medicine they desperately need. It’s a bad situation that’s getting worse by the day.
Bitcoin has been an unexpected savior for many. The sole benefit of living in Venezuela at this point might be cheap government-subsidized electricity, which has allowed Venezuelans to mine Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies profitably. Citizens spend these funds at websites to order necessities like medicine, which are shipped to them. Bitcoin is literally saving lives in Venezuela. One of the reasons Satoshi Nakamoto founded Bitcoin was to allow users to circumvent repressive governments, and the Venezuelan regime has severely criminalized Bitcoin.
The mysterious creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto was a seriously jaded guy. Sometime in 2009, as the world plummeted through a global financial crisis, he released the Bitcoin whitepaper. Designed to avoid big banks and bigger governments, Bitcoin has the potential to be a truly decentralized currency. Venezuela is already a great example of how it’s improving lives, but let’s examine a few others.
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Big Bad Banks, and how Blockchain Can Help
We’d like to think the banks that hold our money, and the governments that regulate them, are both secure and fair. But unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Big banks fail and do ethically questionable things. Governments are bigger, but they can fall even harder. A currency that doesn’t have to deal with banking fees, national taxes, or international laws could end the banking system as we know it. With proper Bitcoin security, there’s no need for a bank. And if sending someone Bitcoin is faster and easier than wiring money or writing a check, why bother?
Of course, Bitcoin is a long way from that day. Bitcoin may not even be the coin that wins long term. There are well over 1000 coins and tokens on CoinMarketCap, with more coming out daily. No one knows what this space will look like in a year, six months, or even tomorrow. Bitcoin would have a fight on its hands if Donald Trump woke up and tweeted out that he was banning it. Bitcoin is also grappling internally with technical issues.
Still, a decentralized electronic currency that’s faster, safer, and more affordable than banks will never go out of style. Banks will have to adapt to cryptocurrency or be swallowed up. And not only will early crypto investors reap the rewards, blockchain will aid people’s lives worldwide. That’s the future of crypto, and it’s bright.