Cryptocurrency is all about freedom. That’s what Satoshi Nakamoto seemed to have in mind as he designed Bitcoin. When you hold cryptocurrency in your wallet, you’re free to ‘be your own bank’, just like when you communicate over communications apps like Signal or browsers like Tor, you’re free to speak in private. Cryptocurrency and decentralized applications supply (and even incentivize) many more outlets and definitions of ‘freedom’ than any industry known to mankind.
Beyond Bitcoin and privacy-preserving communications apps, there are privacy-preserving cryptocurrencies like the Bitcoin fork Zcash and privacy-focused digital currency Monero, as well as mesh networking devices like off-grid and decentralized communications startup goTenna and censorship-resistant storage options such as data storage and sharing protocol Interplanetary File Storage (IPFS). Cryptocurrency and other privacy and independence preserving technologies ensure that our financial systems and new technologies help human ingenuity flourish via the orange pill, ushering in the renaissance 2.0 of which Bitcoin analyst and investor Max Keiser and his wife and co-host Stacy Herbert so often speak.
How Crypto Protects Freedom
Just like Tor, cryptocurrency has the potential to helps to protect vulnerable citizens, such as journalists, curious citizens, law enforcement, activists, whistleblowers, high profile people, low profile people, executives, bloggers, and more from over-reaching institutions, be they governments, corporations, the media, etc.
The Venezuelan regime, for instance, is now taking a cut of the remittances from its vulnerable citizens coming in from abroad. Remittances have long been a targeted use case by Bitcoin and blockchain-focused startups. Venezuelans are forced to use national banks for foreign transactions, and banks must collect information on how individuals get and use their money. Alejandro Machado, a researcher with the Open Money Initiative, claims that a wire transfer from the United States now encounters a fee as high as 56%, and can take several weeks. Venezuelans have circumvented this with the use of cryptocurrency.
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You can be in control of your digital assets. At a bank or brokerage, you can’t. Once you’ve experienced the freedom of quickly moving your money around the globe―the freedom to invest that money, participate in a project, buy crypto, sell crypto, buy NFTs, and sell NFTs―the cumbersome nature of the traditional financial system becomes all too apparent. You can’t unsee it. Crypto and blockchain represent the freedom to keep funds in a bank without seeing those funds dwindle down to nothing due to negative interest rates or fees, giving you the freedom you need to do what you want with your money. Furthermore, nobody―nobody―can print more Bitcoins than the 21 million pre-programmed to be released over the course of approximately 140 years, thus watering down the value of your holdings.
Early Stages Of Freedom
With a few exceptions, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, blockchain is in an early stage in its development. It is in its infancy, really. For example, if you want to use it for data storage or processing, blockchain tends to be slow. Coming innovations will over time propel blockchain technology into our daily lives. The future is in decentralized technology, where there is no central point of management, and it’s happening very quickly.
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As Nasdaq reports, the current rate of Bitcoin adoption has outpaced the internet’s user growth, with recent projections predicting that the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency could have more than a billion users in just four years. Bitcoin boasts about 130 million users today, which is about how many users the internet had in 1997, and is on pace to pass a billion users two times faster than the internet. To top it off, El Salvador is boosting adoption rates as they have officially passed the law to accept Bitcoin as legal tender.
Giving Power Back To The People
Big banks and governments are afraid of the freedom that crypto makes possible. Government is afraid of people who seek freedom and at this point, the freedom comes in the form of crypto. Freedom comes with a considerable amount of responsibility. We must work together with governments as partners on the advancement of crypto technology worldwide so that governments don’t blame it for all of the world’s ills or ban it in certain countries, such as what has happened already in China and India.
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In China, for instance, we have seen somewhat of a crackdown on Bitcoin as of late. Yet, rather than kill Bitcoin and cryptocurrency generally, it appears that this has merely opened up an opportunity for mining in those jurisdictions which are more tolerant of cryptocurrency, offering the industry more freedom within their territories than China, such as the United States and Scandinavia. Those countries which work with the cryptocurrency industry, by providing an environment in which innovators are free to experiment, will foster a technology boom within their jurisdictions and reap the fruits.
Crypto total market cap falls to low $2 trillion | Source: Crypto Total Market Cap on TradingView.com
Still today, crypto trends are all about freedom. NFTs, for instance, are often discussed in the context of trading or video games. However, they are clearly also about art, and artists have often been persecuted. By the same token, art has also served to preserve freedom over the centuries. It’s clear to see that crypto and NFTs are fueling the new creator economy.
Featured image from iStock, chart from TradingView.com