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In the advanced economies, where residents enjoy the rule of law, stable currencies and free markets, many observers have questioned whether bitcoin can be an effective store of value, a legitimate competitor to fiat currencies or a viable payment medium. But in countries like Sudan, Nigeria and Ethiopia, as author Alex Gladstein reveals in this illuminating article, people are embracing bitcoin as a way to simplify cross-border remittances and to circumvent dysfunctional markets and corrupt regimes. Gladstein adeptly highlights how bitcoin can help the citizens of developing economies find financial freedom.

About the Author

Alex Gladstein is the chief strategy officer for the Human Rights Foundation.

 

Summary

Some critics of bitcoin don’t recognize the role it can play in improving lives in developing countries.

Detractors of the digital currency characterize it as investment lunacy, as an environmental hazard and as an attack on the existing financial infrastructure. These critics are mostly from the advanced economies, where they enjoy effective markets, property protections, strong institutions and well-functioning financial systems. 

Yet seven out of eight global residents don’t enjoy these same privileges. Many developing countries have incompetent, corrupt and sometimes authoritarian governments. Bitcoin can offer their citizens critical financial help. 

In Nigeria, Sudan and Ethiopia...


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