Human rights defenders from 20 countries have insisted that bitcoin “provides financial inclusion and empowerment because it is open and permissionless.” Together with stablecoins, the cryptocurrency offers “unparalleled access to the global economy” for people from countries whose currencies have either collapsed or are cut off from the rest of the world.
Bitcoin as a Financial Inclusion and Empowerment Tool
About 21 human rights advocates from 20 different countries have sent a letter to the U.S. Congress wherein they defend bitcoin as well as rebut claims recently raised by some 1,500 computer scientists, software engineers, and technologists. According to the human rights defenders, “bitcoin provides financial inclusion and empowerment because it is open and permissionless.”
In their open letter to U.S. congressional leaders, the advocates point to how bitcoin and stablecoins have offered an “unparalleled access to the global economy for people in countries like Nigeria, Turkey, or Argentina, where local currencies are collapsing, broken, or cut off from the outside world.”
The human rights advocates explained in their letter that they had been forced to respond to claims contained in another letter to the U.S. Congress that was authored by opponents of bitcoin. In their so-called crypto letter, the critics urged the lawmakers not to give in to the pressure from players in the crypto space and lobbyists. The computer scientists and their counterparts claimed crypto proponents are seeking “to create a regulatory safe haven for these risky, flawed, and unproven digital financial instruments.”
The technologists also reject assertations that cryptocurrencies are well placed to solve financial problems that Americans are facing.
However, in pushing back against claims made by the scientists in their open letter, human rights defenders said they know for a fact that cryptocurrencies have made a difference in countries devastated by natural disasters.
In countries where citizens are being oppressed, bitcoin has helped to “keep the fight against authoritarianism afloat,” the advocates said. The human rights defenders’ letter also points to how a technology, which according to opponents is “not built for purpose,” has made a difference in Ukraine.
Crypto as the Equalizer
Meanwhile, in their letter that seeks to help American policymakers see that bitcoin “is valuable for tens of millions of people around the world”, the advocates highlight the backgrounds of signatories to the letter that slams cryptocurrencies. According to the human rights defenders, “nearly all of the authors of the anti-crypto letter are from countries with stable currencies, free speech, and strong property rights.” They added:
To most in the West, the horrors of monetary colonialism, misogynist financial policy, frozen bank accounts, exploitative remittance companies, and an inability to connect to the global economy might be distant ideas. To most of us and our communities — and to the majority of people worldwide — they are daily realities. If there were ‘far better solutions already in use’ to overcome these challenges, we would know.
In concluding their letter, the human rights defenders said the U.S. Congress leaders must investigate the value of these technologies, their empirically proven benefits for millions of people, and their potential. They also urged lawmakers to craft or implement policies that do not “hurt their ability to use these new technologies in their human rights and humanitarian work.”