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Human Rights Campaigners Write to Congress Highlighting Cryptos’ Usefulness in Collapsing Economies

Human rights advocates from all over the world have sent a counterargument to U.S. lawmakers trying to defend digital assets for the availability they provide to people in countries where “local currencies have been imploding, broken, or cut off from the outside world,” a week after notable technologists openly slammed crypto by being too risky and unproven in a report to Congress.

Around 21 human rights activists from more than 20 different countries stated that they have been relying on cryptos for their monetary needs since it allows them to trade in and out without the need for a bank, “as have tens of millions of others living under authoritarian regimes or unstable economies.”

Legislators in the United States are campaigning for legislation to control digital assets, which were particularly volatile this year. Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) proposed legislation on Tuesday to provide a regulatory framework for cryptocurrency marketplaces. Because U.S. politicians effectively define global policy and standards, a harsh response in Washington, D.C., might have far-reaching consequences.

How the letter defended cryptos’ usefulness

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have already seen increased usefulness in recent months, as people from various nations used crypto payment rails to send tens of millions of dollars to Ukraine to help the war effort and defense against Russia.

Meanwhile, Ukrainians fleeing the nation could bring their money with them on a USB drive in the form of cryptocurrency. The same story unfolded in August in Afghanistan, when the Taliban seized power and shut down the country’s banks.

The latest letter stated, “Bitcoin provides financial inclusion and empowerment because it is open and permissionless.” It continued, “We are not industry financiers or professional lobbyists but humanitarians and democracy advocates who have used bitcoin to assist people at risk when other options have failed.”

The letter gave examples of countries like Nigeria, Turkey, and Argentina. It stated that local currencies are no longer functioning correctly in these countries, and people need relative stability of decentralized digital money for safety.

What the detractors of cryptos’ had argued?

Notable technologists presented the other side of the story to Congress last week. They claimed that the world is witnessing an increasing number of disasters “related to blockchain technologies and crypto-asset investments” and that these events are “the unavoidable outcomes of a technology that was not built for purpose and will forever remain unsuitable as a foundation for large-scale economic activity.”

Alex Gladstein, the Human Rights Foundation’s chief strategy officer and one of the letter’s authors, pointed out that 23 of the 25 people who signed the anti-crypto letter are from the United States or Europe, “where they enjoy dollars and euros.”

In truth, according to Gladstein, bitcoin and stablecoins are assisting in rescuing people in areas like Lebanon and Venezuela from serious humanitarian disasters.

In an interview, Gladstein remarked, “One could almost excuse the 25 technologists who wrote the anti-crypto letter for not understanding the global impact of bitcoin.”

Gladstein and his supporters argue that those in the West who have never faced “the horrors of monetary colonialism, misogynist financial policy, frozen bank accounts, exploitative remittance companies, and an inability to connect to the global economy” are the ones arguing against cryptos. 

“If the Congress intends to restrict the ability of Americans to use bitcoin, it needs to know that this will have significant negative effects for the millions of people who rely on it worldwide,” Gladstein added.