Bitcoin is often touted as a tool for freedom and democratization, particularly in countries where governments have a history of corruption and tyranny. By virtue of its decentralized nature, Bitcoin is seen by some as a way to limit government control over its citizens.
One of the main issues with fiat currency is that it is backed by the government that issued it. This means that governments have the power to manipulate the currency to their advantage, often at the expense of their citizens. In some cases, this has led to the breakdown of democracies, as citizens lose trust in their government’s ability to manage the economy fairly.
Bitcoin, on the other hand, is decentralized, meaning that it is not controlled by any government or central authority. Transactions are verified by a network of computers around the world, rather than by a single entity. This makes it much harder for governments to manipulate the currency, as they have no control over its issuance or distribution.
Because of this, Bitcoin has become a popular tool for those living under authoritarian rule. In countries like China and Russia, where censorship and closed capital markets are used to maintain control, Bitcoin has emerged as a way for citizens to circumvent government control and communicate freely with each other.
For example, in Hong Kong, where protests against the Chinese government have been ongoing for years, Bitcoin has become a popular tool for activists to raise funds and communicate without fear of government surveillance. Similarly, in Russia, where the government has cracked down on civil liberties and free speech, Bitcoin has become a way for citizens to speak out and support causes without fear of retribution.
But it’s not just in authoritarian regimes where Bitcoin is seen as a tool for freedom and democracy. In countries like Venezuela, where hyperinflation has led to economic collapse and widespread poverty, Bitcoin has emerged as a way for citizens to protect their wealth and escape government control.
In 2019, when the Venezuelan government attempted to launch its own cryptocurrency, the Petro, many citizens turned to Bitcoin instead, seeing it as a more reliable and decentralized alternative. As one Venezuelan Bitcoin miner told CNBC at the time, “Bitcoin is a way of protecting ourselves from an economic system that has collapsed.”
Of course, many challenges and risks are also associated with using Bitcoin, particularly in countries with weak or unstable legal systems. The volatility of the currency, coupled with the lack of regulation and oversight, can make it difficult to use and invest in safely.
But for many advocates, the benefits of Bitcoin far outweigh the risks. They argue that by removing government control over the currency, Bitcoin offers a way to promote freedom, democracy, and human rights in a world where these values are increasingly under threat.