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Bitcoin helps low-income Americans cope with soaring inflation

One could be forgiven for thinking bitcoin is a creature of the political right. But that’s not the case – and politicizing technology is counterproductive.


In 2022, cryptocurrency is mainstream.

Yes Tom Brady and Matt Damon are not proof enough, consider the vocal conservative Bitcoin fans. Tucker-Carlson, Ted Cruz and Newt Gingrich tout it as a digital property, useful for power grids, and as a reserve asset. Bitcoin is increasingly replacing gold in ads on conservative talk radio. Nayib Bukele’s populist centre-right regime even managed to legal tender in El Salvador.

One could be forgiven for thinking bitcoin is a creature by and for the political right. But that’s not the case – and politicizing technology is counterproductive.

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Yes, prominent Democrats still describe bitcoin as unregulated, costly for the environmentrisky and better for terrorists and players than ordinary citizens. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hinted that he might move the mighty dollar and destabilize democracies everywhere. Others worry about it finance insurgencies and enriches white supremacists. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., wants crack down on virtual cryptocurrency mining.

Imagine if, in the early days of the Internet, its use became a political marker rather than a public good. A similar tragedy is currently unfolding with bitcoin. We invite those on the left to take a closer look.

Bitcoin promotes shared values

Bitcoin detractors include rather different numbers from Senator Warren. They include donald trump, Vladimir Poutine and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Establishment figures like the CEO of JPMorgan Chase Jamie Dimonthe International Monetary Fundthe world BankU.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen and the Bank of England Andrew Bailey apparently also I do not like it. Investor Charlie Munger called it “disgusting and contrary to the interests of civilization,” and he admire china for banning it.

None of this sits well with the theory that bitcoin is right-wing. Its most vocal critics seem to prefer the financial status quo to a decentralized network that states, corporations and autocrats cannot control.

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It’s not a call for anyone to buy bitcoin – it’s a call for choice.

Nor is it a denial of compromise. The internet has dark corners where evils multiply. But it is also liberating, opening up new worlds of connection, engagement and opportunity. Bitcoin does the same, not with information, but with money.

In this sense, the design and use of bitcoin is no more right wing than the internet itself. By including and protecting marginalized investors, it promotes values ​​shared by centrists, liberals and progressives.

Banks excluded people of color

The old American financial systems excluding people and perpetuating inequalities. They need trust in registries, loan officers, tellers, and credit bureaus that serve the rich better than the poor. People of color can be wrongly denied bank accounts and loans or targeted by predatory payday lenders. To punish overdraft fees locking customers into cycles of indebtedness. commercial banks prevent ex-prisoners from accessing banking, payment or credit serviceshindering a return to meaningful work.

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Financial inclusion is important. Access to savings, payments and credit enables human flourishing. Bitcoin makes this easier for everyone, and with more volume than PayPal. just 13 yearsit is already the most inclusive and open financial network in the world.

Anyone with a cheap smartphone can use it to send or receive value, regardless of where they live, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, creditworthiness or status. of immigrants. It is by design.

Minorities are adopting bitcoin at a faster rate

Just as anyone can send emails at virtually no cost, they can now transfer assets at virtually no cost. And millions do. It is therefore not surprising that the American ethnic minorities have been adopt bitcoin faster than their white peers. Instead of fearing change, we should ask ourselves why it is.

Worldwide, approximately a billion people live under double digit inflation, which primarily harms the poor. When you’re stuck with Brazilian real or Turkish lira, your financial prospects don’t inspire hope: prices are rising, wages are lagging, and hard assets are slipping away from you.

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The United States faces its worst inflation in decadesexacerbating wealth inequalities between black and white Americans.

Bitcoin’s capped supply and inclusive design, on the other hand, offer inflation-resistant savings technology for the masses. The wealthy can still find refuge against the dollar in gold, stocks or real estate; the world’s poor can turn to bitcoin.

People all over the world are adopting it faster than they have adopted the Internet. Countries with the highest adoption include India, Kenya, Venezuela and Vietnam.

Traditional payment systems grant almost unlimited authority to state and commercial actors to block payments. Authoritarian governments spy on transactions, arresting people who bought prohibited goods or donated to dissident movements. Corporate authorities are following suit, blocking payments to legal marijuana dispensaries, adult film actors, unorthodox intellectuals or Muslim charities.

Bitcoin’s payment network protects against systemic injustices and the whims of autocrats. Dissidents and victims of monetary repression find refuge there.

progressive familiar with bitcoin know all this. The same goes for members of other right and left political groups who care about the oppressed. Bitcoin’s appeal is indeed wide.

Across the political spectrum, we must recognize that this is a force for good, one to be nurtured and channeled rather than crushed.

Andrew M. Bailey, Bradley Rettler and Craig Warmke, who writes for Atomic Finance, are fellows with The Bitcoin Policy Institute.