What Are the Benefits of Bitcoin? (2023 Updated)

Bitcoin is a controversial project with many critics and detractors.

For example, many claim that Bitcoin consumes a substantial amount of energy and is therefore bad for the environment due to CO2 emissions.

new york times bitcoin energy consumption

I recently wrote a piece about that very topic, where I pointed out that energy consumption and emissions are not necessarily as correlated as people think and that Bitcoin can, in many cases, be good for the environment.

But that is just one critique.

Others say that Bitcoin allows criminals to make anonymous transactions on the black market, and for that reason, it is bad.

Most recently, the worry among commentators now is that Bitcoin could help pariah countries like Russia and North Korea circumvent sanctions on their economy.

Guardian putin to use bitcoin to avoid sanctions headline
Source: The Guardian

I can’t cover every criticism that has ever been made about Bitcoin in one article.

There are just too many and they often contradict each other. One says Bitcoin is useless and that’s why it’s bad. Another says Bitcoin is useful, but just to bad people, and that’s why it’s bad.

No single critic is necessarily contradicting himself. Rather, different critics are worried about completely different aspects of Bitcoin’s protocol.

So instead, I want to tell you about undisputable qualities to Bitcoin.

Qualities that not even its harshest critics would deny. In fact, these very qualities are often the reason why they dislike Bitcoin.

If you understand why people like Bitcoin and see it as having benefits for humanity, you might better understand why others dislike it and see it as harmful.

In the end, you can decide for yourself what you think about Bitcoin.

So let’s talk about Bitcoin’s qualities.


I am an advocate for Bitcoin and its greater adoption.

I think Bitcoin is a force for good in the world, and I own and mine Bitcoin.

What is an Undisputable Property

Let’s get this little definition out of the way first.

What do I mean when I say “an undisputable property of Bitcoin…that not even its harshest critics would deny”?

What I mean is: a property of Bitcoin that is coded into the protocol.

It means that, like it or not, for better or for worse, Bitcoin has (insert quality).

So now, let’s get into the characteristics of Bitcoin.

1. Greater Financial Privacy

Bitcoin is, to many people’s surprise, not anonymous.

It is Pseudonymous.

➤ MORE: Bitcoin is Not Anonymous

What is the difference?

Characteristic Anonymous Pseudonymous
Identity Completely hidden, no link to a person's real identity Hidden behind a consistent alias or identifier, which can be potentially traced to a person's real identity
Consistency Not consistent, new identifiers for each interaction Consistent, using the same alias or identifier across interactions. In the context of Bitcoin, a user can use a new alias for every transaction, but there are still 'real-world' patterns that can be used to link all aliases.
Traceability Difficult or nearly impossible to trace back to a person Potentially traceable to a person through analysis of data or patterns
Examples Random usernames generated for each session in an online chatroom Using a consistent username, like a forum handle or a cryptocurrency address, without revealing real identity
Level of Privacy High level of privacy Moderate level of privacy, depending on the context and amount of available data

In short, your Bitcoin address acts as your pseudonym on the Bitcoin blockchain.

You can have many pseudonyms in Bitcoin.

In fact, many people do, through a process of single-use addresses, meaning they use a new address for every send transaction.

But for now, it is very difficult to prevent others from sending Bitcoin to you to the same address over and over.

If you are not incredibly careful, someone with sufficient expertise and software can use data on the blockchain as well as external data sources to link individual transactions to your real identity.

Now that we have that out of the way, what is beneficial about pseudonymity in the context of Bitcoin?

Pseudonymity does offer a level of privacy in your financial transactions that you do not have with your bank.

In fact, your bank (and most other financial institutions you work with) knows an awful lot about you.

You might not care about that. “After all”, you might think, “I have nothing to hide.”

While that might be true for you, there are very good reasons that others do not feel that way.

No Need to Know

First, many people want to make perfectly legitimate, legal purchases for things that they are embarrassed of.

We can all imagine a time where we’d have preferred not even some bank employee see these purchases.

They have no need to know, so why should they?

But this is the least important kind of privacy.

For Sale: Your Data

You might be surprised to know how many of these institutions - including your bank - sell your financial data to data brokers.

Chase sells your data forbes headline
Source: Forbes

These brokers then resell the data to advertisers.

Even worse, sometimes these data brokers (or banks or advertisers) are hacked and now it’s not just legitimate advertisers who have it.

Chase data breach headline reuters
Source: Reuters

It’s criminals who use it to try and scam you.

Chase data breach phishing headline IT News
Source: IT News

Or who want to physically harm or harass you…

BBC headlines stalker used data breach to find victim
Source: BBC

What the Critics Say

The critics of Bitcoin’s privacy enhancing features will tell you that they make online criminality (such as drug dealing, money laundering, and ransom) easier.

And they are not wrong. Bitcoin has been and continues to be used by criminals to do all of these things.

But…so do:

This last one is important, because it is not just criminals using banks and U.S. dollars for their own operations. In fact, it is the banks themselves knowingly laundering the money for known criminals.

Take this 2020 story about known criminality by J.P. Morgan Chase (America’s largest bank) and Deutsche Bank.

J.P. Morgan Chase and Deutsche Bank money laundering headline
Source: The Street

“JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche Bank, and other financial services companies had defied money laundering crackdowns even after being fined by U.S. authorities.”

“The report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists found five global banks moved ‘staggering sums of illicit cash for shadowy characters and criminal networks that have spread chaos and undermined democracy around the world.’”

“The report…identified more than $2 trillion in transactions between 1999 and 2017 that were flagged by financial institutions’ internal compliance officers as possible money laundering or other criminal activity.”

This isn’t just a U.S. problem either. Take this 2014 story about known laundering on the part of HSBC (Europe’s largest bank).

HSBC bank money laundering headline

What can we learn from this?

Well, as of May 2, 2023 (the day I am writing this), the entire Market Cap of Bitcoin is around $552 billion.

J.P. Morgan and other banks have knowingly and proactively helped criminals launder and steal money using U.S. dollars to the tune of $2 trillion.

Even if every single Bitcoin on Earth was being used to aid criminality, it would barely compete with U.S. banks, let alone the global banking system as a whole.

To be fair, Bitcoin has had higher market caps than it does today, and it has only existed since 2009. Whereas the $2 trillion figure is from 1997 to 2017. We don’t know which of these years had the most bank-enabled criminality.

Thankfully, we have some idea of what percent of the Bitcoin network is used for criminality (more on that below in the section about transparency).

Take this chart from Chainalysis’ Crypto Crime Trends for 2022:

illicit Bitcoin activity at all time low

In their January 2022 report, they wrote:

“…(W)ith the growth of legitimate cryptocurrency usage far outpacing the growth of criminal usage, illicit activity’s share of cryptocurrency transaction volume has never been lower.”

“Transactions involving illicit addresses represented just 0.15% of cryptocurrency transaction volume….”

…(W)e have to caveat this figure and say that it is likely to rise as Chainalysis identifies more addresses associated with illicit activity and incorporates their transaction activity into our historical volumes. For instance, we found in our last Crypto Crime Report that 0.34% of 2020’s cryptocurrency transaction volume was associated with illicit activity — we’ve now raised that figure to 0.62%.

So, by 2021, their estimated figure for 2020 roughly doubled from 0.34% to 0.62%.

Their 2022 report states the illicit activity figure for 2021 to be 0.15%.

Let’s double that to 0.3% just to be safe and see how big the crypto illicit activity problem really is.

Below, I have created a table for the years 2017 through 2021 and broken them down to determine what percent of global money laundering Bitcoin is responsible for.


I am using all crypto as a proxy for bitcoin since that is the data we have and the concern is more or less the same, whether its bitcoin or some other token being used. You can view the entire spreadsheet to see all columns and numbers.

2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Annual BTC Vol.(B) $704 $735 $636 $886 $3,007
BTC % of Illicit Activity 1.42% 0.76% 3.37% 0.62% 0.30%
BTC Illicit Activity (B) $10.0B $5.6B $21.4B $5.5B $9.0B
Global GDP (B) $81,401 $86,457 $87,645 $85,106 $96,513
Global Money Laundered Low (2%)(B) $1,628 $1,729 $1,753 $1,702 $1,930
Global Money Laundered High (5%)(B) $4,070 $4,323 $4,382 $4,255 $4,826
BTC Share of ML (high) 0.61% 0.32% 1.22% 0.32% 0.47%
BTC Share of ML (low) 0.25% 0.13% 0.49% 0.13% 0.19%


The United Nations Estimates that the annual amount of money laundered globally is around 2-5% of global GDP, which is why there are range of estimates in the table above. Bitcoins illicit activity thus accounts for a measly ~0.13 to 1.22% of global money laundering depending on the year and the money laundering estimate.

So as we can see, Bitcoin’s numbers are tiny any way you slice them when compared to the traditional financial system.

It doesn’t appear as though Bitcoin’s increased privacy features are making much of a difference in terms of the profitability of online criminality as criminals very much seem to prefer the almighty U.S. dollar.

2. Censorship-Resistance

Bitcoin’s protocol and large network effect means that no central authority can easily (or even plausibly) manipulate transactions - especially ones that are already confirmed into a block.

There are reasons that miners can and do delay a transaction from getting into a block though.

Let’s say you submit a transaction to the network. What might cause a delay?

mempool.space mempool chartk
In the two red boxes, you can see the total demand for blockspace is higher than total supply. The "unconfirmed transactions" are all of the transactions waiting to be placed into a block. Source: Mempool.space.

So your transaction gets delayed until some other miner wins the block and is willing to include it.

But what about transactions that are already included in a block?

Technically, it is possible to remove them from a block, but only under certain very expensive, very unlikely to successfully coordinate circumstances.

This is performed using what is called a 51% attack.

But there are limitations.

So…even in the worst case scenario, your transaction will eventually get into a valid block. No one - not even a miner with tremendous resources - can prevent it forever.

What the Critics Say

The critics of such a feature might say that there is benefit to being able to freeze the accounts of its citizens.

For the purposes of this article, we can remain agnostic about the efficacy or utility of such a power.

Of course, the power to unilaterally freeze another person or nations assets can be used for good. The ability to freeze funds and block transactions is a tool.

But all tools and all powers can also be used for bad.

And they very often are by the very same governments and banks that we use these powers against.

Imagine you are a citizen of China, and you hear word that the government is freezing the accounts of people who are suspected of having protested the draconian ‘Zero-Covid’ lockdowns.

Imagine you took part in those peaceful protests.

You panic, worrying your account will be next and attempt to get your money out of the country to family abroad.

Then this happens:

China stops international bank wires headline

“Chinese banks are delaying and even blocking some foreign exchange transactions under a decision by the central government to limit capital leaving the country….”

Now what?

Consider another example:

You are a Cuban American immigrant living in Miami. Your family back in Cuba is struggling just to make ends meet, both due to the dysfunctional and corrupt communist regime that runs the country AND the U.S. sanctions on Cuba itself.

You attempt to send them money, but then…

western union ends transfers to Cuba
Source: Reuters

Now what?

Why Censorship Resistance is Important

I think the advantages here are pretty obvious.

There are perfectly legitimate and ethical reasons why one would want to have the freedom to send value whenever and to whoever they want.

Can this tool be used for ill? Yes.

But so can any tool, including the tools of financial surveillance and control.

3. Lower Transaction Costs (Sometimes)

This one is quite simple and largely uncontroversial.

For transactions that are more than a few hundred dollars, Bitcoin fees are very low and much lower than traditional banking fees for wires.

This is largely variable to the block space market in Bitcoin (which changes daily) and which country’s banking fees you are comparing it to, but generally, the larger the dollar value being transferred, the more economic a Bitcoin transaction becomes.

In fact, in 2019, someone sent $1,000,000,000 worth of Bitcoin for a $700 fee.

That’s One Billion Dollars…with a ‘B’.

What’s even more crazy is that the fee could have been as low as $35 if the sender had optimized it better.

Billion dollar bitcoin transaction low fee

Good luck getting a deal like that from your bank.

Good luck even convincing the bank to do it at all without a mountain of paper work and signatures…to spend YOUR money.

➤ MORE: Learn How Bitcoin Fees Work

What the Critics Say

For this one - usually nothing.

Very few people have problems when bitcoin fees are low, for obvious reasons.

When Bitcoin fees have been high (the top average fee was in April 2021 at ~$62), there were some concerns.

historic bitcoin average transaction fee
Source: Y Charts

some worried that if Bitcoin were ever to be successful, the fees would be so high as to be useless for small transactions or too expensive for the very poor people it is designed to free.

That is a fair concern, but one that is probably ultimately not realistic.

The fees we have been talking about are for ‘on-chain transactions’.

The design philosophy of Bitcoin (these days, anyway) is that blockchains on their own are not very scalable, meaning that if we are going to make it possible for more transactions to happen on Bitcoin at fees that are reasonable for small purchases, they need to happen on additional layers of the network.

That is why you create second layers, such as the lightning network, to handle less important, smaller value transactions.

mempool.space lightning network

These layers batch hundreds or even thousands of transactions into one bitcoin transaction, thereby reducing the cost of a single transaction to fractions of pennies.

➤ MORE: How Does the Lightning Network Work?

Bitcoin Fee Calculator

Of course, there is always the possibility that however we might attempt to scale Bitcoin, it will fail.

In that case, it will likely remain the domain of only the relatively wealthy.

That would be shame and it would make the project less interesting, but not totally worthless.

Thankfully, that very much remains to be seen, and progress, innovation, and growth of layer twos has been very promising.

But much more on that in the final section on inflation.

4. Faster Settlement

Speaking of nearly instant settlement, how long do you think the average bank wire takes?

3 days.

And, there is basically no way to do it faster…at least in the U.S.

Things get worse for international transfers, which can up to 5 business days.

As for Bitcoin, you can have any amount of money settled (on-chain) in ~10 minutes or less.

It is true that domestic transfers, from the likes of Venmo, Paypal, Zelle, or other international equivalents, are functionally instant.

However these are not truly settled for days. Instead, these payments are on short-term loans until settlement.

Credit cards work in a similar way - they appear instant to the user, but they are actually loans. A credit card payment may not be settled for weeks.

This is why the fees are so high for merchants who accept them and why credit card fraud is so common.

All of this means that, technically, these transactions can be reversed or held up by banks if they want to.

What the Critics Say

There is only one criticism that might be leveled at Bitcoin, but its not exactly due to a dislike of fast settlement.

Instead, it has to do with a consequence of fast settlement: no ability for chargebacks.

This is both a pro and con.

Consider two scenarios.

Imagine you are a customer looking to purchase cruise tickets online.

couple on cruise ship

You find a cruise you like, pay for the tickets, and then discover that the website wasn’t actually a cruise line, but a scammer pretending to be one.

If you purchased these tickets with Bitcoin and the transaction has confirmed (been included in a block), you are out of luck. Your Bitcoin is gone.

If you purchased them with a bank transfer or, even better, a credit card, there is a good chance you can get this transaction reversed.

Now imagine you run an online ecommerce store. You are honest, provide quality products to your customers, and most seem to like them.

couple on cruise ship

One customer purchases your products.

You ship them out and the customer receives them.

If the customer used a credit card to purchase the products, they could call their credit card company and claim they never received them or that they have no idea what the charge is for.

Maybe they are lying or their credit card was actually just stolen and they were never the customer in the first place.

The credit company reverses the charge, and you are now holding the loss.

If this customer had instead paid with Bitcoin, the merchant would not be on the hook for it, since Bitcoin transactions are settled VERY fast.

The only way this could have happened in the first place is if some thief stole the Bitcoin used to purchase your products. This is completely avoidable on the part of the victim, and - these days - is not even that difficult.

So we can see that settlement speed is on a spectrum. The faster the settlement, the more it advantages the receiver of the funds. The slower the settlement, the more is benefits the sender - at least in the narrow trait of speed.

Of course, sender fraud has costs on all users of the payment network, as credit card fees are partially a function of the amount of fraud the issuer has to eat.

Someone will always pay…and one way or another, it will probably be you.

5. 24/7/365 Uptime and Availability

Unlike traditional ACH transfers or bank wires, Bitcoin is available all day, every day, 365 days a year.

Bitcoin Fee Calculator

While credit cards do allow you to make commercial transactions online with similar availability, you cannot use them to send money to individuals; not easily anyway.

For that, we do have apps like Venmo and Paypal, but these are usually region blocked and have caps on the amount we can send.

Bitcoin has no such restrictions.

What the Critics Say

Critics obviously have no issues with the uptime itself.

Again, it comes down to how this uptime is achieved - a lack of regulatory ability to impose caps and geo-restrictions on the users.

Generally, they are ok with giving up some financial independence in exchange for keeping a few criminals from using the payments networks for illicit purposes.

I think this tradeoff is a poor one, since the criminality numbers are largely overblown and bitcoin is not the primary financial method by which criminality is enabled.

But we’ve already covered that one in number 1.

6. Self-Custody

One of the most novel features of Bitcoin is the ability to covertly and easily self-custody large sums of money.

This removes a primary use-case of banks: a big vault to store cash inside of.

Of course, these days, your dollars or Euros are not stored as cash anyway. They are just ones and zeros sitting on a balance sheet on some bank server and probably a copy at the Federal Reserve (or your local equivalent).

No, the real feature here is that without self-custody, all of the other features are largely nullified.

“Not your keys, not your coins” as the saying goes, meaning that if you do not control the keys to your coins, then you do not truly have any control over the funds.

And this really is about having control.

Censorship resistance on-chain is not worth very much if you need permission from some guy at Coinbase or Binance to spend your own money. In a sense, we are just back to square one at that point.

…and it’s not rare to need their permission.

coinbase class action locked accounts headline
Source: Decrypt

The thing that makes Bitcoin different is that you do have a choice now: trust it with a custodian or take responsibility for it yourself.

What the Critics Say

Critics have at least one valid point on this one.

Management of Private keys (which are sort of like the passwords to your Bitcoin wallet) is not completely painless.

It requires some effort and some best practices; there is very little room for mistakes or carelessness.

You truly can lose everything if you aren’t careful.

So critics might therefore have legitimate concern about some users’ ability to manage keys safely.

They are right to worry…to a point.

Of course, participating in this payment network is optional.

And these days, it is much easier to have very robust, error resistant methods of storing keys using devices like hardware wallets and multisignature setups with very intuitive graphical user interfaces.

ledger nano s plus
A ledger Nano S Plus hardware wallet. Source: Ledger

This problem proves even less worrisome when we think of younger, more computer-literate users who already have experience with password managers and two-factor devices like authentication apps and yubikeys.

yubikey and authentication apps
A yubikey hardware two-factor and authentication app. Source: Yubico

Beyond that, we are back to the same arguments as many other points here: if someone can custody his coins, it makes it very difficult for the government to use their regulatory powers to disable or inhibit his behavior, for better or for worse.

If you haven’t noticed by now, that is the recurring concern by most critics of Bitcoin, at least at a protocol level.

7. Lower Inflationary Risk Due to Fixed-Supply and No Centralized Control

Bitcoin’s fixed supply of 21 million coins and predictable issuance schedule create a very strong deflationary trend.

That sounds very boring and wonky.

And It is.

It’s also, at least technically, pretty uncontroversial.

So instead, for this final section, I’m going to do things a little differently.

I am going to tell you a story. By the end, I am going to tie this feature into all the others and hopefully show you why Bitcoin is so much more than just a curiosity for enthusiasts.

Cut in Half

On the morning of January 12, 1994, Bemba Nabourema, a Togolese political dissident, husband, and father of a two year-old daughter, woke up to find out that half of his savings had been wiped out.

Savings he had planned to use to give his daughter an education and a better life.

Now, worth half.

But how?

The night before, bureaucrats in the French government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), thousands of miles away from Togo, committed to adjusting the exchange rate of Togo’s currency - the CFA Franc - from 1/50th to 1/100th of a French Franc, the currency it was pegged to.

Even worse, the price of imports into the country shot up by 14%, making the currency even less useful.

cfa franc cut in half imports headline

Togo’s dictator Gnassingbé Eyadéma violently clamped down on opposition to his rule and his complicity in the devaluation.

And just like always before, the French government backed him every step of the way (Eyadéma was actually a personal friend of French president Charles de Gaulle).

cfa franc cut in half imports headline
A WAPO headline from 1986, 6 years before the devaluation, reporting on France's military aid to Eyadéma over a military dispute with nearby Chad. Source: Washington Post

Monetary Colonialism

You’re probably wondering by now…what do the French have to do with any of this?

That’s complicated, but we can cover the important bits quickly.

For a very long time, France held colonies all over West and Central Africa.

One of these was Togo.

While French colonization formally ended in April of 1960, Togo was not allowed to have it’s own currency.

It wasn’t even allowed to use France’s currency at the time, the Franc.

Instead, Togo (along with Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville and Gabon) was forced into using a currency called the CFA Franc.

CFA nations map
Source: DW

Introduced first in 1945, the CFA Franc allowed France to end its political colonialism without giving up access and domination over these nations’ wealth of natural resources, such as uranium, gold, lithium, oil, and cotton.

Here’s how it works:

France is the only country allowed to mint new CFA Francs, and they charge CFA nations tens of millions of euros per year for money printing services.

CFA francs
A CFA franc note. Source: Wikimedia Commons

On top of that, France grants loans to CFA nations for infrastructure projects. Like all loans, there is interest that must be paid.

These loans also allow France to direct what kind of projects get funded, which usually means ones that benefit France and make the CFA nations more dependent on them.

As CFA nations tend to be poorer, they cannot benefit from these projects in terms of domestic consumption - they won’t have the infrastructure or wealth to do so.

For instance, a Togolese person doesn’t have much use for Uranium, but Uranium mines are what will get funded since France can use the Uranium for nuclear power or other purposes.

The contract for these projects must also go to French companies who get a right of first refusal.

This creates a double dip on the part of France: the money loaned goes right back to French companies, and then interest must be paid as the loan matures.

Of course, you might think that by selling the Uranium, it would make the countries richer that way.

But there is a problem.

Françafrique: An agreement between France and the African leaders backed and propped up by France in the first place.

Many of these African leaders were (and mostly, still are) authoritarian dictators.

Omar Bongo in Gabon, Paul Biya in Cameroon, and of course, Gnassingbé Eyadéma in Togo, just to name a few.

The agreement was simple:

“In exchange for military protection against attempted coups and the payment of hefty kickbacks, African leaders guaranteed French companies access to strategic resources such as diamonds, ores, uranium, gas and oil….France also retains the right of first refusal on all natural resources and privileged access to government contracts.”

And since most natural resources are state-owned, the citizens of these countries have no say in the matter.

Many aspects of this system are just as shocking as these, but I think you get the picture.

If you want to learn A LOT more about the CFA Franc system, I recommend reading this Brookings Institute article on the topic.

In 1958, another French colony, Guinea, managed to opt-out of this system, but not without having its infrastructure destroyed by departing French personnel and an attempt by the French government a year later to foment a coup and destroy their currency. This campaign is known as Opération Persil.

Now…let’s finish this story.

As an anti-establishment political dissident, Bemba was arrested plenty of times.

The worst of which was in 1985 when his activism and Eyadéma’s thugs first caught up with him.

His daughter, Farida, recounted for National Review in 2018:

(He) screamed when they tortured his genitals, until he finally lost his voice….They proceeded to break 13 of his ribs and nine of his toes. It took Nabourema six months to learn to walk again. But he considered himself very lucky: …so many of his friends were tortured to death.

Bemba eventually had his bank account frozen, limiting his and many other Togolese resistance movements from funding their opposition.

Bemba was always barred from practicing law or teaching in university, as he was trained.

In 2003, he was arrested again and detained for three days. After he came home, he told Farida, now 13, about what had happened and what it had been like living under a regime like Eyadéma’s and the French for so many decades.

He dug up banned books from his backyard, and showed them to her. Books he might have been murdered for owning.

Ultimately, Farida too became a dissident; one that would eventually be forced to live in exile from Togo.

She went on to found the []”Faure Must Go” movement](https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/06/opinion/international-world/togo-activists-autocracy.html){: target=”_blank” }; ‘Faure’ referring to Faure Gnassingbé, Eyadéma’s son and current President (dictator) of Togo.

CFA francs
Farida Nabourema at SXSW 2023. Source: Human Rights Foundation

But unlike her father, Farida won’t have her accounts frozen. Neither will her co-activists. Faure’s regime will not be able to prevent her from funding her movement.

And that’s because she has turned to Bitcoin as an escape hatch from the system she is trying to change. A currency that doesn’t allow for transactions to be censored or coerced. A system that gives some privacy to her activities. A system available at all times and that she doesn’t need to trust to a custodian, either abroad or at home.

“When I discovered Bitcoin, I realized it was a cultural, scientific, and most importantly, economic revolution all bundled into one.” - Farida Nabourema

Many wonder why France can’t just release these countries from it’s grip and allow them to mint their own currency, but this is a non-starter.

Even if they were willing to do this, they have left these countries destitute and completely at the mercy of the autocrats they put in control.

With leaders like these, it might be as bad or worse on a monetary front. One need only look to Zimbabwe or Venezuela’s hyperinflation crises to see just how careless these kinds of leaders can be with their nation’s money supply.

Zimbabwe Money
A Zimbabwean one hundred trillion dollar note. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Lessons to Learn

I think its very easy for wealthy westerners to look at Bitcoin’s features, see the crypto memes, and listen to the critics and think, “That’s it? What do I need this for?”

And that’s totally understandable if you have reasonably stable institutions, payment apps that work well enough, inflation that is not double digits yearly, and a general sense that you probably won’t get thrown in jail for opposing your leader.

But for the five and half billion people on Earth who don’t have this luxury, Bitcoin is a way out.

Cameroonian Economist Joseph Tchundjang Pouemi wrote in his famous treatise Monnaie, servitude et liberté: La répression monétaire de l’Afrique:

“Monetary dependence is the foundation of all other forms of dependence….Africa’s fate will be forged through money, or it won’t be forged at all.”

Bitcoin will not solve all of Africa’s problems. Africans have to do that.

But…Bitcoin might be able to give them the breathing room they need to get started.

About the Author

colin aulds

Colin Aulds is a founder at 10NetZero, a off-grid Bitcoin mining company. He is also the former VP and founder at Billfodl, a Bitcoin wallet backup company, as well as PrivacyPros.io, a blog dedicated to helping every day people increase their privacy online. He is also 1/4th of the Unhashed Podcast, a Bitcoin only podcast about the latest news and tech surrounding it.

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