Bitcoin Is Too Libertarian to Save the Developing World, Says UN Paper

For Bitcoin evangelists, every economic disaster is also an opportunity to, well, promote Bitcoin. From Greece to South Africa, Bitcoin has been vaunted as a technology with world-saving power, either by replacing a broken money system wholesale or just making it easier for people living in the West to send money back to their families at home.

But a new UN working paper disagrees with the boosterism around Bitcoin’s place in developing or destabilized economies. According to the report, written by independent researcher Brett Scott for the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, most Bitcoin startups are just too damn libertarian to take up the altruistic challenge of helping less privileged people. In other words, Bitcoin is filled with people who believe in individualist, market-led solutions to collective problems of public import.

“It is one thing to use Bitcoin to provide a counter-power to the powerful cartels of banks in nations like the United States, but in a country like Zimbabwe the real need may be to strengthen the integrity of the banking system, something that can only be achieved by hard, long-term political battles,” Scott writes.

“Escaping weak local institutions might help individual people, but

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