Yet the allure of blockchain as silver bullet is powerful. The writer Courtney Martin aptly describes the tendency to embrace such narratives as the “reductive seduction of other people’s problems,” whereby the bright-eyed American idealist feels capable of solving intricate problems with one-dimensional solutions. As difficult as it is can be for Americans to grasp the full complexity of systemic inequality in their own backyards, Martin argues, it’s much more challenging for Americans to understand the full complexity of problems in places far removed from their daily lives. The idea that blockchain could be a transformative tool for social change underscores this same problem: People often don’t take the time to understand the problems they’re trying to solve, because they believe they already know the solution.
Blockchain enthusiasts like to give the example of a poor farmer or a low-wage migrant worker receiving a low-cost money transfer from a loved one far away. And