A recent UN working paper seeks to address the unanswered question – whether Bitcoin can be harnessed to empower marginalized communities and build new means of solidarity-based finance.
Authored by Brett Scott, the paper, “How Can Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Technology Play a Role in Building Social and Solidarity Finance?” considers the potential of bitcoin to be used as a tool of financial inclusion, looks at the attempts to design new cryptocurrencies based on explicitly cooperative and social justice principles and lastly, considers the emergent wave of “blockchain 2.0” innovation.
Given the current scenario, Scott describes bitcoin as a ‘digital token’ that can be moved between parties, which has market value in terms of major national and is sporadically used—although often in small amounts—in exchange for real world goods and services.
He noted that while bitcoin initially rose to prominence in advanced industrial nations like the US, several instances have emerged that suggest why it may be empowering for people in less developed countries:
- Low-cost international remittances: While local merchants in poorer countries may struggle to access international payments systems to sell their goods abroad, getting a Bitcoin address might enable them to sell products in exchange for Bitcoin tokens, thereby avoiding traditional e-commerce