Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin can improve lives. That’s an undisputable fact that we have seen evidence for over and over again. Below we have listed five ways cryptocurrency improves lives. Let us know in the comment field how you think cryptocurrencies improve lives.
Many who choose Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a means of exchange and storage would otherwise choose cash in daily life. Cash doesn’t know anything about its holder. On the face this may sound nefarious, but in fact it’s more a protective measure based on experience for most. For others, it’s just a matter of comfort.
Whatever the reason, users seek privacy. Every time a credit card is swiped, personal information is entered into databases. It is hard to believe that such databases are all secure enough to protect this information from bad actors, especially in light of recent events such as the Target breach. Even those who outsource their security and payment processing, occasionally compromise user privacy inadvertently when their vendors are compromised. If you’re looking for a version of cash that can be spent in the same way that credit cards are used online, cryptocurrencies can help you. There are some which focus specifically on privacy and obfuscation of user data, such as Dash.
In a past iteration of banking, there were major historical situations in which banks were unable to repay their obligation to depositors. During the Great Depression, for instance, many Americans lost confidence in their financial institutions and sought to withdraw their funds, only to find there was nothing there to withdraw. In more recent times, Greeks, who live in a largely cash-based society, have been limited to withdrawals from banks to just 60 Euros per day. The reason? The banks didn’t have the liquidity normally provided by larger banks, which should be eye-opening in itself. The very act of making a “deposit,” after all, infers that you are putting something somewhere with the intention of it staying there until later.
With cryptocurrency, when you receive your coins from whatever source, they are there, within your control. Yes, there are some good security practices you must utilize to keep thieves at bay, but it sure beats trusting those with a proven record of failure.
Cryptocurrencies are safer than cash in that they are much more difficult to steal. Unlike the unwarranted cash seizures we have seen by law enforcement agencies in the United States, a government agent would have to go through many more steps before he’d even know one was holding bitcoins or litecoins in the first place.
So if for nothing else, portability certainly lends more control over one’s wealth than does a lot of official government documents. Remember, you can be suspect simply for having money in modern society. It would seem better that the suspicious not even know about what you had in the first place.
Censorship resistance is a very important topic recently for the cryptocurrency community, as it has been in the past. Backpage.com is a great example, as they were recently cut off from Mastercard and Visa transactions at the behest of an Illinois sheriff. Mind you, the sheriff did not order Mastercard and Visa to close the account but made a polite request. This is the same as admitting the Sheriff had no legal grounds to shut down the site, but nonetheless the companies capitulated, and Backpage.com saw itself as left with only one option: Bitcoin.
Near the end of his public life, Satoshi Nakamoto was uneasy about the advent of WikiLeaks accepting Bitcoin once it was blockaded by commercial banks and PayPal. He believed it would bring unwanted negative attention to the technology.
Beyond this, other cryptocurrencies have arisen which specifically enable communication over their protocols. A recent International Business Times story about DigitalNote described how dissidents in repressed countries have been utilizing the technology to communicate with each other free of tracking and prosecution. The DigitalNote token, in this case, is utilized as a sort of postage stamp, the cost of which ensures the validity, delivery and security of the messages – a notary and a guard in one.
Citizens in free expression zones who mine DigitalNote have a financial incentive to aid those in repressed countries by mining and securing its blockchain. It is hard to put into words important a usage of technology this is, as opposed to developing a new killer social media application or something like that.
Factom is the leader in the field of immutable records, or records that cannot be changed by any amount of power and influence. Recently they found their first major application in Honduras. Historically, the government there has had trouble maintaining accurate property ownership records, and corrupt officials have essentially been able to steal properties with little effort. That’s all changing now that Factom has entered into a contract with the government to maintain the Honduran land title registry – using the security and decentralization of the Bitcoin block chain to store records for perpetuity.
In most cryptocurrency designs, there is no third-party approving or denying transactions, demanding a pittance for the pleasure. Withdrawal fees, transfer fees, transmission fees, extra duties, all of these palms can go ungreased in a crypto economy.
The remittance market has long been due for some disruption, profiting obscenely from the very poor who just need to pay their bills back home or help distant relatives. With Western Union, for instance, it once cost up to $14.99 to send $20. One can argue that these services are optional, but then again, isn’t everything? In the cases to which we are referring, the customer had no other viable options – until Bitcoin.
These are some of the ways that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can help to shape the future of mankind, by creating alternative avenues for those who do not benefit from existing ones. The crypto economy is only just beginning, and it is impossible to know what will come next. What’s for sure is that it will become increasingly hard for traditional institutions to continue to justify their business models, in the eyes of customers and even further, at a cultural level. For all we know, distant generations will look back at our system and say, “You mean you had to pay to get your money?”
Images from Shutterstock and Pixabay.