The Influence of Cryptocurrency on Global Poverty

Cryptocurrencies can enable financial inclusion, innovation, and empowerment for billions of people who are under- or unbanked, as well as for those who face barriers to access traditional financial services.

Cryptocurrency is a digital form of money that is powered by blockchain technology. Blockchain is a system of distributed ledgers that records transactions and ensures their security and transparency.

Cryptocurrencies can enable financial inclusion, innovation, and empowerment for billions of people who are under- or unbanked, as well as for those who face barriers to access traditional financial services.

How Can Cryptocurrencies Enable Financial Inclusion?

According to the World Bank, there are over 1.7 billion people who do not have a bank account or access to formal financial services. Many of them live in poverty, lack identification documents, face high fees and risks, or have low trust in the financial system. Cryptocurrencies can address some of these challenges by offering the following benefits:

  • Accessibility: Anyone with internet access and a smartphone can participate in a cryptocurrency network, without the need for intermediaries, paperwork, or verification. Cryptocurrencies can also reach remote and rural areas where banks are scarce or costly.
  • Affordability: Cryptocurrencies can reduce the cost of transactions by eliminating intermediaries, fees, and currency conversions. For example, remittances, which are a vital source of income for many developing countries, can be sent and received faster and cheaper using cryptocurrencies than traditional methods.
  • Autonomy: Cryptocurrencies can give users more control over their own money, as they can store it securely in digital wallets, without relying on third parties or intermediaries. Users can also choose from a variety of cryptocurrencies that suit their preferences and needs, such as privacy, stability, or social impact.
  • Accountability: Cryptocurrencies can increase the transparency and traceability of transactions, as they are recorded on a public ledger that anyone can verify. This can reduce fraud, corruption, and inefficiencies in the financial system, as well as improve governance and accountability.

How Cryptocurrencies Can Foster Innovation and Empowerment

Cryptocurrencies are not only a means of exchange, but also a platform for innovation and empowerment. They can enable the development of new products and services that can address various social and economic challenges, such as:

  • Financial literacy and education: Cryptocurrencies can provide users with opportunities to learn about financial concepts, such as saving, investing, budgeting, and risk management. They can also foster digital skills and literacy, which are essential for the 21st century economy.
  • Entrepreneurship and economic growth: Cryptocurrencies can create new markets and business models that can generate income and employment opportunities for individuals and communities. They can also facilitate access to capital, credit, and crowdfunding for entrepreneurs and small businesses that face barriers to traditional financing.
  • Social impact and inclusion: Cryptocurrencies can support social causes and movements that aim to improve the lives of marginalized and vulnerable groups. For example, some cryptocurrencies are designed to donate a portion of their transaction fees to charitable organizations or projects. Others are created to promote environmental sustainability, human rights, or gender equality.

The Challenges and Risks of Cryptocurrencies

Despite their potential benefits, cryptocurrencies also pose some challenges and risks that need to be addressed by policymakers, regulators, consumers, and developers. Some of these include:

  • Volatility and instability: Cryptocurrencies are subject to high price fluctuations due to supply and demand dynamics, speculation, market sentiment, and external factors. This can affect their usability as a medium of exchange and store of value, as well as expose users to losses or gains.
  • Security and privacy: Cryptocurrencies rely on cryptography and encryption to ensure the security and integrity of transactions. However, they are also vulnerable to cyberattacks, hacking, theft, or loss due to human error or technical glitches. Moreover, some cryptocurrencies may not provide adequate privacy or anonymity for users who wish to protect their identity or data.
  • Regulation and compliance: Cryptocurrencies operate in a largely unregulated or unclear legal environment that varies across countries and jurisdictions. This can create uncertainty and confusion for users who may not be aware of their rights and obligations, as well as for authorities who may not be able to enforce laws or regulations effectively. Furthermore, some cryptocurrencies may be used for illicit activities such as money laundering, tax evasion, or terrorism financing.

The Future of Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency is a social, cultural, and technological phenomenon that has the potential to revolutionize aspects of economic development from trade to remittances. However, it also faces significant challenges and risks that need to be addressed by all stakeholders involved. The future of cryptocurrency will depend on how it evolves in response to these opportunities and threats.

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Verryne Eidsvold

Verryne comes from a very diverse background. She tries not to be judgmental and sees herself as an optimist.