How is Bitcoin creating stories around the world?
How Fatima’s husband is able to send Fatima money in Mali without losing all his money to middlemen? How Ahmadi is able to earn money in Afghanistan without having a bank account?
Bitcoin technology, these days, is talk of the town. This digital or say virtual currency is gaining momentum every day and in colleges, and professional world it is becoming a talk of coffee table discussions. Also, lot of startups especially in US and Europe have been coming up with various models of payments, wallets, exchanges, etc based on this currency.
Most of the things we used to do offline are now online expect the money itself! Imagine instead of paying via notes or coins, if you are able to pay using digital currency !
With bitcoin, this seems possible and now even the payments can be cashless with virtual currencies !
Following examples give a hint why virtual currencies are the future of payments.
There are about 2.5 billion people worldwide who don’t have money in banks. They lack many of the freedoms people in developing countries take for granted. Bitcoin could change all this.
Bitcoin can give people in developing countries more economic freedom. As an example – Fatima, a mother of five who lives in a refugee camp in Mali is an example of this.
Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world. Like many Malians, Fatima’s husband went to the Ivory Coast to find work and sends money back to her. Since neither of them can access a bank account, he sends her cash, which often disappears along the way. Once they have smartphones, however, they’ll be able to send each other money using Bitcoin. They’ll be able to send and receive it without banks or other institutions taking any of it away. Phone companies are investing heavily now in sending their products to more of the developing world.
Bitcoin will also help people to keep their money more secure – a crucial step towards escaping poverty.
Bitcoin can also empower women around the world and help increase equality.
Parisa Ahmadi, a young girl in Afghanistan, has already benefited from this. She took part in a class held by Film Annex, an arts project based in the United States that pays about 300,000 filmmakers and bloggers to produce small movies and write blog posts.
Ahmadi is an avid film lover, and began publishing movies about her life on the site. She also started writing reviews of other films and earning a small income from them.
However, Ahmadi didn’t have a bank account, like most women in Afghanistan. So the founder of Film Annex started paying her in Bitcoin. He also set up an e-commerce site where people can buy gifts from Amazon using Bitcoins. Ahmadi used hers to buy a new laptop.
Though Bitcoin has the potential to be accepted as a mainstream currency. As of now, the path for bitcoins is filled with various challenges. The applications and systems built on top of bitcoin are insecure and vulnerable to attacks and people are concerned regarding the potential thefts. There are still safety concerns in minds of people and hence the adoption rate is still very low. Once the safety and security of such currencies is established, only then digital currencies like bitcoin will become a mainstream currency and will be used by large population across the world.
To conclude, it is safe to say that bitcoin is a beautiful concept and has a great potential. However, applications based on this technology have various challenges such as technical, legal, economical etc. These challenges are similar to the challenges faced by other peer-to-peer applications such as Torrent, Napster, or Freenet.
Once bitcoin technology is able to handle these challenges, the future is quite bright for this technology.
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