In a spiritual companion piece to our call-to-optimism last week, I just dug up this WIRED op-ed from last month, which highlights the beneficial effects of crypto in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Does dedicating our Spotlight column to a month-old article expose my obsolete Internet habits? Absolutely. But, considering my default reaction to web3 news is the Withered Wojak meme, I’ll take any excuse to spread (genuine) positivity.
El Salvador’s hustlebro-in-chief, intent on putting the ‘dick’ in ‘dictator’, dominates most of the international Bitcoin discourse. But the article argues there are real benefits to crypto integration in less developed economies and authoritarian states.
Nigerians are able to shirk strict capital controls and move value across borders via stablecoins, while Cuban citizens use cryptocurrencies to circumvent oppressive U.S. sanctions and advance the nefarious Communist agenda by, like, selling Spotify gift cards and buying cheap shit online. Internet penetration in the latter is up 40% from 5 years ago. Trading volumes in the Global South match and may soon exceed those of North America.
TL;DR: It’s not all drug deals and Teejaux6-bar-worthy shills. Crypto opens the door for borderless economies, financial freedom for oppressed citizens, and international equity. Hell, even Axie Infinity, the infinitely mockable Neopets-on-bath-salts NFT MMORPG, is a major source of income in Venezuela and the Philippines, accessible to players in South Sudan and North Korea alike.
Will that keep me from dedicating the rest of today’s content to the rancid underbelly of blockchain technology? Course not. Still, as a lapsed political science major, it’s vindicating to know Sachs should’ve been writing smarmy white savior tomes about knock-off Pokémen all along.