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A Manifesto for Bitcoin Cash Adoption in the Developing World
Global poverty is unacceptable. 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 per day. 1.8 billion use drinking water that puts them at risk of polio, cholera, typhoid and dysentery. 5 million people, mostly children, die each year from water-borne diseases. 800 million people, 300 million of which are children, do not have enough food to eat. 90% of these 300 million children are enduring long-term malnourishment. “The poor are hungry and their hunger traps them in poverty,” as The World Food Programme has argued.
But the 5 billion global poor are not defenseless. They are mostly just undocumented. Legacy middlemen, such as banks and governments, have excluded the poor from the global marketplace. The assets of the global poor are actually many times greater in value than those of the globalized first world. But these assets are registered on fragmented and disconnected informal ledgers that preclude them from being leveraged to finance development.
Trust in institutions is declining across the globe. Inflation renders fiat currency useless for savings and capital formation across the developing world. Government property ledgers are untrustworthy and subject to corruption. Nation-states are not interested in including the mass population in “official,” globalizing markets. Non-profit and foreign aid charity only sets the poor up for greater dependency. Microcredit creates new burdens for the poor and fails to support anything more than the least efficient small-scale businesses. Global poverty will likely continue to improve marginally, but widespread, substantive change in the poor’s quality of life remains a utopian vision.
The answer to global poverty is blockchain technology. The answer is a gamified opportunity for the global poor to earn cryptocurrency, which can make their existing capital liquid and fungible. The answer is a blockchain property registry for the entire globe that unifies the existing, fragmented ledgers of the global poor so their property can be made fungible, and therefore leveraged for development as capital. The answer is blockchain capitalism.
The crypto world is too small, at perhaps only 1-2% of the global population aged 15 and above, and may not reach 200 million users before 2024 without a Marshall-Plan-style big-picture growth strategy using methods heretofore untried or unknown. The crypto world is too centralized, with many coins controlled by corporations or plutocracies. The crypto world is vulnerable to BitLicense-style global regulation schemes, centralized exchanges and KYC tyranny. Crypto must grow — or risk containment and stagnation.
The global poor are the market that will have the most uses for cryptocurrency, given that, unlike in the developed world, their current ledgers are fragmented, their fiat currency savings are inflated away and their nation-states reduce their ability to realize economic growth with regulations, fees and taxes. The global poor can also be our strongest allies because they are already outside the current government-banking system. By distributing existing cryptocurrencies based on existing wealth and connectivity, we have locked the global poor out of cryptocurrencies — so far.
We can effectively eradicate global poverty within 25 years by sparking an economic miracle in the developing world using blockchain-based digital cash and property registry systems to provide the foundational elements of freed markets.
We can bring 1 billion new people into the cryptocurrency ecosystem within the next 10 years and, by doing so, strengthen all worthy crypto projects as well as our negotiating position vis-a-vis any coming global cryptocurrency regulation scheme. We can solve the cryptocurrency adoption challenge, open new engines of growth — despite national crypto crackdowns — and solve buy-in for people without credit cards, bank accounts or even spare cash.
We can 100x the adoption of cryptocurrencies within 10 years. We dare not wait any longer. Cryptocurrency that does not serve the mass population of Earth is a technological toy, nothing more.
The ledger is the center and foundation of civilization and economy, because it tells us who is accountable for what, a deceptively simple function that enables the creation of capital.
Most of the ledgers in use today in government and business are inefficient, expensive, opaque and by design susceptible to fraud and corruption. Today’s ledgers require trust in middlemen, such as governments and financial institutions, in order to operate properly. As such, there is a moral hazard inherent in today’s ledger systems, because, when individuals open bank accounts and register businesses, governments and financial middlemen stand to gain in the form of greater power and individuals stand to lose from taxes, fees, expropriation and inflation.
Twenty-first century nation-states have corrupted many of society’s ledgers, used the existing ledgers to increase their wealth without actually creating new value (rent-seeking) to the benefit of the elite and the detriment of the mass population, and have excluded as much as 80% of humanity from the use of ledgers that are integrated into the global financial system, a situation that causes economic informality, poverty, lack of capital formation and exclusion from the globalizing world order, to the detriment of all humankind.
All of humankind’s achievements come from connecting people and things, and capitalism enables us to find the best economic combinations of people and things, as economist Hernando de Soto has said.
We believe that the ledger is the foundation of economic progress but that today’s ledgers are corrupt, vulnerable and/or disconnected. Bitcoin represents the separation of state and ledger, and its time is here.
Every individual is the end goal of his own life, and has as his birthright the legal and moral right to live it in freedom, as he sees fit, without being subject to aggression or fraud, or engaging in aggression or fraud.
Every individual has the right to control his legitimately-obtained property.
When every individual has the opportunity to realize his innate human potential, all humankind benefits. Each additional individual who has the opportunity to realize his potential in a way of his own choosing and is added to a network of similar individuals, adds value to that network in ways that are both seen and unseen.
Every human being should have direct access to the global economy, to interact with it in his own way, consensually with other participants, without the involuntary intermediation of middlemen, and to shape his own societies as he deems appropriate, without using aggression or fraud, in consensual collaboration with others. He should not be forced to fit into anyone else’s paradigm but should be allowed to grow into his own paradigm.
People shouldn’t have to emigrate to find a better life, they should be able to build it where they are with the tools they have now.
Society starts with the individual. Governments, corporations and other rent-seeking middlemen come last. Successful economic systems originate with the individual through his consensual interactions with other individuals, and governments must accept them. Never the other way around.
Our lives are determined by the stories we tell ourselves.
Too many people tell themselves stories of scarcity. We can offer them stories of post-scarcity and abundance. We can build tools to validate stories of upward mobility. We can incentivize, mentor and support entrepreneurship that results in tangible economic growth.
We believe that the individual is the beginning and the end of all economic growth, and has liberty as his inviolable birthright.
“Poverty is the scarcity or the lack of a certain (variant) amount of material possessions or money,” as Wikipedia states.
80% of humanity lives on less than $10 per day.
80% of humanity spends its life in a precarious and ultimately wasteful search for its next meal due to lack of capital, thereby losing uncountable potential contributions of talent and genius to the global culture and economy.
3 billion people live on less than $2.50 per day. Almost half of them live in extreme poverty on less than $1.25 per day.
25% of humanity lives without electricity.
40% of humanity does not have basic sanitation.
1.8 billion people use drinking water that is contaminated with faeces, which puts them at risk of polio, cholera, typhoid, and dysentery.
800,000 people die every year due to diarrhea that results from inadequate drinking water, sanitation, and hand hygiene.
5 million people, mostly children, die each year from water-borne diseases.
800 million people, 300 million of which are children, do not have enough food to eat.
90% of these 300 million children are enduring long-term malnourishment.
“The poor are hungry and their hunger traps them in poverty,” as The World Food Programme has argued.
More people die every year from hunger than from HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.
Every 3.6 seconds, a person dies of starvation, most of them children under the age of 5.
1 billion children are in poverty across the globe and 22,000 of them die every day because of poverty, and, according to UNICEF, they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.”
150 million children under 5 have seen their growth stunted due to chronic malnutrition, accounting for approximately 27% of all children in the developing world, and mostly in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
2 million children die every year of preventable diseases such as diarrhea and pneumonia because they can not afford proper treatment.
72 million children of primary school age in the developing world are not going to school, 57 per cent of whom are girls.
According to the World Bank, the most extreme level of poverty has decreased over the last 30 years but reaching their goal of reducing extreme poverty to just 3% of the world population by 2030 is not possible with the current rate of economic growth.
Population growth in Africa is such that the continent of Africa will hold 40% of humanity by 2100. Africa is the future and the number of human lives that will be created there in the next 80 years demands that good people work together to ensure they are healthy and prosperous lives that add to the greater future of humanity.
4 billion people are locked out of the global capitalist system.
People understandably get violent when they feel they are excluded, though violence is only acceptable when used in self-defense.
Poverty leads to social unrest and social divides because of income inequality.
Ills associated with poverty include substance abuse, debilitating accidents due to unsafe working conditions, hazards such as lead and pesticide poisoning, substandard living conditions, disease, child labor, child soldiers, war, substandard infrastructure, unemployment, domestic violence, shortened life expectancy, stunted growth, terrorism and more.
The global poor can’t effectively save the excess income they produce because either no bank will serve them or banks charge fees that eat through their meager savings, and because inflation eats the value of their savings.
The value of the wages of the global poor decline in real terms due to the inflation of fiat currency by nation-states but wealth perpetuates itself indefinitely, so the poor can not catch up just by working harder.
Poverty affects women and children disproportionately.
Poverty can become a self-sustaining cycle that becomes difficult to break.
People are escaping poverty worldwide but their progress is precarious and too slow.
We believe that the global poverty situation is entirely unacceptable, that it presents a grave threat to the future economic, intellectual and cultural development of humanity, that it presents the greatest challenge to be solved by the greatest minds of the 21st century — and that we can effectively eradicate it within 25 years through the innovative use of cryptocurrency.
The global poor are not so much poor as undocumented, not so much unemployed as undercapitalized, and not so much undercapitalized as their capital is illiquid (not fungible). Their economy is not so much informal as extralegal.
The root of poverty is the lack of liquid capital with which to invest in economically productive ends, of which there are many accessible to the global poor.
The global poor are more aptly named the global undocumented as they lack “the documents required to live, work and make contracts in a particular place,” as economist Hernando de Soto has said. This results in a state of defenselessness against expropriation and environmental contamination by powerful entities, as well as great difficulty in accessing credit and capital.
The global poor are the backbone of the global informal economy, an economy that operates outside of nation-state-approved markets because its members are excluded from participation in the legal economy due to lack of government registration documents, due to a desire to avoid taxation and expropriation, and for other valid reasons.
The global informal, or extralegal, economy is the largest, but most fragmented, marketplace in the world, with as many as 5 billion members.
More than half of total employment (much if not most of it self-employment) in developing countries is in the informal economy, and as much as 90 percent in South Asia and Africa.
The informal economy is more than 1/3 of the developing world’s GDP. 27% of non-agricultural output in North Africa comes from the informal economy. That number is 29% in Latin America and 31% in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
70% of the economies in Thailand and Nigeria are the informal economy.
65% of homes in the Philippines are unregistered, a number that is above 80% in many other developing countries.
60% of families in Latin America have not formally registered their property, and many have given up attempting to do so due to the time, cost and complexity of the registration processes.
70% of land plots in Latin America are undocumented.
The poor in Peru own assets valued at more than 11 times the value of the equities on the Lima Stock Exchange.
The global poor own the majority of the world’s assets but they lack the financial system to leverage it as capital for development.
The poor are able to create wealth. The problem is that it is fragmented among many different extralegal systems and ledgers, and thus can not be made into fungible capital suitable for the financing of further economic development. Blockchain technology can solve this problem and, in so doing, unleash the economic power of the informal economy.
The global poor are more entrepreneurial than the global elite.
The global poor do not require a basic income, foreign aid or charity. They will most benefit from an earned capital airdrop to make liquid their existing human capital along with a universal, stateless distributed ledger system through which they can enjoy international identity, reputation, value transfer, value storage, asset registry, contract recording, credit, the issuance of shares in their enterprises, governance and more. This will connect the global poor in a global ledger and marketplace without artificial limits or corruption that is larger than the first-world globalizing economy.
The global poor are going to find a way for their fragmented ledgers to interoperate. When they do, they will unleash an unstoppable wave of economic growth. Helping the global poor achieve the equity they require to experience rapid economic growth is going to be both fun and profitable for every human being.
The global migration from rural to urban areas is a migration in search of capitalism. These people are in transition, are prime candidates for cryptocurrency adoption and can be ambassadors for crypto in the urban milieu.
The global poor are told they must globalize; that is to say join an economic system dominated by the global elite. But they need only blockchainize in order to realize the benefits of capitalism and outstrip the wealth created by the global elite over the last two centuries.
The best way to escape poverty is via medium- and large-scale entrepreneurialism. The global poor are already engaged in this in a huge way. They simply need middleman-free, trustless ledgers that enable them to be included in the global economy, so they can build larger enterprises, access credit and deal with the developed world on more equitable terms.
We believe that the global poor are lacking mostly in liquid capital, and that when their surprisingly significant existing capital is made liquid and fungible, that it will catalyze a wave of economic growth across the developing world that will enrich all humanity and effectively eradicate global poverty within 25 years.
Rent-seeking middlemen, such as governments, banks, insurance companies, centralized social networks, internet service providers, marketplace operators, lawyers, accountants and courts, are an unnecessary vestige of 20th-century state capitalism and, in fact, are the prime impediment to the continued economic growth of all humankind because they interfere with direct person-to-person economic relationships, reduce efficiency and increase costs without adding comparative value.
Government bureaucracy is holding back the economic development of the global poor by making them jump through overly-demanding and expensive hoops in order to register their property and businesses, and thereby benefit from a ledger system in order to improve that property via credit.
Financial middlemen in the developing world maintain their power by denying credit, and thereby controlling who may enter any given market. Together with bureaucrats and their infamous red tape, these two groups are effective at keeping the global poor in poverty.
Freed markets generate economic growth but closed and protected markets fail to grow.
Many governments in the developing world have enacted barriers to free trade that stifle economic growth for their citizens, leaving them trapped in islands of illiquid and difficult-to-trade capital.
Governments, through their mismanagement of fiat currency systems and property ledgers, have caused economic bubbles and excessive indebtedness across all levels of society, a situation that leads to great economic precariousness for the most vulnerable among us.
75% of the global poor do not have a bank account. This represents a failure of legacy middlemen.
Businesses in the developing world must pay administrative costs three times higher than those faced by businesses in the developed world. This is a direct result of legacy middlemen and their corruption.
To register a business, it takes 89 days in India but 8 days in Sinagpore. To register a property in the Philippines, it takes 33 days, but only 8 in the US.
The global mass population has lost trust in their national institutions — such as governments, corporations, media and non-profit organizations — in 20 of 28 countries surveyed in the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer, and trust levels are declining in 21 of 28 countries.
The idea of a trusted central authority is broken because modern society is simply too complex to be managed centrally. Society must be polycentric.
Middlemen must be cut from the economic landscape through the practice of individuals doing business directly with each other. We can and should end middlemen.
The Age of the Organization is dead, as Taylor Pearson argues. We are now entering a Blockchain Era, where the savvy individual is able to coordinate the services not just of an organization but of the globe. With direct access to the global economy, savvy entrepreneurs can now form economically-efficient enterprises with a minimum of resources.
The issuance of money is best based on a mathematical formula that is a factor of the growth of humanity, and not based on the arbitrary whims of governments, central banks or credit banks, and that is not based on debt, and is not therefore a trap for the least liquid when credit contractions are effected.
We need a monetary system that is built to serve the individual human being, rather than to make a profit at his expense.
Corruption slows economic growth and diverts it in a direction that doesn’t serve individuals in the most efficient manner. It can lead to unsafe infrastructure and capital flight. Corruption of any shape or size keeps people poor. It gives inefficient and dishonest companies an advantage over the efficient and honest. We must grow beyond the ability for legacy middlemen to corrupt, so that we are progressively more immune to their corruption over time.
Many governments across the world are oligarchical — they are controlled by a few dozen or hundred families for their own benefit, and to the detriment of the mass population.
The power of governments to print new money when it suits the elite’s agenda is a power that must not be underestimated. It is the power to bribe and bully, writ universal. No one, not even other governments, is safe from this unchecked power. It is a power that must be balanced, if not entirely eliminated.
The power of governments to regulate, that is to limit liberty and to rent-seek, enables them to choose winners and losers in the marketplace, to elevate inefficient but politically-connected firms over more efficient ones and to bully enterprises to do their bidding.
We believe it is time to start fresh with a new trustless distributed-ledger-based currency and property registry system that recognizes the individual human being as the center of the system and the source of all value and legitimacy, that includes everyone, and that gets rent-seeking middlemen out of the picture so individuals can trade directly across and within nation-state borders, without artificial limits that benefit those with legacy nation-state power.
The blockchain, or distributed ledger technology, as pioneered by Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto, is a viable upgrade for the world’s ledgers because it minimizes the need for trusted third-party middlemen, makes it easier to solve disputes, can reduce risk and fraud and hold all of a system’s participants to a very high degree of accountability.
The blockchain can be used not just as a digital cash system by every human being, but also as a trustworthy property ledger to replace the untrustworthy property ledgers of the nation-states and the fragmented ledgers of the informal economy.
Today’s existing middlemen can not be trusted to implement the ledgers of tomorrow, whether they use distributed ledger technology or not. They have proven themselves untrustworthy. We must design a new, trust-minimized distributed ledger ecosystem that routes around today’s middlemen as if they were damaged nodes in an economic network.
The blockchain is immutable and therefore resistant to the self-serving tampering that led to such debacles as the Lost Decade in Japan, the 2007-2008 financial crisis in the United States, ponzi schemes and other examples of middleman corruption.
The blockchain is a tool that is apt for storing and preserving the truth of any given economic situation because it is tamper-evident and largely incorruptible, and is compatible with Mohandas K. Gandhi’s satyagraha, otherwise known as truth force, a viable nonviolent alternative to the use of violence in human affairs.
Blockchainism is a political philosophy that stands in contrast to capitalism and socialism and is characterized by the use of decentralized trustless mechanisms for managing the economic relations of individuals, the ruthless elimination of middlemen, the enshrinement of the individual as the center of the economic universe, a disregard for the artificial and constricting borders of nation-states, and the favoring of nonviolent truth force over aggression in order to resolve disputes. Blockchainism is anti-tribal, pro-individual, pro-diversity and anti-conformity. Blockchainism finds value in everything and seeks to make it liquid via tokenization — the process of creating a digital counterpart for all assets that can be controlled directly by the owner — in order to improve its value further and offer as many people as possible a stake in it. Blockchainism chooses agency over obedience, markets over central planning, respect over disdain, proactive empathy over apathetic indifference, optimism over pessimism, self-determination over social contract and exit over voice.
Using blockchains, we can formalize the fragmented ledgers of the 5-billion-person-strong informal economy and connect them in a new, corruption-resistant global economic system that is under distributed individual control, with transparent and equitable rules, and is free of rent-seeking middlemen, in order to foster equitable economic growth for all and reduce economic inequality using freed markets.
We believe that the blockchain is a viable tool to unify the fragmented ledgers of the global informal economy into a new, global freed marketplace where all can enjoy prosperity.
The most successful cryptocurrency is the one that is understood, held and used by the greatest number of people, with the highest rate of merchant adoption, for the broadest number of uses with the highest velocity of money and the lowest transaction fees.
The most adopted blockchain will be the one that is designed to meet the needs of the largest target market. A successful blockchain system is designed in consultation with its customers, not alone or only in consultation with other blockchain experts.
The most widely adopted blockchain digital cash system leads with merchant adoption.
The most successful blockchain digital cash system takes extra steps to protect its users from theft and loss of private keys.
The best blockchain digital cash system enables participants to protect their capital from rent-seeking middlemen.
The most successful blockchain digital cash system is preceded and accompanied by a self-serve educational program to instruct new cryptocurrency adopters on how blockchains work, security in a blockchain world, the basics of business, growth mindset and more, as well as multiple methods for participants to connect with each other directly and independently.
The best blockchain system intended for mass adoption starts from the bottom up, partnering with individuals, discovering and meeting their needs. It does not start from the top down, seeking first to accommodate itself to government dictates in order to gain the permission of legacy middlemen. Legacy middlemen are the reason why the global informal economy exists. We will not achieve global ledger interoperability by seeking the permission of those who profit from keeping us separate and controlled.
Blockchain technology needs to scale. The cryptocurrency ecosystem will benefit from a project that is focused on bringing in large numbers of new participants because such a project will create strong demand and urgency for scaling solutions.
The best way to scale blockchain technology is to build demand first. Make the people come, and the developers will build it.
The rules say you have to buy into a cryptocurrency. It’s time to break that rule.
We believe that the most successful blockchain will be the one with the most participants who use it the most and understand it the best.
The crypto world is too small. The number of cryptocurrency users is estimated by some sources at between 3 million and 50 million, and may not reach 200 million users before 2024. Even if we are 50 million, that is only 1% of all human beings between the ages of 15 and 64.
The crypto world is too centralized, not necessarily due to any conspiracy or acts of bad faith but just due to the small size of our community, with many coins controlled by corporations or plutocracies.
Adoption is far from solved, with unattractive wallet user interfaces, confusion among new users and other inconveniences.
Buy-in is a financial and technical challenge for everyone but the global elite. The global poor have no credit cards or bank accounts, generally speaking. When they can get some cryptocurrency, they find that few or none of their real-world trading partners have crypto, and the most they can do with their cryptocurrency is hold it indefinitely, thereby leaving most of the value of cryptocurrencies unrealized.
The global poor are the group who will have the most uses for cryptocurrency, given that their current ledgers are fragmented, their fiat currency savings are inflated away and their nation-states reduce their ability to realize economic growth.
By distributing new cryptocurrencies based on existing wealth, we have locked the global poor — those who stand most to benefit and those who can be our best collaborators because they are outside the current government-banking system — out of cryptocurrencies.
Cryptocurrency that does not serve the mass population of Earth is a technological toy, nothing more.
Global regulation of cryptocurrencies may ultimately be helpful to cryptocurrency users, investors and creators. But it is also a threat to the continued growth of crypto, and a race for power. Governments are tentatively organizing a coalition for global regulation of cryptocurrencies — a united front for whatever regulation scheme they settle on, be it the Japanese model, the BitLicense or something in between. We must do the same — by building our userbase, by growing and by demonstrating how crypto is solving problems that governments can’t. We must build power in the real world, because, in the final analysis, that is the only thing that governments respect. We can arrive at the negotiating table holding the balance of power in order to ensure that global regulation is helpful, and not crippling.
We believe that there is a great deal of urgency to bring new people into the crypto world in order to improve decentralization, adoption and the general utility of cryptocurrency systems. In fact, crypto’s freedom to continue growing is at stake.
Incentives are more powerful and useful than violence.
It is better to build power than to curry favor with the powerful.
Simplicity is best.
Economics is not a zero-sum game. Together, we can all grow.
Honesty, integrity and transparency are the building blocks of a prosperous world.
Cryptocurrency tends to bring prosperity to its adopters over the medium to long term.
If we don’t bring the global poor into the crypto space, we will be the losers.
A payment system that includes everyone benefits everyone.
All humanity would benefit if every human being had the opportunity to earn cryptocurrency by working towards this vision.
Cooperation is addictive, and we can build a self-perpetuating, pay-it-forward chain of cooperation that benefits everyone.
We believe that good people must step forward and create new trustless money and ledger systems to realize a vision of humanity that includes everyone in a borderless, freed global marketplace where poverty is a thing of the past.
(Some statistics are from 2017.)
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