Why bitcoin is a powerful tool for the oppressed

By Michael Rosenblat
Published on May 6, 2017

Many of our readers reside in stable, safe countries where there is not much oppression from dictators, overbearing governments, or warlords. For these lucky individuals, it may be difficult to imagine what it’s like to take drastic measures to protect yourself and your family, including fleeing the only place you’ve ever called home.

I live in one of these stable countries where I enjoy a lot of freedom, but it is due to the sacrifice of my ancestors that I get to be so lucky. My family originally hailed from Alsace-Lorraine, a territory contested between Germany and France in the late 1800s. The turmoil eventually drove out a group of French protestants known as Huguenots, and my ancestors were part of that group. They saw no choice but to leave in order to save their own lives.

After departing their cherished homeland to escape persecution, many of these refugees were forced to emigrate to distant lands, including the United States. One of the most crushing aspects of the move was the fact that it was impossible for them to bring along much of the wealth they had accumulated over their lifetimes. Family businesses, stocks, real estate, and personal belongings were reluctantly abandoned in favor of a chance at a better life.

Armed with little more than their knowledge and skills, these brave travelers started over in a new land, and many of them found success and freedom once again. But starting over with nothing was a devastating loss.

This is still a common story, even today. Millions of innocent people who only wish to build and live peaceful lives are still trapped under oppressive regimes in Venezuela, North Korea, Syria, and Iran, to name a few. And historically, a life free from oppression is the exception, not the norm.

What makes bitcoin so incredibly powerful is that it provides a new way for the oppressed to flee their homes, without having to surrender their entire life savings. Because bitcoin is an intangible currency with globally recognized value, it is the perfect vehicle for moving large sums of money across a troubled border.

As bitcoin becomes more popular and grows in prominence and value, it can serve as a lifeline to the people who need to get out of their current situation and start someplace new. Even today, a savvy family that has made the difficult decision to leave can carefully plan their escape by exchanging all of their assets and belongings for bitcoin. They can store it on a smartphone, USB drive, or a piece of paper, which is much easier to carry and keep safe, and they can sell the bitcoin for local currency once they have safely arrived in their new home.

Although global oppression is still a major issue, at least bitcoin can ease the pain and difficulty of having to relocate and start over in a new land. And if you, the reader, count yourself among the ranks of the oppressed, then don’t despair. Bitcoin could be an important part of your survival strategy.

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