Before all the Lambo memes, shady no-product ICOs, and get-rich-quick schemes invaded the scene, Bitcoin was meant to disrupt the current economic system. Today’s edition of Bitcoin in Brief showcases how that promise is starting to materialize in different fields, including the future of elections and geopolitics.
Iran and Russia Consider Bitcoin to Skirt Sanctions
Iranian and Russian lawmakers are jointly examining the idea of using cryptocurrency to bypass international and American sanctions. Mohammad-Reza Pourebrahimi, who chairs the Iranian Parliamentary Commission for Economic Affairs, raised the idea during a recent meeting in Moscow with Dmitry Mezentsev, the Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Economic Policy. He explained that the Russians “share our opinion. We said that if we manage to move this work forward, then we will be the first countries that use digital currencies in the exchange of goods.”
Iran’s government-owned media Press TV reports that the country’s leadership “specifically started to look at bitcoin as an alternative monetary means to be used in trade after it became clear that European companies were failing to trade with Iran over fears that they would fall afoul of US primary sanctions.” It should be noted that the Iranian government is trying to stop its citizens from having access to global markets it seeks for itself, banning banks from dealing with crypto and even traditional foreign currency exchange shops. Still, Iranian citizens have reportedly sent more than $2.5 billion out of the country to purchase cryptocurrencies with.
US Politician Raises $100k From Crypto Community
Congressional candidate Brian Forde has celebrated on Monday in San Francisco his campaign raising $100,000 in cryptocurrency donations. A former head of MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative and Obama’s Senior Technology Advisor, he is considered to be a vocal supporter of cryptocurrency. Meanwhile his main Democratic opponent, a former SEC enforcement attorney, has attacked Forde for his work in cryptocurrency, referring to his donors in an ad as “bitcoin speculators that oppose cracking down on drug deals and human trafficking.”
This contested race is shaping up to be a major example of cryptocurrency impact on electoral politics in America. It is also nice to see that the matter is now getting bipartisan support in the US. As we recently reported, on the other side of the country and the opposite side of the aisle, a Trump-supporting Republican and a bitcoin enthusiast is running to be the next New York Attorney General.
Liberation Through Radical Decentralization
Vitalik Buterin has co-written a short manifesto of sorts with the young political economist Glen Weyl, unapologetically titled “Liberation Through Radical Decentralization.” In it they explain how the cryptocurrency ecosystem is suited for developing and testing new models for governance, voting and more, in a way that can fundamentally change how both democracy and capitalism work.
They remind us that: “Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in particular emerged directly as a reaction to the perceived excesses of the traditional financial system, with ‘The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks’ carved indelibly into Bitcoin’s genesis block. That said, the decentralized technologies behind cryptocurrencies have potential applications far beyond finance.”
Real Products, Real Adoption
With all the recent news about so many ICOs being outright scams or just failures, it’s good to remember that there are actual projects in the cryptocurrency space that are delivering real services to real users. Two recent examples are Brave and Steemit, coincidentally two different attempts to change how online content monetisation works.
The Brave browser recently passed 5 million downloads for the Android operating system and now boasts over 2.3 million monthly active users and over 14,000 verified publishers. And recently the one millionth account was created on the Steem blockchain, which now sees around 60,000 unique accounts transacting each day, and over 250,000 unique daily visitors for the site.
What do you think about today’s news updates and what they mean for the future? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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