Analysis: Could Digital Currencies Make Being Poor Less Costly?
By definition, blockchain technology cuts out middlemen. In relying on networks of users and collective trust, it reduces the need for centralized networks and data storage. This trait made blockchain-powered currencies popular on shadowy parts of the internet, but it has the potential to do something more revolutionary than obscure how money is changing hands: Blockchain-based payment systems can bring the more than 1.7 billion people who are unbanked or underbanked (including 25% of U.S. households), into the formal economy. And in doing so, they can render obsolete the expensive, usurious payment and informal financial services those people use to make ends meet. A generational pandemic makes this challenge all the more urgent, as decades of (admittedly uneven) economic progress are erased.
Photo curtesy of Joey Kyber.