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3 Ways Governments Could Use Blockchain Technology to Oppress its Citizens

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blockchain technology to oppress

The blockchain has many applications for the public sector that can improve the quality of government services, safeguard property rights, prevent fraud, and cut red tape while improving transparency. However, what is not often discussed, is that malicious governments could also use blockchain technology to oppress its citizens.

This article highlights how governments could potentially misuse the blockchain to reduce the individual liberties of its citizens and suppress those with opposing views.

When a Sovereign Digital Currency Means Tracking All Financial Transactions

Blockchain-based decentralised digital currencies have the potential to enable economic, political and social freedom. Conversely, the emergence of sovereign centralized “cryptocurrencies” – issued by central banks – contradicts everything that bitcoin and the blockchain stand for and hoped to fix.

agentThe main goal of cryptocurrencies was to decentralize power, not to boost existing authorities. With centralized state-run blockchains, power is heavily concentrated as governments maintain control over the entire network.

Government-controlled cryptocurrencies could impose dangerous limitations on citizen’s civil freedoms, including pervasive anti-privacy measures.

By being able to track every single financial transaction, citizens would lose their financial sovereignty and the personal freedom that comes with spending one’s money on whatever a citizen wants.

Having every single transaction tracked would inevitably lead to mass financial data collection to determine behavioural and spending patterns of each individual in the country, which could be used against them, should they become at odds with the government or someone with close government ties.

When Blockchain-based Digital Identities Are Used to Track Digital Footprints

One of the most impactful developments in the blockchain industry has been the advancement of secure digital identities. Identification is needed for everything from voting to health care. For the over one billion people worldwide who do not have a legal form of identity, digital identities can provide a much-needed solution.

Digital identities can be stored on a blockchain, which can then be used to handle information such as a patient’s medical records, which can be easily and safely accessed by a health care provider when they are seeking care.

However, if a malicious government has full control of the digital ID system and all its citizens’ data, it could use this to track each citizen’s digital footprints. For example, if the social media accounts, financial services, mobile payment firms accounts of citizens are bound to their digital identity, the government could very easily track individuals’ movements in real-time.

This already happens to a degree in countries like the U.S and U.K. as we learned from Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks. Every day, intelligence agencies collect hundreds of millions of emails, texts, and phone calls and can collect and sift through billions more. The surveillance technology for tracking and identifying people is booming as is governments’ appetite for it. Add in the current digital tracking systems with facial recognition software and digital identities, and this endangers citizen’s right to privacy.

Blockchain-based digital identity systems thus need to be implemented with care and the oversight of the network should not be limited to the government as the potential for misuse is huge.

When Digital Identities Are Used to Create a Social Credit Scoring System

surveillance

Credit scores dictate a person’s involvement in the financial system, including loan or mortgage approvals, interest rates, and insurance rates. It can impact someone’s ability to rent an apartment or secure a credit card, for example.

China’s latest surveillance efforts include a social credit system that aims to rate each citizen’s social value according to their actions.

Drawing data from government agencies, court verdicts, and even mobile payment firms, the scheme assigns each person an individual score. Failure to repay debts or smoked on a train, you could land on a blacklist posted on a public website. The plan is to rate citizens by their financial and legal histories, their online behaviour, education records, and employment activities.

If such an oppressive social credit scoring system is implemented and interlinked with blockchain technology, the data stored on the system would become immutable and easily shareable with permissioned third parties, such as corporations, who could, in turn, limit low-ranking individuals’ ability to live freely even further.

Such a system could be used by governments to oppress its citizens especially those seen as having a lesser value or those that threaten its power. The blockchain could potentially amplify the oppressive nature of such a social credit scoring system.

Keep Your Leaders in Check

While the blockchain was created to decentralize power, the unfortunate reality is that as the technology has evolved, there are now ways it could be used to make oppressive governments more powerful.

Hence, it is important to stay mindful of how the blockchain can be misused when you hear of your government implementing a new blockchain initiative and to speak up if the initiative could go turn into a tool of oppression.

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46 Companies Join Binance Charity to Launch Stablecoin in Support of Feminine Health

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Binance Charity

An alliance of blockchain companies has joined forces to support a philanthropic project focused on the African continent. Led by Binance Charity Foundation (BCF), the charitable arm of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, the initiative will involve the issuance of Pink Care Token (PCAT), a stablecoin that will operate on Binance Chain.

BinanceThe project will help channel funds to Uganda for the purchase of sanitary products, which many women lack access to. The first batch of Pink Care Token and sanitary pads is scheduled for delivery in the country in mid-July in Uganda, with the aid of government ministers.

“Pink Care Token is the first social-impact stablecoin issued on Binance Chain. A part of our mission is to promote cryptocurrency adoption, and I think charity is one of the most efficient ways to bring cryptocurrency value to more people,” said Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ).

Leading blockchain and financial companies that have pledged their support for the initiative include Ripple, Tron, Vechain, Matic, Arrington Capital, and Celer. As the size of the cryptoconomy has grown, delivering outsized returns to its early believers, many supporters within the ecosystem have sought to share their success with the world through altruistic means.

Despite their global nature, crypto assets have yet to permeate many of the world’s most underdeveloped nations, where access to food, shelter, and medicine remain challenges that must be overcome in addition to realising full financial access. Initiatives such as Pink Care Token provide an effective way of helping communities in some of the world’s most impoverished regions while capitalising on the transparency that is one of the hallmarks of the blockchain technology that underpins the industry. All of the funds that are contributed to the project and delivered in Uganda can be tracked on-chain.

Contributors are encouraged to join the campaign by donating at:
https://www.binance.charity/period-poverty

Funds will go towards ending ‘period poverty’ through providing sanitary products for Ugandan women, improving their quality of life and providing a clear demonstration of what the crypto industry can achieve through multilateral philanthropic efforts such as BCF’s Pink Care Token.

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Luno Survey Shows Low Consumer Confidence in Current Financial System

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Low Consumer Confidence

As the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference celebrated its 75th anniversary on July 1, Luno released findings indicating that consumers from emerging markets have low confidence in the current financial system. The conference, also known as the Bretton Woods Conference, established the financial system we use today in 1944.

The Future of Money Survey

LunoLuno’s Future of Money survey discovered that security is one of the areas of concern in the current financial system. These views were given by 36 percent of respondents from South Africa, 35 percent from Nigeria, and 24 percent from the UK. The other areas of main concern are transparency and economic benefit.

Marcus Swanepoel, CEO of Luno, said: “The survey results show that emerging markets are seeking a change to the financial system which was created 75 years ago. The increase in population, changes to the distribution and inequality of wealth, at a time of tremendous steps forward in technology means that the current financial systems need to undergo another Bretton Woods moment.”

Furthermore, the survey showed that consumers from emerging markets have a more developed understanding, protection, and knowledge of money compared to those from developed markets. This is because they do not have direct access to wealth, the report explained.

Struggling Economies

Although our current financial system was established 75 years ago, many countries are still struggling economically. According to the survey, 27 percent of South Africans and 23 percent of Nigerians felt that their economies were performing poorly. This view was held in rural areas more than in urban areas because the former has inadequate financial systems.

Moreover, 23 percent of respondents in Nigeria and 22 percent of respondents in South Africa said it was challenging for them to send money overseas.

“We have seen little change to the global monetary system over the last 75 years, particularly amongst developed economies where financial institutions have built a system around the transfer of currencies, assets, and commodities which benefit a stable and strong economy. As technology advances, it is important that institutions globally find a way of adopting these advancements, enabling emerging markets to have the same access to money and transfer of assets,” Swanepoel stated.

The survey further revealed that 91 percent of South Africans pay for a personal bank account while 75 percent use mobile banking. Additionally, South Africa had the second highest percentage of respondents that said they invest in products such as mutual funds and stocks.

Luno is a global crypto company that carried out the Future of Money survey to understand the world’s view of the current financial system. The survey questioned more than 7,000 people from South Africa, Nigeria, Italy, Malaysia, the UK, France, and Indonesia.

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Youngest Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur in Africa Leads Education Drive in Ghana

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BlockXAfrica

Ghana and the rest of Africa continue to lack behind in bitcoin usage and adoption. Despite the fact that Ghana led the Google Trends chart for the keyword “bitcoin” recently and continues to be part of the top three on the same chart, the West African nation has recorded very low patronage of blockchain technology.

BlockXAfricaIn light of this, the ​Youngest Bitcoin Entrepreneur in Africa​, Elisha Owusu Akyaw, who started his journey of innovation in the blockchain space at the age of 16 seeks to promote bitcoin and blockchain adoption in Ghana through an education campaign.

The young Ghanaian has made headlines with his work in the industry, being described as the youngest “Bitcoin Entrepreneur” and was listed as part of the ​Top 20 Blockchain Influencers in Africa​ by BitcoinAfrica.io.

Elisha’s education drive will be done under the BlockXAfrica brand. BlockXAfrica is a Ghanaian based blockchain startup that seeks to bridge the blockchain and cryptocurrency education gap through advocacy, collaboration, and innovation.

BlockXAfrica believes that blockchain has a lot of potential in accelerating the development of Ghana, including fixing our financial woes through cryptocurrency usage, checking corruption through blockchain backed record systems, fixing our birth and death registry with blockchain solutions and more.

BlockXAfrica is made up of a group of young people from Ghana with the aim of teaching, advocating and spreading the gospel of cryptocurrencies. The aspiring blockchain advocacy powerhouse intends to do this through strategic educational campaigns and social intervention programs & projects.

BlockXAfrica’s education campaigns seek to enlighten people on the importance of cryptocurrency and its various use cases across the continent while addressing the various cryptocurrency scams that have invaded the industry in Africa which is one of the highest contributing factors to distrust in the technology by promoting tested industry standards.

Aside from education, ​BlockXAfrica​ will also be partnering with local developers to create innovations backed by blockchain technology to solve various social issues in Ghana. What’s more, the company will be donating some of its proceeds to charities across the country, as a way to show the masses how blockchain can change lives.’

BlockXAfrica organised its first meetup during the last weekend and plans to embark on a tour across the country.

The guest post was contributed by BlockXAfrica. 

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