Bitcoin Disaster Relief
Bitcoin Disaster Relief

Bitcoin has the potential to be the greatest humanitarian tool in history, and can lift more people out of poverty than any other advancement since capitalism itself. I’m serious about this, and here’s why:

Bitcoin is not inflationary
Unlike every other modern currency, Bitcoin cannot be printed into inflation. The rate of creation is known, fixed, and finite. Inflation hurts the poorest in society most of all for at least two reasons: first, they are typically the last recipients of new money, and derive the least value from it, and second, they can least afford to have their expenses increase. A 10% inflation rate is something that a middle-class household could adjust to by adjusting spending, but for the poorest in society, there is no such buffer. Bitcoin can protect these people against such destructive inflation.

Bitcoin encourages saving
Because most currencies will be worth less in the future than they are now, the incentive is to spend them on goods and services in the present rather than to save them. Bitcoin is the opposite: it will be worth more in the future than it is today, and so the incentive is to save it rather than to spend it. This extra saving can bring people who are inclined to spend their money on frivolities out of paycheck-to-paycheck subsistence living and into financial security.

There are very low fees associated with using Bitcoin
For the poorest in society, the traditional methods of storing, transferring, and spending money are extremely costly. Because the poorest often don’t have access to banking and credit, they must use more costly check-cashing services, money order vendors, etc., to collect their paychecks and pay bills. I know people who lose as much as 10% of their already meager income to financial services companies. Using bitcoin requires little or no fees. The importance of this cannot be overstated. As an example of the cost of using bitcoin to transfer money, in November of 2013, $150 million in bitcoins were transferred for no cost, a transfer which would have cost several hundreds of thousands of dollars using traditional methods. Those who use bitcoin are able to keep more of their own money.

Charitable donations can be sent directly to those in need
Bitcoin’s structure is such that transactions require no intermediary party. Disaster relief charities often take weeks, months, or in some cases even years to apply the donations to the affected area. With bitcoin this can reliably be done in minutes. Many charities have large overhead costs, which are funded by donations and which reduce the amount of money that reaches those in need. Charitable bitcoin donations can avoid this altogether.

Bitcoin is not at risk for street-theft
The poorest often live in the least-desirable areas with the most crime. Unlike other forms of property, bitcoin cannot be stolen by burglars or muggers. The often-costly traditional methods of providing security for property aren’t required with bitcoin.

Discounts are often offered to those who pay with Bitcoin
Those who use the gift card service Gyft to pay for things like groceries, clothing, and appliances receive a 3% discount when paying with bitcoin. This requires no credit checks, no credit cards, and no ID verification of any kind. Gyft offers this discount because of the extremely low costs associated with doing business in bitcoin.

Bitcoin wallets cannot be garnished or closed without consent
No government or company can automatically withdraw money from a bitcoin wallet without permission. It is simply not possible to access the wallet without the proper cryprographic keys. This means that those who use bitcoins are completely in control of their own money. This is radically different than traditional currencies, all of which can be taken on a whim by any number of institutions. Bitcoin can truly be property of the user in a way that other currencies cannot.

Remittance with Bitcoin entails low risk and low cost
Many migrant workers send money across national borders to their families. This is costly and entails some risk, particularly for people who live in areas of conflict. Bitcoin can be transferred anywhere on earth in minutes for low or no cost, requires no trusted third party, has no regard for borders, customs, or laws, and can be both sent and received from the safety of the home. No other payment service can do this. Foreign remittance with bitcoin is cheaper, safer, faster, and more reliable than any other payment service, and puts the users completely in control of their own money.

Bitcoin generates wealth
The nature of bitcoin is such that it generates wealth. Traditional investments are often out of reach of the poorest, as they require minimum starting balances, fees, credit cards, and other difficult-to-meet standards. Bitcoin requires no such nonsense. It can be invested in by any person at any amount with low or no cost, and can replace traditional investments for society’s lowest economic groups. To illustrate the power of bitcoin to do this, a person who invested $5 in bitcoin, once per month, on the first day of every month starting in January of 2013 would, at the time of this writing 11 months later, have made a $1,500 return on a $55 investment. If a person made the same $5 monthly investment starting in January of 2012, they would, as of this writing, have made approximately $9,000 on a $115 investment. That is enough to buy a late model used car outright, or to pay rent for a year in many places in the developed world. Think of the impact that such wealth-generating power would have in underdeveloped areas of the world.

Bitcoin has the power to lift millions out of poverty. Its nature is such that it rewards thrift and prudent financial decisions. It rewards saving and discourages frivolous spending. It grows in value over time. It is secured with world-class cryptography, and is easy to use for anyone who has an internet connection.

It is true that bitcoin won’t be able solve every problem, change every bad habit, or reach every suffering person, but it can do those things for many. And once the misery and stress of extreme poverty is alleviated in the lives of these millions, think of the indirect benefits that will follow. The divorce rate will drop. Children won’t grow up in homes without adequate financial resources. Parents in better financial situations are less likely to abuse their children and children who grow up without extreme poverty are more likely to be successful, happy, and productive. Poverty is miserable and humiliating and bitcoin can drastically reduce its impact on the human species.

I hope you can start to see the power of bitcoin to relieve suffering in our world. I’m not sure anybody at this time really understands the impact it can have, and I am sure there are other benefits which have not yet been discovered but which are waiting out there for us to find. Let’s get to work.

How to buy Bitcoin: