We all have various reasons for entering into crypto. Many of us arrived here when we heard the promises of untold riches. Others arrived here after being wronged by the traditional financial systems. Others arrived because of the draw of a new technology that could ease the burdens of our favorite daily activities.
What about the unbanked? Why would they use crypto?
I was listening to a talk by Andreas Antonopolous about the unbanked and he started this talk by saying: The unbanked do not ask why they should enter crypto.. rather, they ask how to do it.
The unbanked do not need to be convinced to join crypto.. It is simply a matter of how they can enter crypto and learn how to use it to improve their lives by several orders of magnitude. It’s not that their governments do not provide opportunities to them, it’s that their governments actively steal those opportunities and hoard them to themselves.
Universal access to basic finance. This is and has always been the main goal behind cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin can provide immense opportunities, but I believe STEEM provides a whole different set of opportunities. With hierarchical keys and a (relatively) easy to use online wallet, anyone with internet can access the Steem blockchain and use it for various financial transactions and other activities that can actively create wealth such as blogging, curating, engaging, tracking activity, playing games, etc.
Not only can you create a next-generation “bank account” on Steem, you can also create a windfall of financial opportunity for yourself. As we find more gateways to use STEEM as a currency in the real world, the opportunities for becoming your own personal bank will increase exponentially.
Definition of Unbanked:
The word “unbanked” gets thrown around a lot, but many still misunderstand the exact meaning of it. The definition on Investopedia reads as follows:
”’Unbanked' is a slang term for adults who do not use banks or banking institutions in any capacity. Unbanked persons generally pay for things in cash or else purchase money orders. Unbanked persons also typically do not have insurance, pensions or any other type of professional money-related services. They may take advantage of alternative financial services, such as check-cashing and payday lending, if such services are available to them.” 1
The problem with this definition (and with this entire page on investopedia) is that it only focuses on people in the U.S. who are unbanked. Yes, this is a problem in the U.S. — about 10 million American households (7.7%) are unbanked according to this same page, but there are BILLIONS of unbanked people globally. BILLIONS….
For these billions outside of the U.S., the definition of unbanked is much more extreme. Not only do they lack access to financial institutions, they are also ruled by governments who actively demolish opportunities for financial prosperity through corruption, control and abuse of their citizens.
While this report states that 1.7 billion adults lack access to a bank account, many claim that this data is skewed lower because it accounts mostly for heads of households, excluding many women and young adults. This number is likely a lot higher than 1.7 billion when you consider all these individuals who are not considered “breadwinners” in their respective households.
Changing the Tides, How Crypto Will Bank the Unbanked:
As blockchain technology and education improves, the unbanked will quickly become banked in this next-generation economy. Educating them will become one of the most important distributions of knowledge in our lifetimes.
By skipping over traditional institutions and centralized corporations in favor of decentralized networks, crypto has the ability to dispel the power of these governments that have a tight hold over their citizens. In the U.S. there is a strong government, but it is nothing compared to what people are dealing with in the rest of the world.
While companies such as Facebook claim to bring banking to the masses, what will be different about it? You’ll still be spied on, lied to and ultimately controlled by a central entity.
Decentralization isn’t a feature or a fun “option”… it’s an absolute necessity going forward.
In the future, I see a decentralization of financial opportunities as an inevitability. We are already seeing it on a smaller scale as people enter Bitcoin, STEEM and other cryptocurrencies in search of financial opportunities outside of the institutional realm. This is just the beginning of a long journey to not only banking the unbanked, but providing a greater level of opportunities to everyone regardless of race, gender, geography and political stance.