A brief introduction to cryptocurrency is that it’s a form of decentralized digital money, based on blockchain technology. The Blockchain is an open globally distributed ledger that records all transactions of digital currencies in code. Transactions are recorded in “blocks” that are then linked together on a “chain” of previously executed transactions. There are over 5,000 different cryptocurrencies in circulation today, with Bitcoin, Etherium, and Monero being a few of the most popular.
But what are the most outstanding benefits of cryptocurrency in general? What makes decentralized money stand apart from regular fiat money, is that there is no central authority that manages and maintains the value of each cryptocurrency. The responsibility of management falls into the hands of the digital currency’s users via the internet. One other little factor that completely sets cryptocurrency apart from fiat? No bank account is required. And that’s a complete game-changer.
In today’s world, if you don’t have a job, an address, or a driver’s license, you’re going to face some difficulties in setting up even the most basic bank account. And if you do happen to be someone privileged enough to easily open a bank account, you will quickly find that the bank controls a huge part of your life.
Monthly maintenance fees for bank accounts add up quickly and can cost the average person nearly $100 a year. Simply for keeping your own in your own bank account. The truth for many people across the world is that mainstream banks are just not an accessible or realistic possibility for them. If that sounds unbelievable, look at this statistic from the GlobalFindex. Findings show that “1.7 billion adults remain unbanked— without an account at a financial institution or through a mobile money provider.”
After realizing just how many people in the world are actually unbanked, it becomes a bit easier to fully grasp the severity of the global wealth inequality that exists today, and this is where the benefits of cryptocurrency jump in. According to Inequalty.org, the world’s richest 1 percent (those with more than $1 million) own 44 percent of the entire world’s wealth. That means that those with less than $10,000 in wealth, which make up 56.6 percent of the world’s population, hold less than 2 percent of global wealth. It’s obvious that something has to change, and the cryptocurrency can help.
Digital currency can help improve the lives of people living in poverty, in a number of different ways. It provides access to financial services, free of charge, and no government ID, legal status or proof of income is required. Granting more people access to financial services opens up a world of new possibilities for them. They could invest their money without the costs of greedy middlemen, or they could simply use digital coins for their day-to-day lives and this is just one but perhaps one of the main benefits of cryptocurrency.
Although not all stores in the mainstream market accept payment in the form of digital currency yet, a few big companies have recently announced that they now do. KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Microsoft, PayPal, and Starbucks, just to name a few have recently announced that they accept cryptocurrencies. And to make things even easier, digital currency gift cards are now a thing. One simply buys a digital gift card through one of the many companies available today, and the money spent can then be used on a number of different sites like Amazon and Target.
Aside from making life a bit more livable for many folks, crypto also brings with it, a built-in anti-corruption system, this one is just another large-scale benefit of cryptocurrency. Due to the nature of how the blockchain functions, hiding who is doing what with huge amounts of money, is almost impossible, meaning that the transparency of digital currency holds the power to fight corruption.
The Brookings Institution, a non-profit public policy organization in Washington D.C., describes a great example of the benefits of cryptocurrency and how can prevent corruption by stating, “For example, if a government decides to construct a road, it can now track how each dollar is being spent, identify all the users of the funds, and ensure that only those authorized to spend money do so on originally intended expenses within the permitted time. Fraud and corruption investigations that now take on average 15 months could be performed at the touch of a button and at a fraction of the cost.” Poverty and corruption go hand in hand, so if we want to end global poverty, a good place to start is lowering corruption.
The battle for a cryptocurrency financial revolution is on-going, but the future seems to be looking brighter day by day, the benefits of cryptocurrency increase by day. People are starting to see all the benefits that cryptocurrency holds. One thing is for sure. The desire for decentralization of banking, income inclusivity, and minimized corruption will not be going anywhere, anytime soon.