Perhaps no Bitcoin Magazine employee has explored the moral and ethical necessity of Bitcoin more extensively than Alex Gladstein.
Gladstein is Chief Strategy Officer of the Human Rights Foundation and has also served as Vice President of Strategy for the Oslo Freedom Forum since it was founded in 2009 has opened so many people’s eyes this year. Bitcoin’s mission as a tool for hope and the advancement of human freedom is becoming increasingly evident to a wider audience thanks to his contributions. It would be a missed opportunity not to review his landmark works that demonstrated the need for Bitcoin as open and neutral global money for humanity.
Working in review
In April, Gladstein published “Bitcoin is a Trojan Horse for Freedom,” which discussed how Bitcoin recruits individuals and nations to become promoters of freedom against tyranny and authoritarianism by inducing innate human emotions of self-preservation and greed – itself when you have zero altruism. This is an important introduction to the game theory behind Bitcoin. His unwavering math was designed to change each of us for the better. And this is how we can promote human rights around the world.
His next post, Uncovering The Hidden Costs Of The Petrodollar, was a deep dive into the murky history of the rise of the American dollar to the status of a global reserve currency and its implications for foreign policy, energy and the environment. He described how the United States maintained unprecedented and oversized economic supremacy through an exclusive military pact with Saudi Arabia that caused the world to value oil in dollars and hoard US debt. While Bitcoin’s open transparency makes it easy for critics to complain about its energy usage, the negative impact of the dollar is less visible. Gladstein’s essay was a significant step forward in our understanding of why a dollar-based reserve currency is unsustainable and undesirable for nations around the world.
In May, Gladstein’s essay “Check Your Financial Privilege” recalled anecdotes from emerging economies to illustrate how Bitcoin provides vital and valid use cases for those lacking the financial security many of us in the western world take for granted. Those who ridicule Bitcoin are often blind to the fact that 87% of the planet lives under autocracy or is forced into untrustworthy currencies. 4.3 billion people live under authoritarianism and 1.2 billion people live under double or triple digit inflation. Examining the use of Bitcoin in countries like Nigeria, Sudan, and Ethiopia gave readers a fresh perspective on why Bitcoin is an important tool of liberation for so many people around the world.
“The Humanitarian and Environmental Case For Bitcoin” dealt with the issues of corruption and dependence on foreign aid and how Bitcoin can promote renewable energies in developing countries. In fact, much of the aid to emerging economies flows into the coffers of the elite. Gladstein argues that much of this corruption could be avoided with Bitcoin as a corruption-resistant payment route. In addition, developing countries can rid themselves of repressive and corrupt sources of foreign aid by extracting value from stranded power through bitcoin mining.
A few weeks later, Gladstein took the opportunity to ask the President of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, whether his government had considered mining Bitcoin. Bukele replied that he hadn’t considered it, but the question immediately led him to the realization that his land had untapped geothermal resources that could be used for mining. In November, El Salvador announced a $ 1 billion volcanic loan.
In June, Gladstein interviewed Jack Dorsey at Bitcoin 2021 in Miami and discussed what moved Dorsey about Bitcoin to focus on. The conversation covered a range of topics including the crucial role of Bitcoin in non-bank banking, the promotion of financial rights in emerging economies, censorship resistance, anti-discrimination resistance, self-custody and human rights. The interview garnered international media attention and helped advance the narrative about Bitcoin’s humanitarian mission. By December, Dorsey would step down from Twitter and turn his full attention to his newly renamed company Spiral and Bitcoin.
Gladstein’s next essay, “Fighting Monetary Colonialism Using Open Source Code,” exposed France’s monetary colonialism, which continues to exploit 15 African nations. It told how families in Senegal lost 50% of their purchasing power overnight, and detailed the insidious, unfair monetary and trade policies imposed by the CFA franc as part of a hidden colonialism that has lasted years after decolonization . The rise out of this oppression makes a hopeful story as told as Fodé Diop’s mission to bring Bitcoin to Senegal is told.
On Independence Day, Bitcoin And The American Idea gave us readers the opportunity to reflect on the founding of America and the pressures that are diverting us from its cherished values. In memory of President Eisenhower’s farewell speech, we now have the advantage that Eisenhower’s fears have retrospectively materialized with the rise of the military-industrial complex and the emergence of Bitcoin in response to these dark forces. Gladstein reminds us of Isaiah Jackson’s work on how Bitcoin can help empower black Americans despite a discriminatory banking system that continues to desert the community. And we heard from Al Mutar, who believes Bitcoin can help set people free around the world and spread American values more effectively than US military campaigns ever can. We are inspired by Bitcoin as a new declaration of optimistic values for the future of our civilization.
In late July, Gladstein explored the potential of Bitcoin to give Palestinians the opportunity to peacefully protest and exercise sovereignty in response to the repressive economic policies outlined in his essay “Can Bitcoin Palestine’s Currency of Freedom?” While many people may be aware of the challenges of life in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, few are aware of the economic hardship that aggravates already intolerable living conditions. Here, too, Bitcoin is shown as a solution that can help with transfers from abroad, enable banking transactions, prevent seizures and prevent the devaluation of household assets.
August ushered in “Inside Cuba’s Bitcoin Revolution”, which examined the country’s human rights crisis and the growing revolution in the use of Bitcoin as a peaceful protest in response to repressive economic policies. Gladstein sums up the history and circumstances that led to the disastrous economic situation and unfair role of the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) in daily life. The introduction of Bitcoin gives Cuba’s citizens a way out of these difficulties and an opportunity for economic sovereignty.
He next published Finding Financial Freedom In Afghanistan, which tells the story of Roya Mahboob – the first Afghan technology CEO and one of the first female entrepreneurs to introduce Bitcoin in Afghanistan. We are once again hearing of extreme economic collapses and hardships for the people of Afghanistan and of the crucial role that Bitcoin can play as a lifeline.
In September, Gladstein reported in “The Village and the Strong Man: The Unlikely Story of Bitcoin and El Salvador” on his travel experience after visiting El Salvador to witness the groundbreaking introduction of Bitcoin as legal tender. We learned of the proliferation of QR codes and Bitcoin ATMs that are coming to life in the country with no bank account. He reported on the rapid emergence of the Lightning Network within the country’s borders and the national skepticism and opposition to the Bitcoin law and concerns about the opportunistic president of the country.
In October, “The Quest For Digital Cash” gave us the detailed history of the Cypherpunk movement and the development of Bitcoin, which was realized by Satoshi Nakamoto. Much of the digital privacy and encryption that we take for granted today can be traced back to this movement for individual sovereignty and human rights. By retelling this story, readers will see a new appreciation for the sacrifices and efforts of this generation of cryptography advocates. It shows readers that Bitcoin is the culmination of a long journey that dates back to the early days of the digital revolution.
“The End Of Super Imperialism” is the newest installment from Gladstein, which was released in November of this year. In it we learn about Michael Hudson’s book “Super Imperialism”, which documents the events that led to the dollar-dominated world economy and its far-reaching effects. Much like the harsh monetary colonialism of the CFA franc, the US dollar grants Americans an exorbitant privilege at the expense of other nations. Gladstein’s retelling of Hudson’s work reveals the largely invisible effects of a dollar-based monetary system.
It can be difficult to keep up with Gladstein’s productive writing. Thankfully, Guy Swann recorded every one of Gladstein’s essays on Bitcoin Audible.
His essays are practically required reading for those who want to understand the moral argument for adopting a Bitcoin standard. They give readers a glimpse into the regions, peoples, and economic hardships of which many of us are privileged enough not to be aware of them. The more we learn, the more we can begin to appreciate and understand that Bitcoin is far more important than any of us can imagine. These essays underpin the vital mission of bringing economic sovereignty to the world when it is needed most. We look forward to continuing this journey with Gladstein into 2022 and beyond. We can’t thank him enough for teaching us how much Bitcoin means to those outside of our lives and that he envisions a better future for humanity and individual human rights.
This is a guest post by Level39. The opinions expressed are solely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.