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Crypto is more than an ‘asset class’; it’s a ‘lifeline’

For those with the privilege of living under a stable government, crypto seems pointless. But crypto has become an important lifeline for those suffering humanitarian crises.

Posted April 17, 2023


From the comfort of a desk or couch in many first world countries, crypto might be seen as something to invest in and hold for the long term; or a niche investment opportunity.

This is a valid use case; but it isn’t the only one. For many people around the world, crypto is a way to rise above political and economical instability with the potential to create life-changing results.

Banks could ‘lock you out’ of access to your assets in times of crisis

Crypto represents a way of continuing to transact, including cross-border, when traditional banks ‘lock you out’ of access to your assets

In 2021, the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan wrecked the country’s economy. The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or the Swift system, which underpins international financial transactions, had suspended all services and the liquidity crisis that followed meant commercial banks couldn’t lend money; and retail customers couldn’t take their own money out of banks. 

Young father of 10, Farhan Hotak, was left with no cash in hand apart from a few hundred dollars of Bitcoin in a virtual wallet. After turning this into traditional currency, Hotak managed to flee to Pakistan, saying that “After the Taliban takeover, crypto spread like wildfire…“.

For people like Farhan, owning crypto is the difference between being caught in the cross-fire; or managing to forge a better future. For the millions of people around the world who don’t have access to banking services (the ‘unbanked’), it offers the opportunity to save, invest and access credit.

Crypto provides a way to help someone directly

During times of crisis, crypto is a vital way of deploying help almost instantly when and where it’s needed. 

During the war in Ukraine, millions watched in horror with many of us asking: ‘What can I do?” and unsure about where to donate. We didn’t want our cash getting ‘stuck’ between us, a banking intermediary, and those in desperate need of aid. 

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Crypto emerged as a vehicle to crowdfund global financial support for the Ukraine government that would reach the government directly. In the same vein, the Ukrainian government tweeted its official crypto wallets to ensure would-be donors knew the call to action was legitimate and the funds made it to the right place.

(You can read more about the use of crypto during times of war here, including a debate on Russian using crypto as a sanction busting super-weapon.) 

Closer to home, the Crypto community, including Easy Crypto, came together recently to support rapidly getting donations directly to those who needed them during the Hawke’s Bay flooding. 

For donors, crypto turns the ability to donate into a superpower with instant traceability and impact. 

Crypto really fights inflation in several countries

The use of crypto to fight inflation is a smart move for citizens of countries fighting hyperinflation.  

In 2018, Venezuela was experiencing hyperinflation, with prices doubling every 26 days. The Bolivar (national currency) has became essentially worthless and Venezuelans turned to cryptocurrency as a vital way of protecting their savings.

By using cryptocurrency, they could move their money out of the country and purchase more stable assets or invest in stablecoins (a type of crypto where the value of the digital asset is pegged to a reference asset, such as traditional currency or a commodity). 

For countless citizens, crypto is a method of preserving value that helps ensure ongoing financial liquidity. 

It’s time for those of us fortunate enough to have access to a functioning banking system and government to see the potential for crypto to do far more than “..make us a few dollars…” Scenarios in which crypto becomes a ‘lifeline’ are no longer far-fetched; with its potential starting to come into its own as economic foundations are stress-tested globally. 

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Disclaimer: Information is current as at the date of publication. This is general information only and is not intended to be advice. Crypto is volatile, carries risk and the value can go up and down. Past performance is not an indicator of future returns. Please do your own research.

Last updated May 19, 2023

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