There is little doubt that 2019 will be remembered as the year of global protest. On every continent and for a variety of different reasons, civil unrest has soaked governments of all types, from totalitarian ones to democratically elected systems. It has also seemingly impacted nations on the entire specter of development, covering poor, developing and rich nations seemingly in equal measure. The same level of unrest is almost unheard of on this scale and when it comes to end the political goals of the protesters.
At the same time the implications of these protests also include a strong financial and economic element. In this mix, cryptocurrencies also figure prominently and might even contain the seed of a huge global change they will be a part of. As 2020 draws near their implications of the year of unrest can be examined this some historical distance, no matter how small. Hopefully, the same vantage point will be able to provide some perspective on how cryptocurrencies might embed themselves in what is clearly a wave of future substantial changes.
Citizens on the Streets
From France to Sudan, from Hong Kong to Venezuela; the world of 2019 did not have any other major event or development that could equal the impact of the ongoing protests the world has never seen before. Some are referencing 1968 as another culturally important year of protest, but this analogy seems to be faulty in its basic premise. While the major student protests of over 50 years ago go have many similarities, this time the wave of protests is much greater and it encompasses widely different nations.
Others are mentioning the Arab Spring movement of the early 2010s. Once again, 2019 so many of the same actors, but now they’re all a part of global sociological and economic change. Yet beyond all those differences, there is an underlying thread that binds them all and this one relates to that intersection of economics and politics. In other words, almost all protesters want either freedom or economic, while most want both.
While the political situation is always hard to gauge in different nations without using the same measuring tool that is inadequate, the economic aspect is always much clearer. In 2019 many regions of the world moved deeper into financial problems and economic hardships that are felt by everyone. Combined with political unrest and a desire for more freedom or a different style of government created that explosive mixture which easily spills onto the street protest level. Still, does the economic problems of many nations really do present a chance for crypto?
New Financial Ideas
It is easy to see that the world is in a desperate need for new ideas on almost every important domain. The same applies to finance, both of the entire countries and individuals themselves. Here is where the cryptocurrency phenomena enter the fray, not just theoretically, but also in practice. Hong Kong and Venezuela are prominent examples of this taking place on the street level. As both places became subject to economic hardships and government restrictions on the use of regular banking services, bitcoin emerged as an alternative. This non-governmental and completely decentralized platform was able to help countless citizens of both regions to save their fans and to use bitcoin as an actual currency.
For many, this was not the decision they made because of their affinity towards cryptocurrencies. Instead, they became acutely aware that their own fiat currency is either unavailable or spiraling towards becoming worthless. In that situation, it is completely expected that the population will seek alternatives to protect themselves. For the first time in history, apart from things like gold or phisical goods, anyone in this type of problem can now reach out for cryptocurrencies and attain something that behaves just like those older means of emergency financial hedging. This is not supported by any bank, central all private, or any other mainstream financial institution. Yet for Citizens of Hong Kong who did not what have access to their ATMs, there was no room for discussion about the higher principles of cryptocurrencies.
Growing the Community
Cryptocurrencies are in a way no different than esports, online forums, and many other digital undertakings. All of them demand the ability to grow the number of their uses. Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency that was widely used more than before in 2019 did get that expansion of the same community. Sometimes it grew out of necessity by other people voluntarily engaged with it, but ultimately it makes no difference. New digital wallets have been made and more and more people are in the ecosystem of cryptocurrencies.
This makes digital currencies something of a growing field of economics but one that does not have any previous form. In this regard bitcoin is unlike anything that previously existed – no exotic currency that might have originated at some locations throughout history could be compared with this truly global network. As its community continues to grow, no matter if the protest and global instability are the things fueling that growth, the crypto sphere will keep getting bigger and stronger.
With all of this in mind, what do the future and the upcoming year holds in store for the crypto community? No one can say for sure but when it comes to the global geopolitical situation, certainly, the outlook does not seem all that great. The trade war between the US and China will continue and it will be further complicated by the upcoming US elections. In many other regions including Hong Kong and Venezuela, there is no end in sight to the local simmering of tensions.
Undoubtedly and sadly many of these tensions will evolve into open conflict in the near future. Yet the instability all of these flashpoints offer is in a strange way fertile grounds for cryptocurrency adoption. The networks, including bitcoin real continue to benefit from this, while all hope that the instability does not reach a global level. Here, any currency, fiat or otherwise, could suffer incredibly in any case where protests and instability become something much more dangerous.