Togolese activist Farida Nabourema on government censorship and ‘Bitcoin for youngsters’.

Togolese activist Farida Nabourema on government censorship and 'Bitcoin for youngsters'.

The Bitcoin Chameleon: Transforming Lives and Promoting Freedom in the Blockchain Industry

Bitcoin, the geographic chameleon and “magic internet money,” is making a profound impact on the world. This decentralized, permissionless digital currency is changing the way we think about money and financial freedom. Bitcoin’s ability to adapt and take on different roles in various cultural environments is what makes it unique and transformative.

In North America, opinions about Bitcoin range from viewing it as an annoying conversation topic during Thanksgiving dinner to recognizing it as a technological breakthrough that challenges the state’s control over money. However, for those who are underrepresented and underserved by the traditional financial system, Bitcoin offers a means of transferring value without the need for a bank account.

For individuals living in countries like Zimbabwe, where the inflation rate exceeds 100% year over year, Bitcoin serves as a lifeline against the devaluation of fiat currency. In El Salvador, citizens have embraced Bitcoin as a legitimate currency, while in Vietnam, it is seen as a robust store of value. The list of Bitcoin’s various offerings goes on and on.

No matter where one finds themselves in the world, Bitcoin embodies the principle of freedom. Ironically, for people in the developing world, the philosophical debates that Bitcoin sparks in more developed regions are overshadowed by more pressing concerns. For example, citizens of Togo yearn for a means to independently transact and save their money in a currency that, although volatile, does not rapidly depreciate.

Farida Nabourema, a Togolese activist, epitomizes the struggle for democracy in her country. From a young age, she followed in the courageous footsteps of her parents and fought against the oppressive regime in Togo. When Nabourema first learned about Bitcoin, she was skeptical. However, as she delved deeper into its workings, she realized how perfectly it aligned with her advocacy for democracy, especially in terms of financial freedom and literacy for women and youth.

Bitcoin: A Tool for Financial Independence in Repressive Regimes

Nabourema’s initial encounter with Bitcoin came out of the necessity to securely send money to Togo without government censorship. In a country ruled by a repressive military regime for 57 years, the regime banned all forms of protests and arrested those donating money to resistance movements. Bitcoin emerged as a safe and resistant method for sending and receiving funds to support their activism.

Empowering the Next Generation: Bitcoin For Youngsters

Bitcoin not only promises financial freedom but presents an opportunity to positively impact children and families in Togo. Recognizing the importance of financial education for every child, Nabourema launched the “Bitcoin For Youngsters” program in secondary schools. Through this initiative, over 3,000 students have received training, expanding their horizons and introducing them to potential careers and entrepreneurship possibilities that Bitcoin can offer. Although it may be a stretch to say that Bitcoin offers immediate benefits for children in Togo, the long-term impact on their financial literacy is significant.

Addressing Skepticism and Promoting Bitcoin Education

When encountering dismissive attitudes towards Bitcoin, especially from friends and family, Nabourema prefers not to actively evangelize the technology. She understands that people can be sensitive and aggressive when it comes to money, particularly if they lack understanding. Instead, she focuses her efforts on communities that have been excluded from the traditional financial system, such as farmers, activists, and young people.

These communities often appreciate and welcome Bitcoin as a solution to their financial challenges. Nabourema emphasizes the importance of debunking myths surrounding Bitcoin and teaching individuals to take control of their own funds, self-custody, rather than entrusting them to third parties. By equipping people with the knowledge of sound financial practices, she empowers them to protect their money from both government control and inflation.

Closing the Gender Gap in Bitcoin Interest and Adoption

In Togo, women have historically faced economic discrimination. Bitcoin presents an opportunity to narrow the gender wealth gap, as it is a currency that does not discriminate and can be earned by anyone. However, in order to achieve this, investment in women’s education about Bitcoin is crucial. It is essential to ensure that the most marginalized individuals within existing financial structures have access to Bitcoin and its benefits. Bitcoin can truly thrive only if women thrive within the industry.

In conclusion, Bitcoin’s impact stretches beyond its technology and financial applications. It represents a tool for promoting freedom, empowering marginalized communities, and closing gender gaps. Farida Nabourema’s journey with Bitcoin exemplifies how blockchain technology can be harnessed to transform lives and societies, providing hope for a more equitable and inclusive future.

This is a guest post by Becca Bratcher. Opinions expressed are entirely her own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.

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