Blockchain and social exclusion

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Blockchain and social exclusion 

Blockchain, especially cryptocurrency, as a technology is relatively novel and has lot be explored. However, the important question that arises for me is whether the technology is for everyone or just a few sections. A prerequisite to using blockchain or mining cryptocurrency is awareness of the technology and availability of electricity and internet.

To use bitcoins, there is need for proper smart phones (not the ordinary ones) and network availability. However, several parts of the developing world do not have access to such technologies and provisions, automatically pushing them out of the game.[1]The obstacles for blockchain do not end here. Even if there is access to network, there are hurdles of financial exclusion. A large section of marginalized population does not have access to bank accounts to be a part of payment services or even just to save money, thereby rendering this technology impractical for a significant part of the population. [2]

Furthermore, as blockchain and cryptography becomes progressively complicated, certain sections, mainly the single entity establishments can monopolize them by centralizing the system. This leads to the individual miners being excluded automatically, giving away to the unified, privatized enterprises.[3]Therefore, it is not just the sheer advancement of technology that creates the social exclusion, but rather characters of neoliberal capitalist modes of production and monopoly formation.

[1]Scott, B. (2016). How can cryptocurrency and blockchain technology play a role in building social and solidarity finance?(No. 2016-1). UNRISD Working Paper.

[2]Scott, B. (2016). How can cryptocurrency and blockchain technology”

[3]Calvão, F. (2018). Crypto‐miners: Digital labor and the power of blockchain technology. Economic Anthropology.

 

-By Harneel Kaur Aujla

 

 


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