Select Page

How Bitcoin Is Freeing People in China, Venezuela, Iran, and…America

Since launching a decade ago, the decentralized, peer-to-peer cryptocurrency bitcoin has been lauded (and denounced) for its potential to route around traditional state-based monetary systems and allow individuals to trade directly with one another.

Much of the discussion has understandably focused on how it is transforming economic exchange. But Alex Gladstein, the chief strategy officer of the Human Rights Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes and protects civil liberties in closed societies, is interested in how it empowers people in autocratic countries to escape government control. Only about 8 percent of global transactions use cash and the switch to digital payments means that authorities can track what individuals are up to with greater ease than they used to. 

Bitcoin, its underlying blockchain technology, and the emerging Lightning payment network are allowing people to escape surveillance, says Gladstein, who has co-authored a brand new book on the subject, The Little Bitcoin Book: Why Bitcoin Matters for Your Freedom, Finances, and Future.

In today’s Reason Podcast, he tells Nick Gillespie how bitcoin is changing the way people live and transact in places such as China, India, Iran, and Venezuela. He also explains how in an increasingly cashless America, cryptocurrency is helping us to escape what’s been called “surveillance capitalism,” why Human Rights Foundation’s annual Oslo Freedom Forum is more important than the World Economic Forum in Davos, and how bitcoin and associated technologies will “really bankrupt the ability of authoritarian regimes to do what they do and basically force their hand to reform.”

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

This post has been republished with permission from a publicly-available RSS feed found on Reason. The views expressed by the original author(s) do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of The Libertarian Hub, its owners or administrators. Any images included in the original article belong to and are the sole responsibility of the original author/website. The Libertarian Hub makes no claims of ownership of any imported photos/images and shall not be held liable for any unintended copyright infringement. Submit a DCMA takedown request.

Read the original article.

About The Author

Nick Gillespie

Founded in 1968, Reason is the magazine of free minds and free markets. We produce hard-hitting independent journalism on civil liberties, politics, technology, culture, policy, and commerce. Reason exists outside of the left/right echo chamber. Our goal is to deliver fresh, unbiased information and insights to our readers, viewers, and listeners every day. Visit

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Bringing together a variety of news and information from some of today’s most important libertarian thought leaders. All feeds are checked and refreshed every hour and pages auto-refresh every 15 minutes. External images are deleted after 30 days.

Time since last refresh: 0 second

Publish Your Own Article

Follow The Libertarian Hub

Please consider donating using any of the cryptocurrencies below or use the Brave browser to tip using Basic Attention Tokens (BAT). Your anonymous contributions help keep this website running for everyone to enjoy!


Take Control of Your Domain Names
The Ultimate Managed Hosting Platform

Weekly Newsletter

Newsletter Signup

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive a weekly email report of the top five most popular articles on the Libertarian Hub!

Weekly Newsletter SignupTop 5 Stories of the Week

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive a weekly email report of the top five most popular articles on the Libertarian Hub!