Last week, a friend texted me from the Sakata region of Malawi. If you don’t know where Malawi is, it’s located in West Africa and is a small, underdeveloped country. My friend traveled to Malawi with a group of nurses and qualified professionals to perform nothing short of a miracle.
For three straight days, thousands of Malawians stood in line just for a health evaluation that would last only 30 seconds. My friend and her colleagues treated malnourished and sick patients that had waited for that moment for over a year. The issue is that Malawians have no infrastructure or access to the basic needs every human should have, which in turn causes famine, disease, and a need for intervention from our missionary citizens.
That same night, I sat in my comfortable bed with a full stomach watching an Amazon Prime movie and wondering why there are places like this in the world that are deprived of basic human needs. How can those living in underdeveloped countries not have access to the things people in more developed countries take advantage of every day?
My thoughts wandered more as I became curious about the origins of economies and how they prosper or fail. The eureka moment for me was when I stumbled onto an older video on YouTube about how economies have grown throughout history. Wealth was the answer.
Wealth is one of the most significant factors that build economies like the Roman Empire, the British Empire, and even America. I’m not talking about the kind of wealth where people have money in their wallets, but the wealth where people have the necessary banking and lending infrastructure to support growth, innovation, and trade.
A possible solution to the problem
There are over 2.5 billion people in the world who live just like Malawians. I know this because I’m sitting in a Starbucks using a revolutionary invention called the Internet. Just as the Internet connects the world with information, could we connect the Malawians with wealth? I can’t provide you with a definitive answer, but I’m going to suggest one possible solution.
Cryptocurrencies and the Internet are the two things that I believe will help propel people out of this seemingly never-ending poverty. The Internet has made massive headway in recent years, and by 2020 there is projected to be over 400 million mobile phones with Internet access in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Just last week, Google’s Loon project announced a partnership with the Kenyan government to provide Internet services to everyone even in the most remote regions of the country. Internet will be able to connect people with the rest of the world’s information and resources, but it doesn’t solve the “wealth” issue.
Another option is to send fiat currency directly to them, but that has proven to be somewhat tricky. Remittance costs, costs associated with sending money overseas, can be up to 20%. Even with a 20% fee, where do people store their money? How is it secured? Who also has access to it?
Cryptocurrencies solve this problem by providing a low cost, fast, and secure way to send and receive money. Although this is a viable solution, people still need an infrastructure that can connect them to the global economy. Thankfully, the blockchain and crypto lending is taking shape in many forms.
Could you imagine being able to send $100,000 instantaneously at no cost to an NGO or missionary organization in Malawi? What if they could use those funds to secure a loan that can be used to start a farm or build a hospital? Amazingly enough, with a smart contract, the blockchain, and a cryptocurrency, this can happen in minutes on a smartphone. Crypto lending provides lower fees and doesn’t require any previous credit record to be executed. A company called MicroMoney claims to have made 40,000 loans to people in Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka through its blockchain-based system in the past year.
Now that cryptocurrencies exist, the global economy can connect in ways it has never been able to before. A single trustworthy currency allows us to transfer assets and ownership far more effectively and safely than we ever have been ready to in the past. The evolution of wealth is happening, and it’s up to us to explore the endless possibilities it can provide.
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