In order to discuss where the benefits of blockchain in developing countries lies, perhaps it is prudent to delve into their governance, infrastructure, and culture, focusing on what is holding them back from developing further and how that links to blockchain.
From an outsider’s point of view, actually a Westerner’s, I get the feeling that development is entirely possible, or should I say rapid development, yet it feels heavily choked and restrained by the powers that be. Controversial, you might say, however, when you look at the leadership structures of developed countries, they don’t appear to be mirrored by those of developing countries.
Their governance takes the form of a heavily centralized system, whereby the voice of the people doesn’t tend to be heard and their highly educated specialists tend to emigrate for education, only to be seduced by the starry lights of the West. Yes, they may be transferring funds back home to their families, however, their country needs them, their people.
How can blockchain help?
Blockchain can be one small, yet important, catalyst in driving forward the development of poorer countries. How so? By giving the people the power to decide how services are shared, developed, and marketed. Corruption is a heavy indicator that a country is suffering from a too centralized of a system. As an example, whether or not you consider Palestine to be a developing country, an approximate $800 million is the annual cost of tax evasion in Palestine.
Imagine if we applied such an open-source, decentralized blockchain system, whereby transparency levels are naturally high due to its inherent technological nature by being able to perfectly trace a transaction through the mutual consensus mechanism.
The battle is likely to be won by world leaders almost forcing the hands of those in power of developing countries, and if corruption starts at the top, how is blockchain going to be adopted to combat corruption, especially considering that it’s more than likely to take the power away from those that are choking development?
Perhaps, while blockchain is still new and fresh, albeit potentially overhyped, it is up to entrepreneurs, first world contractors, and industry leaders to show the developing countries how they could potentially experience exponential growth and development in sectors such as banking and energy and lowering unemployment rates.
It’s time to step up
Surely it’s up to Westerners to step-up and nurture countries that are crying out for help? I’m sure this is happening, but personally, I don’t see it. Is that because of the media not showing us? Is that because they don’t want us to see it? Or, is the help not being accepted?
Take unemployment rates, for example. With the inception of blockchain, there is a mass crying-out for retraining in this still-new technology, and whilst a restructuring to it is likely to be expensive, the gains that could be created from not only niche-specific blockchain development jobs but the fact that blockchain can be applied to any industry is exceptional.
How can we say that we push, and back, corporate and worldwide sustainability when we only focus on our own house? Surely the world has changed, to a place where we look out for our neighbors in need and don’t just rely on the old and boring thought of “charity begins at home?” We have in front of us, in our hands, in our pockets, and already in our Western systems, a new technology that can strip away those that abuse power, and shift the balance of power back to the people of developing countries.
This isn’t to say that it isn’t already happening. For example, Kiva is already taking steps In the banking sector via their Kiva Protocol. Banking services in developing countries are seen as a luxury, with 80 percent of Sierra Leone’s population not being able to access banking facilities, indicating a severe lack of data collection and handling. This is a perfect example of where blockchain can alleviate a problem and where the Kiva Protocol opens the door to transparency, access to banking and loans, and a shift towards the modernization of the West.
The emergence of cryptocurrencies has enabled the buying and selling of domains in developing countries because, with Blockchain, there is less of a reliance on national, state sponsored currency, further protecting the investment, and investors, from corruption. Bypassing state-sponsored currency would give working-class people from these countries the ability to start legitimate businesses with a reach that goes beyond state boundaries.
Ask yourself this as a leader, an entrepreneur, an expert in your field: Are you doing everything you can to embrace this new technology? Or are you holding yourself back, waiting to see if it takes hold even further? Developing countries need leaders to step up and take a chance.