Cryptocurrencies are human rights

March 02, 2021

Human rights are rights we have simply because we exist as human beings - they are not granted by any state. These universal rights are inherent to us all, regardless of nationality, sex, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, language, or any other status. They range from the most fundamental - the right to life - to those that make life worth living, such as the rights to food, education, work, health, and liberty [1].

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies [Crypto] use open-source code, cryptography, and mathematics to provide a new form of decentralized money. Anyone is free to participate in the system as a soverign account where no one or group can control their value in the system. Crypto essentially allows anyone to be their own bank free from censorship or third-party inteference.

The universal declaration of human rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (General Assembly resolution 217 A) as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations [2].

Article 3.

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 17.

(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.


Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies are in accordinance with Articles 3 and 17 where as any individual may voluntarily create, own, and managed their own account in a system. Since the system is open-source any individual can contribute to the code, community, and governance.

While we have the natural right to speak freely, we also have the natural right to exchange value.

  1. Alice has rice and Bob has tea.
  2. Alice and Bob want each other’s goods.
  3. Alice and Bob voluntarily exchange rice and tea.

If Alice did not have anything Bob was interested in, then Alice may be unable to transact with Bob. Which means, no tea for Alice. This is where the revolution of money comes in.

Money: something generally accepted as a medium of exchange, a measure of value, or means of payment. [3]

If Alice and Bob both accept the same form of money, then they don’t have to barter, rather money facilitates this process. Money has come in many different forms throughout history from salt in East Africa, cocoa beans in Central America, stone, coin, and the list goes on.

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are simply new forms of money created with the technology available in this time of human history. While Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are certainly disruptive to the status quo, technology, behavior, and the creative destruction of a free-market will inevitably place crypto somewhere now and somewhere in the foreseeable future.

Resources

  1. https://www.ohchr.org/en/issues/pages/whatarehumanrights.aspx
  2. https://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/
  3. Money. Page 546. Webster’s 7th Collegiate Dictionary. 1963

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Written by Stevan Lohja , a developer relations specialist, and full-stack technical writer from the USA. You should follow them on Twitter

Disclaimer: Not advice or recommendation. Views are my own and not a reflection of my employer.