Is crypto changing the world?
How Crypto Will Change Lives
Cryptocurrencies were a revolutionary development. When cryptocurrencies came out, their utility seemed to be very limited. The field seemed like more of a novelty for proponents of technology and cyberspace rather than the disruptive field it has turned into. However, in the present time, the importance and power of cryptocurrencies is something that cannot be denied. Yet, despite all the ways this novel concept could change people’s lives; there are a few ways that are particularly noteworthy. Cryptocurrencies will be so lifechanging due to multiple aspects of decentralized finance; furthermore the increased opportunities for committing and being the victim of crime.
Decentralized finance is one of the most touted potential results of cryptocurrency. There are varying ideas about what characteristics constitute decentralized finance; however there does seem to be some consensus about a few different aspects.
For example, for a currency to be decentralized, it cannot be governed by a single authority.
Instead, they work via a peer-to-peer network that verifies transactions. Decentralized currencies also provide a degree of anonymity to their users, as instead of using account numbers; it takes advantage of encrypted public keys that are “decoupled from real-world identities” (Trozze et al., 2022, p. 2). There are numerous ways this will impact the world. The primary effect will make it easier for people to hide their money.
As a result, if an oppressive government takes over a nation or if a war breaks out; that destabilizes large swaths of a nation, people who have cryptocurrencies will generally be able to keep; and even use their funds if they have an internet connection. If a nation chooses to freeze the bank accounts of political dissidents; those people will still have a way to store and withdraw funds. This is going to give far more financial power to average people. It is going to make it far more difficult for governments – good and bad; to control their citizens based on the economic prospects of the populace.
While there are numerous ways cryptocurrency will be positively life-changing; there are also going to be major negative implications, such as the potential for new types of crime. Cryptocurrencies have and will likely continue to present many novel and; for those who are technologically proficient – numerous opportunities for crime. For example, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission noted that; there was a “190 percent increase in losses” for people who were the victims of cryptocurrency-based scams. (Trozze et al, 2022, p. 1)
Moreover, this is something that has been consistently demonstrated across the western world.
For example, the United Kingdom warned the public in 2019 to be vigilant when dealing with cryptocurrency, as the amount of scam reports made that year had been more than tripled from the previous year. Fraud in the cryptocurrency world has become so common; that it has started to “outpace corresponding research efforts” (Trozze et al., 2022, p. 1-2). However, fraud is not the only type of criminal opportunity created by the novel currency. Many people have also started to use cryptocurrencies to pay for illicit goods such as drugs. (Aldridge et al., 2017, p. 789)
Consequently, this is going to be life changing; due to the way it will empower criminal organizations; due to increased revenue and the way it will give average people a new avenue to use in accessing illegal items.
Cryptocurrency is a revolutionary concept that has already started changing the world. And it will only continue to do so now that governments have no choice but to respond to its proliferation. While there are numerous ways that cryptocurrency is lifechanging.
Most of these changes are based in the concepts of decentralized finance and novel opportunities for crime. It will be interesting to see how this field evolves from its current state.
Written by Yueyuan Xu
Cryptocurrency & Blockchain
Aldridge, J., Stevens, A., & Barratt, M. J. (2018). Will growth in cryptomarket drug buying increase the harms of illicit drugs?. Addiction (Abingdon, England), 113(5), 789–796. https://doi.org/10.1111/add.13899
Trozze, A., Kamps, J., Akartuna, E. A., Hetzel, F. J., Davies, T., & Johnson, S. D.(2022). Cryptocurrencies and future financial crime. Crime Science, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40163-021-00163-8