When many investors in the U.S. hear the word "blockchain," they immediately think of cryptocurrencies, and with good reason. The impressive new technology provides the support necessary for the decentralized, anonymized tracking and transaction of digital currencies around the world. However, as many industries are discovering, blockchain technology also allows for many other uses and applications as well.
From insurance and real estate to crowdfunding and data management, the potential applications of blockchain technology are numerous, and it's likely that there will be new ways of adapting this technology to the mainstream business world in the future as well. But one important use of blockchain technology may be outside the mainstream business world: Some of the world's most impoverished nations may benefit from the integration of blockchain technology in various ways.
The Democratic Republic of Congo, a central African country ravaged by a devastating and protracted war that has led to millions of deaths, is routinely listed among the poorest nations in the world. Now, a report from Bitcoin News highlights a project slated for launch later this year that could help to protect children there from forced labor. This project will provide global manufacturers of high-tech devices like smartphones with a guarantee that cobalt used in lithium-ion batteries was not mined by children. The Democratic Republic of Congo has a significant problem with informal mining sites, many of which include child workers.
The country holds over half of the cobalt reserves around the world, and this could prove to be beneficial to the, and this could prove to be beneficial to the struggling economy in the years to come, particularly as electric cars are likely to become increasingly popular. Indeed, for the year 2019, the Congo mined 100,000, or approximately 71%, of the 140,000 tons of cobalt generated around the world.
In Venezuela, where hyperinflation has prompted dramatic shortages of basic necessities and food, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies could help ease the strain. Given its global usage and the relative ease of cross-border payments and transfers, cryptocurrency has been a viable alternative to an increasingly problematic local fiat money for many Venezuelan citizens.
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