“Tens of millions” rely on Bitcoin (BTC) and stablecoins to access financial tools, 21 activists said.
Human rights activists from 20 countries have written an open letter to the US Congress in support of a “responsible crypto policy” and to praise Bitcoin and stablecoins as essential tools for tens of millions of people.
The letter comes just a week after an anti-crypto open letter to Congress purportedly from the scientific community, but with the lead signatures of well-known crypto critics and authors from high-income, democratic countries.
Among the 21 activists clapping back are those from Ukraine, Russia, Iraq, Nigeria, Venezuela, Cuba, and even North Korea, all of which have experienced recent conflict or have otherwise unstable economies. The letter states:
They add that they are humanitarians and democracy advocates who have used Bitcoin (BTC) to assist vulnerable people “when other options have failed” and wish to defend an open monetary system.
The group claims to have used Bitcoin and stablecoins in their “struggle for freedom and democracy,” and that “tens of millions of others” living under authoritarian regimes or in volatile economies do the same.
The group provided numerous examples of how cryptocurrencies are assisting people around the world, citing examples from Cuba, Afghanistan, Venezuela, and Nigeria, all of which have seen high crypto adoption due to inflation or a lack of proper financial infrastructure.
Cryptocurrencies also “aided in keeping the fight against authoritarianism afloat,” according to the group, citing the role crypto played when financial systems failed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
The activists targeted “the anti-crypto letter,” which was allegedly signed by 1,500 computer scientists and engineers and urged Congress to avoid creating a “regulatory safe haven for these risky, flawed, and unproven digital financial instruments.” Professional or long-term crypto critics such as David Gerard, Molly White, and Stephen Diehl were among the first signatories.
According to the human rights coalition, nearly all of the letter’s authors are from countries with “stable currencies, free speech, and strong property rights,” and they are unlikely to have experienced hyperinflation or “the cold grip of dictatorship.”
The Bitcoin Policy Institute organized the campaign, and signatories to the letter include activists from the Feminist Coalition (Nigeria), Anti-Corruption Foundation (Russia), Belarus Solidarity Foundation (Belarus), Ideas Beyond Borders (Iraq), Digital Citizen Fund (Afghanistan), and, most notably, Russian chess grandmaster and Human Rights Foundation chair Garry Kasparov.
The human rights organization acknowledged the existence of crypto scams, but stated that conflating useful FinTech products with these schemes is not the solution; instead, education is required to help people tell the difference.
“We hope that you and your colleagues do not develop or implement policies that jeopardize our ability to use these new technologies in our human rights and humanitarian work…
We hope you will take a different policy path that will allow us to save, connect, and gain freedom.”