The price has gone up, way up, then down, then up again. But beyond the Bitcoin investment craze lies a deeper truth about how cryptocurrencies are already changing the game in a variety of fields. This OZY series looks into surprising and overlooked aspects of the global crypto boom, which is changing more than just money.
Payday won’t be the same next year for the soccer players of Gibraltar United, a team in the premier division of the sport’s league in the British overseas territory. Only part of their salary will hit their bank accounts; the rest will come to them in the form of cryptocurrencies. But the soccer team is no outlier, and nor is Gibraltar unique — it’s among a growing set of tiny territories betting on cryptocurrencies as economic weapons of the future.
Larger economies have approached cryptocurrencies with waves of regulation. South Korea, the largest market for cryptocurrency trading, has since last September banned initial coin offerings, the crowdfunding initiatives to raise money for new cryptocurrencies. Japan, home to the most cryptocurrency exchanges, is planning to apply laws for traditional stock exchanges to them. Regulators in the United States and India are discouraging trading in cryptocurrencies while they explore legislative frameworks. This is opening up economic space that smaller nations are looking to fill by welcoming investments in cryptocurrencies, launching their own sovereign ones and steering clear of heavy-handed regulations. Success could transform these nations into cryptocurrency tax havens and safe spaces, as well as models for smaller economies of the future.
“Do you want to buy a condom, ma’am? It’s specially designed for women,” Akshay Aggarwal asked passers-by near Bryant Street in Palo Alto, California, in 2015. Frustrated by their lack of…