The character and policies of the current American presidency, combined with the rise of authoritarian governments worldwide, has members of minority communities around the world—most notably those in the LGBT community—feeling uncertain and fearful about their individual and collective futures. The problem this presents is that since America is the sole global hegemon, countries follow its example. In the current climate, authoritarianism and oppression of minority groups is very much on the rise.
Empowering minority communities—for example, the LGBT community—with cryptocurrency is one potential solution. Cryptocurrency, a digital and encrypted peer-to-peer currency outside of government or banking control, poses an alternative way to buffer these communities from the economic effects of repressive governments in its peer-to-peer functionality. This is because blockchain technology–a trustless, secure system for recording how much cryptocurrency is stored where and when–underpins it, allowing anyone with an exchange app and their own cryptocurrency to buy from or transact with other people who also use cryptocurrency.
Cryptocurrency circumvents banks, governments, and most regulatory authorities, and has a global market cap of $186 billion.
To the point: distinct from racial and ethnic diasporic populations, the LGBT community is unique in its multi-ethnic and multi-racial makeup, making it the only minority group with members in every country, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic group. This makes it the only minority group able throughout history to self-empower and self-improve with resources from every nation, and ethnic and socioeconomic group in the world. With blockchain technology on the rise, the LGBT community may get a significant financial boost.
The Hong Kong-based LGBT Foundation, a national nonprofit dedicated to empowering LGBT people with community-specific cryptocurrency, has announced the release of the LGBT Token, a security token usable at LGBT-owned vendors everywhere, to untether LGBT people from economic systems used to oppress them. In Q2-Q3, the LGBT Foundation partnered with Hornet and OST to power the release of the token.
Extending the use of an exclusive token or coin to the LGBT community represents a watershed moment for that community to realize new and unprecedented economic empowerment unpegged to their countries’ fiat currency, and unaffected by their political and economic systems. The use of peer-to-peer monetary technology like cryptocurrency by members of minority communities’ can be economically effective in displacing the effects of economic and financial discrimination inherent in countries with governments ranging from the kleptocratic to the corporatocratic. This can be applied especially if such communities constitute a global diaspora.
Yet some may doubt the potential of one organization to empower an entire multi-generational, multi-ethnic, multinational community. The LGBT Foundation is a nonprofit, which means that it will need to raise large grants that are hard to come by for young organizations like it. This might suggest that it’s ill-suited to attempt such a feat on its own.
This would be true, if not for the fact that the LGBT Foundation is partnered with Hornet, the world’s largest gay social network, and earlier this year completed an ICO–or, Initial Coin Offering, a process by which any entity can mine and distribute new cryptocurrency to fund its operations–which has allowed it to accelerate its own growth, as well as the distribution of the coins that fuel its core mission. In Q2 2018 the LGBT Foundation appointed Sean Howell, President of Hornet, as their CEO for his 6 years of experience working in the LGBT community through Hornet’s not-for-profit efforts throughout the world.
The token “will activate the $4.6 trillion LGBT economy, enabling members to assert and protect their LGBT identity, creating a new medium of exchange and loyalty for LGBT+ persons and businesses, and making a global social impact by allocating resources to projects that the LGBT+ community cares about, including tackling oppression, discrimination and inequality, education and healthcare.” The annual $4.6 billion spend by the LGBT community, given cryptocurrencies’ aggregate global market cap of $186 billion, poises the LGBT community to recognize unprecedented economic value and opportunity stemming from the creation, circulation, investment in, and use of a cryptocurrency for LGBT-owned, -affiliated, and -partnered businesses.
Christof Wittig, the Founder and President of the LGBT Foundation and the President of Hornet, the largest gay social network in the world, created the nonprofit as an attempt to create an economic buoy to the global LGBT diaspora, given its longstanding oppression across nations.
Said Wittig in an interview earlier this year, “[At Hornet] [w]e take a lot of pride in our presence in more difficult market for LGBT+ people such as Iran, Russia or Indonesia. We utilize our network and access to these members to make their lives a bit better, if not even sometimes saving them. We organized a refuge for 70 men who had to flee Chechnya, we shed light on the whipping of gay men in Bandah Aceh, and we have traveled to Egypt to highlight systemic police entrapment of gay men. Here the community can provide help …
“… The LGBT Token will take this help to the next level and mobilize the economic power of all members of the LGBT Community, which would be $4.6T in GDP, if it were a country — the world’s fourth largest economy and bigger than that of Germany or the UK.
“We will launch the LGBT Impact to not only identify individuals and projects worthy of funding, without endangering the individuals behind it, but also direct funding generated by the token economics towards these projects, hopefully to the tune of $10M or more annually, depending on how many people utilize the token for payments in everyday life.”
How would you like to see blockchain empower oppressed communities? Post in the comments below to let us know!