Cryptocurrency might be cashless, but if one thing has become clear over the past few years, it’s that cryptocurrency certainly isn’t class-less. Interestingly, when Bitcoin was created it was supposed to be a totally democratic system, one that allowed anybody, no matter what their status, to have access to a fair currency no moderated and managed by the banks. The benefits of this are totally endless, but ultimately this design is supposed to give power back to the people, taking the power from the elite, putting it into the hands of the poor – a marxist style fantasy.
However, when we observe the cryptosphere today, it’s clear that this design has had quite the opposite effect, if anything, Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have only given power back to the elite, reinforcing the class hierarchy that currently allows banks and governments to get away with so much.
Cryptocurrency is a form of money. Sadly, money doesn’t go on trees and therefore access to money is vital, though sadly it is often hindered by our own social classifications. In order to have access to cryptocurrency, you already need a base level of wealthiness. You need to have a computer or a smartphone, you need to have the money to invest in the first place and you also need to have the time, knowledge and ability to actually get involved. Lower and working classes may find it far more difficult to actually have access to these base level requirements and therefore could be put off investing in cryptocurrency overall, reinforcing the position of the middle and upper class who find themselves in a more advantageous position when it comes to cryptocurrency investment, by being affluent enough to invest first and in the most effective way.
We also have to address decentralisation here, many cryptocurrencies are owned in large quantities by few investors, this means that technically those holders have the power to manipulate the market. The only way you can do this is by having a lot of money to invest in the first place, once again taking the power out of the hands of the lower classes and reinforcing the position of the upper classes within the industry.
Crypto might well be cashless, but it’s certainly not class-less. The way it’s going, cryptocurrency is reinforcing a capitalist ideology and is sadly moving away from its democratic roots. Those who fight for decentralisation seem to be fighting a losing battle and those who want to help give the power back to the lower classes really need to rethink their approach. Will crypto always be a toy for the rich? Or, can cryptocurrency finally mature into a system which is accessible by all?