At the beginning of June 2023, the President of the Open Dialogue Foundation Lyudmyla Kozlovska moderated the panel discussion Bitcoin Is Justice at the annual conference BTC Prague — Europe’s most important event dedicated to Bitcoin. The panellists shared their experiences of financial exclusion and gave examples of how Bitcoin helps to fight oppressive regimes and save lives.
Participants of the discussion included:
- Andriy Khavryuchenko — Ukrainian software developer, co-founder of Stampsdaq LCC;
- Farida Nabourema — executive director of the Togolese Civil League;
Farida, who is a democracy and human rights activist and one of the most outspoken supporters of Bitcoin on the African continent, firmly believes that Bitcoin can strengthen social justice and civil resistance movements around the world in countering authoritarianism and freeing themselves from monetary colonialism.
“I was looking for a tool that would help my country, Togo, to counter government surveillance of how activists and opposition leaders receive money for their activities. The surveillance usually resulted in the confiscation of funds to prevent government opponents from functioning. This persisted for several decades. That’s when I was introduced to Bitcoin,” she said, adding, “For me, Bitcoin is in many ways a political tool to help protect human rights by freeing people from unjust and exploitative monetary systems. I believe that monetary independence is the beginning of many political battles, and a system that gives people the ability to move money without government interference is the foundation of freedom.”
Andrey Khavryuchenko, a Bitcoin enthusiast, experienced programmer and founder of several successful startups, created the first fully distributed software company when it was considered impossible. During the discussion, he shared his experience of the financial exclusion of Ukrainians after the Russian invasion:
“When the war started, all the payment card terminals in my area stopped working and people had to make do with cash. It was impossible to buy humanitarian aid or medical equipment for the front line using only cash, so we had to rely on Bitcoin because it allows transactions 24/7, and help was needed immediately,” he explained.
Khavryuchenko also provided an example from two days ago, when the Russians blew up the dam of the Nova Kakhovka hydroelectric power station, causing major flooding around the lower part of the Dnipro River and thus an ecological and humanitarian disaster. Speed of action was therefore crucial for aid organisations. His words were corroborated by the president of the Open Dialogue Foundation, who, through the use of Bitcoin, was able to deliver large amounts of protective and medical equipment to Ukraine just two days after the full-scale Russian invasion began.
We invite you to watch the entire panel discussion:
- BTC Coalition: summary of works 2022-2023 (November 28, 2023)
- ”Bitcoin is borderless” Conference — how to combat financial exclusion worldwide? (October 15, 2023)
- How Bitcoin became a tool for NGOs — an interview with Lyudmyla Kozlovska (October 6, 2023)
- Showing Humanitarian Face of Bitcoin at Central Bankers’ Forum (June 13, 2023)
Cover photo: BTCPrague/YouTube