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Syria, Anarchy and Cryptocurrency: Decentralization Taking Root

October 11, 2018


The Democratic Federation of Northern Syria is also known as Rojava. The region has been war torn for the past six years. Because of this, nearby countries such as Turkey, Iran, Syria, Iraq have placed economic sanctions on the country. Because of this, it is becoming more and more difficult for the country to come out of the economic downturn that the war has caused.


Monetary Independence


However, there are new political, technological and cultural leaders that see a new future possible through monetary independence. Rojava is developing new technological academies, with a particular emphasis on cryptography and cryptocurrency, alongside a new system of self-governing communities.


"[Rojava is] a revolutionary project that wants to build a new society based on anarchist principles, and that means law, defense, society and culture." -  Amir Taaki


Amir Taaki was an early bitcoin developer who fought for Rojava in war as well. He is working to set up a European-based technological academy in Barcelona, which could build new trade partnerships for the recovering country. The academies in Rojava follow the philosophy of Kurdish political theorist Abdullah Ocalan. He promoting a novel government system called "democratic confederalism." It advocates for direct democracy, feminism and ecology, which can all be facilitated by decentralized networks.


"You need technology to spend less water, you need technology to have an equal relation with the earth, you need technology to use networks, like the blockchain… We have to think deeply about the future of the new system, and how the people can arrange and manage resources democratically without any form of centralization." - Erselan Serdem, leader of Rojava's technological development program


Broken System


This idea that there are more fluid and efficient ways to organize government and communities is tied strongly to the system of banking and world currencies. Right now, there is a mix of protest and art display outside of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York that’s emphasizing the benefits of cryptocurrencies for forming new governments like this Syrian one. An eight to ten foot tall inflatable rate sits covered in all things related to Bitcoin.


"We know that there are many people with the expertise and with the philosophy. They know very well the current system doesn't work.” - Erselan Serdem


The language covering the rat includes the deeper components of Bitcoin’s code. The rat’s eyes spell out the letters "PoW," which is short for proof-of-work. This is the consensus mechanism that is the foundation of decentralized, public cryptocurrencies. It creates greater incentive to users for participating honestly, rather than attempting to hack or steal from others.


Satoshi Nakamoto is pseudonym of the author of the Bitcoin whitepaper. His birthday was chosen as the same date that America completely removed the gold standard which backed the U.S. dollar. This takes all real monetary power out of the hands of the people, and gives control to one centralized institution that is privately operated outside of the democratic government.


Working Examples In Place


Earlier this year a bill was proposed in New York state to allocate $3 million dollars for developing a cryptocurrency to support the local economy. The plan spread the funds across 10 experimental zones where cryptocurrencies would be used to give back rewards via the tokens, called Ithacash. The bill was likely inspired by a similar concept being used in the Netherlands where research has shown clear civic benefits. It provides several benefits:


●     Local loyalty - incentives through the local cryptocurrency inspire business creation within the local economy


●     Behavioural rewards - housing, healthcare and welfare sectors optimise their service delivery and cut costs by rewarding citizens


●     Sharing economy - easier transactions within the community spurs teamwork to build value from within


●     Donations - simple direct donations are possible with cryptocurrencies


●     Regional trade network - Businesses anywhere on the network can transaction without restrictions



 By: BGN Editorial Staff

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