We dive into the world of crypto and digital currencies and take an in depth take a look at two international locations approaching them in very other ways on this episode of The Dialog Weekly. And if the newest Matrix movie has left you questioning whether or not we’re actually dwelling in a simulation, we discuss to a thinker on the lengthy historical past of that concept.
Nigeria is Africa’s largest financial system and its most populous nation. El Salvador is a small republic in central America. However regardless of their many variations, they’ve two financial issues in widespread. First, a big proportion of their populations don’t have entry to financial institution accounts. Second, their economies rely closely on remittances, cash despatched again by individuals dwelling overseas. However the cash switch firms that facilitate these money flows might be sluggish and expensive.
In 2021, each international locations turned to the fast-moving world of digital currencies in an effort to deal with these, and different issues. However they’ve taken very totally different routes.
Nigeria banned financial institution buying and selling of cryptocurrencies in February after which launched its personal central financial institution digital forex, the eNaira, in October. Nigeria was solely the second nation on the earth to launch a central financial institution digital forex, after The Bahamas. Extra might quickly comply with swimsuit, together with China, which in January expanded the pilot of its digital yuan to extra areas, together with the most important cities Shanghai and Beijing.
Nigeria’s resolution to launch its personal digital forex got here as a shock to many, says Iwa Salami, reader and affiliate professor in regulation on the College of East London within the UK and an knowledgeable on digital currencies. Initially, eNaira wallets are solely out there for individuals with financial institution accounts, however the plan is to increase entry to anybody with a cellphone quantity sooner or later.
One of many questions, Salami says, is whether or not Nigeria will have the ability to “totally obtain monetary inclusion in the way in which that it’s been promoted.” There are a variety of dangers concerned, she says, together with to monetary stability if these with eNaira wallets begin utilizing them as a deposit account. “Due to this fact, fairly than utilizing business banks, individuals really use eNaira wallets to retailer their financial savings, which then implies that the relevance of banks turns into redundant,” she says.
Nigeria’s digital forex: what the eNaira is for and why it is not excellent
Whereas Nigeria opted to create its personal central financial institution digital forex, El Salvador grew to become the primary nation on the earth to undertake a cryptocurrency as authorized tender. The US greenback has been El Salvador’s forex since 2001, when it deserted its forex, the colón. However in September 2021, El Salvador added bitcoin to its record of official currencies.
Erica Pimentel, an assistant professor on the Smith faculty of enterprise at Queen’s College in Ontario, Canada, says there have been geopolitical causes for the choice, in addition to an purpose to extend monetary inclusion and velocity up remittances. “We see El Salvador standing up and saying we don’t need the greenback anymore, we need to be masters of our personal area,” she says.
In November, the federal government of El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele introduced plans for a Bitcoin Metropolis. Pimentel says it’s “a metropolis constructed from scratch, whose financial system is centred on bitcoin mining and is powered by a volcano.” She talks us by way of the dangers concerned with El Salvador’s embrace of bitcoin, and says different international locations shall be intently watching what occurs.
From digital forex, we flip to digital brains, and the query of whether or not or not we’re dwelling in a simulation, just a little like that in The Matrix. Benjamin Curtis, senior lecturer in philosophy and ethics at Nottingham Trent College within the UK, explains the lengthy historical past of this concept. He tracks variations of this query posed by historical Greek philosophers, to René Descartes within the seventeenth century and the way it advanced with the fashionable computing period. Curtis says when The Matrix movie first got here out in 1999 it “definitely launched these concepts to a a lot wider viewers”. (At 30m20)
And at last, Rob Reddick, COVID-19 editor at The Dialog within the UK, picks out some current protection of the wave of omicron instances sweeping the world. (At 42m10)
This episode of The Dialog Weekly was produced by Mend Mariwany and Gemma Ware, with sound design by Eloise Stevens. Our theme music is by Neeta Sarl. Yow will discover us on Twitter @TC_Audio, on Instagram at theconversationdotcom or by way of e mail. You may as well signal as much as The Dialog’s free each day e mail right here.
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Iwa Salami and Erica Pimentel don’t work for, seek the advice of, personal shares in or obtain funding from any firm or organisation that will profit from this text, and have disclosed no related affiliations past their tutorial appointments.
Benjamin Curtis doesn’t work for, seek the advice of, personal shares in or obtain funding from any firm or organisation that will profit from this text, and has disclosed no related affiliations past their tutorial appointment.