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Yeonmi Park Co-Signs Letter to Congress Explaining Bitcoin’s Importance for Human Rights

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Prominent North Korean defector and activist Yongmi Park has asked the US Congress to remain open-minded in passing bitcoin and stablecoin laws. Together with 19 other human rights activists from around the world, she discusses why such tools can help bring financial freedom to those who need it most.

Tool for financial freedom

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in letter Unveiled Tuesday, activists said they, along with tens of millions of others living under authoritarian regimes, have relied on bitcoin and stablecoins in their “struggle for freedom and democracy.”

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“Bitcoin enables financial inclusion and empowerment because it is open and permissionless,” the group explained. Together with stablecoins, the group claims that both technologies provide economic freedom to countries with collapsing or isolated currencies – among them Nigeria, Turkey and Argentina.

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Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies whose value is pegged to traditionally stable fiat currencies such as the US dollar. Bitcoin, while much more volatile in comparison, has a fixed supply, making it a long-term inflation hedge in the eyes of many holders.

Given their usefulness, activists are calling for an “open-minded” and “sensitive” approach to these monetary instruments.


“We are not industry financiers or professional lobbyists, but humanitarians and democracy advocates who have used Bitcoin to help people at risk when other options have failed,” the group says.

Youngmi Park. Source: Globe and Mail.

Response to critics

The letter is in part a reaction to the newly formed “global tech community” which last week urged Congress to beware of lobbying efforts from the crypto industry. It argued that the use cases for cryptocurrencies are few or non-existent, and that digital assets are simply tools for crime, pollution, and speculative investment schemes.

In response, activists noted that almost all of the writers of the anti-crypto letter came from countries with stable currencies and strong property rights. They argue that such people are probably naive about such matters as money colonialism, frozen bank accounts, exploitative money transfer companies, and other financial problems.

“For most of us and our communities – and for most people around the world – this is a daily reality,” the letter says.

Activists also dismissed the technologists’ claim that other existing financial instruments are already addressing affordability concerns. “If “much better solutions” were already being used to overcome these problems, we would know about it,” they said.

While activists acknowledged that the crypto industry is indeed “rife with scams,” they called on Congress to look into the various ways these technologies benefit millions of people.

Youngmi Park Praises Bitcoin

Youngmi Park’s name appeared in the letter along with other well-known bitcoiners, including human rights director Alex Gladstein of the Human Rights Foundation and Mexican Senator Indriya Kempis.

Park appeared at the Bitcoin 2022 conference in Miami this April and discussed how Bitcoin is currently helping to save many East Asian children. She explained that numerous mixed-race Chinese and Korean children of sex slaves were orphaned and “stateless” without access to Chinese money. Therefore, the only monetary instrument they have is bitcoin.

At the same conference, UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou talked about how Bitcoin could be the “future of finance” in Africa. More than a dozen African countries currently use the CFA franc, a remnant of the French colonial currency with severely limited access to world trade. By using bitcoin, Africans can access the digital financial world, 70% of whom do not have bank accounts.

One such country declared Bitcoin legal tender under the CFA just a few weeks after the conference. The company is currently planning to create a state-sponsored, Lightning-compatible bitcoin wallet similar to El Salvador’s Chivo wallet.

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