Blockchain should be used for good. It’s a beautiful idea. Satoshi would have wanted that. But the endless ICOs, pump-and-dumps, and get-rich-quick-schemes are not helping society. They are enriching the few at the expense of unfortunate investors.
This selfishness is especially frustrating while a genocide has been occurring in Southeast Asia. The persecution and ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people is a serious issue. Fortunately, some people are trying to use blockchain technology to help refugees, in more innovative ways than just cheap remittances.
The 3.5 million Rohingya are a stateless, Indo-Aryan-speaking people residing in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. The predominantly Muslim ethnic minority has historically faced persecution and does not have citizenship or equal civil rights.
In 2016 and 2017, the Myanmar government ordered its military to commence mass executions of Rohingyas, resulting in large-scale human rights violations and deaths. The ethnic cleansing has led to a refugee crisis, with over 600,000 refugees migrating to Bangladesh and India for sanctuary.
The United Nations has received criticism for its response to the Rohingya crisis. Although the U.N. denounced Myanmar’s military actions and characterized them as ethnic cleansing and genocide, it has not called for member nations to help settle and protect Rohingya refugees. Instead, the majority of aid has come from private nonprofits like Doctors Without Borders and Amnesty International.
A recently signed repatriation deal between the UN and Myanmar does not address the issue of Rohingya citizenship and ignores pleas to establish a refugee representative. The Rohingya crisis is also relatively less visible in Western media compared to other humanitarian crises like the Syrian civil war or Yemeni crisis.
Fortunately, blockchain tech is already helping Rohingya refugees improve their lives. The Rohingya Project is a philanthropic initiative to give refugees digital identification and other social services. The project hopes to address the challenges of being stateless, including a lack of national identification and no access to capital, credit and other financial services.
The project, which is currently experimenting with a pilot program, hopes that successful identification will be a first step toward restoring the human rights and dignity of the Rohingya people. It plans to use blockchain tech to issue digital identification to refugees after they verify their status by taking a test.
Another new blockchain project that hopes to help refugees worldwide is ExsulCoin (XUL), which provides educational opportunities to refugees through an immutable record of educational achievements. The ExsulCoin blockchain will help refugees learn, hone their skills, find employment and share their work records with other people. The founders of ExsulCoin, James and Cat Song, are deeply passionate about aiding refugees. James is currently in talks with the Rohingya Project’s team about a future partnership. Hopefully, these two technology initiatives will help refugees transcend their many struggles and successfully pursue a better life.
Photo: Jordi Bernabeu Farrús / Flickr
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position or opinions of SludgeFeed. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice. Always conduct your own due diligence before making investments.