We dive into the world of crypto and digital currencies and take a detailed take a look at two nations approaching them in very other ways on this episode of The Dialog Weekly. And if the most recent Matrix movie has left you questioning whether or not we’re actually residing 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 frequent. 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 folks residing overseas. However the cash switch firms that facilitate these money flows might be gradual and expensive.
In 2021, each nations 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 planet to launch a central financial institution digital forex, after The Bahamas. Extra might quickly comply with go well with, together with China, which in January expanded the pilot of its digital yuan to extra areas, together with the foremost 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 legislation on the College of East London within the UK and an knowledgeable on digital currencies. Initially, eNaira wallets are solely obtainable for folks 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 be capable of “totally obtain monetary inclusion in the best way 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. “Subsequently reasonably than utilizing business banks, they’re truly use storing their financial savings in that account, which then signifies that the relevance of banks turns into redundant,” she says.
Whereas Nigeria opted to create its personal central financial institution digital forex, El Salvador turned the primary nation on the planet 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 listing 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 goal to extend monetary inclusion and velocity up remittances. “We see El Salvador standing up and saying we don’t need the greenback anymore, we wish 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 the dangers concerned with El Salvador’s embrace of bitcoin, and says different nations will likely be intently watching what occurs.
From digital forex, we flip to digital brains, and the query of whether or not or not we’re residing in a simulation, slightly 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 17th century and the way it developed 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 eventually, Rob Reddick, COVID-19 editor at The Dialog within the UK, picks out some latest protection of the wave of omicron circumstances 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 through e mail. You can too signal as much as The Dialog’s free each day e mail right here.