Tonga MP Drafting a Bill to Make Bitcoin Legal Tender, Blockchain Tech Already in Use to “Revolutionise Humanitarian Aid”
Tonga, which has a population of 105,700 people, is the latest one that could take the route of cryptocurrency as its MP Lord Fusitu’a drafts a bill to make Bitcoin a legal tender in the Pacific nation, according to a media report.
Last month, El Salvador officially became the world’s first nation to adopt Bitcoin alongside the US dollar. In less than a month, the government’s Bitcoin wallet Chivo has 3,000,000 active users, representing 46% of the country’s population.
Much like El Salvador, remittances account for 40% of Tonga’s national GDP, and according to Lord Fusitu’a, using crypto instead of traditional banks would make them cheaper and faster.
While he supports Bitcoin, Lord Fusitu’a is also concerned about people turning to speculating cryptos. “If you put your life savings into something that’s not on that (regulated) list, that’s gone,” he said.
While crypto is yet to become popular here, blockchain technology has already been used in “humanitarian aid” by the members of Melbourne start-up Sempo and NGO Oxfam, who have been training vendors and villagers about how to use Unblocked Cash, a pilot project funded in part by the Australian government.
This blockchain program has registered 35,000 people in the Pacific region and has given over $2 million to participants.
The Unblocked Cash system relies on traditional cash stored in a private bank account and prohibits the trading of crypto assets.
“I don’t see this as being experimental; I see this as being pioneering,” said Jesse Gartner, Oxfam’s cash transfer coordinator in Vanuatu. “Blockchain is here. It’s not going away.”