Bitcoin vs the IMF

Sara MengistabMay 21, 202317031 min
Alex Gladstein
April 13, 2023

Alex Gladstein, the Chief Strategy Officer of the Human Rights Foundation, delivered a passionate speech at the 2023 Bitcoin Conference in Miami, Florida, advocating for the adoption of Bitcoin and initiatives to create a safe haven for vulnerable populations. Through his speech, Gladstein brought attention to the predatory relationships many non-developed and vulnerable countries have with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, which knowingly create traps for countries through “structural adjustment” policies.

Structural adjustment policies are implemented to stimulate economic development, often through the promotion of cash crops, such as sugar, rubber, and coffee, and have connections to the globalization of the agricultural markets. But these policies can create economic traps by increasing interest rates and inflation while the countries remain dollarized—a process in which foreign countries, usually the U.S., set their currency as the official legal tender—to overcome large public deficits.

Unfortunately, this creates a debt trap that exacerbates the poverty experienced by the vulnerable populations of these countries, with too little to no power to battle the inflation and interest rates associated with the foreign currency they are mandated to use (e.g., the U.S. dollar).

Alex Gladstein’s speech highlighted the importance of Bitcoin and its potential to relieve the financial strain and protect countries from predatory debt traps. In his words, “Bitcoin gives power to citizens to protect themselves” from exploitation, and he ended his speech with a call to action: a call that countries protect their citizens from the IMF and World Bank’s debt traps by embracing Bitcoin.