Bitcoin is a Willing Helper for Protesters in Lebanon Author: Jimmy Aki Last Updated: 23 October 2019 The potential for cryptocurrencies to help provide a way for people to sustain their living is usually shown the best in times of crisis. The recent depiction of this is happening in Lebanon, where civil unrest has led to the closure of banks across the country. It all started last week, when Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced the launch of sweeping taxation policies, which were immediately rebuffed by citizens. Protests have rocked Lebanon According to a report from CNBC, the plan proposed by the Hariri administration included a budget for 2020 which would target a 0.6 percent deficit in the Middle Eastern country’s GDP, cutting salaries of ministers and lawmakers by half, cutting some public agencies, instituting a draft law to restore all stolen public funds, and no new taxes. However, protesters have been unconvinced by the Prime Minister’s efforts and have taken to the streets to express their displeasure. The protests, however, turned violent on Friday, as more protesters clashed with police officers. Hoping to escape the effects of action by protesters, banks across the country closed their doors, essentially rendering citizens stranded. On October 21, news medium Reuters reported that the closure is expected to remain for as long as the situation holds up. Again, this entire situation shows how much the establishment olds control over people still, regardless of how many times people have called for there to be some change to the status quo. Whether state-controlled or not, banks hold the key to the continuation of human life. They hold the money, access to lending, and control of ATMs. When all these are halted, life functionally stops. That is where Bitcoin comes in, providing an opportunity to come out from under the control of the establishment. Crypto for protesters in Hong Kong A similar occurrence was witnessed in China, where there are currently protests in Hong Kong over a proposed extradition bill. Sadly, while the bill might have been the gas to the fire, the latter has turned into a full-blown campaign for democratic reforms in the entire nation. After weeks of unrest and violent confrontations between protesters and the police, banks began to close down, leaving citizens with no money for days. However, instead of cowering to the intimidations of the central government, protesters and ordinary citizens were able to find a way out through cryptocurrencies. Despite the ban on cryptocurrencies in China, P2P trading platforms provided crypto enthusiasts with access to their favorite coins, and these people were more than happy to use them. Bitcoin trading reached an all-time high recently, with crypto statistics tracker Coin Dance reporting $12.3 million in trades for the week that closed on September 28. Protests are a fundamental right for people. However, given how powerful organized protests have been in the past, certain governments have made it a mission to suppress demonstrations by just freezing funds and closing banks. It is centralization at its core; a problem cryptocurrencies were designed to stop. Lebanese protesters need to understand this and fight for their beliefs with Bitcoin.