When Fodé Diop was a highschool senior rising up in Senegal, he was accepted to Emporia State College in Kansas to review engineering and play basketball. However earlier than enrolling, the worth of the schooling cash his father had put aside was reduce in half in a single day due to a backroom deal spearheaded by the Worldwide Financial Fund and the French authorities, which nonetheless controls the foreign money of greater than a dozen African international locations resulting from a treaty ratified on the finish of World Warfare II.
His expertise is what led to Diop’s present profession as a software program developer working to make bitcoin simple to make use of as a medium of alternate for anybody in Senegal with a smartphone. Purpose talked with Diop about bitcoin’s potential to finish financial colonialism on the annual Bitcoin convention held in Miami earlier this yr (Bitcoin 2022 will happen April 6–9 of subsequent yr).
When France ratified the Bretton Woods Agreement in 1945, it gained management over the currencies of 14 African nations, together with Senegal. On the morning of January 11, 1994, the CFA franc was pegged to the French franc at a valuation of 1 to 50. The next day, it was reduce to 1 to 100, after the French authorities gave in to stress from the Worldwide Financial Fund and World Financial institution to devalue the foreign money. Not solely did this quickly crush Diop’s faculty desires, it additionally led to widespread political unrest, as West Africa’s subsistence farmers might now not afford to import important items, including drugs to treat malaria. “The merciless irony was that the financial destiny of tens of millions of Senegalese was utterly out of their very own arms. No quantity of protest might overthrow their financial masters,” notes the Human Rights Basis’s Alex Gladstein in a latest article in Bitcoin Journal, which additionally recounts Diop’s story.
Diop’s father was finally in a position to pull collectively the cash and Diop obtained to attend faculty in any case. After graduating, he got here throughout a video that includes the Senegalese scientist and historian Cheikh Anta Diop (no relation), criticizing the French-African financial system.
Fodé Diop says that was the primary of three awakenings that set him on his present profession path. The second was watching Steve Job’s well-known 2007 announcement of the iPhone, which in the end led him to think about how poorly conventional banks serve the residents of Senegal. Job’s hand-held pc created a possibility to avoid these establishments altogether. However Job’s revolutionary new communication gadget wanted a decentralized financial system to match, which is the place Diop’s third awakening is available in.
In 2008, the pseudonymous hacker Satoshi Nakamoto revealed the groundbreaking paper, “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,” serving to to launch another financial and banking system impartial of standard establishments and central banks.
However the bitcoin community alone is not well-suited to changing into a medium of alternate for on a regular basis purchases in Senegal or wherever else. That is as a result of it presently has the capability to course of solely a handful of transactions per second, far lower than cost methods like Visa or Mastercard. The Lightning Network, a cost protocol layered on prime of bitcoin, is a technique to facilitate quick transactions whereas sustaining the decentralized construction of bitcoin. By bitcoin and ubiquitous smartphones, Diop thinks it is doable to construct a brand new free market financial system that can lastly liberate Senegal and different African international locations from the final vestiges of colonialism.
Produced by Regan Taylor and Isaac Reese. Interview by Nick Gillespie. Cameras by Jim Epstein and Noor Greene.
Music Credit: Run All Night time by Stanley Gurvich on Artlist and The Blue Jay by Mintz on Artlist
Photograph Credit: Photograph by Shahadat Rahman on Unsplash; Fodé Diop LinkedIn; Photograph by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash; Photograph by Teemu Paananen on Unsplash; Photograph by André François McKenzie on Unsplash; Photograph by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash; Archives New Zealand from New Zealand, CC BY-SA 2.0, through Wikimedia Commons; Touki Bouki (1973), by Djibril Diop Mambéty, Web Archive; Nicholas Gemini, CC BY-SA 3.0, through Wikimedia Commons; Nicholas Gemini, CC BY-SA 3.0, through Wikimedia Commons; GODONG / BSIP/Newscom; Philippe Lissac / GODONG/picture-alliance / Godong/Newscom; Maksym Yemelyanov/agefotostock/Newscom; IBM Company / IBM Direct / IBM Okay-12 Help Group / IBM Publications, Web Archive; Bashir Darwish/UPI/Newscom; Jimmy Villalta / VWPics/Newscom; Stefan Kleinowitz/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom; Photograph by Armand Khoury on Unsplash; Michele Spatari/ZUMA Press/Newscom; New York Instances through archive.org; Ji-Elle, Public area, through Wikimedia Commons; Michele Spatari/ZUMA Press/Newscom; World Financial Discussion board, CC BY-SA 2.0, through Wikimedia Commons; Ji-Elle, Public area, through Wikimedia Commons; Ji-Elle, Public area, through Wikimedia Commons; Ji-Elle, Public area, through Wikimedia Commons; Photograph by Krzysztof Hepner on Unsplash; Photograph by Benjamin Dada on Unsplash; Photograph by Executium on Unsplash; Photograph by Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash; Photograph by Brightness on Unsplash; H. Grobe, CC BY 3.0 through Wikimedia Commons; Alex Gorzen, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, through Wikimedia Commons; James R. Garvey/Emporia State College; Apple, cultofmac.com; Victorgrigas, CC BY-SA 3.0, through Wikimedia Commons; Photograph by Hugh Han on Unsplash; Matthew Yohe at en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, through Wikimedia Commons; Photograph by Rasheed Kemy on Unsplash; Photograph by ROBIN WORRALL on Unsplash; Photograph by Jezael Melgoza on Unsplash; Photograph by Etienne Martin on Unsplash; Photograph by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash; Photograph by Museums Victoria on Unsplash