BHUTAN: CAN A NATIONAL CRYPTOCURRENCY BE GOOD FOR ALL?

SAMANTHA CLANCY WRITES — Earlier this month, Bhutan launched Prizm, a national cryptocurrency, which the kingdom hopes will increase income levels and decrease poverty levels, as it will be accessible to all.  In fact, every citizen will be granted 100 Prizm. This project  has been completely backed by the government, which has invested $50 million in the hope that it will succeed.  

 

Precisely how might Prizm lower the poverty rate? By establishing it as a decentralized system which everyone can access. Through test runs in other countries, Prizm has been shown to successfully divert intervention by large mining farms. Instead, the mining will be conducted by everyday citizens, with the help of provided Prizm e-wallets. This will allow every citizen to mine cryptocurrency and pay for their needs, which should be extremely easy, given that every cash register will be equipped with a device that accepts Prizm. 

 

This will take some time, though. Establishing Prizm as a rival currency to Ngultrum, the current currency of Bhutan, will be a daunting task. How long will it take for the poor to profit off this system? Or for Prizm compatible devices to be installed in every cash register across the nation? And of course, the overarching question: should the government have invested the $50 million, instead,  directly into its impoverished community, if creating economic equality is truly the goal?

 

Prizm may be a good idea, even a noble one,  but it’s too soon to know whether it’s truly bankable. 

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