Last week, presidential candidate Donald Trump revealed his plan for funding the wall that he wants to build on the border between Mexico and the southern United States. How would he generate the billions of dollars to construct it? He has a simple plan: block the flow of remittance funds from United States to Mexico. Cutting off that resource would compel the Mexican government into agreeing to pay for the the wall, which has a reported cost of $10 – 12 billion dollars.
Trump’s plan is woefully ignorant of what remittance is, how it works, and why it is so important. Millions of Mexicans living in the United States work and save their money so they can send it to their families who still live in Mexico. This is called remittance and it is estimated that over $24 billion dollars per year flows from the US to Mexico.
We aren’t here to take political sides. But we do see an opportunity here to showcase what Bitcoin can do.
Let’s say Trump succeeds in getting his plan approved and Mexicans in the U.S. can no longer send money home to support their families. Companies like Western Union, MoneyGram, and Xoom are all forced to comply with these laws since they are strictly regulated. What would the average worker do to make sure they can still support their family?
The solution would be Bitcoin because Bitcoin can’t be stopped. Not by Trump. Not by Putin. Not by anyone. Sure, you can pass regulations to make it more difficult to use but at the end of the day, if people need it, they will always find a way.
So how could Bitcoin be used?
Let’s say a Mexican in the U.S. works in construction and receives his weekly wage in cash, which is very common. After the workers receive their payment in cash, they could go to a website like LocalBitcoins.com, place an order in person, and once they’ve received their Bitcoins, simply send them to their family back home in Mexico.
Or, they could take that cash, go to one of the many Bitcoin ATM’s in the U.S. and purchase their Bitcoins there.
The real challenge today would be receiving and converting the funds on the Mexico end. It appears there are only three Bitcoin ATM’s in Mexico, but it’s safe to assume that with $24 billion on the line, some savvy entrepreneurs in Mexico would realize the potential and install more ATMs. Once those ATMs are installed throughout the country there would be little anyone could do to stop the flow of remittance funds.
Now again, we aren’t here to take sides. We just saw this as a great opportunity to raise awareness for Bitcoin as a potential use case to a major potential problem. So, across Southern and Northern California, we’ve taken out billboards that will run for the upcoming weeks that aim to raise awareness for Bitcoin as part of our ongoing #ExploreBitcoin campaign.
Here are two of the first billboards that launched:
We believe as a community that we need to come up with creative ideas that get people talking about Bitcoin.#ExploreBitcoin is our awareness campaign which we launched back in November. We began with Western Union-themed billboards, Taxi signs that mocked expert predictions that were proven wrong and trolled Jamie Dimon’s “Silicon Valley is Coming to Eat Our Lunch” quote.
To all the companies and members of the community: let’s keep this going. Let’s do more. Let’s get people involved and spread the word about Bitcoin and what we believe it can be.
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Independent researcher and consultant, crypto activist.