Jack Dorsey, the chief executive of social media giant Twitter, has taken his crypto evangelism to the social networking site once more, as he has advocated for the asset’s inclusion in an uproar happening in Nigeria. Yesterday, the tech mogul lent his support to the ongoing protests against police brutality in the West African nation, asking people to donate to the cause via Bitcoin.
Circumventing the Government
Dorsey’s tweet came three days after official protests broke out nationwide concerning the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a unit of the Nigerian Police Force that has been tasked with stemming the spread of cybercrime in the country. The department has reportedly gone rogue, with multiple extortion allegations and false arrests made over the past decade.
— jack (@jack) October 14, 2020
Tensions have now reached boiling point, with hundreds of thousands pouring into the streets from Monday in perhaps the country’s most massive organized protest in decades.
Donations to the cause have been pouring in, with Nigerians at home and abroad donating over 37 million naira to the cause since Saturday. Most donations have come through Flutterwave, a Y Combinator-backed company that is now one of Nigeria’s largest payment processors.
On Monday, however, several prospective donors began reporting issues with the Flutterwave donation link. Some sources reported that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had summoned the payment processor and asked it to shut down the donation link.
In the wake of Flutterwave’s issues, many have advocated for donations to come through crypto. The Feminist Coalition, one of the bodies sponsoring the demonstrations, eventually opened a Bitcoin link for donors to access.
How to donate:
1) Bank transfers (Naira)
Wallets.Africa-Wine and Whine Nigeria
2) You can also donate to us using a BTC Pay Server; a free, secure, and censorship-resistant platform. Visit the link below to donatehttps://t.co/FvsEKetUL9
— feministcoalition (@feminist_co) October 14, 2020
One of the donation links runs on SendCash, a payment processor developed by Lagos-based crypto exchange BuyCoins Africa. The protests have run non-stop since October 12, with demonstrators shutting down major roads and link bridges.
Crypto for Dissent
This isn’t the first time that Bitcoin will play a prominent role in supporting demonstrations worldwide. Last year, demonstrators in Hong Kong took to the streets after the signing of a potential bill that would threaten their autonomy from China and allow criminals in Hong Kong to be extradited to mainland China.
The protests lasted for weeks, with several individuals and organizations using crypto to keep their operations afloat. The Hong Kong Free Press, a news organization run by independent journalists, created crypto portals for people to donate. The organization promised to provide free and unbiased news to the populace, especially against the backdrop of government propaganda that had overrun the news agency.
All of these show that cryptocurrencies remain a valuable tool against government control and injustice. In countries where protests break, traditional finances tend to become overly withdrawn, with governments deploying aggressive force and tactical measures to suppress dissent. However, with cryptocurrencies, oppositions now have a reliable and effective system that allows them to express their displeasure without fear of a crackdown.