"The Plan B Forum in Lugano will be a great example to show how peace between Palestine and Israel passes through Bitcoins."
This coming October 28 and 29, Lugano will play host to the Plan B Forum, an event spearheaded by Tether Operations Limited (Tether), the tech company behind the blockchain platform that fuels the largest stablecoin in terms of market capitalization (USD₮), and the City of Lugano.
A summit, to be held at the Palazzo dei Congressi, will have the eyes of the world upon it: it will feature leaders in the blockchain industry alongside influential experts in global financial markets and the Bitcoin eco-system. It will also feature prominent activists, such as Stella Assange, lawyer and wife of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange; Farida Bemba Nabourema, human rights activist and founder of the "Faure Must Go" movement in Togo; and Palestinian activist Fadi Elsalameen.
The latter is an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Bitcoin Policy Institute and president of the Palestinian Security Project, a think tank established to develop a Palestinian national security vision and strategy. In fact, Elsalameen is at the forefront of the fight against corruption issues in the country, so much so that he has been personally invited by former U.S. President Bill Clinton to his Clinton Global Initiative and has created a fund for young Palestinian university students. "At Plan B in Lugano," explains the 39-year-old, "I want to show people how Bitcoin is providing financial freedom to the Palestinian population and, most importantly, how it can create a bridge of peace between my country and Israel.
In fact, for Elsalameen, monetary freedom is becoming a real plague for Palestine: "The population is limited by political and financial agreements, so citizens are forced to use Israeli currency as legal tender and are not allowed to have their own currency or a central bank. Furthermore, the authorities are openly corrupt and use the banking system as a weapon to suppress freedom of expression and expand corruption. If you criticize Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, your bank account could be frozen or emptied, in addition to being accused of all kinds of financial crimes, in order to intimidate you into silence. A repression that escalates into hatred and frustration, preventing the country from moving forward. So I find Bitcoins to be a solution for the people who believe in democracy, freedom of expression and bringing politicians face to face with their responsibilities within the national economy."
At times, however, cryptocurrencies do not seem so so much a potential vehicle for peace and stabilization as a way to speculate. "Of course, the dangers are the same in the use of any tool," the Palestinian activist comments. "There will always be people who try to use a functional form of technology for their own purposes. The same thing happened with the Internet and social media. But if we proceed carefully and wisely, cryptocurrencies can enable young people to build their own future. I like to think of it as a way to connect the world's population without the controls and boundaries of those who seek to separate and turn people against each other for their own benefit."
Partitions well understood by the Palestinian population: "We have great challenges ahead, starting with the end of Israeli military control over our lives. But also, the fight against the corruption of the Palestinian authorities and their refusal to hold elections, a problem also exacerbated by the strong and ongoing clashes between the various Palestinian political factions."