After the Taliban took full control of Afghanistan in August last year, many international non-governmental organizations and services stopped operating in the country. Among them were payment services like Western Union and Swift.
Many Afghans subsequently began to learn about cryptocurrencies and the underlying blockchain technology to — at the very least — receive remittances from abroad. As electronic payment services like PayPal and Venmo have never been available in the 5,000-year-old country, Afghans have lost many opportunities in the online business world.
“We lost many opportunities like blogging, affiliate marketing and online dropshipping because most of them pay with PayPal,” Heshmat Aswadi, a local crypto trader, told Cointelegraph in an interview. “I learned a lot about blogging but it was of no use since I could not get paid online.”
Aswadi is studying business administration at Herat University and wanted to create a fintech blog but as he researched on how to get paid, the 22-year-old lost hope.
He later came to know about cryptocurrencies “which was one of the best things to ever happen to him,” he said. Aswadi learned as he went as the crypto industry grew in mid-2021. He now trades small amounts of digital assets that allow him to make some extra money.
According to Aswadi, banks and governments, especially developing countries like Afghanistan and Iran, must consider using digital currencies as a legal tender. “They could at least use a central bank digital currency,” he added.
“Although there is no need for our government to spend extra money on a central bank digital currency project, if they don’t want decentralized assets, a CBDC could still be an option.”
When the Taliban assumed power, money transfer services like Western Union and Swift stopped their operations in the country, leaving many Afghans who got money from relatives abroad without a source of income. Currently, the only way to receive money from other countries is by using crypto.
During the crypto boom in 2021, Afghanistan was ranked 20th among 154 countries in Chainalysis’ 2021 Crypto…