The lives of LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning) people are worth challenging as society doesn’t even try to accept them appropriately.
While research has shown that members of the LGBTQ community report lower incomes and higher rates of poverty, increased food insecurity, higher unemployment, and greater vulnerability to homelessness than the general population, additional research is needed to examine LGBTQ people’s receipt of a range of crucial benefits that may help address those issues.
As emerging technologies such as crypto, blockchain, decentralized finance (DeFi), artificial intelligence (AI), and big data play an important role in the process of protecting LGBTQ people from violence and discrimination and providing access to healthcare and financial services, many positive changes that decentralized technologies can offer them as a community.
According to research released in July of this year, people with HIV have an increased risk of being admitted to the hospital with severe COVID-19 and of dying from COVID-19.
According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the population most vulnerable to HIV is the LGBTQ community, with the risk of acquiring HIV being 34 times higher for transgender women and 25 times higher among gay men.
In response, the LGBT Foundation has decided to place HIV tests on the blockchain, which “makes the entire process transparent and traceable” and helps prevent HIV from spreading among vulnerable populations.
In this article, we will see how cryptocurrencies and decentralized finance (DeFi) can improve financial accessibility and inclusion, especially for minority groups, and blockchain technology can transparently distribute funding, which also can benefit the LGBTQ community.
Erik Lamontagne, the Senior Economist at UNAIDS, said:
“This technology enables us to move almost as quickly as epidemics are moving. And this is fantastic! This is one of the opportunities.”
Surprisingly, even in developed countries, such as the United States, LGBTQ people face financial challenges because of their sexual or gender identity.
Let’s find out what crypto and blockchain industry executives think about the impact of these technologies on the LGBTQ community!
Caroline Pugliese: She is the director of creator partnerships, entertainment, at Rally, an open network, which enables creators to launch independent economies powered by the Ethereum blockchain, said that crypto offers some of the most positive developments and opportunities for the LGBTQ community that they have seen in tech over the past few decades. Social tokens, in particular, are a burgeoning space that’s ideal for building community support for LGBTQ talent and small businesses, as well as providing space for specific cause-driven activations without the risk of being de-platformed or demonetized. She said that the privacy that blockchain can provide and the open access to many crypto platforms allow people to participate even when their community or physical location is not accepting of the LGBTQ population.
“The emergence of DAOs is also very promising for the digital communities that are being created. They can be remarkably niche, formed around topics that allow people to come together around a cause and create opportunities in a fair, community-oriented way. DAOs have the potential to create ways for members to have a safe space to communicate, have a say in the governance of a project and find ways to give back to both the DAO members and the larger LGBTQ community around the world. At the same time, the emergence of NFTs and their ongoing royalties provide LGBTQ talent, who may have previously struggled to find equal opportunities for their creative work, a way to get compensated and be given credit for what they have created.”
Joe DiPasquale: He is the CEO of BitBull Capital and co-founder and director at StartOut, underlined the positive impact of privacy and anonymity that crypto and blockchain provide to the space.
“There is a lot of excitement about blockchain and crypto and how it could impact society. [...] The thing is that blockchain and crypto truly brings in though is also true privacy. [...] I guess for fundraising or raising money online, that’s obviously a major impact for crypto. And you can do it in a truly anonymous way.”
Christof Wittig: He is the founder and CEO of Hornet, a queer social network with over 30 million users worldwide.
“Emerging technologies play a major role for the LGBTQ community, whether we like it or not. On the negative side, 64% of adult LGBTQ Americans have reported online discrimination and harassment on the ‘big five’ heteronormative social networks [Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok], according to the recently published Social Media Safety Index by GLAAD. That is the highest number of positive responses among any minority in the U.S. and is up from 40% in a similar study conducted by Hornet and Kantar in 2018. We see day in and day out how technology amplifies all aspects of our lives, including all the negatives, from LGBTQ discrimination in the U.S. to the actions of the 71 countries that are still criminalizing being LGBTQ today.”
Cristina Dolan: She is the founder and CEO of InsideChains, which helps organizations create solutions and new business models by utilizing a blockchain layer for trust. She is also the former chair of MIT Enterprise Forum and co-author of the upcoming book “Transparency in ESG and the Circular Economy.”
“When Apple first released its credit card, there were stories about gender discrimination. Traditional banks are risk averse and regulated to prevent systemic risk, which can result in unintentional discrimination and lack of inclusivity. Gender doesn’t need to be a factor in the eligibility for financial services. Technology is powering new fintech solutions that offer a wide array of innovative services. Open banking has made it possible for AI and data-enabled credit solutions to be offered at scale in cost-effective ways. Individuals and companies now have access to credit without the requirement for traditional historical risk profiles. Neobanks offer cost-effective, efficient transactions.”
Dolan added that today, crypto-enabled platforms are offering greater returns and a variety of services that do not have narrow requirements for eligibility. Account access on blockchain platforms is controlled by customers with their private and public keypairs and doesn’t require an intermediary organization.
Don Richmond: He is the chief marketing officer of Filmio Inc., a decentralized entertainment ecosystem for the filmmaking and TV industries.
“Blockchain is a great tool to circumvent oppressive power structures. Although the technology does not necessarily have the capacity to provide the rights and freedoms that members of the LGBTQ community deserve, it has the ability to offer financial and organizational viability via its decentralized, democratic protocols. As many societies in many parts of the world try to exclude LGBTQ members from fair participation in the economy, blockchain can provide alternative means to earning income and building businesses.”
Richmond further said that beyond the economic factor, there is even plenty of potential within the arts to empower the LGBTQ communities around the world to connect, create, fund and share.
The LGBT Token cryptocurrency is issued by the LGBT Foundation, a nonprofit organization with the mission to bring crypto to the global pink economy in order to leverage the underserved 4.6 trillion USD market. The LGBT Foundation will drive the adoption of the LGBT Token as a method of payment in everyday transactions for businesses both digital and physical. To jumpstart this, Hornet Networks, the sponsor of the LGBT Foundation, will adopt the Token among its 25 million users, some 10% of the LGBT community worldwide, and accept the LGBT Token as a means of payment for its services.
It has been analyzed that plans for the LGBT Token went far beyond just setting up a cryptocurrency, with goals including:
• Using the LGBT Token to buy at-risk gay users airplane tickets to escape.
• Directly funding LGBT organizations without the money being blocked by anti-LGBT governments.
• Granting access to reliable, affordable HIV tests without visiting a hard-to-reach healthcare center and risking outing.
• Event ticket purchases via app, gaining access to events with a QR-code, all while keeping identities protected.
Finding a way to transfer money that doesn’t need approval from a government that may outlaw being LGBTQ is crucial now.
Thus, it is important to note that the lives of LGBTQ people over the past few decades in building a community are beyond understandable.