A region home to 4 million people in Northern Syria is looking to cryptocurrency as a way to overcome economic sanctions.
Rojava, also known as the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, has spent the last six years at war for its territory, and now in fragile peacetime, the country is under economic sanctions from all sides – Turkey, Iran, Syria, Iraq. In the midst of this uncertainty, however, those backing the state are putting a new emphasis on monetary independence.
Because its primary currency is the Syrian lira, also the main currency of the Syrian state (and a principle enemy of Rojava), there's a belief cryptocurrency could be an "alternative," Erselan Serdem, a leader of the project's technological development program, told CoinDesk.
Alongside a system of self-governing communes, Rojava plans to implement new technological academies, with a particular emphasis on cryptography and cryptocurrency, Serdem said. Assisting the change is Amir Taaki, an early bitcoin developer who fought in the Rojava revolution.
As detailed by CoinDesk, Taaki is in the process of setting up a European-based technological academy in Barcelona.
"[Rojava is] a revolutionary project that wants to build a new society based on anarchist principles, and that means law, defense, society and culture," Taaki told CoinDesk.
The new academies follow the philosophy of Kurdish political theorist Abdullah Ocalan, who is promoting a form of governance called "Democratic confederalism." Advocating for direct democracy, feminism and ecology, Serdem said that blockchain and cryptocurrency are crucial for achieving this vision.
"You need technology to spend less water, you need technology to have an equal relation with the earth, you need technology to use networks, like the blockchain. We see blockchain as a practical network in society that people use," Serdem said.
And while achieving adoption for a cryptocurrency throughout the regi...