With the announcement that the Trump Administration is trying to get TikTok and WeChat off of US app stores as soon as this Sunday (clearing up a previous executive order on the matter) and operationally banning WeChat that same day (the Trump Administration is looking to give TikTok a chance till at least Nov. 12th not to be banned, likely to accelerate its takeover by an American technology firm), a rare possibility has emerged for cryptocurrencies to bridge the gap within two systems trying to balkanize apart from each other.
The United States and China are the two biggest economies globally, with vast information and payments flowing. While China has broadly banned most mainstay American apps without the use of a VPN for years, this is the first time the US has countered in kind to such a dramatic degree, completely cutting off one of the most significant communication connections between the two nations with its own brand of American Internet nationalism — with scant notice.
TikTok claims 100 million users in the US, with most of them being younger users, while WeChat has nearly 19 million users, mostly members of the Chinese diaspora and those attached to China through trade or family.
One of the most famous casualties is WeChat Pay, a mobile payment platform some American businesses accept and currently treat around 900 million users. Starting Sunday, except something changes in this quickly developing position, WeChat Pay, along with the rest of WeChat, will be refused access to critical service providers that will make it legally challenging, if not difficult, to help WeChat content across the US.
China has previously strongly shown that it was going to counter to any App Store bans for WeChat or TikTok - probably, American Internet firms and financial firms trying to capture part of the $27 trillion payments business in China will be the first to experience, building the potential of a down and sudden spiral in the experience of companies and peoples to communicate digitally across both the Chinese and American systems.
Cryptocurrencies were tailor-built for this condition: with geographic connections distributed worldwide and a flexible, more censorship-proof system. As centralized organizations that have won based on user preference and network markets of scale have begun to become the first casualties of a developing economic decoupling, there is a new, unique opportunity for cryptos to show themselves according to their original tenets.
People and businesses will try to interact over the world's two largest markets: with an unexpected lack of opportunities with each nation banning the others' most successful proprietary apps, the time for decentralized payments and chat protocols is now. Being flexible to censorship, particularly at the nation-state level, has rarely been more appropriate or immediate.
With auditable, open-source code that can be run on various systems and in practice is run worldwide, cryptos have so far evaded the country-by-country attitude most countries have with building data nationalism. Though they have been disappointed and banned from exchanges, cryptos have managed value and still form a viable means of exchange with almost every nation on Earth.
This ethereal, non-state balanced advantage will continue even to digital variants of the dollar and the Yuan - their ties to the Chinese nation or the American nation will prove to be a barrier at best in the opposite system.
US-China pressures also auger and follow developing cracks in the global Internet worldwide, from India banning Chinese apps to a set of privacy laws that intend to keep users' private data in their country of origin taking effect in jurisdictions Brazil to Europe.
With a developing trend towards a shared Internet, open-source models and protocols like cryptos may form the single hope for people who want to connect and transact with one another. The cascading economic decoupling of the US and China and its consequences for the global Internet promise grave consequences - and possibilities for entrepreneurs looking to connect the gap.
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