Would btc be good for the 3rd world, places like Africa, Asia and South and Central America?
in my opinion bitcoin is not yet ready to circulate outside a very specific community (online, with hardware, education) and not matured yet (in pure numbers not enough users, little circulation, commodity value fluctuation after every media appearance)
i mean when btc gets rid of the fat client to manage wallet
when there will be a variety of client apps to use on different devices
when micro payments will fast, reliable and easy, then hooray. btc may be a useful commodity circulating alongside other currencies.
I'm thinking over a 10 year framework. Bitcoins are not going to be of much use right now to immigrants from Nicaragua or the Gambia sending money home from the US or Europe now no (or indeed workers in Lagos sending money back home to their rural fishing village on the Niger Delta or what have you), but give it five to ten years and the infrastructure will start to get there. Who'd heard of facebook five years ago? Not me anyway, now people log in from all over the world including Africa and Asia and other parts of the '3rd world'.
15-20 years ago only gadget freaks used mobile phones. Now see my link about the use of mobiles in Kenya to send and receive money... 15 years ago who would have associated email with Nigerian con-artists? Email scamming I obviously don't approve of but my point is that it's an example of how these internet technoloigies provide opportunities to people anywhere. Peoplke seek the cheapest and most efficient solutions for things, and the price of entry to bitcoin is not that much higher than other internet services people acces relatively easily via internet cafes etc in 3rd world urban centres.
Today I have an Nokia N8 and consider it the dogs-bollocks (that's British for "rather cool") perhaps I should have got an android phone, but I couldn't say no to the 12 megapixel camera. In 5 years, 10 years... my N8 will be passe, here in the UK anyway, it and this generation of android phones. Which means that in 5 years time these phones will be quite affordable to not particularly affluent people in Africa and Asia.
I went on a camping trip in the Sahara once and was struck by how my Berber guide depended on his old Nokia and the credits he'd buy in town to keep in contact with his community when out in the desert, climbing to the tops of sand dunes or rocky hills to get better reception (I will call my cousin to bring us some more things, some more onions for tagine, you want alcohol? My cousin he can bring, some hashish and cigerettes yes?) Even more I was struck by the use of solar panels on the roofs of their mud-brick homes. Makes absolute sense to have German solar panels on your roof when you're a Berber villager, there's plenty of sun and fuck-all power infratsructure. My point is that some of the techs we take for granted in Europe and the US have aspects that make them even more useful and important and make even more sense in corners of the world that aren't economicaly developed or don't have decades of infratsructure invested into them.
In the next 10 years the take-up of bitcoin outside the developed world will be alot more vigarous because it will mean alot more to those able to use it. Life's tough out there, a better form of money can more literally be a matter of life or death. Could represent a major infusion of wealth from working diaspora's in the West or developing-world capitals out into fishing villages and farms and so on all over the place.
Only need bitcoin clients on android phones made affordable to working class people in developing world countries by the passage of a few years. Don't underestimate the ability of people in the developing world to utilize technologies that avoid the need for centralized infrastructure, or infrasturcture at all. If M-Pessa over mobile phones can take off in Kenya, then surely bitcoin can take-off anywhere.