I was reading some articles today and went down a bit of a rabbit hole that has made me more passionate about crypto than ever before. Ever since I was young I've heard stories of child labor in places like China for toy/clothing companies; but I was shocked to hear that the mining industry is the largest source of child labor in the world; approx. 1 million children in 22 countries worldwide work in gold mines and somehow I've never heard about it once in my life. Its also one of the most dangerous industries that still “employs” children, most are small scale operations with little to no regulations, and quite frankly, they don't give a shit about them. These children are exposed to toxic gases/dust and are at risk of tunnels collapsing on top of them, explosions, etc. Many end up severely injured or dead. All for some awesome shiny bricks. I'll leave it at that for the details of what goes on in the mining industry, but I encourage you all to read about it as well.
Its pretty heartbreaking to find out shit like this but I can’t say I’m that surprised. The reason I thought I’d share this here is because Bitcoin is often compared to gold nowadays, and after I discovered this, I can’t even believe I had never heard anyone bring this up in debate. Like really? Industry powered by millions of computers worldwide v.s industry powered by millions of children being exploited worldwide. Its surreal honestly. Is this actually what we've collectively decided is the most valuable asset in human history?
Obviously its more nuanced than this and horrible stuff like this goes on all the time but this really struck me since a huge part of the philosophy in crypto is rebuilding a system that doesn't allow for the injustice the world has become so accustomed to.
Putting all the other technical/philosophical reasons I love bitcoin aside, it feels pretty damn good to know we're challenging industries like this. I doubt this will ever be addressed by the media/politicians, especially considering how much money is in gold mining, but this reminded me of just how important this all really is and I felt obligated to share and hopefully some of you feel the same. To me, this is a metaphor for what Bitcoin is all about; disrupting and taking down systems built on taking from those they're meant to serve, and creating one that empowers them instead.
*some key stats/points I gathered from the articles