The Oslo Freedom Forum is a transformative annual conference where “the world’s most engaging human rights advocates, artists, tech entrepreneurs, and world leaders meet to share their stories and brainstorm ways to expand freedom and unleash human potential across the globe.”

This year’s event brought together more than 300 speakers, artists, community members, technologists, and performers to share their stories to the media in the Norwegian capital, Oslo.

The Oslo Freedom Forum, an annual human rights conference held in Norway, talks cryptocurrency and the Blockchain at the event’s opening panel.

The Oslo Freedom Forum

The opening panel consisted of:

  • Srđa Popović, a Serbian activist who helped topple his country’s dictatorship under Slobodan Milošević
  • Hyeonseo Lee, who escaped North Korea twice, once on her own, and once again to save her family
  • Bjørn Ihler, who survived the terrorist attack of July 22nd in Norway
  • Kimberley Motley, an American lawyer who donates her time to those who cannot afford legal representation
  • Roya Mahboob, a female tech entrepreneur from Afghanistan who has faced death threats from the Taliban and other religious extremists
  • John Peder Egenæs, the secretary-general of Amnesty International in Norway
  • Manal al-Sharif, a Saudi activist who helped to start the Women2Drive movement in Saudi Arabia
  • Rosa María Payá, a Cuban democracy activist whose father was murdered by the dictatorship of Cuba
  • Abdalaziz Alhamza, who is smuggling video evidence of atrocities being committed in ISIS-controlled territory and countering ISIS propaganda as part of an activist collective, ‘Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently’
  • Iyad el-Baghdadi, a blogger expelled from the United Arab Emirates for posts he made on his blog, forcing him to live in a Malaysian airport
  • Vladimir Kara-Murza, a Russian democracy activist whom the FSB, under the Putin regime, tried to poison, and survived, despite a very low chance of survival

Blockchain and mesh networks

Toni Lane Casserly, a prominent member of the Bitcoin community and former CEO of Cointelegraph, put this question to the panel:

“Based on the fact that so many of you are living under these extraordinarily oppressive regimes, I wonder how many of you have looked into digital currency and emerging technologies like the Blockchain and mesh networks to effectively build your own economy, government, or communications network?”

Srđa Popović responded by saying:

“This is not the exhibition of the world’s greatest dissidents, although some of the world’s greatest dissidents are here, this is a place where people network and learn from each other. People like Thor [Halvorssen - OFF Founder] and me, and some others in this room, who have even lived under dictatorship or spent 10s of years investing into helping people who are living under dictatorship, this is where we learn your needs.

I think one of the things that we are going to do this time, especially during the Tech Lab is to hear from the activists what type of technology they may need or they may find useful (in their respective countries and working under dictatorships) or find a use.

One of the ideas we have here with the Wickr Foundation is to design an application which will be specifically designed for the people living under dictatorship.This is in response to the need that we hear from activists themselves - that means safe and secure browsing, fast and accurate documentation of human rights when you need it on click or your phone.

So there are so many aspects of this conference and one thing is to connect people like you, people who have an idea how you can use a technology with people like those who are sitting on this panel. What we can do to help these people accurately, and what we can learn from these people - it’s a great place to do it, the best place to do it, is the Oslo Freedom Forum.”

Anyone familiar with the Blockchain will know that a great deal of the problems presented by Srđa Popović could be addressed by the innovative technology. Evidently, Blockchain usage in the realm of activism is somewhat lacking, despite the technology, and the cryptocurrencies it underpins, undoubtedly being able to have a meaningful impact.

Srđa Popović, speaker on Olso Freedom Forum

Activism, “the greatest use case Bitcoin has even seen”

Toni Lane Cassery, co-founder of Cointelegraph shares her beliefs concerning Bitcoin usage in the activism space, saying:​

“We would be wise to remember that activism is the greatest use case Bitcoin has ever seen. 

​Take a moment to recall 2011. In this year, one of the first major price spikes for bitcoin happened as the currency first rose to meet the value of the US dollar between February and April and continued to march upward to $31 in July. We could attribute the evolution of value to a series of factors, but I find in this instance, it is important to note that in June of this year, Julian Assange​ opened the door for WikiLeaks supporters to donate to the project using bitcoin. The moment Assange​ requested​ the use of digital currency to fund Wikileaks​, he gave bitcoin her first major use case​, and in exchange, ​Bitcoin gave WikiLeaks ​a helping hand to continue their mission, a mission ​with a bent ​to fragment the illusion of journalism in favor of hardline evidence.”

​Progressing, Miss Lane Casserly​dives into her perspective on human rights activism and Bitcoin:

“De facto, I believe it is imperative for us to use the power of the media to help change the illusory paradigms of information distribution in any and every possible manner​. In addition, I believe it is ​crucial for us,​ a community of idealists who believe in the equanimity of beings,​to ensure​that​ the funding Assange received with bitcoin ​during a government clampdown is merely the beginning of a cultural shift. 

A shift toward the propagation of digital currencies to embolden freedom and the rights of the individual. Those basic rights ​are vital ​to the growth of the human race and are at their greatest when they exist ubiquitously and indispensably as​binary truths. The reality​of an equanimical future is up to us, my friends. And that... that is the pure beauty of bitcoin and blockchain technologies.​ In a world created by the same philosophical underpinnings as this technology, it is truly up to us.

I encourage all of you take time out of your day to pour over the list of individuals at the Oslo Freedom Forum, research them and contribute to their causes where you can.​Take note of Rachana Sunar, as she has accomplished every milestone in her path with literally no more than $750. You can donate to her cause to save young women from child marriage at this bitcoin address: 1C5E2UJbLLjGcWxf5KGJonyTmi12kbCJrv

Never in my life has it been my pleasure to be surrounded with such a deeply impactful and inspiring group of human beings and I believe w​eshould all strive to live with such profound intention and integrity of being.​

Take note; many pioneers working on​the worlds largest human rights causes have the ability to build their own external, sustainable economies from  within corrupt societies using ​bitcoin and other digital currencies. These revolutionaries are more than willing to and capable of taking action and they will be our greatest asset in our push towards peaceful evolution of economy and the distribution of rights.

Truly, deeply, these activists need bitcoin and digital currencies for their rights.  

I believe it is our duty to contribute.​Thank you.​”​