Human rights activist Alex Gladstein explains Bitcoin's role in the global south

Quick Take

  • In this episode, Alex Gladstein, Chief Strategy Officer for the Human Rights Foundation, discusses his exploration of Western prosperity and its costs in his book, ‘Hidden Repression: How the IMF and World Bank Sell Exploitation as Development’.”

Episode 49 of Season 5 of The Scoop was recorded with The Block's Frank Chaparro and Human Rights Foundation Chief Strategy Officer Alex Gladstein.

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Alex Gladstein is the Chief Strategy Officer for the Human Rights Foundation and a frequent contributor to Bitcoin Magazine.

In this episode, Gladstein talks through his newly released book, Hidden Repression: How the IMF and World Bank Sell Exploitation as Development.

According to Gladstein, Western prosperity has come mainly at the expense of developing nations:

"We should be proud of the American Revolution and we should be proud of our Bill of Rights and we should be proud of democracy — it's definitely part of the reason why we're so successful — but another part of the reason is we've stolen wealth, labor, resources from poor countries for a long time now."

In contrast to neocolonial monetary policies which forced many developing nations into "debt traps," Gladstein says bitcoin is a credible neutral alternative:


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"Think about all the digital money we use in the world today that's run by governments and corporations. [Bitcoin] is the only thing where the people have control over the monetary policy, at least in my view, and that's what makes it so interesting."

During this episode, Chaparro and Gladstein also discuss:

  • How "number go up" drives bitcoin adoption
  • Why gold has failed as a form of currency
  • How bitcoin is used in the global south

This episode is brought to you by our sponsor CleanSpark.

About CleanSpark

CleanSpark (NASDAQ: CLSK) is America’s Bitcoin Miner™. Visit to learn more about the CleanSpark way.

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Authors

Davis Quinton is the Director of Podcasts at The Block and runs our flagship podcast called The Scoop, hosted by Frank Chaparro. Since joining The Block as an 'intern' in early 2022, he has worked closely with leaders across departments to translate The Block's written content into engaging multimedia formats. He holds a degree in Social Research & Public Policy from New York University in Abu Dhabi and is based in Sydney, Australia.
Frank Chaparro is the Editor At Large at The Block. Chaparro started his career at Business Insider, where he specialized in the intersection of digital assets and Wall Street, market structure, and financial technology. Soon after joining Business Insider out of Fordham University, Chaparro was interviewing top finance and tech executives, including billionaire Mark Cuban, “Flash Boys” star Brad Katsuyama, Cboe Global Markets CEO Ed Tilly, and New York Stock Exchange President Tom Farley. In 2018, he become a sought after reporter in the crypto world, interviewing luminaries such as Tyler Winklevoss, the cofounder of Gemini, Jeremy Allaire, the CEO of Circle, and Fundstrat head Tom Lee. He runs his own podcast The Scoop and writes a biweekly eponymous newsletter. He leads special projects, including The Block's flagship podcast, The Scoop. Prior to The Block, he held roles at Business Insider, NPR, and Nasdaq. For inquiries or tips, email [email protected].