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On December 16, 2012, a 23-year old female student was gang raped and brutally assaulted with an iron rod in a moving bus in Delhi, the capital city of India. Nearly two weeks later, she succumbed to her injuries in a hospital in Singapore. A male friend, who was accompanying the woman that evening, was also assaulted and injured by the assailants. The incident sparked protests and outrage all over the country, with thousands of protestors, young and old, male and female, gathering in various spaces, including the centre of the city of Delhi. Demanding various changes, from death penalty and castration of the guilty to a change in a ‘societal’ mindset and ‘cultural’ value system, protestors withstood the government’s efforts to silence and disperse them. While this might have been one of the largest mainstream populist mobilizations against gender-based violence in recent times, violence against women is an ‘everyday’ reality, pervasive in its several manifestations across all spectrums of society. Therefore, mobilizations and protests must continue in various forms, addressing and engaging with the layered discourses and practices that define women’s lives, actions, and roles in the country. In early 2012, in a survey conducted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, India was identified as the “worst nation for women” by 370 gender specialists. The survey highlighted that in spite of the presence of women in leading political positions, business ventures, science and technology related organizations, and in media, entertainment, and journalism; the status and position of women in the country remains largely beneath their male counterparts. Thus, as a member of the G20 and as the “world’s largest democracy,” its ranking behind countries like the DRC and Saudi Arabia was a stark reminder of the problematic statistics pertaining to gender-related issues in the country. The National Crime Records Bureau in India reported that between 2010 and 2011, there was a 7.1 percent hike in crimes against women. The NCRB also reported that between 2005 and 2009, while all cognizable crimes increased by 16 percent, crimes against women increased by 31 percent. The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs added that while the general crime rate increased marginally from 2009 to 2010, crimes against women have continuously increased during 2006-2010. The strongest hikes have been in cases that have been filed under the Dowry Prohibition Act, Rape, and Kidnapping and Abduction. Furthermore, in 2012, UNICEF found that 52 percent of adolescent girls (and 57 percent of adolescent boys) in India thought domestic violence was acceptable. The pervasiveness of structural sexual violence against women from lower castes, the high incidence of sexual violence by the army and paramilitary in Kashmir, Northeast India, and Central India, the low conviction rates of rapists, and the misogynistic and sexist attitudes of law enforcement officers and judicial establishments, render violence as an issue that requires daily negotiations between women and the private/domestic spheres as well as the public spaces they occupy and are entitled to occupy. According to a 2010 report by the International Centre for Research on Women, 45 percent of Indian girls are married before the age of 18 (with 18 being the legal age). In 2010, the UN Population Fund added that early marriages and poor healthcare contributed to a recorded 56,000 annual maternal deaths. A much-publicized 2011 study by The Lancet also highlighted that sex-selective abortion (legally prohibited) due to a preference for a male child had resulted in the feticide of 12 million girls in the last three decades. Women’s literacy rates, educational achievements and access, representation in political parties and local governments, wages and economic participation all remain woefully behind those of the men in the country. The aforementioned statistics lie at the intersection of inadequate healthcare, insufficient legal access, and the inability of the law to combat misogynistic practices and traditions justified by cultural and societal responsibilities. They also highlight the deep-rooted presence of misogyny and patriarchy in systems of power and justice. Since December 2012, discussions regarding women’s rights and experiences in India have been mainstreamed and brought to popular attention. The Delhi gang rape, although just one in a long line of brutal attacks against women, has managed to mobilize different sections of Indian society and bring issues of women’s rights and gender-based violence to the forefront. These issues and discussions have encompassed suggested changes to the language and scope of various laws that deal with gender issues, changes in policing and judicial structures, and changes in the manner in which sexism and even sexual harassment is legitimized in the media. While all the aforementioned changes remain integral, the protests and mobilizations of the last two months have highlighted two key points that remain crucial to implementing and sustaining the aforementioned changes as well as countering structural violence against women in India. First, gender-based violence and women’s issues have often been ‘exceptionalized’ in academic and other discourses. There has been a tendency to focus on and to view violence against women, sexual violence, and structural violence from case studies of the ‘exceptional.’ To elaborate, while massive attention is given to rape during conflict, rape in urban centers, as well as crimes against upper-class/caste women, ‘everyday’ instances of patriarchal violence garner limited theorization and mobilization. These discussions thus, while focusing on the finer details of a particular incident, overlook the inherent gender hierarchies and gender-linked structures of power that sustain and breed these ‘exceptional’ incidents alongside ‘everyday’ injustices faced by women. Therefore, when women negotiate public and domestic spaces on a daily basis and face a multitude of patriarchal structures in their ‘everyday,’ isn’t it necessary that discussions of women’s issues align themselves closer to the ‘everyday’ rather than the ‘exceptional?’ Second, it remains necessary that mobilizations that ask for changes in policing and judicial structures be accompanied by a deconstruction of ‘everyday’ collective patriarchy that supports these structures. On December 23rd, Justice JS Verma, a former Chief Justice of India, was appointed the head of a three-member commission that was to recommend revisions to the current laws on gender-based violence in India. On January 23, 2013, the commission submitted its reports recommending several key changes in the existing laws. These included police reforms, repealing of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, making marital rape a criminal offence, amending the Code of Criminal Procedure, expanding the definitions of rape and sexual violence, and adding a separate Bill of Rights for Women. In February 2013, the Indian President, Pranab Mukherjee, passed a Presidential Ordinance based on the Justice Verma Commission. While this ordinance included some of the recommendations put forth by the commission, it omitted most of them, causing India’s Women’s Rights and Feminist Groups to reject it. The Ordinance, although disappointing, has provided yet another key moment to garner and sustain the momentum required for mobilization and protests across India. Mobilizations and protests that can no longer ignore collective and pervasive patriarchy and the structures of subjugation they it breeds. {loadposition gom-2013-mar-photos-from-india} Akanksha Mehta is an MPhil/PhD candidate at the Center for Gender Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. She can be reached on Twitter at @SahibanInExile. This photojournal was originally published in the Diplomatic Courier's May/June 2013 print edition.

But it’s difficult to think about value when we have no buoy for understanding it outside our traditional lenses: for example, our time, our job, and what others tell us they are worth in cash. This, largely, is the world’s paradigm for value so far. But understanding what value really means changes everything—and will be at the center of the decentralized revolution in global coordination that will unfold over the next decade. So, where do we begin?

Let’s start with gold.

Gold is an inherent value. When backing a market, gold allows us to grow a balanced economy well into the trillions. But why does it allow for massive stable markets to form around it? It is gold's permanence that creates stability. We understand that gold will always have value, because it is inherent in all of us, not just in one part of the world, but everywhere, not just today, but tomorrow and for the long haul.

In the 1930s when the gold standard was removed, we learned that the U.S. dollar didn’t need gold to back its economy to flourish. We learned that it was just a symbol for U.S. citizens to decentralize their coordination around the United States economy.

It turns out, common agreement is a philosophy for building shared economy.



And so it seems inherent value is a marker for us to begin exploring what the future could look like—a future beyond gold and the existing realm of credit. And so what else has inherent value? Is education as valuable as gold? What about healthcare? What about a vote that can’t be tampered with? What about an ID that can’t be stolen or erased? What about access to nutrition or clean water? You will find value everywhere you look.



It turns out, we’ve already done the legwork necessary to uncover the most elemental inherent values: The Sustainable Development Goals are commitments grown out of the drive to bring to life basic tenets of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—the closest possible social contract we have to a global, common agreement.

We’ve already agreed, as a global community, to ensure inclusive and equitable access to quality education. We’ve already agreed to empower all women and girls, to ensure pure and clean water access for all, to promote health at all stages of life, and to end hunger.

We’ve already agreed.

Our agreements are grounded in deep value centers that are globally shared, but undervalued and unfulfilled. The reason for this is our inability to quantify intangible value. All of these rich, inherent values are still nebulous and fragmented in implementation—largely existing as ideals and blueprints for deep, globally shared common agreement. That is, we all agree education, health, and equality have value, but we lack common units for understanding who and who is not contributing value—leaving us to fumble in our own, uncoordinated siloes as we chase the phantoms of impact. In essence, we lack common currencies for our common agreements.

Now we find ourselves at the nexus of the real paradigm of Blockchain, allowing us to fuse economics with inherent value by proving the participation of some great human effort, then quantifying the impact of that effort in unforgeable and decentralized ledgers. It allows us to build economic models for tomorrow, that create wholly new markets and economies for and around each of the richest of human endeavors.



In late 2017 at the height of the Bitcoin bubble, without individual coordination, planning, or the help of institutions, almost $1 trillion was infused into blockchain markets. This is remarkable, and the revolution has only just begun. When you realize that Blockchain is in a similar stage of development as the internet pre-AOL, you will see a glimpse of the global transformation to come.



Only twice in the information age have we had such a paradigm shift in global infrastructure reform—the computer and the internet. While the computer taught us how to store and process data, the Internet built off that ability and furthered the conversation by teaching us how to transfer that information. Blockchain takes another massive step forward—it builds off the internet, adding to the story of information storage and transfer—but, it teaches us a new, priceless and not yet understood skill: how to transfer value.



This third wave kicked off with a rough start—as happens with the birth of new technologies and their corresponding liberties. Blockchain has, thus far, been totally unregulated. Many, doubtless, have taken advantage. A young child, stretching their arms for the first couple times might knock over a cookie jar or two. Eventually, however, they learn to use their faculties—for evil or for good. As such, while it’s wise to be skeptical at this phase in blockchain’s evolution, it’s important not to be blind to its remarkable implications in a post-regulated world, so that we may wield its faculties like a surgeon’s scalpel—not for evil or snake-oil sales, but for the creation of more good, for the flourishing of commonwealth.

But what of the volatility in blockchain markets? People agree Bitcoin has value, but they don’t understand why they are in agreement, and so cryptomarkets fluctuate violently.  Stable blockchain economies will require new symbolic gold standards that clearly articulate why someone would agree to support each market, to anchor common agreement with stability. The more globally shared these new value standards, the better.

Is education more valuable than gold? What about healthcare or nutrition or clean water?


We set out in 2018 to prove a hypothesis—we believe that if you back a cryptocurrency economy with a globally agreed upon inherent value like education, you can solve for volatility and stabilize a mature long lasting cryptomarket that awards everyone who adds value to that market in a decentralized way without the friction of individual partnerships.

What if education was a new gold standard?

And what if this new Learning Economy had protocols to award everyone who is helping to steward the growth of global education?



Education is a mountain. Everyone takes a different path to the top. Blockchain allows us to measure all of those unique learning pathways, online and in classrooms, into immutable blockchain Learning Ledgers.

By quantifying the true value of education, a whole economy can be built around it to pay students to learn, educators to create substantive courses, and stewards to help the Learning Economy grow. It was designed to provide a decentralized way for everyone adding value to global education to coordinate around the commonwealth without the friction of individual partnerships. Imagine the same for healthcare, nutrition, and our environment?



Imagine a world where we can pay refugees to learn languages as they find themselves in foreign lands, a world where we can pay those laid off by the tide of automation to retrain themselves for the new economy, a world where we can pay the next generation to prepare themselves for the unsolved problems of tomorrow.



Imagine new commonwealth economies that alleviate the global burdens of poverty, disease, hunger, inequality, ignorance, toxic water, and joblessness. Commonwealths that orbit inherent values, upheld by immutable blockchain protocols that reward anyone in the ecosystem stewarding the economy—whether that means feeding the hungry, providing aid for the global poor, delivering mosquito nets in malaria-ridden areas, or developing transformative technologies that can provide a Harvard-class education to anyone in the world willing to learn.


These worlds are not out of reach—we are only now opening our eyes to the horizons of blockchain, decentralized coordination, and new gold standards. Even though coordination is the last of the seventeen sustainable development goals, when solved, its tide will lift for the rest—a much-needed rocket fuel for global prosperity.

“Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair.”  —George Washington
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.