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ast Thursday, Sudan’s National Defense Minister Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf said that Omar al-Bashir, who had ruled Sudan since rising to power in an Islamic coup in 1989, had stepped down and was under house arrest. The military would attempt to retain control, it became clear, through the "transitional" military council.

Since then, coverage has often said that his ouster marked the end of long-term Arab dictators or has theorized that it may mark the beginning of another Arab "spring." Algeria has its own protests, after all. And Egypt fears that one is about to break out. The outlet UPI claimed that al-Bashir's end may be a bad portent for Bashar al-Assad in Syria. However, if it does represent the end of long-term dictatorships it is also a period characterized by military rule. And whether or not the ouster of al-Bashir represents the beginning of an African, or even an Arab "spring" 2.0, is—to put it mildly—arguable. The emphasis, in other words, would have to be on the word "may." Indeed, the question of the moment is whether it will represent a total democratic victory in Sudan.

Is this likely to be successful democratization? Really, al-Bashir's removal is not necessarily a sign of democratization to come, even though democratic protestors have been credited with causing the downfall. For instance, since the ouster of al-Bashir, and Defense Minister Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf, the military has yet to transition power to a civilian-led government, despite the exquisite courage and consistency of the protestors. In the meantime, the Sudanese people are being as repressed as ever: the constitution has been dissolved and the government has been disbanded in favor of a period of military rule which, we're assured, will eventually end. Whatever the promises of the current de facto leader Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhen to "uproot the regime" and revoke curfews and clamps on free press and to release political prisoners and the rest, the reality has been, so far at least, merely a hysterical attempt at re-entrenching the military junta. In other words, the new leader is the same as the old.

It may be worth noting that al-Bashir's downfall was a relatively soft landing for an on the outs, aging frontman of repression since he has yet to face summary execution or international courts (Reuters has now reported he is in solitary in the Kobar prison, which was created during British colonial rule and, under al-Bashir, had its own very active wing for political prisoners).

There is a subtle perversion of justice here, too. First, it would have been better, international standards of justice being as lackluster as they often are, were al-Bashir to face down in international court the laundry list of crimes that we're now reminded he and his thugs committed. There was the repression of Christians and "animists" which "ended" with the creation of South Sudan which could probably be described as a permanently failing state; kept in that state of permanent near collapse in part, I might add, by subsequent tensions with the north. There was also the mass slaughter and rape of Muslims in Darfur by the Janjaweed militia and the Sudanese military (the one still in power). There was also the land-thieving that followed that genocide as well as what prosecutors at the International Criminal Court would later label "systematic acts of pillage." Not to mention that Amnesty International has also accused the al-Bashir regime of having used chemical weapons.

Still, this is a fascinating moment for Sudan. It was partly the fear of intervention that led Sudan, under al-Bashir, to reign in its subjugation of the South Sudanese rebels which led to the signing of the CPA in 2005 and the recognition of South Sudan by the United Nations in 2011. At that point, al-Bashir had been forced to choose between persecuting the Christian South and risking it all or just persecuting the Muslim North. For reasons I have written about before, he chose to slaughter other Muslims. In that case, although he wasn't thrown from power he was limited in his power. Something similar could happen here, though one hopes for the total transition to a civilian-led government. All of that is to say that concessions could be wrung out if we're serious enough, and maybe not just for Sudan: repressive regimes all over Africa and the Middle East are leery and weary from popular protests.

It may be worth noting that al-Bashir's downfall was a relatively soft landing for an on the outs, aging frontman of repression since he has yet to face summary execution or international courts (Reuters has now reported he is in solitary in the Kobar prison, which was created during British colonial rule and, under al-Bashir, had its own very active wing for political prisoners).

It may be worth noting that al-Bashir's downfall was a relatively soft landing for an on the outs, aging frontman of repression since he has yet to face summary execution or international courts (Reuters has now reported he is in solitary in the Kobar prison, which was created during British colonial rule and, under al-Bashir, had its own very active wing for political prisoners).

On the international point, quickly. Historically, Sudan has kept up ties with sheikdoms like Qatar, to the fret of powers like Saudi Arabia and the UAE. This could conceivably change things. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates were (reportedly) prepared to back the military junta against the democratic protestors. Presumably, they would do so in the hopes of strategic gains. For example, that Sudan stops letting Turkey use Suakin Island to maintain a military presence in the Red Sea, as well as continued participation in the atrocities in Yemen, which Sudan has been an active participant in. For the moment, though, it is unclear. Either way, this will have some international consequences.

As for the western response: The vague western calls for a democratic transition or for sanctions would need (a) to be prepared for pushback from any or all of the interested states, and (b) to contend with the fact that it may harm the protestors at least as much as the military junta, which fears nothing so much as losing its vice-grip on power. If the west is to learn from its previous escapades in the region, it should be either all in or, more likely, all out.

Reveling in the pointed details of the downfall of a gruesome dictator can sometimes strike a strange chord, as if one were basking, voyeuristically, in violence. But in actuality, it is not revelry so much as a jittery nervousness. Probably, the payoff of this expense of nervous energy is to vent the pent-up angst of the atrocities committed by the dictator in question. In a sense, as the motto for the state I'm writing this in says, sic semper tyrannis. To single out al-Bashir is not to scapegoat, exactly. Rather, it is to pathetically let the military junta off the hook, which is precisely what the forces of reaction are banking on, throwing the blame entirely on one already drowning rat for the sake of a whole pack.

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.