Published in


Western Union Suspends Money Transfers to Afghanistan and Paves the Way for the Censorship-resistant Money

With a global market size of $700 billion a year, remittances are the low-hanging fruit for crypto companies.

As America withdraws troops from Afghanistan, Western Union is suspending money transfers into the country. In other words, when Afghan citizens need their support the most, they shut down the operation.

Sounds like a nightmare, right? Like it can’t be possibly real?

But it is.

The company said this in a statement to Reuters:

“We recognize that our services provide a vital channel for our customers to support their loved ones, and we will continue to closely monitor this rapidly developing situation and keep our customers and associates apprised of any developments.”

Most Europeans and Americans don’t know much about Western Union. Remittances are a particular type of money transfer between two countries. They are typically sent by the diaspora or foreign workers, wiring family maintenance money back home.

What does it mean for the Afghan people?

Afghanistan has a population of 37.4 million people, and 54.5% live in poverty, according to the CIA’s World Factbook. Remittances are a significant source of income in Afghanistan. According to the World Bank data, they constituted nearly $800 million last year, about 4% of its gross domestic product.

It’s not a massive amount on the global scale, but it could be the difference between putting food on the table and starvation for some Afghan citizens.

Western Union’s decision is insidious and infuriating at the same time. As if the 40-year of the Soviet and U.S. intervention wasn’t enough. The company made the life of Afghan people even harder.

But there’s no point getting mad.

It’s important to realize that global corporations have no conscience. In fact, they can’t have it. Anthropomorphizing the corporation would be treating it as a single giant human being with morals and feelings. But they’re not humans; they’re heartless money-generating machines. And Western Union is the latest illustration of that.

So what’s the solution?

DeFi and crypto companies have been aiming at disrupting the remittance market for a while. With a global market size of almost $700 billion a year, remittances are the low-hanging fruit. Everyone wants a piece of this pie.

Crypto companies will soon dethrone incumbents like Western Union and MoneyGram because of costs, censorship tactics, and complacency. They will be cast out and become the next Kodak or Blockbuster. It’s just a question of time.

To sum up, the Western Union story can serve as the most compelling evidence that we need censorship-resistant money. No single intermediary should be ever allowed to cut off the entire country from financial support.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store