Large sections of the global financial world, regulators in particular, see cryptocurrencies as a threat to the established financial order or, if they are in a good mood, the favorite tool of criminals, drug lords, and terrorists.

But alternative currencies may also be a powerful tool for ending financial colonialism that still exists in parts of the world – by design.

When France ratified the Bretton Woods Agreement in 1945, it gained control over the currencies of 14 African nations, including Senegal. On the morning of January 11, 1994, the CFA franc was pegged to the French franc at a valuation of 1 to 50. The following day, it was cut to 1 to 100, after the French government gave in to pressure from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to devalue the currency..[this] led to widespread political unrest, as West Africa’s subsistence farmers could no longer afford to import essential goods, including drugs to treat malaria. “The cruel irony was that the economic fate of millions of Senegalese was completely out of their own hands. No amount of protest could overthrow their economic masters,” notes the Human Rights Foundation’s Alex Gladstein in a recent article in Bitcoin Magazine.

France has no intention of giving up its position of power over its former colonies – aided and abetted by the IMF and World Bank. But Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies could succeed in dethroning them all, in west Africa, and much closer to home:

A few weeks ago, the actor Hill Harper was quoted in The New York Times regarding his activism for Bitcoin in the African American community. He said, quite simply, “They can’t colonize Bitcoin.”

Farida Nabourema agrees. “Bitcoin,” she said, is “the first time ever that there is money that is actually decentralized and accessible to anyone in the world regardless of their skin color, ideology, nationality, amount of wealth or colonial past.”

She said it is the people’s currency, and even goes a step further.

“Maybe,” she said, “we should call Bitcoin the currency of decolonization.”

If so, then it’s been a long time coming, and also gives crypto proponents a powerful new argument against the post-World War II economic order.