Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Reader 1

Jordan Branch

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

2021 Liam M Brennan-Burke


Leapfrog theory suggests that actors can technologically “leapfrog” ahead of market incumbents under certain circumstances and market conditions. In International Relations theory, leapfrogging is perceived as a way nations can rapidly develop technologically and advance to the frontier of innovation—bringing increased market inclusion and efficiency to emerging economies. After outlining the capability-building nature of smartphones and the current window of opportunity, this paper suggests that cryptocurrencies can act as a conduit for technological leapfrogging in emerging markets. I assert that contrary to prevailing sentiment, emerging markets are better positioned, according to leapfrogging theory, to take advantage of the utility of cryptocurrencies. Furthermore, the ecosystem of decentralized applications built on cryptocurrency protocol will provide economy-specific solutions while creating efficient solutions for the billions of historically underbanked people. Currently, there is an unaddressed segment of cryptocurrency-based solutions in emerging markets: business-to-business payments. I assert that Paysail, who is building solutions to enable seamless payments for merchants across emerging markets, is one potential solution.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.