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Fashion brand uses the software behind Bitcoin to troll Russia with gay ‘marriage’

Jess Glass June 13, 2018

The virtual currency Bitcoin uses blockchain software (JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

A Swedish fashion brand has trolled the Russian government by introducing a way for LGBT people to ‘marry’ just days before the start of the World Cup.

On Monday, sportswear company Björn Borg announced their new “Marriage Unblocked” campaign that uses the technology behind digital currencies to let people unofficially marry in every country.

The campaign offers a ‘decentralised’ method of marriage using blockchain technology, meaning that it isn’t controlled by one specific government and is instead collected digitally all over the world.

A bitcoin server (LARS HAGBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

Marriage Unblocked was inspired by digital currencies such as Bitcoin, which operate using the same blockchain technology.

Users of the site are asked to write their wedding vows to each other and then send their proposals via a link, allowing users to use the messaging system they feel the safest using.

Once both people have written their vows and clicked ‘I do,’ they are presented with a certificate and the unofficial marriage is uploaded to the blockchain within days.

In the video announcing Marriage Unblocked, the campaign hit out at the 170 countries worldwide that do not currently allow same-sex marriages, including Russia.

Announcing the campaign, Björn Borg said: “Today love is controlled by governments and religions – this means same-sex marriages are prohibited in 87% of all countries in the world.

“Marriage Unblocked is a digital platform where everyone, no matter the label, can propose, exchange vows and get married on blockchain, anonymously or proudly in public.”

Jonas Lindberg Nyvang, Marketing Director at Björn Borg said the campaign would help open up marriage to those who are prevented from having it.

Lindberg Nyvang said: “The first basic right is to love whomever you want. With our new platform Marriage Unblocked, we can decentralize power and open up marriages for everyone wanting to get married.

“Björn Borg stands for equality on all levels. We want to inspire people to be more, but some people don’t even have the right to be.”

An example of a ‘marriage certificate’ provided by the campaign (Marriage Unblocked)

Campaigners told Business Insider that it was “no coincidence” that the marriage service had opened the week of the World Cup, intentionally targeting Russia’s prominently anti-gay regime.

Couples have already begun to use the service, including two women from Switzerland which is one of the 190 countries that does not recognise same-sex marriage.

The couple, Alexandra and Sybille, said: “Our blockchain-wedding will not give us equal or legal rights yet, but the feeling of coming closer to acceptance is a huge step forward.”

This isn’t the first time the Swedish brand has directly targeted the Russian government and its staunch anti-LGBT laws.

In 2013, Björn Borg took out a large advert in the English language paper The Moscow Times to mark the brand’s arrival in Russia and hit out at the country’s anti-LGBT laws.

The company took out this advert in The Moscow Times in 2013 (Björn Borg)

The advertisement shows a stack of underwear arranged by colour to resemble the rainbow gay pride symbol.

Above the advertisement was a positive message showing solidarity for LGBT citizens in Russia, which read: “Björn Borg says da!”

More: bitcoin, Björn Borg, blockchain, Europe, LGBT, LGBT rights, Russia, Russia, tech, World, world cup, world cup 2018

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