eToro Launches Crypto-Based Universal Basic Income Project GoodDollar

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eToro, a European social trading and multi asset brokerage company, has announced the launch of the GoodDollar experiment, an open source community project that seeks to reduce wealth inequality by introducing a new cryptocurrency and blockchain platform.

eToro is initially injecting US$1 million into the project and is calling for more “brains, ambassador and funders” to join the experiment. The project is being incubated by the company in London and Tel Aviv.

“We believe that we can create a mass-market cryptocurrency that is engineered to reduce inequality and provide a UBI. Engineers, product designers and economists are currently developing the prototype. Today is just step one on a long, ambitious journey,” said Yoni Assia, co-founder and CEO of eToro.

“Inequality is the crucial economic challenge of our time. In 2017 just 1% of the world’s population owned more than half of the wealth. With the rise of technology unemployment, the tech industry needs to find solutions for those with less to participate in the economy and pursue their purpose.”

The GoodDollar experiment aims to create a new economic framework with a cryptocurrency that would be available to everyone and which would pay “social interest to those who have less.” The cryptocurrency would be minted and continuously distributed to any person for free, based on social identity verification on a blockchain platform.

The cryptocurrency is part of a broader attempt to create a global, universal basic income (UBI).

A UBI is the idea that people receive a regular, unconditional stipend that helps them cover their cost of living. Previous UBI experiments have shown to reduce hospitalization, crime and poverty rates.

The concept of a UBI has been traditionally imagined as a government subsidy but the development of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology in recent years has provided advocates with a new way to implement the concept.

“The merging of blockchain technology, growing support for a UBI and the realization that wealth inequality must be reduced, may finally converge into a new global economic system that would give all humans the financial freedom to pursue their purpose and happiness,” Assia said.

The GoodDollar experiment will conduct tests and research focusing on solving key challenges associated with utilizing cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to create a UBI. These include determining a global alternative to traditional KYC solutions, creating a cryptocurrency that’s neither inflationary nor speculative and which relies on a distribution mechanism that deploys smart contracts, as well as designing GoodDollar’s future governance model as a decentralized autonomous organization (GoodDAO).

Assia calls out to any interested parties to join the experiment. In particular, the team is currently in need for experts in the fields of decentralized identity, governance, local and global adoption of financial products, and wealth distribution. “We are also on the hunt for ambassadors to help spread the word about the project, and for funders to help us deliver GoodDollar,” he added.

The GoodDollar experiment joins other attempts to utilize cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to implement a UBI including Mannabase and SwiftDemand.