Universal basic income (UBI), dates back to the 16th century when Sir Thomas More depicted a society in which every person receives a guaranteed income in his famous book Utopia.
Utopia and reality
While Utopia is a fictional work, the reality of a basic income has come to fruition, as it has been reported that the number of people unemployed in the United States has reached 36 million — a number comparable to the Great Depression.
U.S. stimulus checks and problems arising
Yet as the U.S. federal government attempts to distribute a one-time stimulus payment to American citizens, it has become clear that many issues with current UBI models remain. For example, many individuals have yet to receive their stimulus checks, leading to questions over how that much money can be moved reliably and repeatedly. Additionally, how can fraud, glitches and abuse of these vulnerable systems be prevented?
Blockchain steps in
The CEO and co-founder of the cryptocurrency investment platform eToro, Yoni Assia, believes that blockchain technology may help solve some of the challenges associated with UBI models. After spending over 10 years building out eToro with the goal of making global markets open and transparent, Assia turned his attention to a project focused on delivering UBI worldwide.
Access to UBI for everyone
Nonprofit initiative known as GoodDollar has the goal of creating a world in which everyone has access to basic economic assets. The project, which is being sponsored by eToro, aims to give away small amounts of basic income to onboard new users into the digital asset space while creating a better society. Assia said:
“The idea behind UBI is that every person gets some kind of monthly income, irrelevant to their work or educational status. There is also the assumption that UBI models can only be launched nationally, where a local government increases taxes to fund UBI programs. However, this model is unappealing to most. There is also less trust in governments today, which is why we believe the opportunity for a model like GoodDollar can flourish.”
According to Assia, the GoodDollar initiative is built on the Ethereum public blockchain and includes a cryptocurrency known as “G$,” which is distributed as basic income to network participants. Each transaction is recorded on the blockchain and can be easily traced to ensure that basic income is going to the correct recipients, with smart contracts being leveraged to send out recurring payments.
“The initial value of GoodDollars will either be created by people buying and selling goods/services for GoodDollars or by people voluntarily staking assets for the purpose of improving equality in the world.”
It seems that we already have the means for implementing UBI. Now the question remains, if that is the solution to the problems with our economic system, which is flawed and unstable already.