GoodDollar Birthday: Year-One Highlights

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GoodDollar Birthday: Pioneering blockchain UBI project celebrated turning one in November 2019
GoodDollar Birthday: Blockchain UBI project celebrated turning one in November 2019

We celebrated the first GoodDollar birthday in late 2019 – and achieved a lot in the first 12 months. Here are the highlights of year one for the pioneering UBI blockchain project

November 7, 2019, marked the first anniversary of GoodDollar being announced to the world. Here are some highlights to mark the first GoodDollar birthday. What an exciting year it has been since Yoni Assia, Chief Executive of multi-asset investment platform eToro, officially launched our not-for-profit organisation whose ultimate goal is to reduce global wealth inequality through models based on universal basic income (UBI). (Read our Position Paper here.)

Yoni was invited to introduce GoodDollar at Web Summit 2018 in Lisbon — you can see his 15-minute presentation here — and we have come a long way. Here we run through our major highlights, in chronological order.

GoodDollar Birthday Highlights: Attract Funding

Initially eToro pledged $1 million to GoodDollar in autumn 2018. GoodDollar is in the process of registering as a not-for-profit foundation, and we are in an incubation plan where external sponsors are helping us — eToro being one sponsor. We are pleased to report GoodDollar has secured additional financing for year two.

Recently, GoodDollar has officially become a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee (LBG) in the United Kingdom. Also, we have been working hard to establish ourselves in the eurozone, to facilitate further funding to the project. Additionally, we have applied for a Blockchain for Impact grant from the EU Horizon 2020.

GoodDollar Birthday Highlights: Help To Facilitate The OpenUBI Ecosystem

In November 2018, a mere fortnight after GoodDollar was announced at Web Summit 2018, we hosted our first community event, in Berlin. In the German capital, the day-long conference, titled OpenUBI in the Crypto Age, gathered like-minded people seeking to reduce wealth inequality from around the globe.

GoodDollar helped to form the OpenUBI ecosystem to encourage collaboration and discussion around UBI and its technological implementation. We have attracted around 350 partners to the OpenUBI ecosystem (sign up to OpenUBI via Telegram here).

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GoodDollar Birthday Highlights: Host The World’s First UBI Hackathon

A prototype for a system that incentivises people to be checked for diabetes by rewarding them with GoodDollar coins was crowned the winner of GoodDollar’s inaugural Hackinequality event — possibly the world’s first hackathon for reducing global wealth inequality using decentralised technology — held in Tel Aviv in mid-March, 2019, in eToro’s offices. (Read the Q and A with the winning team’s leader, Jesse Medina, here.)

There was one very special attendee who didn’t compete: Ron Adam, the Israeli ambassador in Rwanda and former deputy representative of Israel in the United Nations, stayed for almost three hours and was very impressed by what he witnessed. He wrote on Twitter: “Excited to be present at the first @TheGoodDollar hackathon in TLV where young Israelis compete on the most #Innovative solution to narrow the gap between poor and rich of the world using #blockchain and creating #Socialimpact to achieve the #SDGs. Ready for #Rwanda!”

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GoodDollar Birthday Highlights: Become First Blockchain-Based Project To Feature At UBI-Nordic

In early April GoodDollar became the first blockchain-based project to present at an international Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) event. The general reaction at UBI-Nordic 2019, held in Oslo between April 5 and 7, was encouraging, according to Dr Sarath Davala, Vice Chairman of BIEN. “I believe it was the first time anyone from outside our regular basic income community made a presentation about blockchain and UBI,” he said of GoodDollar’s appearance at the three-day summit, a key event in the UBI calendar.

Nir Yaacobi, GoodDollar’s Economic Lead, was invited to speak at UBI-Nordic, and explored how decentralised cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology may enable models based on UBI. “I believe we opened the eyes of the 100 or so delegates, the majority of whom were not familiar with the great potential of blockchain — especially with regard to large-scale UBI solutions,” said Nir in his write-up, which you can read here.

GoodDollar Birthday Highlights: Participate In New York Blockchain Week 2019

In May, GoodDollar’s Legal Lead, Ziv Keinan, spoke at an event related to the United Nations Science and Technology and Innovation Forum (UN STI), marking the start of the influential New York Blockchain Week 2019. He presented the argument that leaders must use decentralised blockchain technology as a force for good.

“Unlike artificial intelligence, which can be a dangerous tool for totalitarian regimes, with blockchain we can create systems that are distributed and not controlled by a single entity, who can use and manipulate them,” he said. “This UN committee should focus on this technology and see how we can use it to do good.”

Ziv also was a delegate at the Global Solutions Summit, which took place at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. Summing up the summit’s conclusions, he wrote: “Given the developing world has a population of around four billion — and counting — there is an enormous opportunity to use blockchain technology for the betterment of humanity. We should embrace this chance to be a force for good, to fight poverty and provide financial inclusion to as many people in the world.

“However, to achieve meaningful success for the largest possible number of people, tech solutions must solve real-world challenges, be inexpensive for the user, and — most crucially — be deployable at speed and at scale.” (Read Ziv’s article for News BTC about his time in New York here.)

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GoodDollar Birthday Highlights: Launch Alpha V1 Of Wallet Application And GoodDollar Community Portal

In June GoodDollar Executive Director Tal Oron revealed the Alpha version of our wallet app. And at the same time, we launched the GoodDollar Community website, an element of which is GoodDollar Forum, a microsite for developers in the ecosystem. In an article introducing Alpha (read it here), Tal listed the key areas of product development.

  1. Wallet as an access point. The digital wallet, which is a web app that can be used via a smartphone or similar device, or a laptop connected to the internet, is the first basic access point to your future G$ network.
  2. Daily UBI distribution. This is your daily dose of financial help. One very unique button on our future wallet will be “claim”. The claim function is the simplest way we could think of for a person to participate in our vision for a more just economy.
  3. Identity verification. To give away GoodDollar tokens and ensure the cryptocurrency’s value grows in a stable way, it is critical to reducing the ability for cloned accounts and bots to participate in the network.
  4. Blockchain prototype over Fuse. GoodDollar aims to scale to reach hundreds of millions of people. Each has to have a good, fast and cheap experience when transacting with the GoodDollar network. For the moment we’ve partnered with our friends at Fuse to use their sidechain, to provide faster and cheaper transaction solutions.

GoodDollar Birthday Highlights: Launch Alpha V2 And “One GoodDollar A Day” Experiment

In June, two months after Alpha was activated, and community feedback has been incorporated, we launched V2 of our Alpha. “We’ve completely redesigned the app, putting in place our a happy, colourful, simple and nice experience focused on making the G$ token economy accessible and easy to understand,” wrote Tal — read his extended summary here.

As part of the upgrade, we started our “One GoodDollar a day” experiment. “This is the first time we’re launching an experiment towards launching our public ecosystem,” Tal noted. “This UBI scheme focus on one single, easy-to-understand offering: each member of the GoodDollar economy is eligible to claim G$1 a day. On average, that means that every person is entitled to roughly G$30 a month, or G$365 a year.”

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GoodDollar Birthday Highlights: GoodDollar at OECD Blockchain Policy Forum

In late September, Yoni presented the GoodDollar at the OECD Blockchain Policy Forum in Paris. He explained that because of the development of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology in the last decade, there is “a new opportunity” to rebalance wealth distribution. His presentation generated much interest, and was picked up by many media outlets around the world (including The Bitcoin News — read here).

Steps towards decentralised UBI
Steps towards decentralised UBI

GoodDollar Birthday Highlights: Getting Ready To Launch Our Beta

Following incredibly helpful feedback, we are on course to launch the Beta version of our app very soon. In the meantime, we’ve partnered with eToro, our core sponsor, to launch a limited pre-Beta, end-to-end test of the system. To stimulate trade between people, we’ve partnered up with another great team, PaperClip, to launch a closed marketplace for people to trade second-hand goods and services between the 500 employee pool in eToro’s HQ in Tel Aviv. We will be writing about this test in real-time, so keep your eyes peeled.

2020: The Year Ahead

While we’ve done a lot of work on our first year, more work needs to be done to realise our vision for a global alternative coin that has built-in UBI. “We’re super-excited about 2020,” says Tal, “lining up partnerships to help reach the billions that need a better, cheaper, more accessible payment method, which by extension will support more people coming out of poverty.” Please stay tuned.

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