Introducing GoodDollar: A Blockchain Framework For Universal Basic Income

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Blockchain framework: GoodDollar
Blockchain framework: GoodDollar

Urgent: New Solutions Required – But A Blockchain Framework Can Help

The whole world is facing extreme and unprecedented economic and societal challenges. Tired, traditional financial systems that favour the few, not the many, are at breaking point – can a blockchain framework help? The fall out from the COVID-19 pandemic reveals just how fragile, fractured, and interconnected the modern economy is. It is clear that if we are serious about creating a brighter, more equal, and more resilient economy for tomorrow we have to think differently about models and systems today.

Seismic structural shifts are shaping the world, and — if we don’t act now — other rising trends will trigger more huge splits in society. Here are three factors to consider for those seeking to future-proof humanity.

1. Income Equality

The wealth of the world’s richest 162 billionaires is equal to the poorest half of the planet — that’s 3.85 billion people. That finding comes from research, published by global charity Oxfam in January 2020, which also calculates that the 22 wealthiest people (all men, as it happens) own as much as all 325 million women in Africa.

2. Technological Unemployment

By 2030 up to one-fifth of the world’s workforce — 800 million people — will have their job roles replaced by automation, McKinsey Global Institute predicted in late 2017. Artificial intelligence capabilities are rapidly improving and a wide range of industries are under threat — from taxi drivers to bank tellers, from librarians to fast-food servers, from lawyers to advertisers, and most in between. Essentially, anything that can be automated will be automated.

3. Pervasive Economic Instability

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare for all to see the gulf of global wealth inequality and the precariousness of many people’s lives, with many struggling to survive and put food on the table if the “next paycheck” is in jeopardy. Given the uncertainty about how long the issues around coronavirus will last, those in power need to act to help. Thought leaders across the political divide agree that new solutions — including direct cash transfer, helicopter money and more — have to be considered. As such universal basic income (UBI) and its principles are now being adopted as part of mainstream policy discussion. It’s not just those in positions of authority that can support people, though — and this is where pioneering, decentralised organisations like GoodDollar can assist to forge new financial frameworks.

A Blockchain Framework For Scalable UBI

The challenges outlined above demand new ways of thinking, innovative solutions, and urgency. Since its inception in 2018, GoodDollar has been focused on how as individuals we can come together to create meaningful transformation and advance progress in the basic income field using a blockchain framework. What can we do as individuals and communities, outside of what governments do (or don’t do)? How can we leverage our expertise to advance the vision of creating a more abundant world?

GoodDollar is a not-for-profit social innovation initiative that is determined to present an experimental blockchain framework for delivering global, sustainable, and scalable UBI through new digital asset technologies.

Our vision is a world in which everyone has access to basic economic assets. We believe this is technically achievable through creating financial products that are inclusive by design, and generate the right incentives to deliver on these designs.

There are other key values that guide and shape our work. These are as follows:

Sustainable

People often think that UBI is a good idea in theory but are concerned that it is impractical: they argue it is expensive and would require a complete overhaul of the welfare system, which no government has yet been prepared to do. We challenge this idea, and are committed to presenting a framework to deliver a market-incentivised, sustainable economic model to finance global basic income. We can achieve this through an external voluntary approach, and want to offer all those that want to support UBI an option to “do well by doing good” by supporting GoodDollar’s UBI proposition.

Decentralised Model

Decentralised organisation is nascent and under-explored but at GoodDollar we want to involve the market and hand each and every person on the network direct voting rights on major decisions. We believe in our power as individuals and as a collective, and trust we can self-organise to create and deliver value across geographic borders. We believe in self-governance, and GoodDollar’s approach allows for members of the ecosystem to determine how the financial model works. This is why a blockchain framework is essential to our cause.

Open System

Universal, in this sense, means “equal”, and for us that means that we want to shape GoodDollar’s activities and economic model to be as open an ecosystem as possible. This has both principled and practical applications for us. One, “openness” is a design principle in the economic model, which is fully participatory and offers anyone a chance to support or claim basic income. We also believe in open sourcing and sharing our work. All GoodDollar code is open-source so any developer — or individual — is able to participate in contributing to the GoodDollar project.

Building A Movement: Our Two-Pronged Action Plan

To actualise this vision, and bring a currency-based, built-on-blockchain solution alive, we need to inspire a movement of like-minded individuals who believe in the power of UBI, and take steps to make it happen together.

Our monetary experiment challenges us to rethink what we have come to accept and understand about wealth creation and distribution. Our approach is to present an economic framework, based on the G$ currency, which ignites millions of people globally to join and participate in the GoodDollar experiment, inspires the wider digital asset community to think differently about value, and advances the field of basic income studies.

GoodDollar’s products and activities are focused on boosting financial literacy and improving financial access, and our contributions can be primarily broken into two buckets, as outlined below.

1. Develop GoodDollar (G$) Protocol, Digital Coin And Wallet
  • GoodDollar’s open-source protocol provides a framework for delivering UBI on a global scale. It allows any individual to claim, generate and distribute GoodDollar coins (G$).
  • The GoodDollar app — accessible to anyone with an internet connection — is a simple, user-friendly digital wallet that allows anyone to claim, store and send G$.
  • Our decentralised autonomous organisation (GoodDAO), composed of G$ holders, governs the properties of the G$ digital coin, such as fees, stability ratio, and more.
  • Over the next few weeks, we will be releasing more information about the GoodDollar protocol and G$ coin, and how it is used to generate UBI in a sustainable, global, and decentralised way.
2. Evangelise, Educate And Erect The Global UBI Ecosystem
  • We hope to increase global financial literacy while promoting access to digital assets through GoodDollar’s products and activities.
  • We will release pioneering data, case studies and research that advances understanding of global UBI.
  • To build momentum for our project we will grow and nurture an ecosystem comprising organisations and individual supporters that are focused on mass adoption and promotion of decentralised UBI approaches.

Overall, we hope to present a framework showing that sustainable, decentralised and participatory basic income on a global scale is possible.

We hope to nurture an ecosystem of people who want to claim UBI, and — equally as important — people and organisations that want to support our project. We hope to create a social, cultural, technological and economic movement that inspires individuals to recognise their own power in designing the fairer, freer economy that we are striving for.

A Modest Disclaimer: We Can’t Achieve Our Goals Alone

The mission to deliver on a sustainable UBI model is not an easy task. We aren’t blindly idealistic in confronting the challenge.

As an organisation, it is important to us to be modest and realistic about our goals and expectations. The global UBI space spans a broad range of ideologies and competing theories for successful implementation. Policymakers and politicians, economists, technologists, innovators, social scientists, human-behaviour experts, and more all have seats at the table. The concept of UBI is interdisciplinary, as money itself touches all elements of our lives. We do not claim to have all the answers to solve global economic inequality.

Rather, our focus is centred on leveraging the team’s expertise in digital asset and consumer technology, and value and incentive design to launch monetary experiments that advance our values and ideals. We believe that through launching a GoodDollar currency that shows value and adoption drives forward both the digital asset and basic income areas of study.

Our economic model — more details of which we will be releasing throughout April 2020 — offers a fresh approach to wealth creation and redistribution. We hope it will inspire other digital asset models for basic income as well as generate new user insights and data. For the crypto-fans out there, we also believe that GoodDollar and G$ coins, distributed as basic income, has the potential to be a mass-market adopted digital asset solution.

As we move towards the launch of the G$ protocol and currency, we happily recognise that we are not the only organisation working to advance the adoption of UBI principles. In fact, we are one of the thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of organisations who are thinking about and working on these issues. These are people we want to work with — academics, researchers, policy-makers, and other innovators that are looking to activate basic income solutions (global or otherwise) to enact positive change.

What’s Next? How You Can Get Involved

The GoodDollar team is working around the clock to achieve a public launch of the G$ protocol and currency in the second half of 2020. As we stride toward that landmark moment, expect to see us roll out the following over the coming weeks and months:

  • GoodDollar Demo. A release of our simple web app that provides the experience of a user claiming UBI. (Please note: participating in the demo and providing feedback will secure your spot to receive real G$ upon release.)
  • G$ Protocol And Token Model. We will soon publish the G$ economic model paper that shows how the G$ coin will create and generate value to be distributed as UBI to recipients.
  • Global UBI Alliance. To support all our collective efforts in realising the complex mission in advancing global UBI, we plan to launch the Global Universal Basic Income Alliance. This gathers leading academics, technologists, researchers, politicians, activists, business leaders, philanthropists and UBI ambassadors to connect, contribute to pilots and research, and share best practices in the basic income space.

A Word On Our Sponsors

The main sponsor of GoodDollar, which was launched in November 2018 at Web Summit, is leading global investment platform eToro. We would love to take this opportunity to thank all the partners that have supported us in getting to launch, such as Fuse, the OpenUBI community, and countless others. We would like to give a special shout-out to Zoom, who recently donated two years’ use of FaceTec’s anti-fraud and face verification technology in the GoodDollar app — tremendous gratitude for your contribution!

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