New Financial Projects – Including GoodDollar – Gain Momentum In Period Of Political Uncertainty

GoodDollar's Omri Ross Talks About New Financial Projects
GoodDollar’s Omri Ross Talks About New Financial Projects

The Widening Global Wealth Inequality Gap Means That New Financial Projects, Such As Blockchain-Backed Universal Basic Income Solutions, Are Attracting Much Attention

In early December 2018, a new financial blueprint for Europe was proposed, by a 50-strong group led by Thomas Piketty. A week later, on December 13, another pioneering economic system that aims to reduce inequality — GoodDollar — took centre stage at The Next Web’s Hard Fork Decentralized conference in London, and started heads nodding.

Simply put: GoodDollar is a not-for-profit project and ecosystem that explores how decentralised cryptocurrency and blockchain technology may enable models based on universal basic income (UBI).

At a time when many leading economists fear a global financial crisis is looming, both Picketty’s bold blueprint for a fairer Europe — which includes significant levies on multinationals, millionaires and carbon emissions to amass funds to improve poverty, climate change and other challenges — and GoodDollar present innovative and necessary alternatives to traditional financial systems.

No doubt, worldwide interest in our project has accelerated since our introduction of an OpenUBI community, at an event in Berlin in mid-November – the same month we officially launched, at Web Summit. We facilitated the establishments of OpenUBI to encourage collaboration and discussion around UBI and its technological implementation. (See here for more details on joining OpenUBI.)

At the Hard Fork Decentralized summit, held at Mindspace, in trendy Shoreditch, in the northeast of the capital, and sponsored by eToro — the social trading platform that has invested $1 million in GoodDollar — the project gained more plaudits.

Ira Ryk-Lakhman, a lawyer with Tadmor — Levy & Co. who is completing a PhD at University College London, believes “blockchain solutions are the future” — especially for the humanitarian causes that are close to her heart.

She spoke with passion to around 100 attendees at Mindspace. “According to UN data, upwards of 30 per cent of funds allocated to humanitarian aid is lost because of corruption,” Ryk-Lakhman said. “This is mind-blowing. Further, over 80 per cent of the funds that are allocated for charities do not make it to the final beneficiaries.

Centre stage: Ira Ryk-Lakhman at TheNextWeb 2018

“The solution is staring us in the face. We need to find something that is not susceptible to corruption or bureaucracy. Technology that does not go through the state but reaches the citizens directly. We already know what the future is: blockchain-based solutions, like GoodDollar, are the way forward. This is because blockchain technology is a public record, it is transparent, and it is immutable. As such, it is not susceptible to corruption and bureaucracy.”

Ryk-Lakhman said that as GoodDollar, a not-for-profit organisation, is focused on improving wealth inequality it is likely to generate great levels of interest and adoption, crucially.

“Hype alone does not suffice to sustain cryptocurrency or blockchain,” she continued. “You have got to have an application: a practical way that we can utilise this technology in real life. What other way is better to get your coin recognised by the wider public than if you show the positive sides of blockchain, and highlight that it is not necessarily affiliated with speculation but rather with innovation, sustainability and charity?

“Using this technology for social impact will drive adoption, which is key to this industry. Blockchain technology allows us to tackle humanitarian crises and to achieve social impact. In 2019 I believe we will see much more application of blockchain technology to that end.”

Later, eToro CEO Yoni Assia — who has been thinking and writing about UBI for over a decade and explained his thinking with GoodDollar in November — took part in a panel discussion alongside Ryk-Lakhman, and Dr Omri Ross, an assistant professor in the Computer Science at the University of Copenhagen. The latter co-wrote our GoodDollar position paper, published in conjunction with the Web Summit launch, with Yoni, and is positive about its chances of success.

“I’ve been an academic of blockchain for several years, and when Yoni explained GoodDollar to me I could see it was a good idea,” Omri told the audience at Mindspace. “I have been around a few UBI projects and this one is quite advanced [in terms of technical research]. This is a call to the community to help.”

Good turn out: Around 100 people attended the GoodDollar event at Hard Fork Decentralized

Yoni revealed that already “around 30 different partners” have joined the OpenUBI community. “We were super-excited to see that we are not the only ones thinking about this,” he said. “There are super-intelligent people around the world that are looking at the same problems and trying to find various solutions.

Finally, Yoni stressed the importance of our GoodDollar ecosystem not being centrally controlled. “We want to build something that will change the world and be as decentralised as bitcoin,” he said. “If it is decentralised then it is potentially unstoppable.

“Giving people free money is very powerful. If this works, and we are able to create a system that actually transforms network effect into value, I believe all the rest will fall into place. I think it is a case of if you build the main thing, then everything around it will be built, eventually.”

He added: “We are inviting people to participate — whether it is early adopters, academics, builders, and those who want to help us establish GoodDollar through philanthropy.”

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