BitNation: Recent Advances in Cryptocurrency See Basic Income Tested
Johan Nygren, a basic income activist, is currently exploring if basic income can be implemented using cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency are digital currencies whose value and number of units are regulated by encryption techniques, outside of any central banking system.
A cryptocurrency-based basic income will be funded with taxes grown within a peer-to-peer (P2P) network. P2P is an architecture for building computer networks that’s focus is on equality and sharing among peers, each user consuming and supplying information to the network. Nygren’s experiment aims to use decentralized ‘swarms’ of users to distribute a basic income through what Nygren calls ‘dividend pathways’.
A dividend pathway is “the world’s first peer-to-peer financial security,” where every transaction opens up a pathway, to a global network of connected users. RES, Nygren’s crypto-currency, is then shared through a branching scheme with all who are connected to the pathways – those on the BitNation network. The branching scheme is analogous to our network of veins, pumping information instead of blood.
This model tests whether a network can electronically divert income to users, in this case using a small tax levied on financial purchases and exchanges made over a system called BitNation; the process is called Swarm Redistribution. Nygren writes that “the whole experiment is public, transparent, auditable, [and] includes a close-down switch in case a bug is discovered.”
BitNation, a Decentralized Borderless Voluntary Nation (DBVN), provides public services to its naturalized citizens. As a virtual jurisdiction, the main difference from traditional governments is voluntary allegiance to its constitution – membership is open to anyone and involvement limited only by the user. As a blockchain-based structure, government activities are transparent. Its mission, according to founder Susanne Tarkowski Tempelhof, is to “get rid of geographical apartheid” and offer “better and cheaper governance services.”
Nygren’s swarm redistribution theory assumes that ongoing transactions with the crypto-currency RES will infuse BitNation’s cybereconomy with a branchwork (think the blood analogy) of paid-forward value additions. This would mean extracting essentially a value-added tax (VAT) along the way and pooling a coffer for the basic incomes’ distribution. The model theorizes that growth is incentivized by the desire for personal return and altruism, or a desire to contribute to social resilience (more information can be found here).
BitNation’s current population of nearly five thousand users with roughly fifty thousand daily transactions involving the cryptocurrency ETH could eventually provide the structure for a basic income for its users.
Johan Nygren, “Resilience – game theory of incentive-based basic income using Taxemes and branching schemes” Steemit – Resilience, November 2016.
Johan Nygren, “Swarm Redistribution live experiment, could a “Decentralized Basic Income Swarm” grow their own taxes?” P2P Foundation, January 4 2017.
Johan Nygren, “Using P2P value maps and universal darwinism for a crypto basic income system” Resilience Press, Feb 19 2016.
Ian Allison, “Bitnation launches Decentralised Borderless Voluntary Nation Constitution with Ethereum” International Business Times, February 17 2016
Photo: Digital Networks CC Jenn Calder.
Reviewed by André Coelho, Jenna van Draanen, and Sarah Harris.