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US: Grantcoin Foundation distributes first digital currency basic income grants

Launched in May 2015, Grantcoin is the first blockchain-based currency managed and distributed by a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Like Bitcoin, Grantcoin can be stored in electronic “wallets” on phones, computers, or the web, and traded electronically.

The Grantcoin Foundation originally planned to distribute its currency to “socially responsible businesses”, adding charities later in the year. In 2016, however, the organization decided to change its tactics — devising a plan to distribute the currency in the form of unconditional basic income grants to individuals.

The first distribution took place on July 1, 2016, when 255 applicants, representing at least 17 countries, each received grants deposited into their personal Grantcoin wallets.

Grantcoin G logo transparentAccording to the organization’s news report, the average recipient received approximately 5.19 USD worth of Grantcoin. To be sure, this might not be a livable basic income, but, as founder and director Eric Stetson says in the report, the aim of the Grantcoin Foundation is to “show a way for the people of the world to create an equitable, sustainable monetary system based on fair global issuance of the money supply” — and, by demonstrating the functionality of the new digital currency, even these small initial grants can help to “show the way”.

This goal of the project is elaborated in Grantcoin’s mission statement:

We insist that a new currency be equitable: that it shall be issued to all people as a human right, as a universal basic income to be enjoyed by all — to compensate, at least partially, for the accidents of birth and circumstances of fortune that have blessed or condemned different people and regions of the world to wealth or poverty.

The foundation states that it uses 80% of the value of charitable donations it receives to support the price of Grantcoin on markets where it trades, so that Grantcoin basic income will hold value for needy recipients.

The Grantcoin Foundation plans to distribute its currency quarterly, each year adding 3.5% of the amount in circulation. The next distribution will take place on September 30, 2016 — with registration available on the organization’s website. (Yes, you can sign up to receive your own Grantcoin this autumn; I just did so myself!)

Meanwhile, the foundation has been building connections with the basic income movement in the United States. For instance, Eric Stetson spoke at a meeting of Basic Income Guarantee Minnesota on June 23, eliciting considerable interest from the group.

For more information about the initial distribution, and to keep up with additional news, visit: “Grantcoin Foundation Distributes First Basic Income Grants to Over 250 Recipients in 17 Countries,” Grantcoin: Currency with a Conscience, July 1, 2016.


Grantcoin logo used by permission of Eric Stetson.

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About Kate McFarland

Kate McFarland has written 512 articles.

Former lead writer and editor of Basic Income News.

The views expressed in this Op-Ed piece are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of Basic Income News or BIEN. BIEN and Basic Income News do not endorse any particular policy, but Basic Income News welcomes discussion from all points of view in its Op-Ed section.

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