The Grantcoin Foundation, a U.S.-based nonprofit, distributes digital currency in the form of unconditional basic income grants. Grantcoin is the first cryptocurrency managed and distributed by an NPO.
On October 1st, Grantcoin made its second distribution of basic income grants, this time to 750 people in 69 countries–chiefly the US (227), Puerto Rico (114), and Germany (84). This was about three times as many people, and four times as many countries, as their first distribution on June 30th–which had 255 recipients in about 17 countries.
Some might think that this is a pyramid scheme, given that the year-and-a-half-old Foundation is handing out money, and that it promises extra payments for enrolling other members. But Grantcoin is free to join, and those who sign up receive basic income grants regardless of whether or not they refer others to sign up (one receives “referral bonuses” for that). Furthermore, the IRS officially recognizes The Grantcoin Foundation as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt public charity. The Grantcoin blockchain stores evidence of their past distributions (their records are organized by country in the middle of this press release).
In this second distribution, Grantcoin gave a total of 10,647,758.62 GRT through Basic Income Grants (5,790,483.68 GRT) and Referral Bonuses (4,857,274.95 GRT). That is approximately $5,323.88 U.S. dollars (at the October 1 price of Grantcoin on Bittrex, the largest exchange for the currency) — an increase from the first distribution’s $1,322.19 USD.
The average recipient received 14,065.73 GRT (about $7.03 USD) in combined Basic Income Grants and Referral Bonuses — an increase from the first distribution’s $5.19 USD. Each recipient received an unconditional 7,649.25 GRT (about $3.82 USD) in Basic Income Grants alone — slightly more than the first distributions $3.80 USD.
While this may appear comically low for a “basic income,” remember that this is only the second distribution. The price of Grantcoin has doubled since the first distribution.
Besides, one of greatest values of Grantcoin is its ability to demonstrate a sustainable, equitable monetary system to the world.
“Grantcoin is… the first currency in world history that’s backed by a nonprofit NGO and designed to help create a more fair global distribution of wealth.”
— founder and executive director Eric Stetson
The Grantcoin Foundation aims to start automating much of their work in order to grow and maximize efficiency (somewhat ironic for a BI-supporting organization). They expect to have the signup, verification, and distribution processes almost completely automated by the end of 2016.
Participants will be able to receive and spend their Grantcoin through Ekata.social, a social media platform, which the organization expects to provide an easier experience for the user.
Looking further forward, the foundation writes,
“Smart contracts can be setup to enable charitable givers to donate money directly, instantly, to the people of nations and localities. Grantcoin could therefore become a powerful tool for direct charitable giving.”
If they meet this long-term goal, it might be reminiscent of what GiveDirectly does currently.
The easiest way to get Grantcoin is to sign up and verify your account (the verification is simply to confirm that each account is held by a unique human being). The next distribution is on December 30th (distributions are quarterly).
Lastly, they are looking for help–asking people to consider donating to the Foundation, or buying Grantcoin, or volunteering their time and talent.
All of this effort goes toward creating a world in which money serves a humanitarian purpose.