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Cryptocurrencies and basic income: digitization, financial inclusion and implementation challenges


Kerry Frank, a consultant in research and analysis for Mondato, has recently written an article discussing the relation between basic income, government institutions and cryptocurrencies. In this article, she argues that progression towards a basic income is only possible with a “comprehensive digitization across the board to manage administration and monitoring costs”. This is required on a global scale, since digitization has covered more ground in the Global North than in the Global South. For example, only 50% of all adult individuals globally have a registered bank account, according to the World Bank.


The article also points out that cash transfer programs, for example in India and Kenya, bring about increases in individuals’ willingness to take on loans, make savings or invest. Recent data from the GiveDirectly test pilot already shows that financial inclusion is a welcomed side-effect, since many participants would not have joined formalized financial networks if not for the experiment.


It is argued that cryptocurrencies are a viable means to disburse cash payments on a massive scale. Actually, this possibility has been presented and discussed before, in several articles. One such systems is Resilience, which uses redistribution and dividend pathways as a defining programming feature. However, only a few people are knowledgeable enough to use such a system, and even fewer who may understand its internal workings, as Kerry Frank also raises in her article. This constitutes, of course, a barrier to basic income implementation in a cryptocurrency version.


Kerry concludes that cryptocurrencies and traditional government programs (of cash distribution) need not be mutually exclusive, while there are advantages and challenges with both approaches.


More information at:

Kerry Frank, “Universal Basic Income: G2P on steroids or an opening for cryptocurrencies?“, Mondato, April 25th 2017

J. Shapiro, “Can cash transfer programs help bring about financial inclusion?“, Microfinance Gateway, April 2017

Austin Douillard, “US/Kenya: New study published on results of basic income pilot in Kenya“, Basic Income News, March 27th 2017

Cameron McLeod, “BitNation: Recent advances in cryptocurrency see basic income tested”, Basic Income News, March 30th 2017

About Andre Coelho

André Coelho has written 182 articles.

Activist. Engineer. Musician. For the more beautiful world our hearts know it's possible.

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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.


  • Thank you such a great read! Your article points out the global financial inclusion, which is merely half the world’s population. You have rightly said that cryptocurrencies could be the means of mass distribution of cash payments. While the idea looks good on the surface, we must note that a financially illiterate population could take time in adopting cryptocurrencies, especially when it comes to the poorer countries. Cryptocurrencies are still in their infancy and have yet to prove their worth. Their volatility is what makes them more vulnerable. Here is my article on the most popular cryptocurrency in the world, bitcoin. You can read it here if you like.

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