Yoni Assia. Picture credit to: CCN
The recent international basic income conference “Visions for a Brighter Future,” UBI-Nordic 2019 was held in Oslo from April 5–7; at it, Nir Yaacobi and Gilad Barner became the first representatives of a universal basic income (UBI)-related blockchain project to present at a UBI conference. Their not-for-profit research organization, GoodDollar, aims to develop an open-source method for implementing UBI through blockchain. Blockchain technology was popularized by cryptocurrencies, but is, in general terms, a distributed ledger (i.e., a database hosted by numerous servers rather than one central authority) where all transactions are verified publicly, rather than being controlled by a single administrator. Blockchain protocols can allow for the execution of smart contracts, or an encoded agreement that auto-executes once its terms are fulfilled. Due to the nature of the type of encryption that blockchain uses, each encrypted transaction includes information from the one that occurs before it, making transactions, once verified, theoretically impossible to change or erase. Some blockchain projects, like GoodDollar, aim to eventually create Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) that eschew classical governance for a public, distributed, social and financial system based on blockchain.
The idea of GoodDollar was born over ten years ago in a paper called “The Visible Hand,” which outlined a framework for a monetary system where smaller investments are granted the same interest rates as larger ones in order to combat extreme wealth inequality. The organization’s current mission is to “build open-source solutions for efficient allocation of resources according to principles informed by research on UBI and related policy proposals.”
More information at:
Yoni Assia and Omri Ross, “Good Dollar Experiment: Wealth Distribution Position Paper,” July 11th 2018
Yoni Assia, “Good Dollar – The Visible Hand,” November 28th 2008
Cameron McLeod, “BitNation: Recent Advances in Cryptocurrency See Basic Income Tested,” March 30th 2017
UBI-Nordic, “Basic Income: ‘Visions for a Brighter Future’ UBI-Nordic 2019—Oslo, April 5–7”, Accessed May 13th 2019