On November 7, the CEO of eToro, an international social trading platform, announced the launch of the GoodDollar experiment, a non-profit, blockchain-based project seeking to address wealth inequality.
The GoodDollar website illustrates the problem of wealth inequality in its tagline: "The 42 richest people on earth have more wealth than the poorest 3.7 billion." It attributes this in large part to the displacement of human workers by technology and automation.
In the announcement, published on Medium, eToro CEO and GoodDollar creator Yoni Assia stated his longstanding belief that given the right set of conditions, a solution is possible.
That solution, according to GoodDollar, just might be to provide all individuals, regardless of economic or social status, with an unconditional and periodic cash payment. This concept is better known as a universal basic income (UBI). In a report outlining the project, authors Assia and University of Copenhagen professor of computer science Omri Ross posit that blockchain might provide the means:
"The presence of a transparent, immutable ledger of account, capable of executing scripted smart contracts, capturing significant complexity, provides the necessary tooling for a novel implementations of broadly redistributive fiscal policies."
For the last year, engineers, product designers, and economists at GoodDollar have been researching and experimenting with a smart contract-based infrastructure to distribute its global cryptocurrency-based UBI. Now they're asking for help in their research to address three challenges to implementation: social identity, social interest, and social governance.
- Social identity: To facilitate a UBI, GoodDollar believes that it must develop a KYC-friendly way to discern individual identities, but one that works for the unbanked and "unbankable."
- Social interest: There must be a mechanism for preventing or limiting inflation, and to use smart contracts to redistribute surplus value.
- Social governance: GoodDollar hopes to create a governance structure that allows communities to govern their own economies by way of a GoodDollar DAO (or GoodDAO).
The first funding partner for the GoodDollar experiment is eToro, but now it's "on the hunt" for philanthropists, NGO partners, and ambassadors to spread the word. True to the open-source ethos of blockchain, GoodDollar's code repository can be found on GitHub, for those who want to check it out or contribute.