YAP Cast

YAP Cast S3E6: “The Future of Universal Basic Income” With Anna Stone



Welcome back to YAP Cast! In the sixth episode of Season 3, Samantha Yap continues her conversation with Anna Stone, Co-Founder of GoodDollar, a crypto-based UBI project. Universal basic income (UBI) is a social welfare proposal in which citizens of a given population regularly receive a guaranteed income in the form of an unconditional transfer payment, independent of any other income. Anna Stone’s expertise in developing a practical and sustainable framework for a cryptocurrency-based Universal Basic Income brings valuable insights to our conversation.

In this episode, she’ll delve into GoodDollar’s practical implementation and touch on the challenges associated with this.

Empowering Communities with Use Cases and Value Anna clarifies that while one GoodDollar represents only a fraction of a cent, its value extends beyond the monetary aspect. For someone who lacks access to US dollar-based currencies or other forms of passive income, GoodDollar becomes a significant enabler.

Anna emphasises the importance of understanding not just the dollar amount individuals receive but also the ways in which they can utilise their GoodDollars within their communities. The primary goal is to empower people to enhance their lives by purchasing goods and services. Although the accumulated value may seem modest, the idea is to encourage individuals to engage in more economic activities that they could with their existing currencies

Impact on the Brazilian Favela Economy

Anna highlights the unique circular economies present in favelas, where traditional transactions often involve bartering and time-sharing rather than using the local currency, the Real. Christiane, a prominent figure in the community, has leveraged GoodDollar to revolutionise economic activities within the favela.

These initiatives include hosting workshops to onboard hundreds, if not thousands, of women and girls into the ecosystem. Additionally, she has established a secondhand shop that operates with GoodDollars as the medium of exchange for buying and selling pre-owned goods. Furthermore, Christiane has created a fashion line that engages local women in a circular economy. She pays individuals in GoodDollars for collecting and separating plastic and trash, collaborates with artisans to assemble bags, and sells these bags in her shop for GoodDollars. This ecosystem enables women to earn and spend GoodDollars, creating value and wealth that was previously absent in their activities.

GoodDollar’s Impact in Ghana and Nigeria

In Ghana and Nigeria, where mobile money is widely used as a store of value and medium of exchange, numerous entrepreneurial individuals have emerged.

One notable use case is the establishment of GoodDollar for airtime shops. Entrepreneurs in these communities facilitate exchanges between GoodDollars and mobile minutes. Community members can visit these shops to convert their GoodDollars into airtime, enabling them to access data and mobile minutes. This innovative approach demonstrates the creativity, ambition, and entrepreneurship of individuals on the ground.

Empowering Community Finance in Cameroon

In Cameroon, GoodDollar has revolutionised community finance by digitising traditional practices and providing access to a wider range of financial opportunities. By leveraging Saving Circles, a communal savings concept, the community now utilises GoodDollar as a digital asset stored on the blockchain. This shift from physical cash to digital currency has enabled them to deploy liquidity, earn fees, and explore previously inaccessible financial products.

Led by a community leader, the initiative has attracted collaboration with decentralised application (dApp) companies, shaping the development of community savings apps.

GoodDollar’s Approach to Global User Acquisition GoodDollar employs a global user acquisition strategy, recognising the talent and ambition of underbanked individuals worldwide who see cryptocurrencies as a pathway to financial empowerment.

Despite challenges posed by diverse financial landscapes and infrastructure, GoodDollar is committed to empowering local teams and ecosystems. The project’s success stories from different countries highlight the potential for individuals to achieve remarkable results. Scaling efforts focus on facilitating regional empowerment journeys and building a global community of change-makers.

Exploring Partnerships for Crypto UBI

GoodDollar is actively seeking partnerships with organisations and governments focused on poverty reduction and financial inclusion. They have already made progress in implementing their crypto-based UBI system and are now poised to collaborate effectively.

One avenue of the partnership involves accepting GoodDollar as a payment method for goods and services. Notably, a pilot program in Rwanda is underway to enable individuals to purchase solar panels using GoodDollars. Additionally, the project plans to initiate other pilots with goods and services providers throughout the year. Furthermore, segmented UBI deployments are being explored with NGOs, covering areas such as environmental sustainability, refugee support, and local UBI experiments.

Stability and Innovation for a Scalable UBI System

The conversation delves into the technical aspects of GoodDollar’s crypto-based UBI system and its resilience in the face of market volatility. The team’s aim was to create a token that is both stable and liquid, avoiding the extreme fluctuations seen in other cryptocurrencies. To achieve this, GoodDollar is designed as a reserve-backed currency, with the supply driven by the demand for the token. By utilising automated market makers, the team innovatively created a token issuance flow that supports UBI at scale.

Rather than replicating traditional financial services in a decentralised manner, GoodDollar seeks creative solutions to problems, such as decentralised payment systems and asset accessibility. The conversation concludes with an exploration of the team’s aspirations for GoodDollar in the next five years, aiming to transform the concept of money as a public good.

GoodDollar’s Five-Year Mission

The immediate goal of GoodDollar is to onboard one million users on their protocol in 2023, leveraging the Celo Blockchain and connecting members to mobile-first dApps designed for emerging markets. The team aims to demonstrate the positive social impact of blockchain and crypto, emphasising that technology can be transformational and meaningful in addressing global challenges.

Anna expresses her hope that GoodDollar will empower millions of people worldwide and go beyond providing mere examples and actually improving lives.

Find out more about GoodDollar here

Follow Anna Stone on Twitter here