I was invited to re-share this paper in the forum I hope you may find it interesting.
It explores the social implications of a system of decentralised universal basic income.
- 1 Global Wallet
- 8Bn sub wallets
Cash and Equity is voluntarily placed in the global wallet and redistributed equally to each human.
Such system would be the most direct and efficient way to redistribute wealth.
Since such a system would require a system of unique identities, if those were to be made using Solid, worldwide adoption would be technically inevitable.
The paper contains:
- The Idea
- Potential effects for mankind
- Challenges to overcome
- Implications in the development of a Decentralised Web (part relevant to SOLID)
I apologise for lenght, ill try to make smaller versions in the future.
Many people talk of Universal Basic Income . Among it’s proponents there are intellectuals, entrepreneurs, rich and poor, educated and ignorant. Its an idea that makes increasingly sense but somehow we are yet to wait to see in action.
Instead of building new services, system, procedures, that are often inefficient and wasteful, UBI (universal basic income) would aim to give money directly to the people who are then free to spend it in anyway they see fit.
Especially when this money ends up in the hands of poorer people, its value is immediately put into circulation as these people don’t save as much as extremely wealthy people do.
The following is a case for a system of Voluntary Decentralised Universal Basic Income that adds an additional element of simplicity: let’s take the government out of the equation and simply, as a humanity, lets redistribute wealth directly to individuals.
Thanks to the blockchain (the technology that powers bitcoin), we are now able to have a system of financial transaction that is completely independent from the control of states and corporations and therefore impossible to stop.
Decentralised Voluntary Universal Basic Income (D-VUBI):
A worldwide “wallet” (a blockchain account that contains cryptocurrency) in which any company can put any percentage of its income it wishes to share. From 0,0001 to 99.9%,
The money in this wallet is divided into 8 Billion sub-wallets.
Each human is entitled to one (and only one) wallet.
By the moment we begin putting money into the system, the entire humanity gains a little money, for however infinitely small the amount may be.
Each human, can claim his or her own wallet and either collect the money or renounce it and share it with everyone else.
Since at the beginning the amounts of money potentially collected would be extremely low, most people who live in developed countries could forfeit it.
On the other hand, in the countries in which citizens face the most hardship, those small amounts could already make a significant difference in improving people’s lives.
Remittances (the money sent by immigrants back to their own country) is already the largest and one of the most efficient source of International Aid: their impact is considered even superior to the impact of international development projects and this is without taking into account that the system is still ruled by financial institutions that take a large chunk of it.
Decentralised Voluntary Universal Basic Equity:
Part of what entrenches poverty is poor people’s inability to have passive income and compounded interest that comes from having invested ones own money. (maybe say savings)
Another use of this global blockchain wallet system could therefore be to allow sompanies to share part of their equity with the entirety of mankind.
Many legislations now allow to “tokenise” equity of private companies: this means that equity fo companies can be shared in the form of a cryptoasset allowing it to be traded independently and tracked through blockchain technology.
Such Tokens are infinitely divisible making them a perfect asset to redistribute to each and every human.
This makes the solution legally feasible as well as potentially technically so.
Potential effects for Humanity
1. It would be a soft shift to universal basic income
Our system is based on exploitation. The poorest of the poor don’t have a choice and are therefore often forced to do the most inhumane, humiliating and dangerous jobs in the world.
As soon as these people have access to a decentralised currency, that governments or institution do not have the power to block, they gain agency. They gain the increasing freedom to make free choices.
What this means is that from the poorest of the poorest, at the bottom of the human pyramid of exploitation, something would begin to have to change.
The employers who wish to employ those people would be forced to provide better wages or the system that are simply unsustainable without would begin a process of forced change.
Since this process would begin impacting the poorest of the poorest, only a minimal amount of economical structure would need to adapt. As the revenue share increases, the process of transformation from an exploitation based society to a vocation based society would be inevitable and ever more pervasive.
Ask yourself: are you more effective and creative when pursuing your vocation, or when working a job you are obliged to perform by economical circumstances?
If you agree that pursuing a vocation based work is both better for you and your environment, how does a world in which the entire humanity works in this way look like?
Isn’t that a better world?
2. It would be a soft shift to a vocation based society as opposed to an exploitation based society
The society that would result out of this change is a society in which people engage voluntarily in labour.
This is the single most radical change in history as any previous age has been characterised by the obligation to work.
While most think such a change is unsustainable, as many people would simply do nothing, we must remember that our entire education system is based on the fact that work is an obligation.
In a system in which work is not an obligation anymore, we would simply need to device a system of education that focuses most of its energy in instilling in people an active desire to do so for their benefit and that of humanity.
Nobody teaches compassion in school because our system doesn’t really need it to survive.
We would simple begin to need to do so.
Nobody teaches people how to find and pursue one’s own vocation, because there was simply little need to do so and the job market would not be able to account for such demand. A new system, especially in lieu of increasing automation would on the other hand leave a lot of space to vocation based economics.
Automation would in fact free many jobs that people would normally not do unless forced to and would leave space for a humanity in which every human pursues his or her own true vocation.
The increasing automation, would need to become increasingly decentralised.
The companies that are likely to become automated will need to be owned by the workers themselves in order to ensure that the corporations that most contribute to the Universal Basic Income of the world do not belong to a few but rather, more and more, to humanity itself.
The system of cooperatives, having proved to be efficient in traditional contexts could be upgraded to work at a global scale. Its hard to argue that a collectively owned Facebook or Google are more likely to work in the people’s best interest, and this is both legally and technically possible today.
3. It would support a cultural shift towards a global human identity
From a cultural standpoint, the mere act of donating to humanity, can be a way to cement a sense of human citizenry. A global cognitive switch, in which in lieu of having donated part of our wealth to all… upon meeting all other humans we are more likely to see them as part of a single ingroup and not a scattered, competing humanity.
Cognitive studies show how the mere act of doing something “positive” for another human, results in increased positive feelings and thought towards said human: this is because the mind tends to justify its own actions with perceptions that fill the gap of potential incongruency.
4. Increased capacity for innovation resulting from larger safety nets
This does not by any means, the complete elimination of inequality. Some degree of inequality is still needed to provide an additional reward to those who wish to take risks and use most of their life to work.
What would be created is a Human Safety Net: a system onto which every human can fall back onto if something goes wrong. A system in which people can afford to make life and business decisions that are not driven by fear but by purpose.
A system in which any dishonesty that previously plagued business, driven by the need to survive, would be greatly diminished as people would be able to turn down opportunities that are not truly in line with their vision or capability.
Challenges to overcome
Is it feasible?
There are two main levels of complexity:
The financial issue is:
1.1) Are people willing to put money?
1.2) Can we raise enough money and equity to make a difference?
1.1) Are people willing to put money?
We live in a world were corporations (and individuals) are more and more looking for way to:
- Increase their public image
- Deduct from taxes the money spent on positive impact
If a global campaign of pressure was to encourage companies to engage in this system, it could be made a standard and companies that do not share some of their profits with humanity would simply look bad.
Many individuals moreover want to help but they are becoming increasingly wary of the efficacy of large international organisations or NGOs.
Without discounting the crucial role of NGOs and international organisations, such a system would allow a new novel way to help out.
Wether people put money because they want to support the wellbeing of others, or because they are weary of economical migration and wish to help “people at home”, sucha system would provide a new avenue for people to share their wealth with the less fortunate.
1.2) Can we raise enough money or equity to have a difference?
As mentioned before, the poorest countries would be the first to benefit from this, even in a phase in which the least amount of money is available could make a significant contribution.
Moreover initial phases of this initiative could focus on a limited number of countries so to better demonstrate its efficacy and focus its impact.
The option to also share equity would compensate the lack of “chash” at the beginning of the project, offering anyways the possibility for people to gain an important asset which could grow in value and provide dividend over time.
2) The three major technical issues to face in the implementation of such a system are:
2.1) The management of unique identities & Fraud prevention
2.2) The computation of transactions
2.3) Access to an internet connection
2.1) The management of unique identities
In order to avoid hoarding of money, it is key to ensure that each human citizen has access one and only one “wallet”.
In order to resolve this we have at least three options
- Governments could be put in charge to ensuring a unique identification. As money is added to the system a bottom up pressure from citizens may arise to push their governments to adopt new and efficient systems to ensure individuals identity and recognition so people can “downloadW the money in the wallet that is waiting for them.
- Biometric identification could serve as an alternative system for identity recognition.
- Peer identification may serve as a system in which peers who are already identifies by the system acknowledge the unique existence of an individual
Since governments may strongly oppose the adoption of such systems, in particular to prevent marginalised group access from capital, it may be essential to find a way that completely bypasses their role into it.
That said, since the wallets can be created before a system of identity is build to redeem them, the fact that a lot of value will begin to get accumulated onto the system may become a huge factor in pushing populations in pressuring their governaments to let them access it.
2.2) The computation of transactions
The biggest flaw of the blockchain at this stage is the high cost of computation. This is not only related to the cost of a transaction but to the environmental cost of blockchain mining. Quantum computing offers the greatest opportunity but is still an emerging technology. At this stage this issue remains the biggest technical challenge for the implementation of this system
2.3) Access to an internet connection
While access to the internet is constantly growing, still large percentages of the human population have no access to it. This is either due to lack of infrastructure or due to an active resistance on the part of the countries to allow access to free information. In this sense, this system may serve as a direct financial incentive for the promotion and creation of a decentralised internet. This also remains an open challenge to face for this project.
Implications in the development of the Decentralised Web
Additional Opportunities from building a Unique identity system:
Many other opportunities are related to the issue of a unique personal identity.
Building a way that can create an economical incentive to build a global unique identity system has the advantage that upon doing this many other positive changes can be enstated.
A slew of applications could be built to provide services related to such accounts.
New technologies would allow such accounts to work in a way that the data would be in the direct hands of people, allowing them to control and monetize their own digital identity in full safety.
A great part of the power that large tech corporations have to this day, is the tendency to own or control user data.
This is not just due to the fact that they were the first to collect data in the first place, but because they work with technological system that strongly link data to applications.
This means that for an application to give you any value, it needs to access your data.
This seems logical but its not necessarily something that always needs to be true.
1.Tim Berners Lee for example (the inventor of the internet) is working on Solid, a protocol that allows to separate data from applications, that enables to separate data from application. This not only has the value of giving much larger powers to the users, but it would become the foundation for building a standard ontology of the web.
Platforms and websites would no longer need to spend large resources in “translating” their data structures to transfer data across the web. This would increase radically the efficiency of how we transfer information across the web.
2.Moreover, this data is generally hosted on technology infrastructure controlled by the giants of the web. This also is no longer something that has to remain a default option: technologies such as HAT are allowing people to host their data whenever they want, while applications remain able to “call it” from multiple servers and sources.
- Hosting itself is now opening up to becoming decentralised with projects like IPFS .
If such a new system would be built already with such technologies, it would inherently cause a massive shift in the way internet is organised.
Such a system could therefore:
- Bringing data in the hands of users
- Create a standard ontology for the web
- Promoting the use of decentralised hosting system
This would not impair the companies that use people’s data from providing their services or monetising it: it would simply mean they would need to do it with the full authorisation of users and potentially force them to share part of the revenues with them.
Separating data from applications is a potential multi billion dollar business as new providers will emerge to host the data, support the management of identities and facilitate the connection between data and applications.
Existing identity providers, such as Apple, Facebook or Google, would be heavily threatened by such shift. Provided that they are willing to adopt a standard ontology and divest direct control over user data, a potential mediation is that they themselves would adopt these new standards and shift their business model from data ownership and control to data exchange, leveraging their existing platforms but giving final control to the users.
In doing this shift they would also become leaders in a new market of data management that is more user centric, collaborative and that provides opportunity for immense growth.