Philanthropy is missing out on $2860 billion/year.

That’s $1 for every person on earth, daily.

It would lift most people out of extreme poverty—without depending on donations.

This isn't hypothetical. There is a concrete way to unlock this stream of money and give every human a direct cash transfer of $7 / week.

We'd have a truly universal basic income (UBI).
‍‍
The one thing we need to do: switch to a new currency.

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WHERE THE MONEY COMES FROM

The $2860b—that's how much new money governments print in a year.

They do this deliberately: it's how they prevent deflation. We could repurpose all of this new money as UBI.

The amount of money on earth is always growing. Globally, between 1994-2019, the amount of money has been increasing by about 8% per year on average.

This is on purpose. Governments (their central banks, to be precise) print extra money to keep up with their economic growth.

If the amount of money were fixed, productivity growth would cause deflation: prices go down. And as nice as that sounds, its actually believed to be bad for the economy. So nations—and their banks—create additional money to restore the balance. In fact, they aim to overshoot and cause 2% inflation per year, a rate they believe is healthy.

Newly created money flows into the economy top-down via the financial industry. It disproportionately favors rich nations, since they control the most valuable currencies.

We believe it’s fairer and better for the world if the new money would go directly to everyone on earth, irrespective of nationality.

There are two ways to make that happen.

01   The political route

Convince nations in control of the existing currencies to distribute their new money to everyone on earth

02  The permissionless route

Start a new currency that does this by design, then make the world opt in to it

MONEY PRINTER GOES UBI

Global Income Coin (GLO):
a cryptocurrency that generates basic income.

Later this year we’re launching GLO, an ethereum-based cryptocurrency.

Once we're live, every human can verify their identity by going through a KYC process. Verified humans get a weekly airdrop of GLO for free: that's the basic income. The value of the airdrops will depend, but we’re aiming for $7 per week.

If people and businesses adopt GLO as a means of payment, the fact that they're using GLO as money sustains the value of the coin.

Their combined transactions form the GLO economy. As that economy grows, we can do the same thing central banks do: slowly create additional GLO, targeting a tiny bit of inflation. The newly created GLO is what we'll airdrop—that's where the basic income is paid from.

If GLO replaces all government created money, this would amount to $2860b/year. That's what we estimate to be the maximum achievable amount. Our "total adressable market", if you will.

But 100% adoption is not necessarily the point.

Any degree of sustained GLO adoption has value, because it unlocks some level of universal basic income.

GLO users form an economy that generates money “out of thin air”—money that complements any existing, donation-driven poverty reduction initiatives. The higher our GDP, the more we generate.

Global Income Coin is permissionless monetary policy change.

If you want to help reduce world poverty, just opt-in.

Start replacing some of your dollar transactions. Each time you pay with GLO instead, you're shifting a fraction of money creation from the traditional system into a global UBI.

CONTRARIAN TOKENOMICS

GLO is not a stablecoin, but we’re targeting $1

Think of GLO as its own currency—much like the dollar, euro or yen.

GLO will have no peg, meaning its value won't be tied to the value of an existing currency. Still, our ambition is for Global Income Coin to be less volatile than most cryptocurrencies. After all, we want it to be useful as everyday money.

That’s why Global Income Coin will operate a USD treasury. We’ll use these funds to buy and sell GLO from the market, with a two-fold purpose:

  1. Dampen the volatility of GLO by absorbing price swings
  2. Support the value of GLO during times of low demand

In these interventions, we aim for an average price of $1. But again, this is not a peg. We’ll allow any amount of deviation up or down in principle. This makes GLO a so-called floating currency with a managed float.

Few places will accept GLO payments at first, so we don't expect a lot of organic demand for the coin initially. During this early phase the reserves play an important role in supporting its value (purpose #2).

As the ecosystem develops and GLO usage ramps up, its value should become increasingly self-sustained. The primary role of the reserves then shifts to volatility dampening (purpose #1).

Like real-world currencies, GLO is inflationary by design.

Slight inflation encourages spending rather than hoarding. It invites economic activity rather than speculation. There’s no reason to hold on to your coins—their value won’t go up. So why not spend them?

GLO is the exact opposite of most cryptocurrencies.

When a cryptocurrency becomes more popular, it's total value generally goes up. This is often measured in terms of its market cap:

market cap = number of coins * value per coin

Currencies like bitcoin constrain the number of coins. This means that for the market cap to go up, the value per coin must rise. As a result, when bitcoin becomes more popular, early holders reap the benefits.

Global Income Coin works the other way around. If the market cap of GLO goes up, we create more coins. This will drive the value per coin back to $1. The new coins are distributed equally among all verified humans. So when Global Income Coin becomes more popular, everyone benefits.

GLO is digital money, not digital gold.

GLO will have a low environmental impact.

Reducing poverty wouldn't help much if our solution involved frying the planet.

We're building Global Income Coin on the Ethereum blockchain. Ethereum is currently very energy-intensive but switches to an energy-efficient design later in 2022. Moreover, we're not directly building on Ethereum, but on Polygon. Polygon is a second layer on top of Ethereum and makes blockchain transactions much more efficient.

More details about the sustainability of Global Income Coin here.

WHO WE ARE

Developed by the Global Income Coin Foundation, a non-profit

We’re incorporating in Zug, Switzerland. The Foundation’s initial donor and founder is Sid Sijbrandij, CEO of GitLab.

Our operational costs and employee salaries run on philanthropic donations. Created coins are never used to fund the Foundation—no hands in the cookie jar. There’s also no pre-mine, founder/investor allocation, or any other for-profit scheme for our creators, developers or donors.

We're a nonprofit that thinks and operates like a startup.

Our team is fully remote, and we're hiring globally. If you're excited about using blockchain technology for societal good, consider joining. We're hiring engineers, marketeers, economists, traders, community builders, recruiters and many other roles.

Jeffrey Milewksi
Co-founder & CEO
Sid Sijbrandij
Founding donor
HOW We're makING this work

To reach mainstream adoption, we're leveraging community, capitalism, and network effects

Getting a new form of money widely distributed, accepted and used: that requires a lot of work.

At maximum scale, the to-do list looks something like:

  • Onboard billions of humans to the network so they can get their weekly UBI. This involves verifiying everyone's identity (i.e. doing KYC).
  • Get millions of vendors to start accepting GLO for payments.
  • Develop a whole lot of tech: wallet apps, payment rails, e-commerce integrations, fraud detection, cards...
  • Make it work across hundreds of locales with different cultures, financial regulations, identity systems, and levels of tech adoption.

This is infeasible for a single organization, especially a non-profit.

So, rather than doing it all by ourselves, the growth strategy of the Global Income Coin Foundation is to drive adoption indirectly.

We'll let for-profit companies do most of the actual work.

Our own role is to orchestrate and incentivize that.

Staying at the meta level as much as possible ourselves, we're looking to tap into the forces of community and capitalism in three scalable ways.

THE BOOTSTRAP

1. Growing a social movement of GLO enthusiasts

It's likely that most people who adopt GLO do this out of self-interest: if they verify their identity, they get free money every week. But some percentage will learn about Global Income Coin, resonate with the mission, and adopt GLO for altruistic reasons. Even if this is a relatively small group, they're an important group of users to foster for various reasons.

For starters, they'll form the first group of consumers eager to spend GLO. They'll likely accept a subpar user experience in the early phase of the ecosytem. This gives the first vendors a reason to start accepting GLO. Second, as mission-driven advocates, they may evangelize GLO which drives adoption. Third, they may decide to purchase GLO on top of the free airdrops, which increases demand for the coin.

A growing number of people is ideologically pro-UBI. We'll market purchasing and using GLO as the most direct way for individuals to contribute to enacting a universal basic income and alleviate extreme poverty in a systematic way.

THE MOTOR

2. Incentivizing for-profits to do the heavy lifting

Verifying the identity of billions of people is too much work for a single organization. We'll delegate that to crypto exchanges instead. If they take care of KYC and offer a custodial GLO wallet for humans they've verified, we send the weekly GLO to these. The exchange is allowed to take a fee for this service, creating a new revenue stream. This way, for-profits have a commercial incentive to drive the adoption of Global Income Coin.

The relation between crypto exchanges and the Global Income Coin Foundation is analogous to commercial banks and central banks in some ways. Like a central bank, the Global Income Coin Foundation issues the currency and determines monetary policy but doesn't directly service users of the currency. With fiat currencies, commercial banks fulfill that role. With GLO, it's crypto exchanges.

In the same vein, we're considering incentive mechanisms for contributing to the ecosystem in other ways, like driving vendor adoption or developing payment infrastructure.

The flywheel

3. Once the ball starts rolling, network effects kick in

The social movement will form the initial group of users, and incentivized for-profits develop the initial infrastructure. That should solve the cold start problem and gets an early economy going. Because of this, vendors have an incentive to start accepting GLO, as they'll be able to reach a new customer base. As more and more companies make this decision, more people will learn about Global Income Coin.

There's little reason for them not to join and at least claim the free weekly airdrop, growing the base of consumers owning GLO. When more crypto exchanges enter the ecosystem, they'll need to compete for verified humans by offering a better service or lowering their fees, meaning it will become cheaper and easier to use GLO. These incentives play into each other, forming a positive feedback loop.

Current status, next steps, and how you can get involved

We’re very early. Global Income Coin isn't available yet. The whitepaper is still a work in progress, but the draft is public. You're very welcome to read, add comments and make suggestions.

Beyond writing the whitepaper, we are currently focused on:

  1. Hiring
  2. Partnering with crypto exchanges for upcoming token launch
  3. R&D on finance, economy, ecosystem and community

The GLO token launch is slated for later this year. This will be in partnership with one or more crypto exchanges. The exchanges will offer their users the option to verify their identities with Global Income Coin and receive the first GLO airdrops. If you are a forward-thinking crypto exchange, let's talk!

We’re also finetuning the Global Income Coin model through R&D on four domains:

  • Finance — monetary policy, volatility management and reserve trading strategy
  • Economy — measuring and forecasting GLO usage, supply and demand
  • Incentive and ecosystem design — engineering the for-profit ecosystem
  • Community design — shaping the various ways for enthusiasts to contribute

We’re rapidly hiring in all of these areas, as well as in engineering, HR and legal.

If you're excited about our mission and work, consider joining! We work fully remotely, and hire globally.

See all open roles here.

How you can contribute

Spread the word—share this page with a couple friends
We’re using crypto for good. If this excites you, check Careers
Join the discussion on Discord and our public draft whitepaper
If you’re a member of the effective altruist community, let’s talk
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