Glo is a non-profit stablecoin that generates basic income for people in extreme poverty. It's pegged to the US dollar and fully backed by a fiat reserve. We invest the reserve in US treasuries, and donate the interest to GiveDirectly, who distribute it as basic income.
To lift more people out of extreme poverty, we need to grow the market cap of Glo.
This growth happens when individuals or businesses decide to convert (some of) their money to Glo.
To be able to replace more money, we want Glo to work for an increasing number of use cases:
- Stablecoins. Glo can be used as a stablecoin (i.e. by crypto traders). We'll encourage current stablecoin users to switch to Glo.
- Savings accounts. Glo can be used for savings, too. We'll encourage individuals to put their savings in Glo.
- Checking accounts. We'll work to make Glo a widely accepted payment method, and we'll encourage people to do their everyday spending in Glo.
- Corporate cash holdings. We'll eventually encourage businesses to keep the Glo they receive as payments in the form of Glo.
- Full Glo Corps. Finally, we strive to have businesses completely switch to Glo as their base money layer.
There is practically no limit to how many people Glo can help. It depends only on adoption. If we come together with enough people and businesses, we should be able to generate enough money to eradicate extreme poverty around the world:
- To end extreme poverty, Glo would need to replace 7% of all money in the world.
- We'd be at 61% of that goal if all cash held by US companies ($5.8 trillion) were converted to Glo
- We'd be at 100% of our goal if 87% of US savings deposits ($10.6 trillion) were converted to Glo
But planetary scale is not required. Glo can change lives at any level of adoption:
- Every $17,000 of Glo generates $425 per year, enough to lift one person out of extreme poverty.
- The average US citizen has $41,600 in savings. Converted to Glo, this would lift 2.5 people out of poverty.
- The entire stablecoin market is $150 billion. Converted to Glo, this would lift 9 million people out of poverty.
- Apple holds $203 billion in cash and cash equivalents. If they'd convert it all to Glo, this would lift 12 million people out of poverty.
(Note that these are all rough estimates. We're assuming a reserve yield of 2.5% per year. For more details, see Ending extreme poverty: the numbers.)
Use case 1: Glo as a stablecoin
When Glo launches, the things you can do with it are limited. You can buy Glo with normal money; sell Glo to get your normal money back; send Glo to anyone with a crypto wallet; trade Glo for other cryptocurrencies.
The current demand for stablecoins is about $150 billion. If Glo replaces 100% of stablecoins, we'd generate $3.8 billion per year, which would support the basic income of 9 million people.
At 5% of the stablecoin market, Glo would generate $188 million per year, exceeding the total amount of money GiveDirectly distributed in 2021.
Use case 2: Glo for savings
But we're not limited to the crypto world. Right out of the gate, individuals can use Glo for their savings. If you're sitting on cash that you're currently not using, converting that cash to Glo means you're lifting people out of extreme poverty at no cost to yourself. Knowing you can always convert Glo back to normal money when you need it, there's little reason to not do this.
The average US household has $41,600 in their savings account, enough to provide basic income to 2.5 persons if converted to Glo.
In 2020, all US savings deposits totalled $10.63 trillion. If 87% of this were put into Glo, we'd generate enough money to support all 659 million people living in extreme poverty. And that's just the US.
We're aiming for massive mainstream adoption far beyond the crypto-native crowd. For many individuals, Glo could be the first cryptocurrency they see a reason to own.
Use case 3: Glo for payments
Initially you can't use Glo to pay for things. This limits the amount of money people can convert to Glo. Even if someone wanted to use 100% ethical currency, they need money in their checking account to cover near term purchases—and if Glo isn't spendable, that can't be Glo. That's why we'll work to make Glo a widely accepted means of exchange.
The average US checking account contains about $10,600. Three such checking accounts converted to Glo means two people lifted out of poverty.
We can make Glo spendable in a few ways:
- With Glo-backed debit cards. Businesses such as crypto exchanges could offer payment cards that work like any other debit card, except they're connected to a Glo wallet.
- Via direct merchant acceptance. Individual merchants can choose to directly accept payments in the form of Glo, similar to how some places allow you to pay with bitcoin.
- Through platform-side Glo support. Payment platforms such as Stripe and PayPal could allow Glo payments, which they then convert to normal money before the merchant receives it.
Businesses might choose to support Glo for several reasons:
- Altruism. Supporting Glo is a low-cost, low-effort way for a company to do more good in the world.
- Brand and PR. If we succeed in making Glo a well-known and loved brand, it's a good look for a company to announce they'll support Glo going forward.
- Consumer demand. If there is a large and vocal community of consumers who prefer to pay in Glo, companies will want to cater to this demand.
Crypto adoption for payments hasn't taken off. In large part that's because there isn't a good reason to ditch normal money—credit cards work. With the introduction of Glo as the ethical currency, this changes. We believe Glo can become the first cryptocurrency with widespread adoption as means of exchange.
Paying with Glo should ultimately be just as easy as using other methods. But before we get there, there will be a period where using Glo is comparatively cumbersome. We aim to spark a movement of early adopters who try to do as much of their spending in Glo as possible, putting up with some level of discomfort initially. In doing so they brute-force early demand for Glo payments, solving the chicken-and-egg problem.
Use case 4: corporate Glo holdings
Once you can use Glo to pay for goods and services, you could switch to Glo completely and have all of your money be ethical currency. But when you actually spend your Glo, the receiving merchant is likely to be conservative and convert it back to normal money. This decreases the total amount of Glo, which limits Glo's growth. It would be better if the merchant keeps your payment as GLO, so the money continues to lift people out of extreme poverty.
Companies may keep Glo on their balance sheet for several reasons:
- Have visible, quantifiable social impact. With every $17,000 of Glo they own, they're providing for one person's basic income. Since crypto wallets are public, anyone can see how much Glo a company owns, and therefore how much they're helping eradicate global poverty.
- Receive our public praise. If we succeed in making Glo an influential brand, we can use this to put Glo-holding companies on a pedestal. Consumers may direct their monthly spending as much as possible to Glo-holding businesses.
- Achieve their ESG goals. Corporations are increasingly evaluated on their commitment to Environmental, Social, and Governance goals. Holding Glo is a straightforward way for companies to align themselves with a social mission in an environmentally conscious way.
- Because employees ask for Glo salaries. Once Glo is as good as conventional money for everyday transactions, we expect many people to prefer getting paid in an ethical currency.
Inspired? You can help make this vision a reality.
No single organization can take on this task alone. Glo is driven by community. If you want to help end extreme poverty, join the movement! You can help in big and small ways.