Bitcoin and universal basic income were two concepts of fierce debate within global business communities in 2017. Now, a bitcoin fund has announced that it has committed $5m (£3.7m) worth of the cryptocurrency to the charity behind a massive universal basic income experiment across parts of Kenya and Uganda.
The Pineapple Fund is an organisation that mines, buys and trades crytpocurrencies. According to its website it donates to a number of charities, including several that work towards supplying poor communities with water, promoting gender equality, and one that is campaigning for the legalisation of psychedelic medicine.
The latest charity it has committed to supporting, according to its website, is GiveDirectly – a charity that provides unconditional cash transfers to people living in extremely poor communities.
According to GiveDirect, the average recipient of its cash in Kenya lives on just 65 cents per day. In Uganda the average beneficiary lives on around 83 cents a day. GiveDirect uses a system of independent checks to verify that recipients are eligible to get the funds, and those households that are chosen then receive roughly $1,000 – or around one year’s budget.
Typically, recipients in Kenya get a text message alert and then collect the cash from a mobile money agent in their village or nearest town. In Uganda, the charity uses a mobile payment system to send recipients their transfers. GiveDirect also said that it calls each recipient to verify receipt of funds, flag issues, and to assess its own customer service.
The benefits of universal basic income have been a topic of fierce debate this year, largely sparked by well-publicised trials in Finland and Canada.
Some academics have argued that unconditional cash lowers stress levels and actually makes people more productive. So far though, trials have largely been conducted in small communities. Critics have claimed that if rolled out on a larger scale those benefits would vanish.
This article was curated from Google News. You can read the original article here.