Towards Equal-Opportunity Cryptocurrencies

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A crypto-UBI solution that potentially eliminates extreme global poverty.

While democracy is founded on the principle of equal opportunity to manage our lives and pursue our fortunes, the forms of money we have inherited from millennia of evolution has brought us to an unsustainable dead end of exploding inequality. Popcoin is an experimental cryptocurrency that proposes to leverage the unique historical opportunities that digital cryptocurrencies present for a “clean-slate” redesign of money, in particular around long-term equitability and sustainability, rather than solely stability, as our primary goals. We develop and analyze design and monetary policy principles for Popcoin that embody these equitability goals in two basic rules that may be summarized as supporting equal opportunity in “space” and “time”: the first by regularly distributing new money equally to all participants much like a basic income, the second by holding the aggregate value of these distributions to a constant and non-diminishing portion of the total money supply through demurrage. Through preliminary analysis, we find that these rules in combination yield a unique form of money with numerous intriguing and promising properties, such as a natural “early adopter’s reward” that could incentivize rapid growth while tapering off as participation saturates and migration incentives opposite those created by conventional basic incomes. Speculative estimates of the resulting basic income’s value using present economic figures suggests that global deployment of such a currency with a five percent demurrage rate could substantially eliminate extreme global poverty.

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