High Level Question


The USD, British Pound, Euro, Japanese Yen, Canadian Dollar, etc, are already digital. Banks have created digital repositories for these stable currencies that are trusted world-wide with traceable transactions. We can already walk up to a gas station, swipe our smartphone over a pad (using apple or google pay) and purchase a pack of Oreos effortlessly.

World leaders (U.S., Germany, UK, etc) are already looking into employing UBI by increasing tax on dominant/large companies and redistributing the resulting generated wealth.

Why would a reasonable person anywhere in the world see intrinsic value in a word-of-mouth cryptocurrency? It’ll probably have an unstable value and isn’t widely accepted for tangible products, so what problem does it actually solve? The only way people would put their wealth into Raha is because they’d trust it more than their local government for UBI, correct? Personally, I trust the U.S. government more than Raha to provide UBI, wouldn’t you?

Additionally, how will a word-of-mouth cryptocurrency started by a group of 1st world country founders reach out to the intended end-users; i.e. poor family living in Africa without access to a smart phone or internet? To me it sounds like it will benefit the early adopters significantly more than anyone else down the pyramid?

Graphically, to me it sounds like the Raha business model is literally this:

Be careful!



Cryptocurrencies == https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip_mania



These are valid points. Overall we believe that “better is good” and we are doing our best trying to build a better economic system, but it will not be perfect. There is a lot we’re still trying to figure out and things will have to be adjusted in the future, but here’s a first pass:

Point #1: Why not leave UBI to the governments?
We hope that what you outlined (efficiently controlled gov currencies, gov sponsored UBI) becomes the norm. If every country in the world had a government that is stable, wealthy, and putting its people first then we would not be doing this.

Until then, we are going to do our very best to encourage a cross-border UBI that does not depend on any one nation and keep spreading awareness about inequality and UBI. If this encourage governments to work with us or to do a better job themselves, the more the merrier!

Point #2: Accessibility
Our current technology relies on video enabled smartphones. We hope one day this will change (eg iris scanners), but it’s not in our immediate roadmap. This is a long-term play, and it’s estimated that there will be more smartphones than humans by 2021. Although this may start with a small group of people in the US, that doesn’t mean it won’t spread fast as globalisation and technology has made the world more and more connected. It won’t happen overnight, but we are hopeful that long-term we can build something that works for anyone who wants it.

Point #3: Pyramid scheme
According to your Quora link “Bitcoin and the Blockchain have no connection to a Ponzi scheme. The problem is Ponzi’s can use Bitcoin and this is where the issue resides.” The initial coin offering (ICO) model means early adopters either get fleeced or get rich. Some see this as a democratization of venture capital that used to be available to the select few, but overall the current system does not seem to be helping the average person. For this reason we currently have no plans to do an ICO. In fact, today Raha is not even a cryptocurrency, it is more of a centralized points model featuring a decentralized audit log. If members decide that these points have value, then we will do our best to improve the technology. We hope that a more gradual and transparent increase in wealth will be more equal and more sustainable, but it’s true there are possible early adopter advantages, many unknowns, and more we need to think about.

Point #4: Tulip mania
This is an early and evolving space, and no one knows for certain what will happen. I for one hope that energy intensive bitcoin mining becomes a distant memory. Please don’t sink your life savings into Raha. Good news as of today: there is no way for you to buy Raha. That may change one day, at which point we have to make sure everyone is fully aware of the risks (maybe we should have Dave Ramsey on loop??). If this is all just a bubble, then we want Raha to raise awareness about income inequality and UBI to help improve public policy all around the world. If we live in a world where non-government currencies continue to have an important role (which I personally believe), then we want to make Raha the best possible economic operating system for long-term prosperity and more equal opportunity.