Bitcoin is potentially on the verge of gaining mass adoption, at least in the developed world. However, many would argue the major value proposition of cryptocurrencies is in developing countries. This is where financial institutions and general infrastructure are lacking, failing to facilitate economic participation in the country’s unbanked and underbanked demographics.
In fact, the current institutions in place are arguably contributing to the ever growing wealth inequality gap. One such example is most prevalent in the MENA region, which is host to swathes of domestic workers. For example, money sent home by Filipino domestic workers alone reached up to $30 billion USD in 2015. Refugees from turbulent African states such as the Central African Republic, Congo and Sudan also work overseas and have to send money home through centralized payment systems and suffer exorbitant transfer fees in the process.
Remittance transfer fees is only one of the symptoms. Project UBU is targeting the root cause: the ever-widening wealth inequality gap.
What is Project UBU?
Project UBU is an ambitious plan to create an alternative, global, decentralised money system that fundamentally alters the circumstances of hundreds of millions of underprivileged people by providing them with a means to economic independence. Eight hundred million human beings live in extreme poverty on less than $1.90 per day. Wealth inequality widens relentlessly. Wealth redistribution has not provided an answer. Another method of wealth creation must provide that answer.
How does Project UBU intend to tackle widening global inequality?
To put it simply, Project UBU intends to distribute the UBU (Universal Basic Unit) at no cost to individuals who opt-in. People who opt-in to receive the UBUs are called “citizens” within the project’s ecosystem. In turn, the UBUs can be used to exchange goods and services through vendors and merchants who decide to take part in the ecosystem.
The team’s overarching vision is stated in an interview earlier this year:
The idea is to create a cryptocurrency that unlocks dormant, inefficiently allocated and unrealised resources to create commercial and social value
Creating an ecosystem through an alternative currency requires massive adoption and is a huge undertaking – and the team behind Project UBU recognize that. The key players intending to overcome the challenge are Dudley Baylis of Bridge Capital, CEO Justin McCarthy, former Altech CTO Steven Sidley and former Vox Telecom CEO Douglas Reed. You can read more about the team here.
There’s a huge jump between step one of airdropping the tokens daily to “citizens” and step two of creating a thriving ecosystem around it – a chart is detailed here determining the different types of stakeholders that need to be onboarded, from vendors to market makers. The ongoing token offering is intended to supplement the process.
Project UBU’s latest blog post by founder Dudley Baylis reveals the backstory behind the project’s origins. Focused initially on South Africa, where the project is based, but with global ambitions, the formation of shanty towns such as Diepsloot (Afrikaans for “Deep ditch”) was becoming increasingly commonplace. In light of this, Dudley’s wife remarked:
I don’t understand why it is that just because people have nothing, don’t have a car or a house or perhaps even an education – that just because of that – why do we think they are worth nothing. Surely God thinks all people are worth something, all people are equal in God’s eyes?
This is was the catalyst that began the formation of Project UBU. To aid the poor and suffering – not through charity, but rather through justice achieved by using blockchain technologies for increased economic participation.
Initial Token Offering
Project UBU’s token offering is currently ongoing and is set to end on the 20th of October. The token issued for investors is the UBX, which is built on the value of the base UBU token and delivers UBU tokens to the holder on a ” formulaically determined basis”:
There is a mathematical relationship between the UBX and UBU, with ownership of the UBX guaranteeing a future delivery of UBUs to the owner under the governance of this relationship.
The exact figures detailing the relationship between UBX and the UBU is detailed starting from page 19, section 4 of the whitepaper. As is the case with any crypto investment, it’s important to fully understand the relationship between the token being issued in the sale and the functional cryptocurrency to be used within the formation of the ecosystem.
Starting in South Africa, Project UBU hopes to expand and overcome poverty by creating a thriving tax-free and decentralized ecosystem around the world, powered by the Universal Basic Unit. Solving poverty through the free market is definitely a cause worth looking into.
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