The GoodDollar Basic Income Economy

Our Mission: Trickle-Up, People-Powered Basic Income

GoodDollar presents a framework for an open, people-powered decentralized approach to scalable and sustainable global basic income.

We strongly believe that delivering a “trickle-up” value structure that delivers liquidity to the hands of people is preferable to the conventional trickle-down approach to capital, credit, and interest-bearing money. The GoodDollar economy achieves this by delivering purchasing power directly to the “Claimers” while providing incentives for “Supporters,” whose staked capital is critical to powering the system. Aligning incentives between GoodDollar supply (Supporters) and demand (Claimers), and across all key stakeholders, is central to building a sustainable, scalable ecosystem around the GoodDollar economy.

Supporters receive market-rate returns for locking capital or “staking” to the GoodDollar cause, similar to a bond or endowment model, allowing them to benefit from acting benevolently. Any person – identified and verified as being unique and alive – can claim a daily sum in the form of GoodDollar coins (G$). User-focused applications will lower the barrier of entry for people to access G$ coins, and allow more people to explore the power of digital assets.

This paper outlines the broad vision for the GoodDollar protocol, whose key features and functions will be detailed in due course in subsequent documentation.

User Experience and Value Flow

The GoodDollar economy revolves around two primary user types: Claimers and Supporters.

Claimers are individuals that claim a daily basic income in the form of G$ coins. Their unique identity must be verified.

Supporters are individuals or institutions that believe in basic income and bottom-up growth and fund the supply of G$ coins through staking their capital to support the GoodDollar economy. They do this through committing and locking funds (“staking”) to various permissionless third-party yield-bearing protocols and mechanisms.

Every day, a number of G$ coins are minted and distributed as basic income to Claimers. The value in the GoodDollar reserve comes from the interest that is generated from Supporters who stake cryptocurrencies in decentralized third-party protocols. Through the amassed reserve interest, G$ coins are minted. They are used to pay Supporters market-rate interest payments, while a daily amount of G$ coins is set aside to be distributed as basic income.

Over time, more G$ coins are minted relative to GoodDollar’s Reserve. The system is built to accommodate scale, whereby the value and utility of the G$ coin to its holders increases as more people and merchants join the GoodDollar network.

  • Permissionless protocols generate value in a supported cryptocurrency such as DAI or ETH, and that interest is moved into GoodReserve.

  • The number of G$ coins minted is determined by the GoodDollar’s leverage, relative to the value of interest locked in the GoodReserve.

  • Initially, every G$ coin is fully collateralized in a supported cryptocurrency on a one-to-one ratio. For example, every 1 DAI – a decentralized cryptocurrency stabilized against the value of the US dollar (US$) – moved into the reserve produces G$ coins in equal value.

  • G$ coins are distributed back to Supporters in value equal to the interest they receive in the third-party protocols and mechanisms. The reserve ratio is expected to decline over time, minting more G$ coins relative to the crypto assets in the reserve.

  • The remaining balance of G$ coins minted is distributed equally on a daily basis as basic income to Claimers, divided evenly between the number of Claimers that issue a claim on a given day.

Claimers will be able to access and claim G$ coins initially through the GoodDollar Wallet, though ultimately G$ coins will be available through a variety of endpoints with secure and unique identity solutions. The GoodDollar Wallet requires Claimers to identify and occasionally re-verify themselves to restrict fraud and system abuse.

Key Stakeholders


  • People that “claim” a small basic income in G$ coins every day

  • They receive a daily share of G$ coins

  • Claimers can send / receive and buy / sell G$ coins

  • Referral marketing mechanism encourages early adopters to invite friends and family to the ecosystem, and increases adoption and local utility of the G$ coin


  • Either individuals or organizations who buy into the trickle-up economy

  • Supporters “stake for good” to the GoodDollar protocol, through staking supported cryptocurrency to their selected third-party protocols or mechanisms

  • Supporters receive reward payments in the equivalent value of G$ coins, which are immediately convertible to other cryptocurrencies without financial penalty

  • Supporters “do well while doing good” – receive market-rate returns while also making a positive social impact through support of the GoodDollar trickle-up economy


  • Accept G$ in exchange for goods and services

  • Conduct marketing promotions in G$

  • Integrate with a “plug-and-play” corporate social responsibility program

Third-Party Partners

  • Include developers of apps, protocols, asset exchanges, vendors, etc., all of which can be plug-into GoodDollar’s smart contract architecture

  • Integrate GoodDollar functionality that serves Supporters (for example: financial services, exchanges, corporate/employee matching programs) or serve Claimers (wallets, vendors, service providers)

Core GoodDollar Team

  • Has separate operational and developments budgets fuelled by donations

  • Does not have financial incentives or token allocation of G$ coin

Market Demand & Target Market

There are key user and stakeholder hypotheses that have been built into our theory of change and adoption. Ultimately, the success of the GoodDollar economy is contingent upon market demand from both Supporters and Claimers, as the economy itself is a balance between balancing supply and demand for G$ coins.

GoodDollar is designed to gain usage and be widely adopted over time. Like Bitcoin, the initial dollar value, or “price”, of each G$ coin will be low – in the tenths of a cent on the dollar to begin with. Our belief is that through offering free access to an instantly liquid, global basic income network, G$ coin will first be adopted in markets where smartphone-enabled populations currently live on less than US$10 a day. We believe that for these populations G$ coin could emerge as a useful complementary currency for peer-to-peer marketplaces and goods and services, as the network grows over time.

Claimers: Poverty Reduction Through Innovation

GoodDollar is designed to provide a payments infrastructure and complementary currency in G$ coin to unlock global commerce and barter at the cross-section of mobile-enabled and financially excluded. According to the World Bank, 80% of the world population survives on less than US$10 a day, half of the world’s population (3.4 billion people) lives on less than US$5.50 a day, and 10% of the world’s population (or 736 million people) live in extreme poverty –US$2 a day or less [24]. It is our belief that there is substantial demand for claiming “free money” on a daily basis, even at low-value amounts. Of the 736 million people living in extreme poverty, half live in just a handful of countries: Nigeria; India; Democratic Republic of Congo; Ethiopia; and Bangladesh, while cell phone penetration (and even smartphone penetration) rates in those countries are relatively high [25]. In Nigeria alone mobile penetration is 73% on feature phones, an estimated 25.5 million people already own a smartphone device, and smartphone penetration is projected to increase to 140 million (75% of the population) by 2025 [26].

Yet, mobile adoption has not translated into financial inclusion. According to The World Bank’s most recent calculations, 1.7 billion adults have no access to traditional financial services, even though one billion have a mobile phone and nearly half a billion have an internet connection [27]. Initially, we believe that GoodDollar will be most rapidly adopted and display the greatest impact for the one billion users at this cross-section of mobile-enabled and financially excluded. As we describe in the section on value adoption, it is our assumption that impoverished communities display the demographic and economic conditions to spearhead a “cluster” adoption pattern, a key hypothesis for GoodDollar’s network growth.

It is not trivial that for these populations we believe that GoodDollar will be an accessible on-ramp into digital assets for the first time, similar to the role that M-Pesa played in introducing digital money in Kenya and beyond. The GoodDollar wallet is an example of our efforts to lower the barriers to entry for putting digital assets into the hands of the target market.

As supported by the McKinsey Global Institute, these are the same target markets that are poised to become the early adopters of digital financial systems [28]. This is the same phenomenon that powered the rapid uptake of digital and mobile money systems across the African and Asian continents, with entire populations skipping over the traditional financial and banking systems. Notably, there are early indications of this adoption trend in digital assets. Some 13-16% of South Africans and 11% of Nigerians say they hold and use cryptocurrencies, compared to the 5% of United States citizens [29]. In these markets, there is less opportunity cost to onboard and adopt new value systems.

Supporters: “Staking for Good”

GoodDollar enables people to support a trickle-up economy whose growth philosophy is driven by adoption from the bottom upwards. Essentially, the GoodDollar economy is a paradigm shift from economic growth to date. While nation-states utilize the minting of new money as a tool to create and encourage economic growth, in the GoodDollar economy newly minted money flows directly to the hands of people. If like us, you agree with this approach, now you have the unique opportunity to support it through GoodDollar.

Supporters, then, perform a central function in releasing this “pent-up demand” and dormant capacity that is untapped at the bottom of the pyramid due to a lack of liquidity. Economists at PwC project that the release of this pent-up demand in emerging markets will fuel global economic growth at twice the rate in advanced nations in the next century, through powering new entrepreneurship, commerce and wealth creation [30]. We see GoodDollar basic income and the G$ coin as a key part of powering this growth engine over the coming years and decades and believe supporters will recognize this demand, too.

We have a fundamental belief that there are enough people who care not only about doing well for themselves, but care about doing good for others as well. Among individuals and organizations alike, there is a demand to deploy capital to impact-driven initiatives that seek human and/or environmental wins alongside financial gains. While over US$500 billion have been made in impact investments, few options exist for retail investors [31].

Evidence shows that this demand to “do well while doing good” will only increase with younger generations. Numerous studies bolster the trend that millennials and members of Gen Z are more committed to helping others than in previous generations. And one Sopact report suggests that nearly 7 out of 10 millennials in America are interested or very interested in impact investing [32]. The fallout from COVID-19 has accelerated this trend, like many others. Over three-quarters of millennials and Gen Z have become more sympathetic to the needs of others across the globe, and around two-thirds (67%) suggest that “we are all in this together”, reports Deloitte [33].

Meanwhile, in the blockchain universe, decentralized finance, or building new financial systems based on open smart contract protocols and “staking”, or the concept of locking capital to participate in a blockchain or protocol’s operations, have emerged as key examples of blockchain’s most successful use cases. From 2017 to 2020, over US$9 billion in value has been staked in protocols, including native staking blockchains such as Tron, Tezos and others [34].

In the Ethereum ecosystem, as of early August 2020 over US$3.62 billion worth of assets has been staked or locked across decentralized finance protocols, with an approximate 620% increase in the past 12 months [35]. We believe that as the decentralized finance ecosystem continues to mature, grow and improve the user experience, capital will flow from traditional finance to decentralized and open finance ecosystems.

At this intersection, we offer Supporters the opportunity to “stake for good” through leveraging new permissionless protocols to make market-rate returns while delivering on GoodDollar’s vision of global basic income. This offers a market-incentivized, no-donation model for Supporters that also provides an altruistic way to facilitate economic growth for others. Ultimately, it is at the intersection of these two growth vectors – of changing investor demand to deploy capital to socially beneficial projects, and the emergence of the decentralized finance ecosystems – that the GoodDollar economy will hit its scale.

Data taken from: August 5, 2020

[24] The World Bank, October 2018 [25] The World Bank, April 2020 [26] Newzoo, September 2018 [27] The World Bank, April 2018 [28] McKinsey Global Institute, September 2016 [29] Statista, June 2019 [30] PwC, February 2017 [31] GIIN Research, April 2019 [32] Sopact, July 2018 [33] Deloitte, May 2020 [34] Staking Rewards, ongoing [35], ongoing