London Blockchain Week Showcases the Good Side of Blockchain

The cryptocurrency technology is known for its ease-of-access, transparency, and decentralization. These very features also bring in accountability, which is much needed in today’s social good sector. The use of Bitcoin in the non-profit industry sector has already shown promising results, enabling people to donate to the needy, in a timely manner irrespective of the location.

The recently concluded London Blockchain Week 2017 showcased the cryptocurrency and distributed ledger technology in a different light. There is a popular misconception among many that Bitcoin and altcoins are for criminals who sell drugs and weapons on the dark net. But one look at few of the “blockchain for good” initiatives is enough to change their minds.

According to reports, few prominent participants at the London Blockchain Week 2017 included DonorCoin, Save the Children UK, Open Music Initiative and more. DonorCoin is an initiative of Rudi Kruger. The cryptocurrency platform has associated itself with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). The platform is working towards providing easy ways for the international agency to secure and channel funds to the developing countries for the benefit of children in those regions.

A financial news outlet covering London Blockchain Week 2017 quotes Rudi Kruger saying,

“The aim is to tokenize donations through a cryptocurrency, which would allow for complete transparency of the funds from point A to point Z. The blockchain will prevent cashing in of the token until it reaches the intended receiver, eliminating corruption up and down the donation value chain.”

Similarly, the Save the Children UK has partnered with Bitnation to provide financial help to the needy. The organization has been providing Bitcoin-funded debit cards to the beneficiaries, who could withdraw money at any ATM or cashpoint. Bitnation is already known for its blockchain identity and notarizing service that was implemented in the midst of the refugee crisis. Bitnation has been providing blockchain IDs to the refugees.

From humanitarian measures to arts, the Open Music Initiative creates a blockchain based rights management system to help artists monetize their work.

There are numerous examples of Blockchain being used for good causes. Whether it is the donations to the earthquake victims of Nepal or the Water Project’s goal to offer safe drinking water and sanitation in developing countries, cryptocurrency has played an important role. The London Blockchain Week 2017 has just provided a glimpse of the technology’s true potential.

Ref: IBT | Image: NewsBTC

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The virtual world is full of threats; Sybil attacks make a sizeable chunk of it. Especially with the increasing implementation and usage of peer-to-peer networks, the network infrastructure lies more exposed to such attacks than ever. Cryptocurrencies also use a form of peer-to-peer network, which naturally puts them on the list as well. The magnitude of threat is now being countered by the development and implementation of anti-Sybil protocols.

Proof of Individuality is one of the protocols currently being developed to counter Sybil attacks. The term Sybil is based on a book by the same title where the lead character suffers from Multiple Personality Disorder. Similarly, in its digital form, Sybil Attacks usually spoof the computer reputation systems by forging the identity of peers connected to the network. This leads to a large number of fake peers that overloads the network to influence the decisions and output of the system.

According to a recent post on Bitnation’s blog, the Proof of Individuality protocol is influenced by Bryan Ford’s draft paper titled Pseudonym Parties: An Offline Foundation for Online Accountability. The paper suggests the use of offline events – gatherings across the world – to verify the individuality of the participants.

Now, can the same process be applied in the virtual world? The answer is yes; it can be implemented by using a simple everyday chat application like Google Hangouts or the latest Microsoft Holoportation for a more refined 3D capture system currently developed by Microsoft Research.

Every participant of the hangouts conference, held once every month can be assigned with a Proof of Individuality token minus identifiers that could reveal his identity. These Tokens can be linked to a private key, with an expiration date of one month. Once the active period is over, the token – a smart contract by itself – will automatically schedule another round of virtual conference. Once the conference ends, a new token will be automatically assigned to the participant.

By ensuring that that there is no connection between the previous token and the fresh one, anonymity of the users can be maintained. The Bitnation article goes on to mention the rewarding mechanism that can be incorporated into the system, a type of crypto token that can be transferred from one participant to another. By setting a minimum token requirement for each participant, the individuality of the participant can be further confirmed.

The Proof of individuality protocol as described above will be built using smart contracts over Ethereum protocol and it can be used to ensure that the individual connections/identity is not being spoofed by a third party with malicious intent. even though there is a chance of actual connection/system being hijacked, the probability of such an occurrence is negligible. Even in such an unlikely scenario, the number of systems that needs to be hijacked to make even a small dent in the whole network is very high, hence impractical.

However, the practicality of using this exciting anti-Sybil solution for all blockchain-based applications is yet to be tested.

Ref: Bitnation | Anti-Sybil Protocol using virtual Pseudonym Parties | Image: Identity by Natasha Mayers (Flickr)

From multi-billion dollar financial institutions—including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Citibank—to retail giants such as Overstock, global industry leaders have examined the unique applications of the blockchain technology, also known as a distributed ledger technology.

A few months ago, Overstock CEO Patrick Bryne, for example, launched a blockchain-based asset and securities settlement system called Medici, as an alternative to traditional stock markets and exchanges. Today, Commonwealth Bank of Australia launched a blockchain network of their own to support their customers, institutional clients, and other banks in the country.

As Chain Inc. co-founder Adam Ludwin explains, Bitcoin is one example of a digitized asset on the blockchain network. Any unique assets such as gift cards, minutes on a mobile network, or shares in a company could replace Bitcoin as the medium of exchange.

You may want Bitcoin as a currency and a token in a particular use case. When it comes to Bitcoin itself, it doesn’t work without the entire solution which includes the blockchain, decentralization and miners,said Adam.

However, how might we digitize a gift card? a security? a minute on a mobile network? Then the question becomes, ‘If thats the asset, assuming we don’t need Bitcoin as the asset, what type of network do we need to deploy?’

Home Automation

An increasing number of software firms and startups such as Edgelogic are starting to offer blockchain-based home automation systems. Using the transparent and decentralized nature of the blockchain technology, users can easily track alerts of various sensors and triggers around the house.

For example, if a sensor detects a movement or triggers a fire alarm, it would record an unalterable message on the blockchain network. The system can also work as an automated deposit distribution system. When a repair needs to be done, the blockchain-based system asks the user for a confirmation and releases funds automatically.

Decentralized Voting

Another interesting application is decentralized voting or transparent governance. Startups such as Blockchain Tech Ltd and BitNation have developed Bitcoin-based funding distribution systems and decentralized voting methods to create fairer and more justified governance.

While many believe that Bitcoin and the blockchain network are limited to financial applications, an increasing number of startups have already taken the initiative to develop unique technologies, taking advantage of the decentralized and transparent nature of Bitcoin.

 

Bitnation was recently in the news for assisting European nations to process the refugees entering Europe and providing support to these refugees as well. We caught up with Ms. Susanne Tarkowski Tempelhof, the founder and CEO of Bitnation to know more about the organization, projects they are currently involved in and her future plans for Bitnation.

NewsBTC:  Please tell us a bit more about Bitnation

Susanne: Bitnation is the world’s first Virtual Nation providing real governance services. It’s powered by the blockchain technology, which enables us to provide the same services traditional governments provide, but cheaper, better, and more secure.

NewsBTC: How did the idea originate, and how far has it been scaled till now?

Susanne: I’ve been thinking about it for about a decade. My father was stateless, and I’ve always thought it was bizarre that just by the virtue of having been accidentally born somewhere, we would be limited to choosing one governance service provider. I started to write about it back then – non-geographically contingent governance service aggregators – but like most people, I thought it was too insane of an idea, and to ‘change things from the inside’ was more realistic. Hence, I started working for other governments instead, in various conflict zones, for 7 years, until I progressively realized that not only did we not change very much, but the changes we did were often for the worse. Then Bitcoin came along — a perfect representation of an international technology not controlled by any government — which inspired me to give the idea another shot, first through talking and writing about it – I called it the Googlement back then – and finally through creating it: Bitnation.

NewsBTC: What is the big plan you have for Bitnation?

Susanne: As I outlined in my TEDx Talk 2012, my vision was to see a world of thousands or millions of nations competing through offering better services, rather than through the use of violence. Bitnation aims to be a prototype for that, in the same way Bitcoin is a prototype for cryptocurrencies. Everything we do is 100% open source code, so anyone can fork it to create their own nation. We’re trying to build a solid backbone that empowers others to start their own variations of it, the most important components being the ID and Dispute Resolution system.

NewsBTC: What made you venture into Bitnation, and is there a connection between Bitnation and bitcoin?

Susanne: About 3 years ago, late 2012, I decided to make a reality of my long-time dream. I had reached a moment in my life where I no longer thought the current system was ethical or sustainable, and a level of personal fatigue of trying to change things through a government I no longer believed in, or even liked. Initially my vision of it was more similar to that of an international insurance company, of sort, providing more services than just health insurance, but also things like security, education, etc. – through networks of local subcontractors. Starting that would have been immensely challenging, because it would require so much financial backup from large banks or whatever. So I decided to start with writing a book about it first to explain the idea, and start the nation afterwards. But during the course of doing research for my book, I stumbled across a blog post called Lex Cryptographia, about dispute resolution on the blockchain, and then a few weeks later I heard about Decentralized Autonomous Corporations (DACs), and then I discovered Ethereum, CounterParty, Coloured Coins, NXT etc., and within a few months I realized I could do basically 75% of everything I had planned to do, but through the blockchain technology instead, cutting out nearly all start-ups costs. Hence, I decided to just do it, and write about it after the fact, instead.

NewsBTC:  Can you share a few instances where Bitnation has been used so far?

Susanne: We did the first world citizenship on the blockchain, the first marriage, birth certificate, land title and Emergency ID. Our public Alpha (bitnation.world) is still on testnet so we don’t have any actual users now, we’re still testing it and improving it to make sure it’s secure. To date, our largest adoption right now has been for the refugee emergency services we’ve set up to respond to the current refugee crisis in Europe.

Through using extremely simple technological means, we set up an Emergency ID to prove family links (because family links gives people the right to apply for Asylum in different countries). The ID is free, generates a QR code, and is timestamped on the blockchain. Then we’ve added additional services such as a Bitcoin VISA Debit Card, since they’re basically all unbanked in countries where digital payment systems is the standard, and a map and a forum to track lost family members, safe locations, dangerous locations, etc.

The initiative – Bitnation Refugee Emergency Response (BRER) – has quickly gained popularity, as it’s one of the peer-to-peer options available while governments finds themselves in a political deadlock, incapable of action.

NewsBTC:  Can you please tell us more about your team?

Susanne: We have an incredible team consisting hundreds of volunteers from all over the world. Watching the openness and creativity of the community has been nothing short of humbling. On our Slack chat people present their visions and ideas, and groups forms spontaneously around them, everyone adding value in different ways, whether it’s through coding, or marketing, or just critical thinking and ideas. It has truly restored my hope in humanity.

NewsBTC: Future plans for Bitnation?

Susanne: In the short term, what we’re trying to accomplish is: 1. Creating a better Open Source development environment, mainly through creating better documentation. 2. Take the Alpha to Beta, through incorporating the two most important functions; a good ID system, and a dispute resolution system (along with UI/ UX improvements, naturally) 3. Continue to help refugees, and improving the services, as it’s the most currently urgent problem and 4. Go full Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) through providing more capable structures where anyone can just join, add value, and be reimbursed for it. Those are the short term goals (1-3 years). I have already mentioned our long term goals while answering the first question.

NewsBTC: How have the governments and other authorities reacted to Bitnation so far?

Susanne: We’ve been approached by several governments who are interested in using the blockchain technology for themselves. We’ve always had a standoff-ish attitude to that, as our aim is to provide voluntary DIY solutions, not one imposed top-down by governments. You know, rather create Uber or Bitcoin, than lobby the Government backed Taxi cartels or the FED to ‘change things from the inside’.

To quote Buckminster Fullers:

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

that’s Bitnation’s modus operandi.

NewsBTC:  What are the challenges faced by Bitnation in today’s world?

Susanne: The main challenge as I see it, is to explain how the Bitcoin and blockchain technology works. We try to explain it in very simple ways, using familiar terms – such as a decentralized database and a public ledger, like an international public notary secured by cryptography, etc. People understand it, but it’s still so new, so it takes time for people to realize how easy and efficient it is. To many people, it sounds ‘too good to be true’ type thing.

I believe the best way to communicate it is simply through making people use it in easy, practical ways. Our Emergency ID is one of those ways. We’re very focused on UI/ UX, and market adoption, which we believe will add significant value to the cryptocurrency ecosystem as a whole.

NewsBTC:  Funding status? Have you raised any funds so far? Any future plans of fundraising?

Susanne: Even though, like many other projects in this space, we were unfortunate enough to get attacked by a handful of nasty trolls when we did our initial crowdsale a year ago, more than 200 individuals invested in Bitnation. We’re very grateful for the confidence, and we’ve done everything to produce the most out of those funds. But now it’s the time to take the initial Alpha to a Beta level, and test it on the market. Because adoption rates, by the end of the day, is what matters.

NewsBTC:  Has Bitnation entered into any partnerships so far? What about in the future?

Susanne: We’ve partnered with Horizon and the Blocknet, which has provided us with a lot of support, they’re two great organizations we truly enjoy working with. We’ve built on the Horizon technology, while Blocknet will permit us in the future to move seamlessly between different blockchains. We’re working on a few other partnerships as well, which will be announced in the next months.

NewsBTC:  Anything you would like to share with our readers?

Susanne: We’re always open to new contributions, team members, and partners. In the DAO spirit, we welcome (nearly!) everyone — when I say nearly, I mean people who add value, not people who subtracts value – to the mission as a whole. Hence, if you feel inclined, please sign up to our team on our website bitnation.co, join our slack chat to contribute with your own ideas, or become an ambassador getting down and dirty with solving social problems in your own area. Forward thinking tech-optimist mavericks are especially welcome. And if you got JS skills, you’re WANTED!

The media sensation surrounding Aylan Kurdi–who drowned on the way to Greece, fleeing Syria for a new life in Canada–has brought renewed focus to the refugee issue. Thanks to violent conflicts in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and across northern Africa, more than 300,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean sea for Europe this year, already up almost 50% percent from 2014. 2,500 people are confirmed to have died this way, a crisis of immense proportions.

Governments around the world have shown little concern. Europe’s current wave of right-wing politics has led to a crackdown on immigration, even in countries where citizens are willing to take them into their own homes. Even oil-rich Arab states have offered to take in exactly zero refugees, despite their shared religious faith with and close proximity to conflict zones.

Meanwhile, private enterprise is leading the way. Billionaire Naguib Sawiris has offered to buy an island to house the refugees, but there will be numerous regulatory problems and a price tag of up to $100 million. If we want to solve this problem we’re going to some need new tools, and good ones.

Bitcoin is one of those tools. Being faster and cheaper than practically any other method, fundraising to help refugees via Bitcoin is far easier and more effective than traditional financial avenues. Its borderless nature means that donations can be sent from anywhere to anywhere in the world, no matter how badly the target country’s financial infrastructure is damaged.

Borderlessness also has more direct benefits for refugees. Typically, fleeing a conflict zone requires leaving most of one’s valuables behind; bitcoins can be easily taken wherever they’re going, and cannot be confiscated at the border as easily as cash or other belongings. They can convert to local currency as needed along the journey, and bypass any financial sanctions against their countries.

Groups like BitNation are actively working to facilitate this, providing government-like services to anyone regardless of nationality. They’re working on things like insurance, basic income, and other advanced uses of the blockchain, and have already produced blockchain-based ID cards. The only question is where they will be accepted.

That’s where offers like Sawiris’s come into play. Blockchain technology would make it far easier to set up such a microstate, and ease the migration process for refugees. This possibility is being explored at places like Fort Galt, which have already managed such land negotiations. Others such as the Seasteading Institute have forgone negotiation altogether, and instead are planning independent states in international waters.

Cryptocurrency will be welcome at all of these places, and crucial to building a world unhindered by border restrictions. Some of them will be up and running soon, and refugees will be welcome.

This year I had the honor of presenting at the BIL conference in Vancouver, BC, a decentralized and open source alternative to TED. My topic, of course, was the blockchain revolution. Everything went very well, but there was one question from the audience that made me think:

“Don’t you think replacing humans is a bad idea,” she said, referring to my explanation of decentralized autonomous organizations. “Wouldn’t it be safer to have a person watching over it? What if there’s a glitch?”

“God, no,” I replied, with a short explanation. “People suck.”

I didn’t have enough time on stage to go into detail, but I really wish I had. From New Age spiritual types to paranoid conservatives, there are many people who fear the rise of technology. These fears are not only unfounded, but ironically counterproductive to human progress. Allow me to explain why.

People Are Slow

As a society, we need to come to terms with something: all of us are terribly inefficient. Whether we’re navigating rush hour traffic or unboarding a plane, we tend to do things slowly and in the wrong order, especially when we’re in groups.

Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) are the answer. Using smart contract technology, they can simulate corporations on the blockchain–for example, we could tell it to automatically grant Bitcoin loans to those with a sufficient credit rating, just like your neighborhood bank. Smart contracts can interact with each other, so the entire economy could be constructed this way.

This will eliminate the horrors of bureaucracy. A human hand can only sign or stamp a document so quickly, whereas a computer can cryptographically sign anything almost instantly. Nodes in a network communicate via the Internet far faster than humans via phone or email, and take seconds to make decisions that would otherwise require hours of meetings.

Since it’s frequently unclear who’s supposed to do what, a request sometimes bounces around every corner of an organization before arriving at the right desk. This results in an exponential loss in efficiency for every worker, and is the reason why governments take so long to pass legislation or process documents for their citizens. Every one we automate speeds up the assembly line.

People Make Mistakes

Every human in a system also adds to the possibility of human error. Documents are improperly signed or organized all the time, and people often miscommunicate in disastrous ways.  Computers, on the other hand, do not suffer from the ambiguity of human language. They are increasingly superior at trading stocks, diagnosing illnesses, and even forming and testing scientific hypotheses.

This problem even compromises the essential decision making of organizations. Human power structures are not usually meritocratic; despite the good intentions of anarcho-capitalists, even competitive, for-profit enterprises are mired in patronage and nepotism. Even in (relatively) transparent democracies, the electorate’s general ignorance results in the appointment of incompetent officials.

A little application of game theory goes a long way. We now have video games that can simulate running both companies and countries, and the AI is pretty smart. They’re already used for practice by the Pentagon and Wall Street, and will soon be capable of replacing administrators in all sectors of government and industry.

Even the worst calculator on the market is more accurate than a human being. The only time programs do make mistakes is when they’re coded improperly–glitches are also human errors. Eventually, artificial intelligence will take over programming, itself, reaching a state known as the singularity.

People Lie

Simply put, computers do what they’re told. Humans not only make mistakes, but often err on purpose for a variety of reasons.

The most common motivation is laziness. Humans do not like to work, which is why we’re forced to pay them–people work because they need to buy food, shelter and entertainment, unlike machines. As a result, we waste up to 3 hours a day at the office and underperform at every task.

Not only do machines not get tired, but they don’t get greedy, either. Corporate employees will steal resources, administrators will embezzle funds, and government officials are typically worse. A computer will never lose your bitcoins for the reason that it wants to go on vacation in the Caribbean.

This corruption has reached a horrific scale: more than 1 in 4 people now pay bribes a year, and up to 70% in countries such as Kenya. We cannot truly measure its extent, but it is potentially the greatest source of inefficiency in our society. People cannot be trusted with more than so much power.

Then what will people do? In a world without corporations and bureaucracies, where manufacturing is automated, many people will be unable to work. Programming will become a standard focus in school systems, but there will not be enough jobs for everyone.

The upside is, we won’t have to work: decentralized autonomous organizations will do it for us at subsistence cost. Basic income will become the norm by economic necessity, a trivial expense in comparison to civil dissent. People will focus on whatever they are most passionate about, which is a future we should be looking forward to.

Bitctoin is a dream coming true, a decentralized currency that stands in the face of fiat money which is smudged by the bloodshed of wars ignited by the world’s biggest central banks. It is a currency that can be indispensable to people in parts of the world who live under extreme oppressive measures forced by their governments. Bitcoin and the blockchain technology can bring light to people who don’t have access to financial services available to people in first world countries.

Bitcoin is, in my opinion, the most creative financial innovation in the past 500 years. It is an idea that is still unfolding before our eyes and will transform the world to a place that highlights a decentralized concept of economy and creates a brand new denationalized world order.

Bitcoins creating a whole new world

Central Banks in the Twentieth Century:

A central bank is a central entity whose responsibility is to oversee a country’s monetary system. The responsibilities of a central bank are diverse and include issuing and printing national currency and implementing low inflation rates, currency stability and full employment. The U.S. central banking system is known as the Federal Reserve System and is divided into 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks which are located in major states throughout the USA. The Federal Reserve is supposed to regulate and supervise banks, control interest rates and enforce monetary policy via selling and buying U.S. Treasury bonds.

Central banks jumped on the roles of maintenance of monetary stability as saviors of economic development and guardians of stability of the financial systems in the early years of the twentieth century. Central bankers all around the world weren’t favorably viewed throughout most of the twentieth century. Before World War II, the Gold Standard dominated the financial policy strategies, so central banks didn’t have much space to maneuver the world’s economy.

The interwar years witnessed the spread of the central bank model as hundreds of central banks were being minted all over the globe to alter the world’s financial landscape once and forever. However, the interwar period was dominated by deflation, the Great Depression and re-entrance and exit into the Gold Standard. The most powerful central banks in the world then, the U.S. and British central banks, were downsized when politicians detected the massive failure of these institutions to endorse economic growth and guarantee stability of the price of national currencies.

The central banking financial model led to two revolutions in the twentieth century:

  • The first revolution took place during the years that followed World War II. During that period, monetary policy and central banks endorsed fiscal policy which evolved to become the mostly means used to influence financial outcomes. The influence of central banks reached a nadir as they became more or less government-dependant. It was also this period that witnessed the spread of central banks in parts of the developing world which were influenced by the role models of central banks in the industrial world. However, in the developing worlds, central banks were more or less subservient to the policies of the leaders of these countries.
  • The second revolution occurred during the Great Inflation that took place in the 1970s and 1980s. This is when governments started legislation of laws that guaranteed independence of central banks in a way that could help lower and stabilize inflation rates. The new sentinel role of central banks in creating economic policies was a prominent expansion in the monetary authority of central banks which was debated by academics during that period. As controlling inflation was seemingly successful in solving some economic problems, inflation targeting spread as a plague all around the world after being introduced by New Zealand in the late 1980s.

 

On the other hand, following 2008’s global financial crisis, central banks failed to alleviate the collapse of many economies all over the world, so many have started to think that the 21st century must yield innovative changes to the conventional central banking model.

Decentralization and bitcoin could be the Solution to the World’s Economic Crisis:

If the world’s economy has collapsed from top downwards, then reform should better start from below all the way up to the top. Many think, and I am one of them, that central banks are responsible for the financial problems and poverty that infests many parts of the world today.

Friedrich Hayek, who won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1974, also thought that central banks were a major source of the world’s financial problems and he might be the first to think that solving this problem can lie in the use of decentralized currencies. He proposed that banks should issue their own currencies based on their owned assets and as so, various banks’ currencies could compete and the market would then elect the most valuable ones. Of course, Hayek’s ideas were mocked and laughed upon then, but 35 years later, Bitcoin was born to deliver Hayek’s dream into reality.

A decentralized currency would downsize the role of central banks that manipulate exchange rates, interest rates and ignite conflicts all over the world. This is not just a mere theory, it is something that has been tested and has proven to be 100% true. Yes, although bitcoin price has been always criticized for being unstable, no one can deny that bitcoin has created a financial system that has knocked out the US Dollar; in less than 5 years, the value of a single bitcoin is 280 times greater than that of a single USD, so this can never be denied; decentralization is the magical solution to the world’s financial crisis.

Bitcoin is really creating a brand new world that has just started to unfold before our eyes. The blockchain technology can also help man break free from government centralization. Now, people are getting married on the blockchain and even more surprisingly, bitnation has started to issue IDs and legal documents that are documented on the blockchain. So, can bitcoin really change the world and also ignite government decentralization? Share your thoughts on this with us…..

References:

  • Friedrich Hayek’s Wikipedia Page. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Hayek
  • Financial Crises, Reform and Cetral Banking: Establishing the Federal Reserve. Prepared by the Economic Education Group of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Lousis. January 2011. http://research.stlouisfed.org/pageone-economics/uploads/newsletter/2011/201101_ClassroomEdition.pdf

A new decentralized app,or ‘DApp’, is aiming to challenge the idea that we need government taxation and welfare to take care of the poorest and most needy members of society – through an ambitious project to provide a basic income for anyone who needs it.

The Basic Income project was announced this week by so-called ‘Governance 2.0’ service Bitnation, and is being developed in partnership with Johan Nygrenm of Reslience.Me. The idea behind the project is simple – to provide welfare support to people who need a little extra help during the tough times in their life, funded through voluntary payments (in the form of optional transaction fees) rather than compulsory taxation, and to offer this to anybody who chooses to join the ‘Bitnation’ no matter where in the world they happen to live.

This will be the first announcement from Bitnation, a ‘decentralized government’ initiative which seeks to provide a borderless and voluntary alternative to traditional government built on block chain technology, since a high profile disagreement at the start of the project’s crowd-funding campaign which saw several resignations from developers worried that CEO Susanne Tarkowski Templeholf was rushing to market in the face of significant legal dangers. Ultimately Bitnation aims to offer a wide range of services traditionally provided by governments, including passports, marriage, contract enforcement, company incorporation, land and property deeds, social services, diplomacy and more – all on a voluntary basis and secured by decentralized technologies.

Leading the Basic Income project will be Johan Nygrenm, a Swedish student who has previously been working on the concept under the title of ‘P2P dividend protocols’, using the Ripple protocol technology, from his website Resiliance.Me. Nygrenm’s aim, according to his website, is to create the “killer app for social resilience :)”