The year 2017 has seen a few ideas gain in popularity. Two such ideas, cryptocurrency and basic income, will now be working together in a special social experiment.
A charitable project that was established by a lucky Bitcoin millionaire, The Pineapple Fund, is giving $5 million worth of Bitcoin to GiveDirectly, an organization that is managing the biggest basic income experiment in history throughout several villages in rural Kenya.
The organization, GiveDirectly, has shared that it plans to split the money between its core model of issuing lump-sum cash transfers and its 12-year basic income experiment.
The person responsible for establishing The Pineapple Fund, who goes by the alias, “Pine,” was an early investor in Bitcoin and has announced plans to donate almost all of the $86 million the fund has earned via Bitcoin ownership to charity.
Along with supporting basic income, The Pineapple Fund is also currently involved in several other initiatives that include providing clean water, researching psychedelic drugs for medicinal purposes and discovering cures for aging.
GiveDirectly has been managing its full basic income social project for almost a month. In November of this year, the organization began to enroll the 120 villages listed to receive basic income. Of those villages, 80 will receive $22 a month for 12 years. The rest of the 40 villages will receive the same amount of money, but for only two years. The charity has also established 100 villages as the control group, receiving nothing.
Before GiveDirectly launched its full study, it conducted a pilot study in just one village for over a year. Similar to the full study, the organization plans to continue its initial study for 12 years. Early results appear promising. Many of the recipients from the villages have shared that the money is life-changing.
Edwin Odongo Anyango, a 30-year-old day laborer, shares, “If this money were to be given to everybody, this would be a very good thing. What this money does is it creates hope. And when people have hope, they are happy.”
Villagers that receive the money say they’ve been able to use the money to buy things such as food, make repairs to their homes, cover school fees, and invest in their businesses.
Thanks to the generosity of The Pineapple Fund, this project can continue to be studied. Only time will tell if the concept of basic money is a viable solution.