Digitalization and modern technologies can make an unconditional basic income possible. This is explained here using an example that also shows companies how to break new ground with digitization and implement new models convincingly and profitably.
I recently came across an article on the subject of basic income, which contrasts basic income with digitization. As a self-employed entrepreneur, I am a proponent of basic income, but I have never considered the connection between basic income and digitization from this perspective until now. Now, however, I would like to not only share this thought here as well, but also take it even further: Supporting basic income with the help of digitalization.
Why a basic income?
In the above-mentioned article, it is once again made clear that many jobs will be lost through digitization and will no longer exist in the future. Business and politics spread fear and terror with this message, which leads to the fact that many employees do not see digitization as an opportunity but as an enemy. The article, on the other hand, shows that with the help of a basic income, employees need fear less for their existence. Thanks to a minimal basic income, the most important living costs can be covered and thus the employee’s existential fear can be taken away to a certain extent. Thus he has the possibility, for example with a further training, which costs time and money, to create a new income possibility.
But not only employees with these fears can be helped with a basic income. Furthermore, young and innovative entrepreneurs who want to take advantage of digitalization and its opportunities can use the basic income to realize their ideas and thus support the economy with new business models. Again, the basic income helps to cover the minimal living costs of the entrepreneur.
Of course, I am aware that our world does not only consist of honest workers and innovative entrepreneurs. People who have neither the purpose nor the will to work would receive the basic income they are entitled to in the same way with today’s approach and could spend it for other purposes.
Regulating basic income using blockchain technology
In order to avoid misuse of the unconditional basic income, appropriate rules must be determined and implemented. This is certainly a task for politicians and representatives of employees and employers. However, the question arises as to how these rules can not only be implemented in reality, but also how compliance with them can be ensured. On MoreThanDigital, various possibilities for using blockchain technology have already been reported. Various applications from the public sector have been described and the use of blockchain technology can also find a pioneering approach in relation to basic income. So-called smart contracts are used for this purpose. A smart contract is an option contract between two anonymous partners, which is stored as code on the blockchain. A predefined event makes the contract valid and thus executes the code. This allows regulators to use the blockchain to understand and regulate activities in the market while maintaining the anonymity of an individual.
A case study
For a better understanding of the application with the blockchain technology for the unconditional basic income, I would like to explain this with a case study.
Let’s assume that one rule for the unconditional basic income is that a certain amount of money must be used for the use of the mandatory health insurance. Each person who has been qualified for the unconditional basic income receives a corresponding smart contract on the personal blockchain, let’s call this the GK wallet here. The smart contract is now programmed on the blockchain so that when the monthly health insurance premium has been paid, the amount of say 200 CHF is transferred to the account of the GK-Wallet holder. The citizen now pays the premium to the health insurance company, which confirms its receipt. This confirmation is in turn written to the GK Wallet holder’s blockchain, an immutable and authenticated entry. Thus, the condition of the smart contract is fulfilled and the payout of 200 CHF to the account is triggered.
With this very simple system, it can now be ensured that every citizen uses the basic income for the original benefit, namely the cost of living. The citizen is still free to choose the health insurance that best suits his needs and to add additional insurance, should he wish to do so. The amount due to him and paid is always the same and is paid only when he has fulfilled his obligations.
This approach not only helps the individual citizen, the state is freed from costly control tasks and can be sure that the predetermined rules and expectations are not abused. This approach also highlights the opportunities for companies to use digitization and cutting-edge technology to implement new approaches and models profitably and convincingly.
A win-win situation for everyone, thanks to digitization.