We don’t have food stamps in Australia but they seem to work well in the USA – I don’t hear anyone complaining about them. Australia is trialling something similar for people who are receiving benefits and have repeatedly failed a drug test.
Universal income has received a lot of discussion recently, and is being championed by Silicon Valley.
And of course BitCoin is still doing well.
Why don’t we combine all 3? Everyone receives a universal income, via purpose-made crypto-currency, that can only be spent on certain items like food and rent.
Using crypto-currency to distribute universal income is not a new idea, and it has been discussed in a comprehensive article at Vice.
My two cents is that:
- it is easy to implement, and harder to cheat, for making it available for only certain categories like fresh food, public transport, and rent
- because it will be a government that creates the currency, it is more likely to be adopted as a general digital currency for everyone to use
- welfare payments and the salaries of government employees could be achieved with it. See my idea on this an Ordu
This for one of the behemoths that already have us logged in during most of our web journeys. Google, Facebook. Microsoft/MSN/Live/Hotmail…
When making a purchase or signing up for a subscription, you get a page pre-filled with all of your pertinent info:
- credit card
- mother’s maiden name
and so on…
The sign up page is controlled by Google, Facebook, whoever.
Each field has a statement alongside it specifying how the data would be used. This forms part of a legal agreement of the same. Not unlike when you get an Apple app and you are told which aspects of your iPhone/iPad would be open to them. But take it step further and state precisely what the data could/would be used for.
Just using tick-boxes and extended info from the merchant, you can quickly decide which data to let them use, and which to not.
The tick-boxes can be pre-filled, but if they are, the merchant must allow ratings from every user regarding how they feel about those preselections. Ask for too much unnecessarily and feel the backlash.
PayPal could do this. The key problem – credit card details – would be already out of the mix. That’s a bold sales pitch – we already protect your credit card details, let us protect everything else.
The first of two factors that I feel will be part of the payment system that topples PayPal’s crown is a no-brainer: make micro-payments a popular and real thing.
The other is something far less innovative.
When I look at purchases on my credit card statement, I see the name of a merchant and a dollar amount. Often the name is not one I recognise, and it can be difficult working out exactly where I made the transaction. And even if I know who the merchant is, there is nothing to tell me what I purchased.
Likewise, PayPal uses the same system. Yet in this data rich electronic age, there’s no reason why I can’t see the full details with one click:
- the merchant’s trading name
- their full contact details
- list of the items I purchased
- option to cancel (if it is a subscription)
Once we have all that, the data could be used for analysis – a home finance system.