FSCONS 2017 - Patrice Riemens - Cryptocurrency meets Universal Basic Income

Editor: David Noble
Category: Samfunn
Uploaded: 13 Dec 2018
Length: 0:41:30 (filler)
First broadcast: Jan. 10, 2019, 9 a.m.

The concept of an Universal, unconditional Basic Income (UBI) is getting increasing traction in many political and economic circles, this in view of the major ('disruptive') changes society in general and the 'labor market' in particular are set to experience in the (very) near future. Though in its essence absurdly simple - the name says it all - UBI forms a complex tangle of issues, and is the subject of fierce debate. Demands for UBI are an outcome of a general discontent with the present dispensation and especially the role of finance in it. UBI also narrowly connects with the rise of a new - 'and dangerous' social class-in-forming (-Guy Standing): the 'Precariat.'

Some developers of cryptocurrencies, often also members of the precariat themselves (even if the upper tier of it) -- being by definition adverse to the existing forms of (fiat) money, by now the private property of 'banksters' -- view UBI as being a uniquely appropriate platform to push thru the monetary transformation they envisage, by advocating to pay it out in (their) cryptocurrency . One of these cryptocurrencies, Duniter (1,2), even makes its own existence more or less contingent upon the existence of UBI.

I am not so sure this is a good idea, and this has to do with the still unresolved, and, immo, quite fundamental problems with the 'usability' of cryptocurrencies with the population at large, and the likewise largely unresolved economic issues with the concept of cryptocurrency itself in general.

Since doubt expresses uncertainty and a wish to discuss, I want to format my talk, just like I did when I discussed Bitcoin at the Göteborg FSCONS in 2015, as a dialogue with the audience, and then especially with the potentially 'tech solutionist' component in it.

(1) https://duniter.org/en/presentation/
(2) http://basicincome.org/news/2017/01/interview-time-digital-basic-income/

Recorded for FSCONS by NUUG.