Today Anna Stone joins us to discuss how Good Dollar is creating the world’s first digital basic income.
Anna is an accomplished leader in building better, fairer and free-er money for a digitizing world. Anna currently acts as the strategy and go-to-market lead for GoodDollar.org, a social enterprise sponsored by eToro.com that delivers a digital basic income to over 60,000 people in 180 countries. Prior to moving into the blockchain and digital asset space, Anna spent 6 years as a growth and marketing leader for enterprise technology companies in the field of big data and artificial intelligence. She holds a MA in Global Political Economy and Business from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, and a BA in Philosophy from Dartmouth College.
Website – https://www.gooddollar.org/
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/annalstone/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/therealstone
*Disclaimer. None of this information is financial advice.
The following transcript was created using artificial intelligence. There will be some grammatical errors below.
00:00:02:28 – 00:00:16:16
Richard Carthon: Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Crypto Current, your host here, Richard Carthon, and today I got a really special guest all the way out in Tel Aviv, Israel, working on a really cool project that I’m excited to learn more about. We have Anna. How are you doing today?
00:00:17:13 – 00:00:21:19
Anna Stone: I’m great, Richard. How are you? Happy to be here with you in the Crypto Current community.
00:00:22:04 – 00:00:31:18
Richard Carthon: Thank you so much. Well, excited to spend some time with you, really excited to learn more about Good Dollar and everything you have going on with that. Before we dive into that, please tell us a little bit of background about yourself.
00:00:33:18 – 00:01:54:26
Anna Stone: Sure, Richard. I’d say I’m both a New Yorker, I’m a New Yorker first and foremost, which means that I’m both an idealist about how amazing the world can be, but also a realist that’s living in the harsh realities very much informs my professional background. I actually started my career working in low income consumer finance at some of the world’s largest nonprofits, The Clinton Foundation Save the Children. Saw very early on that nonprofits alone would not solve challenges that we as a society face, such as inequality or hunger or health disparities, and moved my career into business. My second degrees are in global political economy and business. So, I’ve always been someone who’s interested in looking at the big picture and solving the biggest challenges of our time. Worked in technology for the past 10 years, most of it spent in enterprise selling software to executives. And somewhere around 2017, I read about Bitcoin and Ethereum, along with a number of other people during that period of time.
00:01:54:28 – 00:01:55:13
Richard Carthon: Right.
00:01:55:15 – 00:02:14:15
Anna Stone: And I couldn’t unsee it. I felt like I had come home to roost in terms of this new market sector being the future of finance. And through these different types of technologies, potentially, if we design it, a pathway to a better financial future.
00:02:15:03 – 00:02:50:01
Richard Carthon: It’s amazing your background and just like the genuine care that I can just already hear from you of like, one, working in equitable places where you have the well-being of others put in front, right? And wanting to create a more equitable world around you. And one of the things that you know, even before we started this interview, we talked about was the purpose of UBI. I think one of the driving forces behind Good Dollar is this you know, understanding of Universal Basic Income. Could you kind of spend a little time expanding upon that?
00:02:51:06 – 00:03:29:01
Anna Stone: First of all, Universal Basic Income, popularly paraphrased as UBI, is not a new idea. It’s an idea that’s the policy proposal, it’s been around since the 1700s and it’s the idea that every person on an individual level should have some sense of financial security, right? So that every single person just for being alive has basic economic assets upon which to build their life and build their future.
00:03:30:24 – 00:04:17:15
Anna Stone: Those of you guys who listen to this podcast, Andrew Yang was a Democratic presidential candidate in the run for 2020. He popularized UBI very much during the course of his campaign. He became very well known for his policy of a thousand dollars a day, but since that period of time, especially with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve actually seen Universal Basic Income move from a fringe idealistic utopian concept into an actual policy proposal that’s being taken seriously by a number of different national governments.
00:04:17:17 – 00:05:07:09
Anna Stone: Actually, over the course of the year, we’ve seen at least 20 different countries begin to discuss implementing a Universal Basic Income policy in a real concrete way. Whether that happens remains to be seen, but certainly the idea is that every person should have some fundamental assets that are given to them in the form of cash unconditioned by their age, sex, employment status, religion, etc., upon which to cover their basic needs, have some sense of financial well-being to stand on and from that baseline level of living, grow into being the person that they want to be.
00:05:08:05 – 00:05:44:25
Richard Carthon: And that’s really interesting, especially what you’re saying with the timing of everything. I mean, I think COVID has definitely shined a giant light on a potential need for this and for people to be able to protect themselves in the event that they can no longer work, not because of not wanting to or not being able to, but just the need of safety and of following local protocols. And so, you know, as we look at Good Dollar, and you know, as we begin to talk about that a little bit more, was it created with UBI as the focus or is that one of the components of it? Like, tell us a little bit more about Good Dollar and what y’all are doing with this project.
00:05:45:19 – 00:06:43:18
Anna Stone: Sure. So, it’s a great question. I would say Good Dollar is the foundation and the protocol that we’ve pulled together is really based off of this core idea, inspired by the philosophy of UBI, which is that every single person deserves basic economic assets. They deserve a chance to play the game, okay? Not everyone gets to be a millionaire, Not everyone gets to be a billionaire. That’s not the rules of engagement or the goal of the policy, it’s actually that every single person deserves a shot to get up at that, right? So, that’s very much at the core of what the Good Dollar Foundation is about and the protocol that we’ve pulled together. Now, the goal here is actually to update this concept of UBI for a fully global digital world, right?
00:06:43:28 – 00:06:44:13
Richard Carthon: Okay.
00:06:44:15 – 00:07:18:14
Anna Stone: And so, what we’re talking about is a decentralized basic income network that is powered by its members that its market incentivized, okay? So, it brings in capital and rewards capital and therefore creates a global basic income network that constantly incentivizes new members to join, while also producing distributions of money for its members and for its users, okay?
00:07:18:16 – 00:07:19:01
Richard Carthon: Gotcha.
00:07:19:03 – 00:07:56:00
Anna Stone: So, the idea is actually, we’re focused off of building a people powered basic income system, okay? That is not waiting for governments, it’s not bound by nation states, but rather is showing the power of the collective of us as individuals or as companies, but really based on a human level to create a system that gives money to every human being with a cell phone. And that’s really the foundation behind what we’ve done.
00:07:56:13 – 00:08:33:07
Anna Stone: Good Dollar itself is a financial model that creates a way to pay for basic income, it’s a Crypto asset that we distribute every day. We also have a few other software components that make it easy and friendly to access the smart contracts of the protocol. But at the end of the day, it’s focused off of providing every human being with a cell phone, some amount of daily digital income. We distribute it daily, but that’s the core principle behind it.
00:08:33:22 – 00:08:53:07
Richard Carthon: Wow, there’s a lot to unpack there. And the place where I want to start is, you know, walk me through, I am a listener of this podcast today and I want to receive some of this income, right? So, walk me through the steps of how I get involved on Good Dollar and can start to receive some of this.
00:08:53:28 – 00:09:54:18
Anna Stone: First of all, to get started, it’s really simple. Go to Wallet.GoodDollar.org and from there you begin your sign-up process to create your wallet from within which you can send and receive good dollars, but most importantly, where you receive your daily digital income distribution. One of the cool things we’ve done with our wallet is that, first of all, we’ve designed it for non-technical, non-Blockchain, non-Crypto people, which means that it integrates with a Google login, it integrates with your Facebook login. We’ve tried to make it as simple as possible to really smooth that onboarding challenge of people who are immediately turned off by the need to basically store 12 words, manage a private key, aren’t necessarily prepared to face all of the challenges that come with the on-chain Blockchain experience, right?
00:09:54:29 – 00:09:55:14
Richard Carthon: Right.
00:09:55:16 – 00:10:18:15
Anna Stone: But when you actually go through, you create your wallet and then one of the things we’ll ask you to do is actually our non-KYC identity verification. So, the goal here is we’re giving out free money, we need to reduce fraud and spam in the system. We can’t have the same person coming on and creating 50 or 500 accounts, right?
00:10:18:23 – 00:10:19:08
Richard Carthon: Right.
00:10:19:10 – 00:10:43:16
Anna Stone: So, what we’ve done in order to overcome this is we actually ask people to take a short video of their face, so that we can confirm that you’re a unique user within our system. I’ll take this opportunity to clear up a common misconception, which is that if you’re getting a service for free, you are the product, right?
00:10:43:18 – 00:10:44:03
Richard Carthon: Right.
00:10:44:05 – 00:11:30:27
Anna Stone: So, it’s very natural that people feel this way. They’re naturally skeptical when a product asks you to take a video or take a photo of your face, it’s because we believe that then that data is being sold. I’ll tell you in the perspective of Good Dollar, it’s actually just so that we can ensure that we don’t have multiple people claiming multiple incomes, it’s to ensure the fairness of the system and we don’t store your face. The reason why we’ve done it this way is because as Good Dollar’s trying to solve for financial inclusion, we’re trying to solve for people that don’t have traditional bank accounts, so obviously, the process of KYC in and of itself is exclusive.
00:11:30:29 – 00:11:31:14
Richard Carthon: Right.
00:11:31:16 – 00:12:40:13
Anna Stone: It’s exclusive to people who don’t have digital identity, who don’t have bills, who don’t have those conventional markers of what qualifies as identification that’s sufficient for a financial institution. So, we’ve deliberately taken a path that solves for this, that allows for people who have a smartphone with a camera to essentially access our system, claim the digital income, and create their wallet. And from there, you’ll get into the Good Dollar wallet, you’ll see all the people there, you’ll have access to our global marketplaces, you’ll be able to send, receive and really experience the wonders of digital currency without having to buy in or take a real risk. You’ll be in your Good Dollar wallet claiming free money every day, beginning to explore the Good Dollar community, which provides the places of where and how you can spend it and joining over 60,000 people from over 180 countries that are the beginning stages of our growing beautiful global community here.
00:12:40:27 – 00:13:02:29
Richard Carthon: And that’s awesome. And there’s two directions I want to bring this in in a moment. I want to start with, of the 60,000 people that have been able to come on, can you give us a case study or a person who was able to come on, utilize this and the results of them being able to have access to this income to now go and make purchases that have been very helpful for them.
00:13:05:06 – 00:14:22:24
Anna Stone: Sure. So, I’ll actually share with you two examples. One is more traditional entrepreneurship, I would say, so using Good Dollar as a tool that helps him further his efforts. So, we have one community member who, I won’t reveal his name because he’s a little private, he’s a budding Web 3 entrepreneur, okay? And he’s looking for a range of ways that he can both bring people into his business, which is focused on peer-to-peer services, while also growing his brand, etc.. So, one of the cool things that he’s done is he actually uses Good Dollar as a tool to further his other initiatives, okay? So, he’s been using good dollars basically to incentivize participation in his contest. He’s been using Good Dollar, he’s created a new gift card business around good dollars. He’s trying out a few other new products, I think specifically for developers. So, he’s a great example of actually, once we lower the barriers to entry of what’s required to experiment, how can we create value, right?
00:14:23:01 – 00:14:23:16
Richard Carthon: Right.
00:14:23:18 – 00:14:37:16
Anna Stone: So, this is an amazing example, I think an amazing example of just how innovative people can be when you give them a relatively low risk way to experiment, right?
00:14:37:18 – 00:14:38:03
Richard Carthon: Right.
00:14:38:05 – 00:14:53:03
Anna Stone: So, this guy actually is working on around three different businesses right now, he’s using Good Dollar as a tool that’s helping him kickstart that. So, it’s not that necessarily Good Dollar is his direct revenue source, right?
00:14:53:11 – 00:14:53:26
Richard Carthon: Right.
00:14:53:28 – 00:15:02:12
Anna Stone: It’s that Good Dollar is a tool that he’s using in order to further promote what does give him revenue, right?
00:15:02:21 – 00:15:03:06
Richard Carthon: Yeah.
00:15:03:08 – 00:15:15:16
Anna Stone: So, I think this is a fascinating example of how a digital income coin is used to actually promote more economic activity than just the basic needs itself, right?
00:15:15:18 – 00:15:16:03
Richard Carthon: Right.
00:15:16:05 – 00:15:31:26
Anna Stone: So, that’s one use case that I love that shows the potential of, we talk a lot in the Crypto space about money as a tool, money as a tool. Well, here is actually an example where money works as a tool because it’s not money that he’s paying cash out right for, right?
00:15:32:00 – 00:15:32:15
Richard Carthon: Yeah.
00:15:32:17 – 00:15:49:14
Anna Stone: So, I love that. The other interesting example case study that’s actually coming from a local case study here in Israel this week is, that I just heard about a few days ago, is a social entrepreneur who works for a soup kitchen for homeless people.
00:15:50:10 – 00:15:50:25
Richard Carthon: Okay.
00:15:50:27 – 00:16:39:25
Anna Stone: And he’s actually used Good Dollar in a similar way, which is that, first of all, he opened a Good Dollar wallet on behalf of this organization. So every day, he created a wallet, he’s active in the Bitcoin community here, he heard about us, started to claim good dollars every day on the behalf of the soup kitchen, right? With the intention of donating it to them one day. Lo and behold, he creates a Facebook post that says, “Hey, I’m doing this collecting on behalf of the soup kitchen, if anyone else is interested let me know.” He managed to raise hundreds of thousands of good dollars. Good dollars are not equal to one dollar, okay?
00:16:39:27 – 00:16:40:12
Richard Carthon: Yeah.
00:16:40:14 – 00:17:22:03
Anna Stone: So, he managed to raise hundreds of thousands of good dollars from members of the Good Dollar community that he’s never met, will never meet or globally, but really, just for people who are inspired by his offer, his innovation, his passion and his desire to do something good. So, not only was he able to source donations globally, but in addition to that, so many people have been moved by his story that now he’s actually raising local funds in Fiat currency with his story of how he used Good Dollar.
00:17:22:13 – 00:17:56:14
Anna Stone: So, I think these are really just, these aren’t necessarily examples of I took my good dollars and I used it to buy food, although we do have a few stories like that, but I think these are the really interesting use cases that show what’s possible when you throw something out into the world and you really give the masses an opportunity to experiment and use Good Dollar as a tool to further their own economic activities. And for each one of us, that’s different and that’s really the idea behind cash and the flexibility of basic income in the first place.
00:17:56:22 – 00:18:47:18
Richard Carthon: For sure. You know, the word that just keeps coming in my head, and first of all, two great use cases, wow, like great stories definitely can connect with both of those, but innovation. The word innovation just keeps coming to my head. And when you think about what does it take to innovate, usually it’s capital, usually it’s access to capital and having a way to use that resource to further the innovative ways that you can create opportunity. And you know, this Good Dollar is already showing different ways that it’s allowing people to innovate and create new opportunities within their own ecosystems. And something that I want to focus on really quickly is something that we had when we first began talking before we got on the show about how Good Dollar is philanthropically based, right? So, like a true nonprofit organization, can you kind of speak to that a little bit?
00:18:48:14 – 00:19:43:01
Anna Stone: Sure. So, Good Dollar is both a foundation and a protocol, but I want to point out that Good Dollar Foundation is not financed at all by the protocol. The Good Dollar nonprofit is sponsored by eToro.com. E Toro is one of the largest capital markets platforms, extremely popular in Europe, has Crypto trading in the U.S. and Asia, over 17,000,000 users globally, and we share the same founder, Yoni Assia. So, Yoni has always been driven by a vision to really enable and teach people how to invest and access capital markets. I almost said the term democratizing finance, but that’s got a really bad rap from Robin Hood over the past 24 hours or so.
00:19:43:03 – 00:19:43:18
Richard Carthon: Yes.
00:19:44:28 – 00:20:33:14
Anna Stone: So, I didn’t say that. I would say the focus is really about how do we get onboard people into capital markets?, How do we educate people about stocks?, How do we give them, I said stocks, but I mean stocks and all new emerging digital assets? And how do we actually start to solve for financial inclusion by actually solving for financial literacy and financial access? And so Good Dollar I would say, is really the social good nonprofit arm of that mission. We’re funded fully by donations, and I think a project like this, which is purely philanthropic in nature, can only exist because of this structure.
00:20:35:03 – 00:21:11:18
Anna Stone: I will say that what sets the Good Dollar Foundation and the Good Dollar protocol apart, however, is the protocol model that actually backs. The currency is focused off of a non-donation, non-philanthropic model to doing social impact, right? So, the idea is actually how can we incentivize capital continuously to fund and fuel the system in a way that continues to scale?
00:21:11:26 – 00:21:51:20
Anna Stone: So, the foundation, so it’s interesting because the protocol is all about sustainability, but the foundation and the nonprofit itself is 100 percent funded by donations, which I believe sets us apart from a lot of other Crypto projects in the space and also frees us to really think about, Okay, how can we use this new exploding space of DeFi not just to do good for me and my business and do it before there’s a huge crash, but actually, how can I leverage these tools and this amazing DeFi infrastructure in a way that produces more good for more people through tinkering with these money pipes?
00:21:52:01 – 00:22:22:21
Richard Carthon: Right. And, you know, you brought up the buzz word, of course, of DeFi, but I think it’s really cool the fact that you’re able to use a true nonprofit structure that raises the money to fuel your protocol, but then utilizing a cool thing such as DeFi to innovate and show these people who download your wallet and use your infrastructure to be able to keep innovating and doing all the things that you’ve laid out for us today. So, you know, I think this is a really cool project.
00:22:22:23 – 00:23:06:06
Richard Carthon: For everyone listening, like what’s said, go and download the wallet, check it out, look at the marketplace, see the different ways that you’d be able to get your good dollars and use them for various causes or for what have you, but it’s a pretty straightforward way to get it done. I personally am going to go download this and use this and see all the various ways I can start getting involved. I think what’s also great is that, you know, you have, what? Sixty thousand users, over 180 countries and I’m sure that’s going to continue to grow and multiply. So, you’re getting another one definitely today out of me, but looking forward to seeing how this is going to keep expanding. You know, what is kind of on the roadmap for how this is going to continue to grow as we go into 2021 and beyond?
00:23:07:29 – 00:23:49:24
Anna Stone: Our goal, and I won’t be shy about this is to reach a 1,000,000 users over the next year. And so, our focus is actually all about how do we continue to improve our incentive experience and our onboarding experience to accomplish that goal. This next week, we’re going to be releasing referral bonuses, so every member who invites a friend will get rewarded for that. But most critically, we’re going to be releasing the core elements of the protocol that make it like, truly community led and community governed.
00:23:49:26 – 00:24:38:21
Anna Stone: So over the next six months, we’re going to be releasing our governance model and based off of that, we’re going to be releasing a lot of the really interesting features and capabilities that enable us to really scale the capital and the protocol for those of you who are interested in staking or using some elements of staking models, as well as expanding the number of places where you can access good dollars, use good dollars and a bunch of other community stuff. So, we’re going for huge user numbers and I think really continuing to prove out the concept, continuing to prove out that using this model provides income sustainably for more people.
00:24:39:12 – 00:25:01:01
Richard Carthon: Right. No, that’s great. And I mean, I’m excited for your roadmap. I think it is something worth watching and seeing how this continues to expand into all the new features that you just even brought up for more ways that this can be utilized. I think it’s really exciting and you know, I’m looking forward to seeing how all that goes. But thanks for sharing a lot of that with us.
00:25:01:03 – 00:25:50:19
Richard Carthon: I kind of want to go in just a quick, different direction really fast, just because I think it’s very topical for everything that’s going on with everything that has happened in this past week with the Robin Hood fiasco and to the moon for GameStop, AMC, all these other ones that kind of got shut down everything else and how that relates back over to Crypto. I think that we’re looking at a current environment where Cryptocurrency continues to prove how it is going to be needed in the future and how it truly gives power to the people and doesn’t necessarily just keep the power to the people up top. Can you kind of speak to how, you know, anything that you’re seeing kind of in this market or things that you think people should be looking out for in response to what has kind of just happened?
00:25:52:03 – 00:26:22:08
Anna Stone: Sure. So, I think that the interesting thing is that the media and the general financial press is shocked at what’s happened regarding GameStop shows that they haven’t been following Crypto. Each and every one of us who have been working in this space knows that retail movements move a market and people have the ability to organize in a decentralized way in unison to actually instrument major shifts.
00:26:22:10 – 00:27:10:03
Anna Stone: So, I think it’s less about what does GameStop teach us about trends in the market and more looking from the other side around, which is for those of us who have been working in decentralized finance or Cryptocurrencies or watching decentralized movements in the space and the ability for people to collectively organize and really vote with their funds is not a new concept. And rather, it’s one that we’re quite familiar with. And I think we’re actually on the verge of what will be a massive implosion point when these two forces really start to pick up more steam than they have already and really continue to collide.
00:27:10:12 – 00:28:14:16
Anna Stone: You know, we talk a lot about 2020 as the year of the rise of the retail investor, it’s going to be remembered in books as such. I think, as the movement of retail investors and not just investors, human beings, people, citizens, continue to learn more and more about money, the printing of money, the asset distribution, who actually benefits from stock market trading, etc.. We have people asking more and more questions than ever before about our money supply, who controls it and who gets to write the rules of the game. And so, I think we’re just you know, 2021 is going to be another crazy year for those of us who are really working at the forefront of these industries. It’s an exciting time to work in this space and to be alive and I think we have a little bit of a preview into what’s to come.
00:28:15:13 – 00:28:39:11
Richard Carthon: I agree. You know, I think you’ve made a lot of great points there, you know, one being that the power of the people to be decentralized and organize and move quickly is unprecedented, right? And just access to knowledge is people have access, now that most people have phones, you now have the Internet, you can really go look up anything that you want to.
00:28:39:14 – 00:29:23:19
Richard Carthon: And that from a financial standpoint, is really making people wake up because before the knowledge was privileged and it was only for the wealthy and people who could afford to get it. Now it’s if you want it, you can receive it and it’s pretty much being shared with you at such a fast rate and people are so open to learning about this now as the hot topic or what have you, because a lot of people are sitting at home with time. People have time right now and are just diving deep and truly trying to ask more questions like you said, pull back the layers and figure out like, Oh, no, like this needs to change and coming together to make it happen. You know, it’s the perfect storm.
00:29:24:18 – 00:30:09:15
Anna Stone: And the cat’s out of the bag, you know, you have Marco Rubio, who’s a known billionaire, tweeting about how investors would have been better off putting their money into some of the new DeFi innovations where at least they own the returns versus, say, trading equities on Robin Hood. You know, it’s not as if, I think the rate of adoption in some of these key financial products, especially those who have really good user experience and user security at the forefront, are about to experience a real customer run. It could be one of the major mass adoption tipping points that we’ve been waiting for for years now.
00:30:09:25 – 00:30:10:10
Richard Carthon: Right.
00:30:10:12 – 00:30:14:12
Anna Stone: And I think it’s all possible.
00:30:14:28 – 00:30:32:14
Richard Carthon: Yeah, I agree and I think that 2021 is looking more and more exciting for the Crypto landscape. And, Anna I really do appreciate you spending some time with us, dropping all this knowledge and sharing everything that you have today. What is the final thought that you want to leave with all of our listeners here listening today?
00:30:34:21 – 00:31:27:08
Anna Stone: I would say that the same wealth inequality that we see in the current financial system that we find distasteful may repeat itself in our new precious digital asset world unless we design to solve for it. And that’s my parting words for your esteemed community is that if we actually want to solve for financial inclusion, we can, it’s a problem that we need to get smart and design for. Very excited to build impact oriented solutions like this in a decentralized world where you can participate, I can participate, each and every one of your users on this podcast can play an active role in building that for your financial future we all want to see happen.
00:31:28:00 – 00:31:38:19
Richard Carthon: Awesome. Beautiful way to end it, I don’t want to add anything to that. What are some ways that people can learn more about you and can learn more about everything that is going on?
00:31:39:25 – 00:32:00:28
Anna Stone: Sure. So, for those of you guys who are interested to learn more about anything with Good Gollar, UBI, sign up, get your wallet, learn more about how you can support the project, go to GoodDollar.org. Those of you who are looking for me, you can find me on Twitter @TheRealStone or on my LinkedIn, Anna Stone.
00:32:03:22 – 00:32:07:24
Richard Carthon: Well, I appreciate you again. And everyone listening today, Stay Crypto Current.
Crypto Current will be guiding all of you who are new to the cryptocurrency world to becoming a cryptocurrency and blockchain expert. Crypto Current was founded to give access to information to everyone on current events occurring in cryptocurrency and blockchain in a digestible way. Since its creation, we have created content that impacted thousands of people through its podcast, blog, and social media.