Introducing The Kuwa Foundation: Identity for Humanity

We’ve formed The Kuwa Foundation, a nonprofit corporation. The foundation has partnered with the University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Information and Computer Sciences to make our vision of an open, decentralized, minimally intrusive and self-sovereign identity platform a reality (or at least a real working prototype). So we’ve hired five UMass Computer Science graduate students for the summer. We’re going to get something working. … More Introducing The Kuwa Foundation: Identity for Humanity

The Cryptoeconomics of Funding a Universal Basic Income

After a devastating earthquake in 2010, the world collectively pledged about $13B in aid to Haiti. That’s enough to give every Haitian a 50% pay increase for three years (on average). For far less than $13B, we could implement a basic income in Haiti that would lift millions of people out of poverty. This post is concerned with exploring ways to fund a UBI that we could distribute via a cryptocurrency. I compare inflation funding to transaction fees. I also provide basic projections for an inflation-funded crypto UBI in the US and Haiti. Even though inflation may also impose a “cost” on holders of the currency (through a loss in purchasing power), my analysis led me to conclude that it would be better to fund a crypto UBI through inflation. … More The Cryptoeconomics of Funding a Universal Basic Income

Kuwa: A Decentralized, Pseudo-anonymous and Sybil-Resistant Individual Identification System

Like cookies and milk, cryptocurrencies and Universal Basic Income (UBI) are two particularly promising concepts that could go great together. If we’re to give money to the needy, then we should use the best technology available. Because trust is built-in, cryptocurrencies can bypass the sticky bureaucratic fingers that are all too common in many countries. The most significant barrier to large-scale implementation of a crypto UBI is the lack of a reliable identification system. Needy people don’t typically have passports. And since their governments are often corrupt, giving those governments power to exclude or include people would be dangerous. My Kuwa (“to be” in Swahili) white paper is a first attempt to describe a potential technical solution to this identification challenge. … More Kuwa: A Decentralized, Pseudo-anonymous and Sybil-Resistant Individual Identification System

WANTED: Rules for Initial Coin Offerings

Entrepreneurs see initial coin offerings (ICOs) as an easy way to quickly raise a lot of money with no strings attached. Some ICO investors’ greed has blinded them to the apparent risks. However, ICOs are an important new fundraising innovation that is appropriate for endeavors where the objective is to create value through decentralization. Although most ICO-funded projects will fail, the ones that don’t will have a more significant impact on our lives than the Web. Governments, particularly in the United States, have been slow to act. When they do, some entrepreneurs will find themselves in trouble, and many ICO investors will have already lost money. For important ICO-funded projects to flourish, we need ground rules. The Simple Agreement for Future Token Sales (SAFT) is the most significant industry initiative so far that tries to define those rules. … More WANTED: Rules for Initial Coin Offerings

Your kids are watching Streampunks while YouTube watches everyone.

“Streampunks: Youtube and the Rebels Remaking Media” covers the rise of a new class of media stars: Youtubers. Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s cheif business officer, authored the book with the help of Maany Peyvan, Google’s lead writer. It’s an authoritative, fascinating, well-written and entertaining book. If you’re over 30 and you’ve blinked, then you may have missed the media revolution that YouTube sparked and is continuing to lead. But since current Google employees wrote the book, it’s not surprising that it sometimes seems like an infomercial that occasionally acknowledges some of YouTube’s less desirable impacts. If you work in the media business, then read this book. … More Your kids are watching Streampunks while YouTube watches everyone.

I’m an “Entreprenuer In Residence” at the UMass College of Information and Computer Sciences

The University of Massachusetts College of Information and Computer Sciences (CICS) has doubled its undergraduate enrollment in the past five years. The grad school grew that fast in just two years. It now boast 210 active Ph.D. students out of a total enrollment of over 1,600. Two major sponsors have recently pledged an additional $12 million in funding for the school. That money will fuel continued growth. The latest initiative at the CICS is its Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) program, which the school asked me to help create. … More I’m an “Entreprenuer In Residence” at the UMass College of Information and Computer Sciences