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Meet Africa’s Blockchain Startups: Project UBU

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A team of entrepreneurs is planning to launch a blockchain-based digital currency called UBU (Universal Basic Unit) that aims to economically empower lower income South Africans. The team says that they intend to release the beta version to the public by September this year.

What is Project UBU?

The founders note that the world has close three billion people who currently have minimal significance to the economy. Basically, Project UBU is an initiative that aims at assigning economic value to every human being. This gives everyone a chance to play a role and earn in the ecosystem. UBU is built on the blockchain and aims to push users from the poverty line and assist them to earn $2.50 to $3.00 a day.

UBU has unveiled that its founders include Altech’s CTO Steven Sidley, Tuluntulu’s CCO Justin McCarthy, Dudley Baylis of Bridge Capital and former Vox Telecom chief executive Douglas Reed.

How It Works

UBU works as a secure and convenient digital payment method. It allocates an economic value to every human, regardless of how much they earn conventionally. Then, it distributes the digital units to everyone on the network. Like other digital currencies, a continuous investment builds onto the value and sustainability of the units.

This way, the project can offer a low-cost ecosystem where users can trade their goods and services. In the end, everyone on the network ends up handling money without being taxed, because the system offers a decentralised currency.

The UBUCore, the legal entity that runs the project’s ecosystem, creates value in the UBU network by remaining inviolable and thus maintaining the project’s integrity. To sustain and create value in the UBUsphere (the ecosystem), UBU offers open options for third parties.

To boost the value, UBUCore also focuses on marketing. This includes registration of a large number of people to become UBU citizens. After the creation of more UBUs, the next step is to encourage many vendors to adopt UBUs as a payment method. This way, the network grows thus boosting the value of UBU units.

How the UBU Project Plans To Generate Revenue

To fund its operations, the UBU Project intends to take 11 UBUs for every 100 units issued to its citizens. The project may also monetise the public verified information. Such data is of great use to companies who may want to use it for market research.

In a report published by MyBroadBand, UBU Project says: “While this is not one of the goals of the Ubu Project, but a by-product, it does offer another significant long-term investor benefit.”

Who Gains?

Users can easily get their UBUs from the mobile application. As from August 2017, those who register early will get a head start due to the accumulation of units before registration and activation.

Then, the project shall assign an equal number of UBU units (worth $5) to every person. The amount shall be distributed to their e-wallets on a daily basis. Thus, the poor too will have an opportunity to access the economy, which the company believes is good for economic development.

Because the currency is decentralised, it is untaxed, and thus, individuals can exchange goods and services in a secure, cheap manner. Those at the economic pyramid’s bottom stand to benefit the most, says Project UBU.

Although UBU relies on Ethereum’s private blockchain, it’s quite different from most cryptocurrencies. Unlike others, Project Ubu will not limit the circulation of the cryptocurrency. The project will issue UBUs persistently to the growing citizenship, so there will be an increasing number in circulation. The network has a decay mechanism to enable self-stabilisation and hitting of the equilibrium.

Combating the Challenges

An obvious challenge for the project is that it will likely attract a large number of low-income, undereducated citizens. The project will, therefore, use e-wallets that are simple and light. The wallet will have minimal click functionality and instead, it will be biometric and icon-driven to promote ease of use.

To avoid making citizens seek fiat exchange solutions, the UBUsphere shall integrate with API exchanges. Other integrated systems will include the point-of-sale technology. This will allow users to pay for goods and services from local stores that accept payment in UBUs.

Ubu is expected to release the beta version in September. Meanwhile, the pre-funding is done by a Norwegian technological company. Ubu Project joins a market that has several other players including Bitsoko, and Ekasi.

Tags : south africaUBU Project
Kinyua Njeri

The author Kinyua Njeri

Kinyua is a Kenyan freelance writer who focuses on technology. Kinyua’s motto is ‘Research deeply, Test thoroughly, and Write simply’. His work has appeared on Cyberogism, SpyAdvice.com, and in The Nairobi Times.