Ambitious South African cryptocurrency project unveiled

A group of South African businessmen has unveiled Project Ubu (Universal Basic Unit), a cryptocurrency payment system project which aims to get many users involved.

The team behind the project includes Bridge Capital’s Dudley Baylis, former Vox Telecom CEO Douglas Reed, Tuluntulu CCO Justin McCarthy, and former Anglo American and Altech CTO Steven Sidley.

Project Ubu aims to provide participants with an equivalent of five US dollars a day in cryptocurrency.

The currency will be distributed to individuals at no cost, and these individuals will be able to exchange the currency for goods and services.

This will create the world’s first fully-fledged decentralised currency that primarily benefits people at the bottom of the economic pyramid, said Project Ubu.

Project Ubu will use a private version of the Ethereum blockchain to serve its needs, but unlike certain cryptocurrencies, there will not be a finite quantity in circulation.

Ubus (the currency unit) will be issued continuously to an ever-growing number of citizens, which means the number in circulation will increase exponentially.

A decay mechanism that enables the ecosystem to self-stabilise and attain equilibrium will be implemented, however.

Revenue and technology

Project Ubu will receive funding for its operations through the awarding of Ubus to citizens.

For every 100 Ubus issued to each citizen daily, the project receives 11 Ubus to ensure its operations can continue.

The project will also gather verified information about their users over time, which is of value to companies.

“While this is not a goal of the Ubu Project, but a byproduct, it does offer another significant long-term investor benefit,” it said.

One of the significant challenges the project faces is that many of its envisaged citizens will be from the least-privileged sectors of society.

The wallet and private key registration system they will use will be designed to be super-light and super-simple as a result, it said.

The private key will be derived biometrically, and the wallet functionality will be icon-driven – with a minimum of additional depth/multiple-click functionality.

The token carried by the blockchain will initially be a token-of-exchange by design, with token-of-value (currency) functionality easily accessible or migratable as the token matures.

This dual-use token will require careful contractual and usage rules, which can best be framed within a smart-contract system.

The system will be integrated with an exchange API from the start, to avoid asking users to seek their own fiat exchange solutions.

It will also be integrated with point-of-sale systems, which will make purchasing products from local stores using Ubus easy.

Update – In-depth details

Project Ubu told MyBroadband that the venture can be accurately summarised by the points below:

  • Ubu is a universal basic income project based on a token carried by blockchain technology. Our aim is to create value in the unit that equates to the global poverty line, roughly $2.50 to $3.00, depending on which measure one uses. This is our ambition, but there is a long road with many obstacles to travel before we can achieve that.
  • We hope to establish the value of an Ubu at around the R0.10 mark. This will be determined by our success in convincing merchants and other businesses to accept them. Ubu’s value will be derived from market forces – the rate of adoption of and velocity in the unit.
  • The continuous issue of Ubus is balanced through a dissipation mechanism that withdraws Ubus from circulation. We adopted this approach so as to encourage consumption, not hoarding – which is the very mechanism preventing a more equal distribution of capital. The mathematics and economics underpinning this model will be released with our white paper in September.
  • The issuance of 100 Ubus will trigger an additional issuance of 11 Ubus to be distributed as follows: 5 to reward early bird merchants and vendors, 2 to a special purpose vehicle investor account as a seed funding ROI mechanism, 3 to the operational costs of Ubu Core (the entity running the entire enterprise), and 1 to the transaction costs. Once the system is established and stable, Ubu Core will be decentralised to the community to manage.
  • Ubu is under development in South Africa, pre-funded by a private Norwegian technology company. Beta release is due in September.
  • People will be able to collect Ubus via our app once we go public. There will be an early bird sign up process on our website from August where Ubus can be accumulated before registration and activation – giving early adopters a head start.

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Ambitious South African cryptocurrency project unveiled