#UniversalBasicIncome - A Curation of Experiments & Startups
February 3rd, 2022

#UniversalBasicIncome - Experiment Setup & Learnings from major experiments run globally.

source: Vox
source: Vox


Universal basic income (UBI) is a program in which every adult citizen receives a set amount of money regularly with no strings attached.


@GiveDirectly is leading the world’s largest and longest-term experiment to date studying the effects of a Universal Basic Income. In this $30M project, millions of dollars have been distributed to 20,000 individuals living in 197 villages, 100 villages control group

Transfers significantly improved well-being on common measures such as hunger, sickness, and depression in spite of the pandemic, but with modest effect sizes.


The Alaska Permanent Fund is a state-owned investment fund established using oil revenues. It has, since 1982, paid out an annual dividend to every man, woman, and child living in Alaska.

@pfdbot - tweets the stocks that Alaskans own via the #AlaskaPermanentFund

In 2015, with oil prices high, the dividend totaled $2,072 per person or $8,288 for a family of four. 🤯 By 2017, it had been cut down to $1,100 due to money being diverted to other purposes; in cheaper gas years, it can dip into the $800 to $900 range. Learnings:
“A universal and unconditional cash transfer does not significantly reduce aggregate employment, but increased part-time jobs"


  1. People could be shifting from full-time work to part-time work because the dividend checks gave them money, enabling them to work shorter hours.
  2. People who weren’t working before the cash payment are driven to start working because of it.


Between 1974 and 1979, Canada ran a randomized controlled trial in the province of Manitoba, choosing one farming town, Dauphin, as a “saturation site” where every family was eligible to participate in a basic income experiment. The basic income seemed to benefit residents’ physical and mental health — there was a decline in doctor visits and an 8.5 percent reduction in the rate of hospitalization and high school graduation rates improved, too. Nevertheless, the project, known as #Mincome and funded jointly by the provincial and federal governments, was canceled after four years when a more conservative party came into power.


2008 to 2014, @ReCivitas Institute administered a basic income — funded by private donors — in the village of Quatinga Velho. One hundred residents received 30 reais (about $8) per month. In 2019, a new project was floated to give 50,000 people basic income in Maricá, a suburb of Rio. The benefit called the Renda Básica de Cidadania (Citizens’ Basic Income), is worth 130 reais per person ($35) per month


In 2014, the nonprofit @meinbge (My Basic Income) used crowdfunding to set up a basic income raffle. By the end of 2019, it had awarded almost 500 basic incomes to people all over the world who’d submitted their names. Each got about $1,100 per month for a year. According to Fast Company, 80% of recipients said the income made them less anxious, >50% said it enabled them to continue their education, and 35% percent said they now feel more motivated at work.

In 2019, @sanktionsfrei kicked off another basic income project funded entirely by private donors. For three years, 250 randomly chosen people in Germany will receive unconditional transfers of up to $466 per month, while 250 others act as a control group. In Aug 2020, The government stepped in, 120 Germans will receive 1,200 euros ($1,430) every month for three years as part of a new experiment in basic income.


In 2017, Spain’s “B-MINCOME” experiment started offering an income of up to $1,968 per month to 1,000 households randomly selected from some of Barcelona’s poorest districts. Control group - 383 households.

The experiments split up the households into four “modalities” of participation:

  • conditional (you get the cash, but you have to participate in certain social programs)
  • unconditional (you get the cash with no strings attached)
  • limited (if you earn extra income through work, that reduces the amount of cash you get)
  • non-limited (extra income does not reduce the amount of cash)

Learnings: Effects varied a bit depending on the different modalities. But across the board, the basic income boosted life satisfaction and mental health while making participants neither more likely nor less likely to find employment.

On 15 June 2020, spurred by the coronavirus crisis and its economic fallout, the Spanish Government launched a website offering monthly payments of up to €1,015 (US$1,145) to the nation’s poorest families.


In 2017, Utrecht and a few surrounding cities kicked off a basic income experiment with 250 recipients as part of a randomized controlled trial. Some recipients got the money (around $1,050 per month) unconditionally, while others had to do volunteer work. The researchers’ aim is to figure out which way of delivering financial assistance works best.


Between 2011 and 2012, a pilot project in the state of Madhya Pradesh gave a basic income to some 6,000 Indians. The project, coordinated by the @SEWAFed Self-Employed Women’s Association and funded by Unicef, included two studies.

  • First study, every adult in eight villages received a monthly Rs. 200($2.80) and Rs. 100 for each child (paid to the guardian). After one year, the payments increased to 300 and 150 rupees, respectively. & 12 similar villages received no basic income, acting as control group
  • Second study, one tribal village received an income of Rs. 300 rupees per adult and Rs. 150 rupees per child for the entire trial. Another tribal village acted as a control.

The results: Receiving a basic income led to improved sanitation, nutrition, and school attendance.


Hong Kong tried out a program called Scheme $6,000. All adults with a valid Hong Kong permanent identity card — some 6 million people — were eligible to receive a one-time giveaway of HK$6,000 ($772) each. The public had a host of complaints about the program — for example, that administrative costs were eating up too much of the money that could go to citizens — and it only lasted one year

Macao, an autonomous region on the south coast of China, has been experimenting with basic income since 2008, when it began giving small but unconditional transfers to all residents — around 700,000 people — as part of a Wealth Partaking Scheme. Each year, local residents get around 9,000 patacas ($1,128) and nonpermanent residents get around 5,400 patacas ($672). Unfortunately, critics say these sums are too paltry to make a real dent in poverty.


Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa announced in a January 1 (2019) tweet that he would give away 1 billion Japanese yen — about $9 million — to 1,000 random Twitter followers.

The money was distributed in April, each recipient has had to fill out follow-up surveys asking what impact the cash has had on their lives.


The initial survey results show that recipients of the cash benefit are now 3.9 times more interested in launching a new business. Recipients saw a decrease in divorce rates, from 1.5 percent to 0.6 percent. And more than 70 percent of recipients said they experienced a significant increase in happiness.

Startups in the UBI Space

Till now we saw how Governments and Non Profits have structured #UniversalBasicIncome Now let's see how Tech startups are adopting and running such experiments

= Basic Income + Blockchain Introducing the world's first basic income digital currency. It was rebranded as Maana https://hedgeforhumanity.org/manna/

.@endpoverty_MT by Darryl Finkton Jr's vision is to end poverty in the United States and make trillions of dollars doing it.

We stop here. We looked at 10 different countries and a few startups that have tried out some form of #UBI and with different modalities of distribution and varying degrees of success in terms of the wellbeing of an individual.

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