Whitepaper

Our vision is to empower every human to spark their joyfull passion towards an eventful, manifold and fullfilled life". Humanity has come a far way and is finally entering a new age of technological advancement and superiority, enfolding the capacity to sustain all of earth and every human.

Whitepaper

Abstract

We believe reinventing our monetary system and equalizing access to basic needs, will advance humanity one giant step into the next era of sustainable growth, creative design and abundance.

We propose a new money system called Circles that is based on individualized cryptocurrencies and a social graph of trust between these currencies. This money system will be for the purposes of distributing money in a way which will, over time, lead to the equalization of wealth and function like a globally accessible Universal Basic Income. When new users join Circles, a new personal cryptocurrency is created for them on a smart contract-enabled blockchain. This currency is then regularly minted and added to their account, forming the basis of Circles' UBI properties. Users have the ability to trust the personal currencies of other users, which requires them to treat this personal currency as identical to any other Circles currencies that they hold. As the social graph becomes more interconnected, these personal currencies converge on one single global monetary system.

Introduction

Universal Basic Income is one of the most cross-culturally appealing political movements of the modern era. It has attracted the support of thinkers from every background including Thomas Paine, Martin Luther King Jr, Stephen Hawking, Guy Standing, Milton Friedman, and David Graeber. It is seen as a utopian project that could finally unlock the creative potential of all people, the culmination of centuries-old humanist ideals.

The topic of UBI has exploded in popularity in recent years, as wealth inequality grows and inflation-adjusted wages fall all across the world. Until now, the conversation has primarily been viewed through the lens of public policy and bureaucratic action. Public support for the idea of UBI has never been higher, but plans for implementation are progressing slowly and without cooperation at the international scale. It seems that UBI systems have received a "too big to implement" label at the highest levels of government, similar to climate change action, making development and rollout unlikely to happen any time soon.

The introduction of global blockchain networks changes the conversation about UBI significantly. Now for the first time in history, it is trivially easy to create financial applications that are universally accessible to anyone on the internet. Starting with Bitcoin and moving on to smart contract platforms like Ethereum, blockchain technology has achieved widespread popularity by routing around the gatekeepers and roadblocks that make innovation so difficult in the legacy financial system. Smart contracts and the blockchain create a very promising environment in which to implement a new UBI system.

Circles proposes to be the blockchain's native UBI money system. It has its own built-in resistance to Sybil attacks (i.e. fake accounts) and anyone can join the network at any time without asking permission from anyone. It has been designed with the expectation that it will be bootstrapped in a completely organic and grassroots fashion, but is extensible to allow any arbitrary governance systems to operate on top of the base protocol. Circles is an entirely new way of looking at the nature of money and what value exchange means in a post-UBI future.

Minting Currency

Circles is a money system that is made up of individual currencies. These currencies work together to form a unified “monetary fabric” that behaves like a Universal Basic Income.

When a new blockchain account joins Circles, the system creates and assigns them a unique currency via a smart contract. This is called a Personalized Currency, and all personalized currencies operate according to a shared set of rules.

Each personal currency continuously mints new coins and awards them to its associated person. Moreover, the amount of coins minted is inflating every year. This is the only way that new money is created in Circles and forms the basis of its UBI characteristics. All currencies mint new coins at the same rate, meaning that new money is co-produced and distributed equally to all members of the system at all times.

Alice joins the system, creating AliceCircles.
PersonalizeCoins are all minted at a rate of 8 per day.
Five days later Alice has 40 AliceCircles and Bob joins the system, creating BobCircles.
Five days later Alice has 80 AliceCircles and Bob has 40 BobCircles.

It’s important to note that new currency units are only awarded to the person associated with each personal currency. When a person transacts with someone else they transfer their personal circle coins.

Now Alice transfers her 80 AliceCircles to Bob
Alice has now 0 Circles and Bob has 80 AliceCircles
Again five days later Alice has now 40 AliceCircles, while Bob has 80 AliceCircles and 80 BobCircles.



Inflation

In order to encourage economic activity and to disincentivize hoarding, the protocol  introduces an annual inflation schedule of 7%. This is demurrage by other means, where all personalized currencies will issue progressively larger amounts of tokens per year. New users will always start issuing at a rate that is consistent with all other personal currencies.

PersonalizedCircles are all minted at a rate of 8 per day inflating 7% every year.
After the 1st year Alice has 2920 AliceCircles.
In the 2nd year Bob joins the system, creating BobCircles.
Now both Alice and Bob mint at a daily rate of 8,56 PersonalizedCircles.
After the 2nd year Alice has ~6044 AliceCircles and Bob has ~3124 BobCircles.

Trusting Currency

In order to create useful money, users trust each other’s currencies. Trust is what facilitates exchange in the system. When a user trusts a currency, they tell the system that it is equivalent to any other Circles currencies that they already have. This means that anyone with this trusted currency can automatically trade it for one of your Circles currencies at a one-to-one exchange rate.

Bob trusts AliceCircles
Bob has 10 CarolCircles
Dave has 10 AliceCircles, Dave gives 5 AliceCircles to Bob and takes 5 CarolCircles from him

Another way of thinking about trust is that it is the user telling the system that they acknowledge specific currencies as “real money.” Since any blockchain accounts can join the system and start minting currency, a trivial attack is to create multiple accounts and register with each to get multiple basic incomes. This is called a Sybil attack in computer security terms. The existence of trust relationships is how users protect themselves from fake accounts by specifying which ones they know for a fact represent an individual human’s primary account, forming a native Sybil resistance in the system. At a community level, trust in the system means that there are resources one can claim for Circles.

Because of the danger of any account becoming a sybil at any time, trust can also always be revoked. When and if trust is revoked, the person who is revoking trust can still spend the coins of the person they are untrusting, but they will not receive any new coins from that user via transitive transactions.

Because trust is a way to protect from counterfeit currencies, it is a serious responsibility on the part of the user. Users will have to rely heavily on mutual connections when making direct peer-to-peer trust relationships, and new users with no trust connections will have to get their closest loved ones to be their initial connections. It is theoretically possible to increase fungibility and ease of use in Circles with professional services (validators) which can act as brokers for trust, or with pooled group currencies, which can enforce their own policies for joining, however, these possible extensions will not be present in the first iteration of the Circles system. Further research on this subject is invited.

Transitive Exchange

Trusting different currencies creates a useful form of money because of the transitive nature of social networks. Money is useful when it allows complete strangers to efficiently conduct business. When one stranger wants to send money to another in Circles, they automatically search for a transitive chain of trusted currencies between each other. The payer then trades along this chain of trusted currencies, one after the other, until they have one that the recipient accepts.

Transitive exchange

Bob trusts AliceCircles
Alice trusts CarolCircles
Alice has 10 AliceCircles
Carol has 10 CarolCircles
Carol wants to pay Bob 5 PersonalCircles
Carol gives 5 CarolCircles to Alice and takes 5 AliceCircles from her
Carol gives 5 AliceCircles to Bob


The transaction can be extended to include multi-hop chains of trust as well:

Bob trusts AliceCircles
Alice trusts CarolCircles
Carol trusts DaveCircles
Alice has 10 AliceCircles
Carol has 10 CarolCircles
Dave has 10 DaveCircles
Dave wants to pay Bob 5 PersonalCircles
Dave gives 5 DaveCircles to Carol and takes 5 CarolCircles from her
Dave gives 5 CarolCircles to Alice and takes 5 AliceCircles from her
Dave gives 5 AliceCircles to Bob

With this system, the connectedness of the social network serves as a direct measure of users’ ability to transact with each other. A familiar way of thinking about this is the famous six degrees of separation phenomenon that suggests everyone on earth is connected to everyone else by a chain of six people. Circles uses these chains to transact through the system. If a user is well-integrated into the network, with many connections to other well-integrated users, they will find it easier to send and receive personal currency.


Limits to Trust

Because personal currencies are only able to travel through their networks of trust, the fungibility of a specific personal currency is a measure of how many other accounts trust it and the resources available in the network. This means that users who are new to the system and don’t have many trusted relationships have a less fungible currency than someone who is well-established in the network. It also means that the currency of new users gets more fungible over time as they create more trust relationships.

Since the system internally enforces a one-to-one exchange rate, and new users’ personal currencies are less fungible than established users personal currencies, a potential problem emerges:

25 people trust AliceCircles
Bob is new, so only Alice trusts BobCircles
Bob has 100 BobCircles
Alice has 100 AliceCircles
Bob gives 100 BobCircles to Alice and takes 100 AliceCircles from her
Bob can now spend money with 25 people (and their friends, and friends of friends, etc)
Alice can now only spend money with Bob

Defending Against Fake Accounts

As we’ve shown, fake accounts are a primary consideration when designing protections into the system. Since money can be spent indirectly through transitive connections, let’s show how Circles defends against fake accounts that are connected to your friends:

Bob trusts AliceCircles
Alice makes a fake account and trusts FakeCoins
Alice has 10 AliceCircles
FakeAlice has 10 FakeCoins
Alice wants to buy something worth 10 PersonalCoins from Bob using FakeCoin
FakeAlice gives 10 FakeCoins to Alice
FakeAlice gives 10 AliceCoin to Bob.
Bob can always only receive AliceCoin and Alice will be stuck with FakeCoins, she can not transfer.


This example demonstrates that Bob can only ever receive money that he trusts, and Alice can only ever spend money that other users trust in turn. Even if Alice makes 100 fake accounts and has them all trust each other, she will never be able to spend more than the amount of AliceCoins she has, since that’s the only account that other users will trust. This is why it is crucial that users take direct peer-to-peer trust relationships seriously.


Conclusion

The Circles Money System was designed to get started creating a UBI economy today. We believe that the combination of resilience and global accessibility afforded by blockchain technology is a key catalyst that makes a Universal Basic Income achievable within the next generation. Our system's native Sybil-attack resistance and inbuilt decentralized identity make it an ideal focus for grassroots action and community organization, which have been hallmarks of envisioned UBI economies over the years. We are actively researching the economic implications of Circles' various design tradeoffs with the intention of creating a money system that is as useful and stable as possible. Our roadmap is designed to get started with trial applications as soon as possible in order to see how this new form of value exchange behaves in real economic settings. We are very excited about the potential of this project and hope that it can serve as a critical foundation for a new economic paradigm in the decades to come.