Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Sunday, December 10, 2017

Three thousand homeless people in New York are about to receive a special holiday gift: a free smartphone that allows them to manage their digital identity, access shelters and food pantries, and make use of financial services. The initiative, which uses blockchain technology, may be the first time a distributed computer ledger has been employed to help a homeless population. The project comes from Blockchain for Change, a New York City startup that has developed a mobile app called Fummi that's preloaded on the phone. It has teamed up with Life Wireless, which provides phones to low-income groups using federal subsidies. Also involved are NYC service providers like Urban Pathways, Part of the Solution (POTS), Hakook, and the Robin Hood Foundation.

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Life Wireless is distributing the phones, starting in the Bronx. The service groups create the blockchain identities for individuals. Once on the system, they can then open an account, receive money, and track their activity. For instance, the app shows when someone has checked into a shelter, how much they paid for showers, haircuts, and clothes, and their available balance. Fummi aims to be one-stop-shop for all the services the homeless use regularly.

Blockchain for Change has two big purposes. The first is to help the homeless access services they are entitled to, and at discounted prices. More than 60,000 people spend the night in shelters in New York alone, and many don't currently have digital identities, cofounder Calvin Bradley tells Fast Company. That restricts access to financial services and government programs, where identity needs to be authenticated.

The app includes a digital wallet that can hold both dollars and a cryptocurrency created for the project called Change Coin. When users sign up for Fummi (currently only on Android) they get 30 Change Coins free of charge. They can get more coins as they buy services through the platform, meet financial goals, refer friends, or take part in peer-to-peer lending programs. The coins can be redeemed for more talk-time and data on the phone.

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sounds great.

#1 | Posted by ichiro at 2017-12-09 01:16 PM | Reply

This is a great idea, IPCC in Santa Monica is looking into the same technology, things like this will really make a difference for homeless who are trying to dig out of their situation.

#2 | Posted by Rightocenter at 2017-12-11 12:17 PM | Reply

Blockchain/distributed ledgers will change the way we own things. I need an idea to ride the coming wave so I don't miss out like with apps.

#3 | Posted by IndianaJones at 2017-12-11 12:25 PM | Reply

I hope it works for them, sounds like a well intended program...

I have a lot of questions though.. Simple ones to start. Where are all the homeless going to plug these phones in to charge? How is that going to affect the shelters( as far as having access to plugs to charge all these and the electric bill) plus I could see that starting fights. Theft of these phones will also be an issue...

Wishing them luck though....

#4 | Posted by PinkyanTheBrain at 2017-12-11 05:13 PM | Reply

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