Lisbon has become a European business centre for hosting world-class events. This is the reason we decided to take advantage of the latest Web Summit to speak with Yoni Assia, the CEO and Founder of eToro, one of the most important "Social Trading" platforms in the world. Our conversation focused on GoodDollar, an open source community project that has encouraged Yoni to fight global wealth inequality and income imbalance through the power of Blockchain technology.
Here are the highlights of our conversation.
EV: Yoni, could you explain what eToro is all about for those who aren't familiar with this platform?
Yoni Assia: eToro is a platform that allows people from anywhere in the world to invest in cryptocurrencies, stocks, currencies, indices, and commodities by copying the same strategies of other users. It allows you to have an investment portfolio without having to be a trading expert. We currently have more than 10 million users. All the trading that the users do is public, allowing them to copy investment funds between one another.
EV : Yoni, before we talk about GoodDollar, could you explain in simple terms what Blockchain is?
Yoni Assia: it is a technology that allows the transfer of digital data in a secure way thanks to the crypto-based universal income experiment. It can be compared to the physical bookkeeping of a company where all the income and expenses are recorded. The big difference is that everything is digital and it does not need any type of intermediation. As it is an articulated chain of blocks, no transaction can be deleted or modified.
EV: taking into account that GoodDollar is an experiment that seeks to benefit from Blockchain technology to fight wealth inequality, can you explain exactly how it works?
Yoni Assia: more than 90% of the world's wealth is distributed in just 20% of the population. This is not only a figure, it is the result of the lack of structural balance that the traditional financial entities have generated in recent times. GoodDollar is a universal crypto-based experiment that is based on the principle of basic income. We seek to pass on the current financial system by distributing the currency to the neediest people, who in turn will benefit from the interest generated as it becomes popular and gains value. That way we will be able to provide people with scarce financial resources access to the investment market and as the currency appreciates, they will make a profit.
EV: I understand that in order to be able to use GoodDollar, low-income people must have Internet access. Is this not a setback?
Yoni Assia: fortunately big companies like Google are working on making the Internet accessible to everyone. Smartphones have allowed low-income people to access the Internet from the most remote corners of the world.
EV: What does it take in terms of time and resources for GoodDollar to shift from being just an experiment to something tangible?
Yoni Assia: although this project is at its early stage, during the Web Summit, I mentioned GoodDollar on my blog for the first time in 2008. In order for our efforts to come to life, we need to raise awareness about the project and involve brilliant minds from all sectors in order to unite and help get it out there. This can take from 2 to 30 years. Everything depends on how the idea is received and our implementation capability.
We seek people who invest in the organisation and give them GoodDollars in return, and in addition to supporting the cause, they will make a profit as the currency appreciates.
EV: you are the CEO of one of the best rated companies in the digital industry. This entails a great responsibility as well as being a constant challenge ... Could you tell us one thing that you think you can improve on as a company and one that you feel proud of?
Yoni Assia: in terms of improvement; I believe that as a company we have been wrong about the way we communicate. We have failed to explain what we are doing and this is something that we could definitely improve on. In relation to the things I am proud of; I can say that our greatest asset is the people who work with us. We have a team that is like a big family and it is they who have made everything we have worked on become a reality.