Brian Brooks, America’s top banking regulator, has an idea to help close the wealth gap between the developing and developed world. He calls the concept “country coin.”
What the generic-sounding proposal lacks in catchy branding it makes up for in substance. The crux of the plan is to promote education and economic growth worldwide, says Brooks, the U.S. Acting Comptroller of the Currency. Since higher literacy rates correlate to higher “gross domestic product,” then incentivizing people to continue their schooling could boost productivity, individual well-being, and societal prosperity, he says.
Such rags-to-riches principles are well established in the academic literature, even if their implementation lags in practice. (Just ask the World Bank’seconomists.) But it’s the nature of Brooks’ particular incentive system that might strike people as zany. The ideal inducement? Cryptocurrency tokens, he says.
Under the plan, world governments would reward people with so-called country coins for continued learning. A student earns coins by completing online courses and passing tests. The coins would essentially represent claims on a “trust fund” set up by the state; they would entitle recipients to future payouts representing a share of the rising tax revenue generated by increased GDP.
Translation: As people get more education, nations, country coin–earning students, and investors get richer together. The cryptocurrency ensures everyone benefits, rather than just people who land good salaries in the job market after finishing their studies.
“This is a way of increasing equity and increasing growth without raising taxes and without pitting the rich against the poor,” Brooks says.