ReFi Deep Dive: impactMarket

ReFi Deep Dive: impactMarket
S2 E10 - Human Empowerment available on Youtube, Spotify, Apple and Google


impactMarket is a web3-powered protocol operating on the CELO blockchain, aiming to address rising income inequality and fight poverty around the world. Now supporting over 269 vulnerable communities across more than 25 countries, the project seeks to establish Unconditional Basic Income in these communities as a fundamental building block of economic and social empowerment.

ReFi Podcast Season 2 Episode 10 - impactMarket

The Challenge

When looking at global or national averages, many metrics point toward improved productivity, prosperity and overall social and health outcomes over the past century and a half. Nonetheless, the reality experienced by many nations, communities and individuals underscores that poverty is far from being a thing of the past, and that our collective pursuit of globalized capitalism has come at a significant cost.

Looking through the lens of the Gini Coefficient starts to shed some light on the gap between the highest and lowest income earners in a country. Expressed as a value from 0 (all individuals earn the same amount) to 1 (one individual earns all of the country’s income), the global Gini coefficient has risen steadily during the 19th and 20th centuries - moving from .50 in 1820 to an estimated .65 near at start of the 21st century. Over this time, global crises have tended to accelerate the growth of income inequality, with early estimates of the COVID-19 pandemic ranging from a 1.2 to 1.9 percent rise in inequality per year.

And while income inequality can be alarming enough, wealth inequality has grown even more rapidly in recent years. In many ways, the divide between “haves and have-nots” has never been greater.

Similarly, the most underserved populations struggle to access traditional personal banking and financing, severely limiting their ability to control their own economic and social future. It is estimated that 700 million people or nearly 10% of the global population live in extreme poverty.

In recognition that rampant inequality does not form the basis of a sustainable economy, some countries have experimented with the concept of universal basic income (UBI). Though the idea itself has been explored in some form or another for centuries, there are few contemporary examples of the model gaining widespread adoption. For those interested, Wikipedia has an interesting and comprehensive list of various UBI attempts by country.

impactMarket’s Solution

Founded in 2020, ImpactMarket platform is an open, free, crowd finance infrastructure, aiming to address poverty and inequality. It primarily achieves this by leveraging mobile-first blockchain technologies that allow anyone to send or receive money in a transparent way, without relying on traditional intermediaries like banks.

This means that anyone in the world with a smart phone and an internet connection can become a beneficiary of an unconditional basic income.

There are a lot of mechanisms to dive into for how this works including which communities are eligible, how funding is dispersed and how they mitigate against bad actors. Nonetheless, they've done over $3M in funding to almost 42k beneficiaries and are already making a positive impact in many lives around the world.

Community stories

There are 269 communities currently receiving funding via impactMarket, with a feature of some of the São Paolo communities in Brazil featured below:

São Paolo, Brazil

You can dive deeper into the community stories featured in their documentation, or download the impactMarket app to get a live stream of Insta-like stories on iOS and Android.

Wherever impactMarket communities sprout up around the world, there are 4 primary roles on the impactMarket platform:

  • Community Manager: The person that submits the community for approval and manages all the community's beneficiaries. Other managers can be added to a community to support the beneficiaries. Learn how to create a community in impactMarket here.
  • Beneficiary: The person that will have access to UBI. Learn all about it here.
  • Donors: Those contributing and helping communities to strive and those who dare to dream. Learn how to donate on impactMarket here.
  • Merchants: Entities that will sell goods (food, electricity, water, etc.) to beneficiaries in exchange for cUSD.

Mobile-first Unconditional Basic Income

Local UBI initiatives are only able to succeed if individuals, producers and businesses are able to exchange and interact seamlessly. Impact market leverages the blockchain payments platform Valora to facilitate the exchange and transfer of earned cryptocurrencies.

Community stories shared on the impactMarket app.

The app also allows beneficiaries to share impact stories with their communities and donors. This creates an opportunity for recipients of funding to engage with their donors and potentially create revenue via NFTs.


$PACT is impactMarket's governance token. It acts as a global medium of governance that empowers participants through decision-making and comprehensive incentive mechanisms.

Token holders will be granted the ability to influence the protocol's future health, direction, growth, and impact:

  • Voting power delegation: Any token holder can delegate voting power to themselves, someone they trust, or key protocol participants. You can vote with any amount of tokens; you don't need to stake them, only hold them in your wallet.
  • Communities´ verification and validation: Each new UBI community will be submitted as a proposal and reviewed by token holders, who can vote for its approval. Verified communities can request funding directly from the DAO.
  • Manage/Update
  1. Download the Valora app (iOS, Android)
  2. Install impactMarket app (iOS, Android)

ImpactMarket will adapt based on whether you want to donate or setup a community. It's super easy and fast.

What’s Next - Stay Connected

October 29th, impactMarket will be hosting the Blockchain and Social Impact Summit in Abuja, Nigeria.

Key People