Comingle Launches Crowdfunding Campaign for Basic Income App
An app aiming to create a community that provides unconditional income is currently in its crowdfunding phase.
About the campaign:
Earlier this week, Comingle launched its crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. The company is currently looking for supporters to contribute as little as $1 toward the app’s goal of raising $75,000. As of this writing, Comingle was 44% of the way to that goal with a tally of more than $33,000 pledged.
Unlike many other crowdfunding campaigns, the perks Comingle is offering are the same regardless of what tier contributors choose. These perks include early access to the app, a credit on the Comingle’s Backer Page, and a community membership that promises invitations to quarterly meetings and other events. According to the campaign’s page, early access to the app is expected to begin in February 2024.
How Comingle will work:
The basic premise of Comingle is that each member will contribute a minimum of 7% of their income. These funds will then be pooled and redistributed equally (minus 1%, which Comingle retains to cover operational costs). As a result, those with lower incomes receive some additional funds and those who make more end up giving less than 7% initial contribution while helping their fellow users.
A video released by the startup shows that users will be able to link their bank accounts via Plaid and manage their weekly pledges. The campaign page also explains, “We’ve built the tools necessary to distinguish between income-related deposits and other bank credits, prevent overdrafts, resolve account interruptions, and allow for proper handling of joint accounts.” Additionally, those whose income is pre-tax can make adjustments so that their contributions reflect a post-tax total.
As someone who adamantly supports the idea of universal basic income, Comingle’s concept intrigues me. However, having also observed enough FinTechs over the years, I have some major doubts about whether the app would be sustainable.
Perhaps the most relevant example I can think of is a service called Tanda. Inspired by a savings and credit system popular among Latin American householders, this app allowed members to join circles of people to contribute weekly funds, with those funds going to a single person each week based on their position in the Tanda. Those with the earliest position paid a fee to Yahoo (the operator of the app) while those in the last positions were rewarded with a bonus on their funds. As I experienced, early adopters of the app were mostly after that bonus, so finding a Tanda that had all of its spots (especially the middle ones) filled proved difficult. This likely contributed to why the app shut down after just a few months.
Back to Comingle, I have to imagine that the bulk of people coming to the app will be those seeking some additional income. And, of course, that money needs to come from somewhere. So, the big question for me is whether or not Comingle can attract enough high-income philanthropists and institutional grant providers to truly deliver on this vision. With all of that said, I’d love to see this app succeed — but I’d love it even more if a national UBI could become a reality instead.