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Most community service goes unrecorded and unrecognized, usually because it is hard to track and manage. Those organizations that attempt to record community services do so on paper-based system (the traditional way these projects have been managed) and/or with generic software such as Microsoft Excel or Word, or simple database management systems. Those systems are cumbersome, do not scale, and cannot leverage any of the vast number of digital tools currently available online. Common database management systems are designed for high transaction volume, but it is hard for them to distribute their information efficiently and securely across a network and nearly impossible to build a secure and fully-automated system that supports a token-like reward system and record token-based transactions across the network.
Blockchain technology was designed to create digital platforms that provide an easy way to distribute information between unrelated organizations and interested individuals without the need for a trusted third-party maintaining and managing the data. Many well-established socially oriented tokens such as Manna Coin and SolarCoin are leveraging blockchain technology as the backbone of their projects for these very reasons. As such, it is clear that blockchain technology offers a much more efficient and secure platform for The Jesuit Token project than would be available from traditional software products. In addition, blockchain has numerous tools built-in to generate a fun user experience and incentivize people to use the system, which is why we believe it will be easier and more efficient to build a community based on blockchain than traditional software. The blockchain is also a hot topic and has “cool” implications for students, which we believe is important as the program tries to build a student-based community around The Jesuit Token.
Currently, valuation questions in the blockchain/cryptocurrency industry remain highly uncertain. Since none of the projects have precedents and all are immature, it is very hard to tell in advance how the tokens will perform over time.
Concerning The Jesuit Token, the question is tricky because it assumes that the project needs the token’s value to be linked directly to a traditional currency such as the US dollar to be successful. Alternatively, the team believes that it is more effective to think about the token as it relates to how the community values community service itself. We believe the right question to ask would be something along the lines of “how many hours of community service should this product or service be worth?” (from the service providers–University’s–perspective) or “how many hours of service would I need to perform in order to trade tokens for a product or service, such as attending a private lecture with my favorite author or professor?” (from a student’s/volunteer’s perspective). We remain highly confident that the market will find the right equilibrium in relative prices fairly quickly with minimal intervention from any outside authorities (we believe markets work!).
Another interesting idea that The Jesuit Token project will most likely pursue is a concept called colored currency. This approach creates subcategories and gives different types of tokens different attributes (colors). In a controlled environment, this approach can be very powerful. Colored currency is a relatively abstract concept and hard to explain but think of gold and silver coins as an example. Both coins are part of the global economy but are used and valued differently. In our case, we plan to label The Jesuit Tokens differently depending on how they are generated. For instance, one of the potential applications for the token is to encourage participation in University-sponsored athletic events, lectures or performances, and student-sponsored activities. Although these events are different than The Jesuit Token’s core mission of promoting community service, the activities are important aspects of the Fordham community that we would like to support on the platform. Because we do not want to diminish the value of a token earned through direct community service, a token awarded by attending a basketball game would be less valuable than a token earned by community service. By color-coding the tokens, we can control the relative value and what the token can be redeemed for. As an example, athletic tokens might be limited to trading only for sports gear, whereas community service-generated tokens could be used to redeem for anything in The Jesuit Token economy. It is important to note that with colored currency, all tokens are the same but with different attributes, which is relatively easy to implement on the blockchain.
Similar to colored currency, another option could be to simply have different tokens for different use cases. For example, the platform could support a token for community service, which would be the gold-standard in the network, while a different token for community building within athletic teams and student-run clubs or organizations. A third token could be used for work-related activities such as on-campus jobs, tutoring, unpaid internships, etc.
Finally, IN THEORY, valuation theories support a longer-term price of a Jesuit Token around $7.50. The logic is relatively simple: the value of an hour of community service should equal approximately the after-tax clearing wage for a typical undergraduate student. For instance, a student could take a job that paid minimum wage ($12.00 in New York State as of January 1st, 2018). After taxes, student would be left with roughly $7.50. Anything below this amount would “fairly reward” students for community service. Anything above this amount would incentivize people to stop working for minimum wage and participate in community service in exchange of Jesuit Tokens (since the fiat value of the tokens would be more valuable than the after-tax hourly minimum wage).
First, it is important to note that the “Jesuit Token Treasury’s” main role is to issue tokens for every hour of community service performed in the community. It is the program’s goal that over time, in order to scale the project, The Jesuit Token will issue tokens directly to authorized organizations so that they can issue tokens directly to volunteers upon their completing the community service.
Fordham University’s role would be to offer valuable goods and services in exchange of these tokens, helping to create a token-based economy. There will be at least two options as to what Fordham University can do with the tokens they receive:
– The first option would be to send the tokens back to the “Jesuit Token Treasury” in order to have them reissued to third party organizations who would then reward volunteers with the tokens.
– The second option would be for Fordham to use the tokens to incentivize students in other ways. For example, Fordham could offer 10 tokens to all students who become members of the prestigious Finance Scholars program, issue tokens to Straight-A students in recognition of their accomplishments, or donate tokens to organizations that would benefit from access to The Jesuit Token economy.
The Jesuit Token team plans to work closely with the entire Fordham University to create additional ways that The Jesuit Token can be used to strengthen the community and encourage prosocial behaviors in addition to its core mission of promoting community service.
Yes! Once the network is up and running, and there are valuable products/services available in exchange for tokens, individuals could easily donate their tokens to other members of the Fordham community who would benefit more from using the tokens than the original owner. For instance, a member of a student-run organization could donate her tokens to the organization, who in turn could use the tokens to recruit volunteers or as a type of currency to rent classrooms or acquire other services from the University. The Jesuit Token teams believes the possibilities here are somewhat limitless and anticipate students generating many creative ideas on their own.