Since we launched Initiative Q several months ago, the most common response is “This has some chance of working, and I’m risking nothing. Sure, why not?”, resulting in millions joining and bringing their friends.
However, others just can’t wrap their heads around how this is possible, and go to great lengths to find “the catch”. This is very natural, given that “there are no free lunches”, and that “if you don’t pay, you are the product”. And, indeed, free products usually cost in loss of privacy or waste of time. Initiative Q is different. We are trying to create a new payment network that uses a new global currency. The payment network will succeed only if it can gather a critical mass of users, and the currency, like all money, will only have value if people trust it. Any person who receives the future currency for free is another person who wants this to succeed, and implies a higher probability that Initiative Q will become a world leading payment network.
Now let’s dive into the most common attempts to discredit Initiative Q
Claim: It is a front for collecting emails of people gullible enough to believe get-rich-quick schemes
According to this claim, we are building a giant database of people who believe get-rich-quick schemes, and we will sell it to scammers.
Incidentally, if anything, our database is a list of people who understand that the current monetary system and payment networks could be greatly improved if we all work together to fix them. Hardly an exciting group to target for scams…
Claim: It is a pyramid / MLM / Ponzi scheme
This is easily debunked by simply reading what a pyramid scheme is (here’s the Wikipedia definition). Pyramid schemes charge users for joining, and share that income with earlier users. The last users to join eventually lose their money, as the pyramid collapses.
In contrast, Initiative Q charges nothing, and rewards users for referring friends, as many companies do (e.g Dropbox, Uber, AirBNB). We don’t ask anyone for money, and consequently we do not move this non-existent money from late joiners to early joiners.
The key differentiator here is that the potential future gains to users come as a result of the currency becoming widely adopted, not from newcomers paying to join. It is a creation of new value, not a transfer of funds between users.
Claim: The future estimated value of the signup reward is “a made up number”
Yes, the value estimate shown on the website is quite large (currently around $20,000) and looks suspicious if you don’t study the economics behind it, but it is far from “made up”. It is based on the “equation of exchange” in monetary economics, and verified by a leading monetary economist.
In a nutshell, since most exchanges of value in a modern economy are accompanied by an opposite exchange of money, the value of all money is equal to the value of the whole economy (over a period of time determined by the ‘velocity of money’). This means money has enormous perceived value, and if you manage to create a new and better kind of money that becomes popular, its value will be in the trillions of dollars (we use $2 trillion in our model). When distributing those trillions to tens of millions of people, you get a fairly large number. This ability to provide high incentives for adoption is why Initiative Q has a chance to succeed where so many have failed.
You can read the full analysis here
Claim: This is not “decentralized” like Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies, so the Initiative Q company can just create as many Qs as they want for themselves, at the expense of everyone else.
Definitely not the case. We chose not to use blockchain because it is not mature enough to handle a global leading currency. There were two challenges we had to consider here:
1. Maintaining stability of purchasing power — When you accept and hold Qs you want to know they won’t change their value substantially.
2. Preventing abuse of the money supply — You want to know no entity can create new currency out of thin air for their own use.
Blockchain is a neat solution to #2, but it comes at a very high price (see our FAQ), and it completely obliterates #1. Cryptocurrencies must have a rigid monetary policy which makes them highly unstable and therefore unusable as a mainstream currency. Maintaining stability requires experienced monetary economists constantly monitoring economic pressures and adjusting the money supply accordingly.
We, therefore, chose the model of an independent, democratically-elected monetary committee. It is a proven model for maintaining purchasing power stability and is used by all modern countries. This is exactly what we will do, so we will not be able to create Qs for ourselves. Only the independent monetary committee, elected by all Q stakeholders, will do so.
Of course, if someone does manage to come up with a decentralized monetary policy that works, we will use that — we don’t have any agenda for or against blockchain. We simply choose the best technologies available at any given time.
Claim: OK, so it’s not a scam, the plan is genuine, and the value estimate is reliable, but it all doesn’t matter, because Initiative Q will definitely fail and this will all be in vain.
We are the first to admit that there is a long road ahead, and there are quite a few potential hurdles along the way. However, it’s important to realize that of the hundreds of failed attempts to modernize payments and money, no one has ever tried what Initiative Q is doing, which is to create a modern payment network with its own currency, and encourage adoption by distributing that currency for free. Of course, that does not guarantee success, but it’s worth noting that within months of Q’s launch, it managed to gather millions of supporters — so it’s probably not so wise to readily dismiss it either.
At the end of the day, money is trust, and if enough people trust Q can succeed, it will.