A group of Black Atlanta businessmen, politicians and entertainers — including former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, the entertainer Michael Render (better known as Killer Mike) and Bounce TV founder Ryan Glover — have launched a new digital bank focused on developing and promoting local communities and cultivating Black and Latinx entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Named Greenwood in an homage to the thriving Tulsa, Oklahoma, business community known as “Black Wall Street” that was destroyed by white rioters in 1921, the digital bank has several features designed to promote social causes and organizations for the Black and Latinx community.

For every sign-up to the bank, Greenwood will donate the equivalent of five free meals to an organization addressing food insecurity. And every time a customer uses a Greenwood debit card, the bank will make a donation to either the United Negro College Fund, Goodr (an organization that addresses food insecurity) or the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

In addition, each month the bank will provide a $10,000 grant to a Black or Latinx small business owner that uses the company’s financial services.

For Render, the decision to launch a new digital bank alongside Young and Glover was a way to link Atlanta’s well-established, centuries-old Black business community with the technologies that are redefining wealth and creating new opportunities in the twenty-first century. It was also a way to equip a new generation with financial tools that could empower them instead of undermine them.

“What I have learned about capitalism is that you’re either going to be a participant in it or a victim of it,” said Render. “The ultimate protest is focusing your dollar like a weapon.”

Young, who is also the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, had seen the ways digital banking technologies were transforming the

KEY POINTS

  • Universal basic income is a government payment designed to cover basic needs
  • A Pew survey indicates Americans are cool to the idea and the World Bank says no country has such a program in place
  • Mark Cuban said bi-weekly $1,000 payments will instructions to spend it all within 10 days would go a long way to repairing the economy

Would Americans spending like crazy pull the economy out of the coronavirus sparked recession? Billionaire investor Mark Cuban says that’s just the ticket and that’s why the government should be sending out $1,000 checks to taxpayers every two weeks with instructions to spend it all – fast.

“Those without [help] are struggling badly,” Cuban told CNBC last week. “We need to get them help.”

Some 20 million Americans lost their jobs as a result of coronavirus lockdowns in early spring, and since then, only about half of those jobs have returned, with Yelp estimating 60% of small businesses (97,966) are closed permanently.

The idea of universal basic income has its appeal. It’s defined as a government payment that would cover the basic cost of living to give people a sense of financial security. Plans differ. Some would target such income to the poor while others would make the stipend available to everyone. The question is how to pay for such programs, with proposals ranging from increasing taxes on the wealthy to increased corporate taxes.

Cuban’s proposal is reminiscent of the universal basic income proposal suggested by entrepreneur Andrew Yang during the early stages of the Democratic presidential nomination process. Yang suggested giving all Americans a $1,000 a month “freedom dividend.” Yang predicted a third of Americans could lose their jobs in the next decade or so due to automation, a theory knocked down by economist Paul Krugman.

Cuban first