EquiPay splits bills equitably, not equally

EquiPay is a soon-to-launch app that takes income inequalities into account when splitting bills among large parties.

“For centuries, women and people of color have worked day in and day out only to be burdened by unequal pay for equal work,” Malbroux said.

The idea behind EquiPay is to split the check equitably, not equally. EquiPay “developed a complex algorithm that takes into account history,” Malbroux said. It takes income data from the U.S. Department of Labor and splits the bill based on racial and gender income differences.

For instance, if a black woman were out for dinner with a white man and a white woman, the white man would pay the most, and the black woman would pay the least.

To give it a twist, the app allows individuals to protest against the split with a series of excuses like, “I’m unconventionally unattractive,” “I’ve spent $400 on improv classes,” and “I’m aware of my privilege.” When selecting “this isn’t an issue anymore,” the app will proceed to display stats on the wage gap.

This seems to be a great idea for the underprivileged, but creators of EquiPay have found a way to attract the attention of privileged white collars as well.

“We at EquiPay know people love social recognition for being socially conscious, so we’ve created a share feature,” Malbroux said.

Malbroux’s goal is not to make money— she is more excited to see what will come from this socially conscious creation.

Article via TechCrunch, 20 February 2016
Photo: Eat Money by Lynne Hand [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]


Bitcoins could buy energy for less

Researchers discovered the technology behind Bitcoin that could help cut energy bills.

Technologists of Accenture have created a blockchain-based smart plug that can track power consumption and search for cheaper energy sources minute-by-minute. The current blockchain serves as the automated ledger that oversees Bitcoin and keeps tracks of where coins are spent.

The plug modifies the basic Bitcoin blockchain technology to make it actively look for cheaper power suppliers, which could help people living on low earnings who use prepayment meters that operate on a “pay-as-you-go” basis. Accenture has also adapted the blockchain to allow customers to actively negotiate deals, rather than simply signing contracts and confirming transaction records.

“It’s about how we put more business behaviour or logic into the blockchain,” said Emmanual Viale, head of the Accenture team at the firm’s French research lab.

The prototype works with other appliances in the house so when demand for energy is high, it searches for different suppliers and uses the modified blockchain to switch to the cheaper source. According to Accenture research, the modified blockchain would be able to save individuals using prepayment meters in the UK up to £660 million annually.

Although the Accenture system is still just a concept, it has huge potential to make energy use more affordable.

Article via BBC, 19 February 2016
Photo: Bitcoin by Chris Pirillo