Far from the glittering image of celebrities walking the red carpet, a Los Angeles resident recently had a bucket of hot liquid diarrhea poured over her head as she was walking not too far away from the iconic Hollywood Walk of Fame. The perpetrator was a homeless man diagnosed with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.
Four hundred miles north in San Francisco, the home of more billionaires per capita than anywhere else in the world, the homeless population is soaring, with feces, urine, vomit, needles and mental illness sprawling across public spaces and spilling into private vestibules. In 2019, the number of people living on the streets in San Francisco and in cars and shelters is up 30% since 2017 to 9,784.
As the problem grows, so do piles of human feces.
Blockchain developer Hart Lambur says the problem is spiraling out of control. He contributed to the San Francisco poop coin project along with Daniel Que and Tyson Battistella to align the incentives of residents and city officials.
“For example, assume the city of San Francisco wants to put their money where they mouth is and fully commit to solving this. The city could issue shit coins and sell them to residents. Say the city issues $10mm shit coins at 3000 shits per month. If the city can reduce the shit rate to 1500 per month, they would make $5mm in “profits”; conversely, if shit doubles (to 6000 per month), the city would owe the shit coiners another $10mm.
The purchasers of these shit coins could be speculators or residents of the city of San Francisco that are looking for an “emotional hedge.” Residents could buy these coins knowing that if the problem gets worse and their lives get shittier, they’ll at least make some money. And if the problem gets better, they lose money, but at least their city is cleaner!”
SF has a huge homeless problem, and one clear metric is the amount of human waste reported. The chart below is the 30 day rolling average of shits reported to SF311.
Current average is 3000 shits per month, up from ~1000 in 2014. This trend is totally unacceptable. pic.twitter.com/qACthhX27Q
— Hart Lambur (@hal2001) November 13, 2019
The coins, however, could potentially be gamed by bad actors.
“The biggest concern with this approach would be if some asshole bought a bunch of shit coins and then purposefully shat all over SF to drive prices up. It is possible that this shit coin could create an economic incentive for a large bag holder to promote public shitting and actually make the problem worse. (Imagine the headline: ‘Shit Coin Ruins City’).”
The SF Poop Token is based on the Ethereum network.