In a Nutshell: Initiative Q is an ambitious project that seeks to bring about a whole new payment and currency system to replace today’s structures. Saar Wilf, Initiative Q’s Founder, said the technology to create a convenient, secure, and cost-effective payment system already exists. He envisions a day when the technology will converge within Initiative Q to completely reboot the financial world and deliver a truly global, efficient currency. Initiative Q is currently encouraging consumers to sign up to support the project on its website, and is incentivizing early adopters by offering to give away currency for free should the project come to fruition. Wilf and Initiative Q is supported by a strong Economic Advisory Board consisting of economic experts.
Saar Wilf has a vision.
The entrepreneur and tech industry insider sees a world in which a convenient, safe, and efficient currency platform and payment system is the global standard.
And his project — Initiative Q — is the vehicle Wilf hopes will usher in this new era of money.
“We’re still stuck with the payment systems from 50 years ago — that is the No. 1 problem,” Wilf said. “The hope with Initiative Q is that by creating this alternative monetary system and payment network, we can overcome this barrier and get people motivated to take the time to transfer to a new system. That’s the premise.”
The decades-old payment structures that exist today cause consumers and businesses to bear unnecessary costs, he said, in the form of inefficient processing, fraud, and rigidity.
Initiative Q posits that there are already advanced payment technologies and innovations that exist but are not being utilized. The technology is there, Wilf said, we just need to use it.
Wilf is clear in explaining that Initiative Q is not a new cryptocurrency or blockchain project. Initiative Q places great value on ease of use, stability, security, efficiency, and legality over decentralization, which the company refers to as an abstract goal.
“This is a real-world solution for real-world problems,” according to the Initiative Q website.
We recently had the opportunity to speak with Wilf to learn more about his vision, what it’s going to take to make his vision become a reality, and how the world would benefit from Initiative Q.
Implementing a New Currency Platform Using Technology that Already Exists in the Finance World
Ultimately, Initiative Q aims to deliver a modern payment network that pulls together the best technology and ideas of the modern payments era. The result will be a network that will facilitate secure, low-cost, and fast transactions with a global currency, which will be known as Q.
“The cards and cash in our wallets are antiquated ways to identify us and keep a count of our funds. These functions can be easily integrated into a smartphone,” according to the Initiative Q website.
With the Q system and Q app, customers will be able to simply walk into a store and their payment info will be immediately identified. Checking out will be as simple as scanning an item with a smartphone camera and walking out with your purchase.
Restaurant customers can leave when they are finished because the Q system will automatically settle the bill with the restaurant’s server.
Wilf admits that a world with such convenient transactions is far from reality at this point, but he is heavily promoting Initiative Q and imagines a day when these types of transactions will be the norm.
“There are many advanced payment technologies and innovations waiting to be deployed; MFA (multi-factor authentication) methods to make payments more secure; AI to reduce fraud; one global currency to eliminate currency exchange fees; digital transactions to make transactions faster, safer, and cheaper,” according to the company website.
Initiative Q would not only deliver convenience and security using cutting-edge tech, but it will also offer a unique layer of technology not currently available in many payment systems.
“Since every new member must be verified by an existing member, who risks losing their reward in case of fraud, the Q payment network will build a network of trust relationships that can be used to verify transactions,” according to the company website.
Initiative Q’s global currency and payment system would also promote best business practices, employ the ability to reverse transactions when human error occurs, and allow fast access to complete transaction histories.
Promoting Initiative Q in Hopes of Reaching Critical Mass and Eventually Adoption
Wilf said he has been thinking about how to improve upon an outdated payment system since 1997, when he saw how ecommerce was going to drastically change the way consumers transact. But he said that, before a project like Initiative Q can become a reality, there must be a demand for the new system.
“The main problem in getting to a new payment technology is figuring out how to get a critical mass of both buyers and sellers to commit to using it,” he said. Or as the website puts it: “No buyer will join a new payment network with no sellers, and no seller will offer a new payment option that no buyer uses.”
Therefore, Wilf and the Initiative Q team have been intently focused on promoting the project and encouraging people to show their support by signing up for the project via the Initiative Q website.
But Wilf said he also knows people need more incentive than simply describing a utopian vision of convenience. That’s why Initiative Q will reward early adopters with free Q, should the project ever come to fruition.
“To get millions to join, we are giving away our future currency,” according to the website. Currently, the estimated value of Q’s spot price is $15,683. Those who sign up automatically reserve 10% upon registration, then they will receive 40% after inviting five friends to join, and the rest is reserved for future tasks.
“It becomes this virtuous cycle because you give people free currency then they have the incentive to promote adoption of the payment system,” Wilf said. “As the payment system grows, more people are using the currency. As more people use the currency it becomes the standard and increases the value of the currency, and so on.”
With more than 7 million people signed up for Initiative Q, Wilf said he believes this proves there is some merit to the concept.
Drawing from Economic and Industry Experts to Help Make the Project a Success
Wilf’s vision is a grand one — and he’ll be the first to acknowledge that. But Wilf has proven his expertise in the tech world in the past.
In the 2000s, he founded Fraud Sciences. The company developed sophisticated algorithms for identifying who is a real person and who is a fraudster online with the goal of preventing credit card theft, he said.
The company was acquired in 2008 by PayPal for $169 million.
“Today, those concepts that we developed are pretty much the standard in online fraud prevention,” Wilf said. Since then, he has been involved in a number of other industry projects that utilize cutting-edge AI and algorithms.
Wilf has also surrounded himself with an Economic Advisory Board that features economic experts and academics from across the country.
Lawrence H. White is a Professor of Economics at George Mason University who specializes in the theory and history of banking and money, and is the author of a number of books on economic theory.
White is a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics and Economics of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, and a senior scholar of the Cato Institute Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives, according to the Initiative Q website.
Marc Rysman is a Professor of Economics at Boston University whose research focuses on industrial organization and competition, antitrust, and regulation.
William J. Luther is the Director of the American Institute for Economic Research’s Sound Money Project. Luther’s work focuses on questions of currency acceptance. He is also an Assistant Professor of Economics at Florida Atlantic University and an adjunct scholar with the Cato Institute’s Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives.
Finally, James Caton is a Faculty Fellow at North Dakota State University Center for the Study of Public Choice and Private Enterprise and an Assistant Professor in the NDSU Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics. His research revolves around entrepreneurship, agent-based computational economics, market process theory, and monetary economics.
With a strong team of experts supporting Initiative Q and Wilf’s clear road map of adoption, development, and implementation, his vision may just become a reality. Even skeptics would admit that imagining a world without juggling multiple credit cards, keeping track of due dates, or even waiting for the check at a restaurant sounds pretty nice.