Breadcoin was born when Scott Borger, a Ph.D. economist, conceived of it in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008. From the depths of that crisis, when nonprofits and governments had to cut their budgets, few resources were available to the most marginalized in our society even though the need for assistance was growing exponentially. There was a need for new and innovative ideas that could provide resources to those who were feeding and sustaining their communities, shoring up systems and expectations for potential further upheavals.
In 2014 Borger imagined a community meal token and then arrived at the name “Breadcoin” to acknowledge a store of value and because “bread” would represent its basic unit of account.
The physical token was designed by Ben Kolesar and first minted in 2016, at which point Cary Umhau came on board to join Scott in creating the community applications of Breadcoin.
In 2016, our first vendor was Mission Muffins, a “ready to work” program of the Central Union Mission homeless shelter, located near Union Station in Washington, DC. Soon thereafter we began steadily moving into additional neighborhoods as we grew and strengthened the structures of the nonprofit.
Early participants in the Breadcoin project purchased a food trailer which was leased to the Central Union Mission for use by Mission Muffins, substantially increasing their four-season capacity and product-line capabilities. That lease was paid back with interest, in three years, in Breadcoins to the investors who then gave again to individuals and nonprofits, ensuring more people were fed.
We minted additional coins in 2017, at which time Breadcoins were made available for purchase online with a small fee to allay the costs of minting tokens and expanding the network.
2018 and 2019 saw additional growth, media coverage, and the inception of a membership model whereby donors who give on a monthly recurring basis fund the coins that are distributed by neighbhorhood teams tasked with building relationships with vendors and nonprofits in geographical areas so that people can be linked, efficient, and mutually encouraging.
A board of five members (pictured at left: Greg Ewing, Borger, Umhau, Kevin Wrege and William Spence) assists our leadership and neighborhood teams in this growing all-volunteer effort.