The online shopping mogul who made the announcement via a YouTube video, described the contest as a “serious social trial” to see what impact a million yen ($9,000) could have on 1000 people’s life.
The billionaire who tied the giveaway to the idea of basic income, or the theory of providing a periodic no-strings-attached payment to all citizens that has gained traction in some political circles and is backed by Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Andrew Yang, urged contestants who are only expected to retweet his January 1 post to use the money “as they like” and to answer regular questionnaires about how they’re using it.
— Yusaku Maezawa (MZ) 前澤友作 (@yousuck2020) December 31, 2019
Almost everyone was eligible for the contest which ended on January 7. Over 4 million people participated and it is expected a lottery will determine those who chosen. Maezawa will personally notify them in a direct message within two to three days, while the impact of the money will be tracked through regular surveys.
He also held same contest in January 2019, promising 100 million yen roughly $914,000 to 100 Twitter users. Maezawa who is worth an estimated $2 billion according to Forbes, broke records through the contest as his January 2019 tweet became the most retweeted ever at the time with 4.68 million retweets. Winners of the January 2019 contest ended up with a bit more than $9,000 each.
The Japanese billionaire is said to be the first private passenger to fly around the moon with Elon Musk’s SpaceX. He is also known for his high spending on art, sports cars and his predilection for musing on ideas like a world without money.