In May, the city of New Orleans began sending out cash payments to a small group of residents for a 10-month pilot universal income program. Using grant funds from the advocacy group Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, the city began paying 125 young people $350 per month on a city-provided debit card for 10 months, with no restrictions as to how the money can be spent.

The city’s press release didn’t mention that the program was also a test case for its wider ambition — creating a combination municipal ID and debit card, dubbed the Crescent City Card and powered by Mastercard and a financial tech company called Mobility Capital Finance, or MoCaFi. 

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