Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa is giving away $9.1 million (JPY 1 billion) to his Twitter followers as a new year's gift.
A Social Experiment
Maezawa announced the giveaway in a video on Alphabet Inc.'s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) video-sharing platform YouTube on New Year's eve, saying that he's giving a modern spin to the Japanese tradition of Otoshidama, The Times U.K. reported on Thursday.
The elders in the family give gifts to children according to the tradition, but since Maezawa doesn't have any children, he is choosing to do the giveaway for his Twitter fans, according to the Times translation.
To participate, all the users had to do is retweet his January 1 tweet. The contest, in which all Japanese residents above the age of 13 could participate, will name 1,000 winners through a lottery. Each winner will get about $9,151 (JPY 1 million), it will be paid in installments over one year.
Maezawa described the giveaway as a "serious social experiment," Reuters reported, as he is interested in learning the effects of universal basic income on people's happiness.
Maezawa Has A History
Maezawa made philanthropic moves like this before. In 2018, he purchased all the tickets for the SpaceX aircraft that will carry the first private passengers to travel around the moon. Maezawa launched the #dearMoon project to select artists to go with him to space for free so that they can be inspired to create better art.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who also heads Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA), said that Maezawa's efforts restored his faith in humanity.
Maezawa who sold his online fashion retailing business Zozo to Softbank Group Corporation (OTC: SFTBY) in November last year, announced a second giveaway of $915,000 (JPY 100 million) last Sunday, as a celebration of Zozotown website completing transactions worth $91 million (JPY 10 billion) between Christmas and New Year.
Both of the giveaway tweets were retweeted more than 4 million times by press time, and are now the world's two most-retweeted tweets in the world ahead of Carter Wilkerson's 2017 tweet asking users to help him secure free lifetime nuggets supply from The Wendy's Company (NASDAQ: WEN).