Givling is a trivia game that allows users to compete for cash prizes. Users pay to play, and a portion of the funds raised are used to pay back student loans waiting in a queue. Essentially, Givling has adapted the crowdfunding model to student loans.
How Does Givling Work?
Givling has two sets of users: players and loan holders.
Players purchase tokens at $.50 each (though bulk discounts are available) to participate in trivia games. These purchases fund cash prizes, and also help to pay down loans in the queue.
Once a player joins a game, he or she is randomly matched with two other teammates. Each member of the team answers questions on a randomly selected topic, and individual scores are added together to arrive at a team score. Each day, the highest scoring team is awarded a cash prize equal to 25% of Givling’s revenues for that day.
Team members also compete with one another with the top scoring member of the team receiving 50% of the prize, and the other two members receiving 30% and 20% of the total, respectively.
Now, on to the loan holders.
When loan holders sign up for the Givling queue, they receive a number. Anyone can sign up for free, and loan holders aren’t obligated to buy tokens or play the game. However, it can help if they do.
In total 65% of Givling’s daily revenues go toward paying down loans in the queue.
How Does One Get Into the Givling Queue?
There are three ways to get into the Living Funding Queue.
At any given time, there are 10 loans in the Live Funding Queue, which are being funded simultaneously.
- (5) are chosen from the General Givling Queue in the order that they signed up
- (3) are chosen from the Top Funding Queue, which is made up of the players who purchase the most Givling coins to play the trivia game
- (2) are chosen at random from the General Givling Queue
Since not everyone in the Live Funding Queue arrives with the same amount of outstanding debt, loans are paid off at different times. When one loan is paid in full, it is replaced with another from the same category.
Will Givling Pay off My Student Loans?
Unfortunately, it’s highly unlikely that Givling is going to pay off your student loans any time soon.
On May 30, 2016, Givling paid out $251 in cash prizes. Since the daily cash prize is equal to 25% of the day’s revenues, we know that Givling brought in about $1004 on the 30th. Of that $1004, 65% or $652.60 goes toward paying down loans in the queue.
That same day, the combined total balances of the 10 loans in the Live Funding Queue amounted to $348,029.84. (The outstanding balances for two of the top 10 aren’t shown on Givling’s site, so they aren’t summed in this total.) At a rate of $652.60 per day it would take Givling 533 days to make payments totaling today’s outstanding balance on those loans. At the same time, each individual loan is accruing interest.
So, how long would it take to pay off the loans of every person waiting in Givling’s queue?
According to Givling, more than 79,000 people have signed up for a place in the queue. Assuming that everyone in the queue has an average debt load of $35,000, the total of all loans waiting in the queue is more than $2.8 billion. At a rate of $652.60 per day, it would take more than 4 million days or 11,607 years to make payments equal to the amount owed today on all of these loans. Again, each of these loans is growing, which will extend the payoff date even further into the future.
What If I Win a Random Spot in the Live Funding Queue?
As mentioned earlier, two spots in the funding queue are awarded at random. Essentially, this allows lucky individuals to jump the line in the event that one of these spots is open. With 79,000 individuals waiting in the queue, there’s a .0027% chances that you’ll be awarded one of these spots, assuming that they’re both open. If only one is open, the odds are of course even less favorable.
Givling plans to allow you to buy a spot in the queue
One thing is for sure: a spot in the Live Funding Queue is valuable. With this in mind, Givling plans on developing a marketplace which allows holders of places in the queue to sell those places to others.
So, how much will a spot in the Live Funding Queue cost?
In order to properly value a spot in the queue, there are several factors we would need to consider. To keep things simple, let’s just say that a spot is only less valuable than the highest student loan balance. In other words, if someone has $200K in debt, it would make financial sense for them to pay anything less than that to guarantee that it’s repaid via a spot in the Live Funding Queue.
While interesting, this seems like a questionable practice. For one thing, the individuals most in need of assistance are the least likely to have the cash on hand to purchase a spot in the queue. What’s more, this type of transaction isn’t risk free, and it invites individuals to resort to gambling as a strategy for student loan repayment.
What If Givling Becomes the Next Trivia Game Sensation?
Of course, if Givling sudden became a sensation in mobile gaming, it could move through the queue much more quickly. That said, there are some important differences between Givling and other online games trivia games like QuizUp, which made the news when the company behind it raised $22 million on the back of the game’s success.
Most notably, the basic features of QuizUp are entirely free while Givling charges a fee for every round played. At $.50, the fee is modest, but it does provide a barrier to mass adoption. The daily cash prize does provide an incentive for users to buy into the game, but with rewards of $250 or $300 split three ways, that incentive might not be strong enough to sign up paying participants in droves.
So, What’s the Point?
The point isn’t that Givling is a terrible idea. For the few people that they’re able to help, Givling may be life changing. And, in many ways, it’s nice to see a fresh approach to an entrenched problem.
Yet, in reality, Givling represents nothing more than false hope for the vast majority of student loan borrowers. The problem is just too massive for any single company to tackle. More than anything, the lopsided success of Givling – low daily revenues and a long funding queue – highlights the desperation felt by many borrowers and the need for new policy measures to address the long term economic burden of student loans.