Billionaire gives up quarter of wealth

Billionaire Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has stepped up the coronavirus fight by pledging more than a quarter of his own wealth for COVID-19 relief.

The 43-year-old, who is also the founder mobile payments company Square, took to his social media platform yesterday to announce the creation of a new fund named Start Small LL.

It has been funded by $US1 billion of Mr Dorsey's Square equity - representing around 28 per cent of his total fortune - and will be used for "global COVID-19 relief".

He said after the pandemic had been contained, the organisation's focus would shift towards girls' health and education, and universal basic income (UBI).

Universal basic income refers to the concept of governments guaranteeing all citizens a minimum income.

"Why UBI and girls' health and education? I believe they represent the best long-term solutions to the existential problems facing the world," Mr Dorsey explained in a follow-up tweet.

"UBI is a great idea needing experimentation. Girls' health and education is critical to balance."

He explained that all transfers, sales and grants would be made public in a tracking sheet and that he was committed to transparency to provide a record he and others could learn from.

"I've discovered and funded … many orgs with proven impact and efficiency in the past, mostly anonymously. Going forward, all grants will be public. Suggestions welcome," he tweeted.

"Why now? The needs are increasingly urgent, and I want to see the impact in my lifetime. I hope this inspires others to do something similar.

"Life is too short, so let's do everything we can today to help people now."

Mr Dorsey's donation eclipses those of other recent high-profile donors such as Bill and Melinda Gates, who promised $US100 million to combat coronavirus, which Mr Gates described as a "once-in-a-century pathogen".

Alibaba founder Jack Ma, ex-hedge fund manager George Soros and Hong Kong's richest man Li Ka-Shing are among others who have put millions towards fighting the pandemic.