Tue 11 Jun 2019 5:31PM

E-Money #1: Funding the Web Commons, Or, How Do You Fund Crowdfunding?

DS Danyl Strype Public Seen by 152

TL;DR summary of intent might be, 'to create a well researched summary of the useful, sustainable funding tools currently available to commoners'. The opening post and blog piece linked in it were an attempt to explain the needs I want to address. If you have any specific questions, I'm happy to answer them as best I can.

Late last year I wrote a blog piece on the challenges of trying to collect contributions from people who appreciate work contributed to the online commons:

I've been meaning to write a series of follow-up posts, investigating the terrain in more detail, but I haven't yet found the time. There's a lot I can say about the tech stacks various sites use, whether they are free code and so forth, as well as some of the political-economic dimensions. But I'm painfully aware of my lack of expert knowledge on the commerce and legal aspects of the problem, which are just as important if not more so.

It occurs to me that this would make an excellent group research project. Does P2PF/ CT have any formal work going in this area? If not, any other groups of academics, activists, techies or otherwise, investigating this area that may be keen to collaborate? If so, I'd much rather pitch in than go about reinventing the wheel. Failing that, would anyone involved with P2PF/CT be interested in working with me on this?


Matthew Slater Tue 11 Jun 2019 5:53PM

Thanks for thinking of me Strypey. I've studiously avoided fiat money payment systems my whole career and my interest in them is less than ever. So I don't think I'll have much to contribute to this question.


Danyl Strype Wed 12 Jun 2019 8:06AM

Looking at ways of interfacing with existing money systems is unavoidably necessary to a useful piece of research on funding the work of commoners. That's not limited to fiat money, it could also include existing alternatives like crypto-tokens, mutual credit systems and so on. But it does have to grapple with the question of how commoners can buy the goods they need in the real economy (housing, food, clothing, computer gear, internet connections etc) right now. Any system that doesn't facilitate that is not a money system (not yet anyway), it's a reputation or social network system in monetary drag.


The hOEP Project Mon 17 Jun 2019 3:41PM

Strypey, You wrote "But it does have to grapple with the question of how commoners can buy the goods they need in the real economy (housing, food, clothing, computer gear, internet connections etc) right now"
so there are number of projects that grapple with the problem. most of them I know of are open source cryptocurrencies for special use like "Devcoin". https://devcoin.org/ . Devcoin is basically a crowdsourced funding solution to pay open source programers for producing open source work based on their contributions they get paid in Devcoin which can be converted into regular coin for spending.

The other solution I know of for grappling with the problem is my personal favorite and works very different. It's basically a reputation or social network PRICE system for use to by sellers to make a profit by giving price discounts to people based on their social metrics. the hOEP project studies how sellers can make more profit by giving price discounts to people who are good for the community. As it turns out, clever sellers can make a lot of profit by giving contributors to a good project price discounts while raising their regular price for all higher at the same time. More info if you google "The hOEP Project". The hOEP project (hOurs Equals Price) is a crowdsourced public domain collection of research into the behavioral economics of shopping and purchasing. It describes a completely voluntary, highly profitable, non-government, free market place solution to reduce poverty, solve politics, and distribute political economic power to consumers. You might think of The hOEP Project as similar to the Chinese social credit system except, hOPE is run by the free market and consumers voluntarily participate. The Chinese Social credit system works similarly to lower prices for good citizens or customers, but it's state controlled. Both the Chinese social credit system or hOEP are designed to connect a social network with a real price difference at the cash register when buying things. In either system, your programers or researchers or developers would, in theory, get price discounts based on their social reputation for producing value to the community.


Jeff Regino Tue 11 Jun 2019 7:02PM

Hello Strypey, which specific topics do you want to focus your research on? Thanks for sharing your link.

I'm interested in this because I'm also planning to do crowdfunding for my project (the world's first worker-led, FairShares-modeled, cooperative-social enterprise hybrid-powered online jobs platform of its kind, details here: http://bit.ly/2KJWbxN )

I may not be able to join your research project, but I may be able to provide relevant tips or links I've come across.


Jeff Regino Tue 11 Jun 2019 7:07PM

Kia ora Strypey :D Saw your post here:

I'd like to point out that my ideal country of incorporation is NZ. :D NZ plans to create a new legal structure: Impact Company, and I'd like to be one of the world's first to use that structure. :)


Danyl Strype Wed 12 Jun 2019 8:27AM

I don't click on shortened links anymore, there be dragons ;) I'd love to learn more about your project though, please share the full link? I'm intrigued by the proposed Impact Company entity. Particularly how it will be similar to and different from the existing Private/ Public/ Cooperative Company entities. Steven Moe who hosts the Seeds podcast is a lawyer with a special interest in the Social Enterprise sector of NZ business.


Jeff Regino Wed 12 Jun 2019 10:39AM

I use bitly as link shorteners to track where I get readers from. My link's legit and has no dragons. https://www.onlinejobsplus.com/bfb-platformx/#2

It would be NZ's for-purpose legal structure. An Impact Company would be quite similar to CIC (UK); PBC and SPC and others (US); and CCC or Community Contribution Company (Canada).

Steven helped create the report. You can read it here: https://www.theimpactinitiative.org.nz/reports/structuring-for-impact


Danyl Strype Thu 13 Jun 2019 8:38AM


I use bitly as link shorteners to track where I get readers from.

This is exactly the kind of dragon I was referring to ;) A poll on your
site that asks visitors how they found it would be less effective but
also less creepy. This aside, link shorteners are one of many things
that over-centralize the web, making web archiving harder, and
contribute to linkrot. I think they're best avoided but YMMV :)

Thanks for the link, I'll check it out. Since this is drifting off-topic
for this thread, I'll follow up with you via whatever contact info you
supply on the site.

Steven helped create the report.

Ah OK. There is an audio version of the report on his podcast. I've been
meaning to have a listen.


Greg Cassel Tue 11 Jun 2019 7:15PM

Thanks for addressing this super important subject @strypey . Many big social, cultural, economic and political variables connect here. It's not hard to create funding channels, but it's hard to consistently reduce "the free rider problem".

FYI I've prototyped broad frameworks with apparently similar motivations. One is Open Intermedia Commons. That was initially intended to jumpstart the development of a global commons "platform"; later I recognized the preferability of protocols & networks to platforms. The other is Open Ongoing Crowdfunding. That aims to increase the effectiveness of any project, such as Open Intermedia Commons, which relies purely on voluntary contributions. It integrates several separately-usable features which could IMO prove triumphantly synergistic.

Unfortunately those are two of my most-neglected models; and while I've advocated closely-related business models in a couple of groups, I haven't been able to create serious usage yet. But that's all I've got for you now; maybe it's useful as food for thought.


Danyl Strype Fri 2 Aug 2019 11:04AM

A bit of a tangent, but ...

@Greg Cassel

it's hard to consistently reduce "the free rider problem".

I'm not convinced this is a real problem, at least not when it comes to non-rivalrous goods. It doesn't matter how many people read articles on the Guardian website without paying, as long as there are paying readers to keep the lights on. In theory, everyone contributes to the commons as a whole by giving what they can (whether in cash or unpaid labour) to the digital commons they care about the most, or are in the best position to help. For example, programmers contributing their time and skills to SecureDrop, or academics improving Wikipedia articles used by Guardian journalists for initial research on stories, might benefit the Guardian more than if they donated 20 bucks a week directly.

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