Snowdrift.coop – sustainable funding for FLO projects – William Hale (Salt)

What are Free/Liberated/Open public goods? Excludability: can someone stop others from having access to it? Can multiple people make use of it at the same time? Software is a clubbable public good, because you can exclude people (through law).

The snowdrift dilemma (game theory). When the road is blocked by a snowdrift, I can do all of the work which is good for everyone, or you can do the work, or we can do it together, or the work doesn’t get done. Free software is a lot like that. Proprietary software is like a toll road, it gives control to someone else. There are several techniques to make this happen, like law, DRM, secrecy, and platform lock-in.

Can we work together to make public goods that are good to the public? This is the principle below snowdrift.coop. Snowdrift is a cooperative, all stakeholders get votes.

It uses mutual assurance: I only have to give if others do as well.

It uses network effects: you donate more if more people donate.

The developer(s) are kept informed so they know if they can quit their jobs.

Snowdrift is not limited to software, it can also sponsor art or other public goods.

It only supports robust projects, so there should be a good guarantee that there will be results. It’s also important that the public interest is served. It’s also required that all results are made available under a public license (but you can choose which one).

Partnered with OSI and OIN.

It is still alpha. There is a working prototype. But to get to beta and handle real money, they need a lot more (financial) support.

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