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Street Performer Protocol

1999-11-17 23:18:35+00 by Dan Lyke 6 comments

On the Userland Discussion Forum Dennis Peterson points out the Street Performer Protocol:

Using this protocol, people would place donations in escrow, to be released to an author in the event that the promised work be put in the public domain. This protocol has the potential to fund alternative or "marginal" works.

[ related topics: Web development Dave Winer ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:30:53+00 by: crasch

Inspired in part by the Street Performer Protocol, I've written an essay outlining a method for funding open source software development that I think offers a solution to the "free rider" and "assurance" problems caused by the "public good" nature of open source software. In brief, it involves creating a market for tradable software completion bonds. A software completion bond is a promise to pay the bond owner the face value of the bond when anyone, anywhere in the world, completes software that meets the bond specs.

Here's the URL:

The Wall Street Performer Protocol: Using Software Completion Bonds To Fund Open Source Software Development http://www.openknowledge.org/writing/open-source/scb/

I would welcome any suggestions, questions, or criticisms you may have.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:30:53+00 by: TheSHAD0W

Mmmmm... http://www.freetheknowledge.org

#Comment made: 2001-01-11 06:49:50+00 by: crasch [edit history]

Thanks, Shadow, for the reference--I wasn't aware of them.

I'm sorry if you couldn't get to the essay. Sometime around mid-afternoon my site went down. I discovered that I had <sheepish grin> allowed my domain name to lapse. (I moved, and forgot to update the billing info., so I didn't receive any billing notices.) I've renewed the domain, but it may take a few days before they process the order. I'll post again when the site is up again--I apologize for the snafoo.

In the meantime, here's another interesting paper describing a related idea:

Using Electronic Markets to Achieve Efficient Task Distribution at http://www.systemics.com/docs/papers/task_market.html by Ian Grigg and Christopher C. Petro, (28 February 1997)


The Internet was built using the efforts of a worldwide team of programmers thatcoordinated and competed through laissez-faire methods. Much of the effort was freely provided, or paid for by entities in a process that did not conform to normal commercial revenue-seeking or government regulatory behaviour. This points to major inefficiencies in the market for software. One inhibitor is the large search costs undertaken by managers to acquire new programmers.

On the other hand, there are inherent inefficiencies in the way in which much of the free Internet software is developed. Specifically, there is no efficient way for users to direct the efforts of developers, other than by contracting for entire projects. This often results in a mismatch between development and requirement, as user communities and developer communities are sufficiently culturally different to make communication non-perfect.

We propose a market-based solution that allows many users to each contribute small amounts to projects, and for the sum effect of these contributions to influence and direct the activities of programmers towards tasks that users demand. A range of solutions is presented, from a web billboard bounty market to trading exchange markets for digital financial instruments. Reputational effects, intermediaries and differentiation are considered.

Relying on the existance of efficient electronic payment mechanisms and the efficiency promised by new electronic markets (both web billboard and digital financial instrument forms), we submit that the markets proposed could make small tasks more readily directable over the Internet, and could significantly enhance the efficiency of certain classes of software development.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:30:54+00 by: crasch

OK, the link http://www.openknowledge.org/writing/open-source/scb/ should work now.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:30:54+00 by: TheSHAD0W

FYI, "them" is mostly "me". :-)

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:30:54+00 by: crasch

You may also wish to check out http://www.potlatch.net--a weblog with lots of links to voluntary payment schemes such as http://www.fairtunes.org.