Hi Heath. I’m glad that you’re interested in my article. Your questions are very pertinent to this topic, and I hope that this thread could enrich the debate about solving those questions related to the sustainability of public goods.
- About “Ownership”, I think that is a wrong concept that cannot be applied to Intellectual Goods and FOSS. Copyright and Patents are just an obsolete institution from an old Industrial Era. Today, In this digital reality we’re dealing with a post-scarcity economy of abundant non-rivalrous intangible goods, so ownership of those works have no sense. That means that nobody can really own a JPEG, or a document, or a song, or a piece of software.
Instead, in that article I’ve proposed an Sponsorship deal for those who invest in public goods. Sponsors don’t enforce any kind of control over maintainers of FOSS projects, but only provide economic support for their project. In exchange, sponsors obtain a Reputation Score that is recognized by the Decentralized Application for activating Smart Contracts in financial applications. A kind of Collateral, that has a lot of demand in current DeFi space. DAOs allow to establish that relationship of mutual support between Devotees(sponsors) and Authors (Maintainers and developers).
In that way, we’re constructing a market for public digital goods, but always granting free access to users.
- About the role of the government, it’s complicated. But the problem is not about collecting enough money for supporting OSS and science research. The problem consists on allocating capital in the “right” projects, a problem that even Vitalik Buterin considers challenging and was one of the motivations for developing his proposal of Quadratic Funding. That problem is inherent to Central Planning, where governments designate to a group of so-called “experts” to decide which projects are more convenient for achieving the greater good and benefiting the most of the population. This could end up in corruption schemes and nepotism, where these “experts” would choose winners and losers in the game. In fact, this kind or reasoning is what left many independent science research projects underfunded, as related in this article.
- Instead, governments could become a positive influence for FOSS by providing an Universal Basic Income delivered in the form Vouchers, so citizens would invest them in the public enterprises of their preference. That’s because markets are the most efficient way of allocating resources for those who really need them, This strategy has proven to be a success for funding public education in countries like Sweden and Finland, as parents choose the best schools for their children in a competitive market thanks to School Vouchers. In our case, governments would offer Ethereum Vouchers to citizens for investing in Egregores (DAOs for FOSS projects). In consequence, citizens could become Devotees and being empowered to participate in sophisticated financial markets ( thanks to DeFi) by using their Devotee Tokens as collateral.
In that way, with UBI and FOSS Crypto Vouchers, governments encourage citizens to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle and grant them some of their carbon credit redeemable in the form of DAOVOTION Tokens, financing the innovation in renewable energies and efficient management of resources. That could help initiatives like Open Source Ecology, thus people could empower their homes for producing their own food, water and energy, becoming self-sufficient and reducing their impact on the ambient.
At last, I have to thank you for allow me to express these ideas in this space. We need to raise more awareness for the challenge of funding public goods, and in the short term we together could achieve better solutions for helping FOSS industry to thrive.
Att: Nebai León.