GitNFT: Autograph and sell your GitHub commits

I just discovered a service called GitNFT. I think it is a brilliant idea that can help open source maintainers of essential/popular projects sell NFTs of URLs to commits of each version of their project.

I reached out to their CEO to get him on the podcast. I believe starting a conversation around using Web3 technologies like NFTs to help maintainers sustain their projects would be beneficial.

There already is some controversy :arrow_heading_down: so there would be plenty to unpack.

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Please tell me, what kind of controversy is affecting this NFT proposal ?

PD: I just want to talk about it. Bringing some lights on it for understanding that twitter thread.

The controversy here is that some folks are trying to make money off commits they have not made. I personally believe is a good problem to have.

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@jdorfman it will be really useful to bring someone from PSF in to discuss their doubts about Web3. Projects like urllib3 are successfully fundraising through Web3 platforms, but projects under PSF umbrella are locked out from that, because PSF has no position on crypto and prohibits people from dealing with it.

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I’m sure the PSF will come around to it eventually. My thinking is it might still be hard for organizations to accept crypto when it comes to tax liabilities. I don’t think the IRS has black-and-white rules on how a non-profit can go about accepting donations that aren’t fiat.

That would actually be a great Sustain episode. Round table of foundations and their views on crypto/blockchain/web3.

I’m at the point of no longer asking myself IF Web3 will take off.

Hi Anatoli,
That’s quite interesting. Would you have a link/url for

and for

Thanks very much,
Camille

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@camille https://gitcoin.co/grants/65/urllib3 and the quote from PyPA (project under PSF umbrella) Discord.

image

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Thanks for the fastest reply :slight_smile:

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It all thanks to this Ubuntu Touch ticket that I opened my notebook and occasionally checked the mail. :smiley:

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Yes, it is hard to accept crypto, otherwise it would already be done. However, what I am asking PSF is to be public about what specific problems are there.

I created unofficial fundraising page for PyPI, because I want my PRs to be reviewed and merged - 💰 Python Package Index | Grants | Gitcoin - and even though it is not official and not validated, there are already 29 people donated $310 and no way for PyPI maintainers to receive that funds.

You know, we all are interested to consult and resolve these issues together, but it is hard to do anything if PSF is not answering the call.

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Why not just cash in the crypto currency to USD and then donate that? That way, the PSF etc don’t need to build arbitrary systems to accept all the various possible currencies people can dream up ($, €, £, bitcoin, eth, goat, chocolate cookies, whatever)

What is so special about giving the donation in the form of crypto currency?

Crypto gives the usage transparency. On a public blockchain you can see where the tokens are being sent, and who donated, which makes it possible to build services that track and optimize usage and automate crediting, building gameplay for community beyond that PSF can provide with its current LBYL processes.

Once you get more experience in crypto, you can then devise algorithms what control how tokens work. Standard Bitcoin like networks add and subtract tokens to maintain balances. You can see transactions, but specific contribution is not traceable once it is added to a balance. For non-fungible tokens (NFT) one token is one piece of something that can not be joined or split together. So you can trace its movement across wallets to see who own what. And you can have token with dynamics that allows everything in between. If you have a service that provides hosting with tokens, the people can donate its tokens to cover hosting costs. Like cloud credits that you won in a hackaton and have no usage of.

Also, tokens has defationary value. It is not BTC that is going up, because its supply is limited and “not backed up by anything”, it is $ that is going down, because its supply is constantly diluted be endless US “aid and relief” bills. So holding donated funds in tokens is more predictable and stable than converting them into $.

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I think that @abitrolly is right. In this thread, people are more concerned about the payment method through cryptos, than the business model proposal from GitNFT. Smartcontract platforms could bring us clever solutions for building a business model for public goods, without depending on Institutional Grants or donations. We should look for a model that convert this OSS movement into a competitive industry, at par to the tech corporations.

The key is to convincing companies to abandon their IP-copyright related business, and offering them an alternative that encourages Open Innovation and FOSS practices.

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Yeah, and with Ewa stepping down as ED it might be harder. Maybe Eric Holscher can chime it. I will send him this discussion.

I’d like to jump in here as a more critical point of view. I don’t think developing systems or accepting transactions using a currency whose method of speculation has caused its blockchain to consume more electricity than entire countries is a good thing. Furthermore, even if many are claiming that a magical eco-friendly enhancement to how blockchain verification, mining, and other core functions of crypto operate is right around the corner, the speculative nature of crypto-based assets has resulted in endless coordinated insider trading, pump and dump schemes, and rug pulls that harm low-income participants in favor of oligarchs.

Given that the top 10% of traders account for 85% of transactions & trade at least once 97% of all assets and 10% of buyer–seller pairs have the same volume as the remaining 90% has been shown within a recent study of the NFT trader network, I’d be more skeptical of adopting an already un-equal mechanism to help “sustain” open source contributions by opening up commits as speculative assets.

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Generalization is never a good way to estimate downsides of technology.

I am not sure what do you mean by “speculation” that causes blockchain to consume electricity. The market speculations is not the reason why people are creating mining farms and participating in energy hungry proof-of-work consensus networks. Mining farms are powered by greed, and proof-of-work is necessary when there is no trust between parties. Blockchain such as Bitcoin only allows to transfer floats between balances. There is no notion of orders, quotes etc.

Trading is possible when there is a market. Market for bitcoins exists, because they have properties no other stuff has. I don’t know what do you mean by “speculation”, but let me remind that all financial crises were caused not by crypto, and the appearance of Bitcoin was thanks to the crisis that was created by people “speculating” without crypto. Crypto just makes it transparent.

If you definition of “speculation” is selling something that was bought before for lower value, then the whole art market is a huge speculation.

I can read your argument as that gambling with crypto may distracts people from actually important stuff (like polishing algorithms and doing Zip bomb exploits against PyPI), because the gambling is addictive, but like with any gameplay design, the system can be balanced, and open (source) systems have may have property of self-balancing that closed systems (as paypal and banks) will never have. So I’d like to invite you to learn how blockchain technologies work, and think about balancing this stuff in an algorithmic way, and not how FinCEN (who killed Gratipay) or SEC (who killed crypto funds) does.

Hey @abitrolly, thanks for engaging!

I want to start with this quote because I’ve gotten this response a lot from folks within the crypto community whenever I express concern along with empirical research showing the potential harm of deploying this technology in specific ways. I’m not sure if it matters or even if I should mention this but I was re-implementing and optimizing SHA-256 on FPGAs 10 years ago for the purpose of experimenting with bitcoin mining and I think I have followed the development of blockchain technology to have an informed conversation about its pros and cons in certain use cases but perhaps I’m wrong.

So, I’d like to refocus my comments on to whether the use of autographed commit NFTs are a good thing for the sustainability of open source. But first, let me clarify a few things that weren’t clear in my last post.

When I refer to the term speculation, I mean it using the investopedia definition. Because a large number of assets traded through various blockchains (whether it is a crypto currency, or NFTs) have shifting values combined with the trading patterns I’ve linked to in my previous post, I think it is fair to say that much of the trading the happens on various blockchain amounts to speculation. More so, because blockchains are not regulated by democratically controlled organizations such as the SEC (or other national and multi-lateral regulators) many illegal acts such as pump and dump schemes are not only possible but also commonplace.

Yes, I think the antique art market is a great example of a market that largely consists of speculative trading. The art itself is not becoming any more useful over time, however, investors posit that other investors may pay more for it at a later date and therefore invest their funds not based on any sort of prediction increase of use value but rather by speculating on the exchange value. It is important to note that the art market is still regulated by a variety of states depending on where you live. Things like fraud, insider trading, pump and dump schemes are illegal.

Back to the topic at hand

Now, why do I feel this is relevant to the discussion at hand? Well if we begin relying on turning our commits into speculative assets to be traded on unregulated exchanges that historically have developed into deeply unequal and frequently predatory marketplaces then doing so might help predatory speculators more than it would developers who are creating those commits in the first place.

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Yeah, this is the unfortunate reality that really upsets me. I’m hoping that as time goes on and more regulations are in place this type of behavior will be riskier for criminals who are looking to scam people.

With that said there are watchdogs out there like Coffeezilla and Spencer Cornelia who do great investigations and hold scammers somewhat accountable. No matter what there will always be scammers no matter what the currency is.

Your other points have definitely given me a different perspective @Nolski so thanks for sharing them!

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I am not a market expert, but I can hardly believe that “regulated markets” with negative oil prices are not speculative. I don’t see a difference between what happens on blockchains and without them. The way hedge funds rescued each other in GME story is perfect example of coordinated trading. I don’t know why are you blaming blockchain for democratizing the stuff that people with $300000 balances (SEC requirement to be an investor) had been doing for ages. I don’t think that you or anybody else voted for the SEC requirement, so I would not call this independent agency as democratic.

Back to the topic. If playing with NFT allows maintainers to cover the costs, it doesn’t matter what games people play. It is their money. They are free to spend them on substances or casinos too, but I hope we all agree that nobody wants to be scolded, so sharing information and educating people how to detect and avoid these situations will be better for the ecosystem than just denying crypto. Because the alternative is what?

$5 donations through PayPal from you salary? Do we see that people are willing to do this? Do we see companies that are willing to do this? What is the incentive, reach, the effect? Is it a charity, or we want to transform it to prestige and privilege? With PayPal mafia and their friends we’ve already proved with Gratipay that they don’t allow us to have the story. So we need another way.

NFT market can be different. It can be open to the companies only. The ownership can be temporary. The token can signify that people in some company agreed to share their profits with developers who supply their this specific dependency, and that will can be the mechanism that doesn’t depend on company owner, but it is easy to approve, because the cultural pattern can be copied together with economic model as a smart contract. Yes, you can do this with traditional media and praises to sponsors, but blockchain provides transparency, which in turn brings trust, and that bears more value than dozens of paid press releases combined.

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As someone who worked in and around the “open data” “movement” for over a decade, I just have to say that the notion that “transparency brings trust” is, let’s say, optimistic.

Empirically, we know that transparency can easily co-exist with both mistrust and misdeeds. In other words, it’s necessary but nowhere near sufficient for building valuable institutions.

And I think we have reason to doubt that transparency-through-complex-mathematical-wizardry even achieves trust on its own terms. We’ve seen symptoms of this basic social reality over and over again in actually-existing blockchain projects.