For those interested in and development, would you please take a look at raphael.lullis.net/open-source and share your thoughts?

@raphael

>We’d start with all the standard features from a social network
>Let’s also consider a Patreon-style sponsorship program

I'm working on this. The user experience is not perfect but Patreon-style sponsorships in Fediverse are real now.

>access to the website is obtained through a membership of $3-5/month.

Registration on Mitra instance can be regulated by a smart contract that can be programmed to only allow users who paid for a membership. The revoking of access is not implemented yet though. But I think there are better ways to finance the Developers Fund. For example, the instance can charge fees for processing payments (again the smart contracts can be easily programmed to do that).

>all revenue from users is earmarked for the “Developers Fund”, which is paid out on a monthly basis to all teams based on Quadratic Voting

Also possible. The funds can be transferred to a DAO that uses QV to distribute grants

>You will need millions of users just to get any decent revenue, ...
>Companies would certainly be interested in having access to this potential qualified userbase. There are a good amount of services that could be provided for them.

Fediverse already has millions of users and still growing. This is a natural growth, not a result of an expensive marketing campaign directed by investors. I think the risks from inviting such actors outweigh the benefits, but of course they will come here sooner or later.

@silverpill Hey, it's cool you checked this out. I've been following your work on Mitra and it's really impressive!

Re: payments and subscriptions, have you checked already the Unlock Protocol (unlock-protocol.com)?

Re: the idea from the post, I wouldn't make with crypto/web3. First, because there is already a project doing something similar for crypto, gitcoin. Second, this would *benefit* from having intermediaries and build social trust. There is some clash with the crypto ethos.

@raphael Thanks! I know about Unlock, sadly it's just a centralized service that acts as an intermediary. It's not a protocol, that's just the buzzword web3 companies use to confuse their users.
I want to build something that people can actually self-host.

>Second, this would *benefit* from having intermediaries and build social trust. There is some clash with the crypto ethos.

How it could benefit from having intermediaries?
I guess you're referring to the idea of "trustlessness" but it doesn't mean that people shouldn't build relationships. I think it's about replacing distant authorities with software written by your friends.

@silverpill how is unlock centralized? IIUIC, it is just a system to mint NFTs and web3 libraries that check ownership, no?

@raphael

Frontend: https://docs.unlock-protocol.com/unlock/developers/unlock-platform

>Although, at its core, Unlock is an underlying protocol that any custom applications can be built on top of, we have built examples of front-end level interfaces with the Unlock Protocol, which serve different purposes.

Unlock's default frontend is centralized and defaults matter a lot. They say anyone could build an alternative frontend but of course nobody would do that. It's a waste of developer's time (unless API is relatively stable) and you can't monetize it (perhaps only from grants).
Nobody says that Youtube is a protocol because people can build alternative frontends for Youtube

Contracts: https://docs.unlock-protocol.com/unlock/developers/smart-contracts/unlock-api

>As of summer 2021, the unlock contract is owned by a multi-sig wallet managed by Unlock Inc. Our goal is to move toward decentralization by transferring ownership of the Unlock contact to the Unlock DAO
>This contract is upgradable using OpenZeppelin's upgradability framework

Contracts managed by the company and have the "governance" backdoor. Even if they transfer control to the DAO that won't change anything because DAO is governed by tokenholders and biggest tokenholders are always company founders and early investors. Anyway, key decisions will be made offchain because the goal of DAO is governance theater.

When they say it's owned by the community they lie. Ordinary users of Unlock don't own anything except a small amount of useless tokens. Now, compare this to self-hosted services where you can actually own the infrastructure.

Almost all web3 startups are like this. Because real decentralization is hard but selling tokens is easy.

https://docs.unlock-protocol.com/unlock/developers/smart-contracts

>The Unlock Protocol, at its core, is enabled by 2 primary Ethereum smart contracts, deployed on all networks supported by Unlock: the Unlock and the PublicLock contracts.

Independent lock contracts is a good idea, actually. This is what I'm trying to do in Mitra. But I don't think anyone uses Unlock in this way.
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@silverpill I agree about the "governance theater", but I'd say you are being too cynical about the rest... The frontend is open source, it is not their fault if "no one will make a different frontend". The important thing is composability anyway, frontends matter little: same with Uniswap and most of the main DeFi projects, users worry about contracts having bugs and locking funds. At this stage of development, having upgradeable contracts seems less risky.

@raphael I don't agree that frontends matter little, frontend is what users interact with and it's >90% of the product code. People can't use smart contracts without frontend. Unlock management knows it and that's why it is centralized. Even if it's open source it is not designed for self-hosting. Just look at their monorepo, everything is organized in a way to make it easier to control and make self-hosting and forking harder. They even require contributors to sign CLA. This is usually called "source available" or "business source" in FOSS community because companies like Unlock publish sources not because they want to empower users but because they want to benefit from unpaid labor.

>At this stage of development, having upgradeable contracts seems less risky.

Uniswap v1 was immutable and it was fine, it was actually considered the best practice but then Compound invented governance token farming and now every DeFi system is backdoored and ponzi-like. That didn't stop hackers, in fact hacks are happening more often because of increased code complexity.

@silverpill you can fork without any issue. The CLA is standard procedure in companies that need to keep track of copyright.

As for their frontend, it is only used for those that want to mint the locks. Those that want to buy the NFT/get access to a site don't need to visit it.

I'm trying to think what you'd do differently that would make the system "more open"...

@raphael I'd remove token, governance and centralized lock registry from the system. Split code into loosely coupled reusable components, like OpenZeppelin did. Get rid of centralized frontends and focus on SDKs and plugins for self-hosted software.
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