Will Web3 make the future of open source better?

"The tokenization of Web3 may provide a business model for open source contributors. The relationship between the two does exist, but the form is worth exploring."

Many views have mentioned: Web3 and encryption technologyIt can solve a series of problems such as data monopoly and algorithm controlHowever, I believe that exploring this problem requires thinking from a more essential point of view:

Open source:Many computer software and other products we use today are derived from open source. Open source provides many basic components for many products we use, which are like bricks to build a house.

In this article,Let's talk about the relationship between Web3 and open source, which may enlighten you.

The rise of open source

 First of all, when it comes to the connection between open source and Web3, we need to understand the following points:

What? Open source and how will open source affect our daily life?

How? How is the open source trend formed?

Why? What is the mechanism for continuous iteration of open source? From the perspective of public goods, why should we empower and open source? What is its importance?

Understanding the above issues will help to understand how Web3 continues to iterate the open source model in various ways by riding the east wind of open source, help decentralized communities get more economic incentives, and consolidate the overall growth and inclusiveness of decentralized communities.

Impact of open source

Open source, as its name suggests, is open source, anyone can see it in an open mode. If you want to read, download or optimize or use according to your own purpose, you can directly find Linux (the mainstream classic open source operating system)

for instance:To some extent, we can understand the open source model as Wikipedia, but this article is not about editing entries together, but about everyone working together to write valuable software. More interestingly, the usefulness and trustworthiness of open source is that you can "fork" the project, that is, you can rewrite the source code according to your own needs. Therefore, many open source projects will evolve into leading tools in a field, because people will not feel nervous or restricted because the software they rely on is a monopoly product.

In the Forrester report not long ago, 96% of companies felt that "open source is very important to the business and a key task", and 98% of companies plan to increase or maintain their open source strategy in the next year. There are also reports that Linux is the first choice for modern server operating systems. 96.3% of the top 1 million network servers are running Linux,Open source is basically the key part of many widely used technologies we can see at present.

Open source becomes a trend

Want to know more about the driving force of open source? Two books are highly recommended:

Cathedral and market or Coase's Penguin mainly includes two points:

The cost of writing software is decreasing

The cost of publishing information online is approaching zero

Technologies such as git or wikis, which allow multiple people to work in parallel, will further reduce coordination costs.

This means that different groups of people can come together and produce software of the same level and even better than the closed source version created and sold by traditional companies.But why should we do it? Users usually think that the software itself is interesting, or because they don't want to make a living.

To sum up:The trend of driving open source has just begun and has been going on for decades. I don't think it's a flash in the pan.

Why should we make open source better?

In most cases,Compared with the value created, or the money that technology giants can make in the work of "traditional" technology, the remuneration of independent open source developers is really insignificant。 Compared with the value they can provide, open source projects have insufficient resources. thus.When problems arise, the general public can feel the power of open source

Tell a story:The heartbleed bug vulnerability a few years ago led to the disclosure of encrypted user data in tens of millions of servers. Heartbleed bug allows anyone on the Internet to read the system protected memory. Attackers can eavesdrop on communication at will and steal data directly from service providers by simulating service providers and users. 4.5 million patient data and records in the U.S. hospital system have been stolen.

Last year's "log4j2" loophole, many technology giant factories were recruited. The following cartoon is very interesting, but it is also terrible, and the performance is very accurate.

in other words:Although open source has great value, due to the attributes of public goods, in many key projects,Open source strives to maintain only a little light and heat.

Web3 and service model

There are indeed viable business models in open source, and many multi billion dollar companies are built on open source projects. A typical example is red hat. If you want to know more about red hat, please read this article: talk about the open source business model from the rise of red hat

Red hat sells services to enterprises that want to use Linux. Specifically, enterprise customers can pay a fee to obtain advanced SaaS products with on-demand customization and security and privacy functions, rather than directly using the open source version,Red hat can help enterprises customize Linux services. Red hat was acquired by IBM for 34 billion in 2019, and its annual revenue can reach billions of dollars.

 However, the problem with these centralized business models is that these business models actually rely on many decentralized peers.Linux is so valuable because there are thousands of contributors that can provide stability and integration that other operating systems cannot provide.

If red hat tries to produce Linux itself through its own employees, it is likely to fail. This is the same as Wikipedia's entries are better than the centralized Encyclopedia of Encyclopedia Britannica:Peer production outperforms hierarchy in creating certain types of goods, which is where our argument about Web3 today lies.

Many linux developers live on meager donations (from red hat and other similar companies), but it seems strange that red hat can directly add a layer on it and its revenue can reach the price of billions of dollars a year.So why don't all these Linux developers establish their own enterprise layer and use profits to fund everyone's work?

To answer this question, we need to consider the steps that the Linux community must take to achieve this goal:

Develop some sales / marketing teams to receive corporate customers

By giving them high subsidies, we can find developers who are willing to engage in enterprise service business

If these developers eventually create a company worth billions of dollars, they can find ways to reward them in proportion to everyone's contribution.

be careful,These are essentially coordination costs, which are not low, and coordination is what the company model is good at.Therefore, a separate company can be established to do these things. However, the major challenge in allocating equity to Linux development contributors around the world is,Equity distribution is very difficult to balance. Therefore, we can only maintain this decentralized and open relationship with developers and go back again and again

But,What if it is a more flexible way to coordinate digital ownership? This is what Web3 wants to do. Imagine that we carry out the same steps as above, but coordinate through token

Create a Dao (decentralized autonomous organization). For the knowledge of Dao, see this article:

Web3 project measurement indicator description (DAO)

In addition to using token for ownership and governance, many elements of Dao look similar to some traditional organizations.

Use the cash flow created by these tokens and Daos to pay developers and sales / marketing teams.

Tokens are also used to reward contributors to the open source version.

The revenue of the enterprise version is directly linked to the token, so that everyone can achieve the success of the whole project in proportion (open source + service mode)

of course,currentWeb3 still has some problems and still needs iterationBut these things can be done now for those who are willing to be pioneers. There are tools to create Dao with one click, some methods to directly link income with governance token, and some systems to reward contributors according to the contribution level determined by the community.

Dao and beer business

Richard Stallman founded the free software movement and the GNU Project, which is one of the origins of open source. Stallman put forward: "free as in speech, not as in beer." free software mainly pursues the public interest and digital freedom rights.

The picture shows Richard Stallman

Then, open source software also developed. However, in the current open source field, there are often "free" use of software, but this is not because large companies refuse to pay for services, but because the mainstream mode of software is "SaaS - software as a service".

Instead of purchasing a permanent license, the company pays a monthly service fee to use the current version of the product (usually on the cloud). Commercial companies pay for this convenience, and this model is a large-scale business model that can be built with open source.

If you connect all this,The reason why open source has always been as free as beer is that the coordination cost between open source projects and service-based counterpart projects is too high. This is why we mention tokenization and decentralization here today, and why communities have such great opportunities.

Of course, there are already large enterprises using this mode of binding service business with decentralized agreements, from Braintree, parsiq, most centralized exchanges toEthereumItself. These services take many forms:For example, Ethereum's service is to provide computing power for applications in the world, while on Braintree, the service is mainly to help traditional enterprises provide payment solutions of various new modes (cryptocurrency).

Braintree is a Chicago based company that specializes in providing mobile and online payment systems for e-commerce companies. Braintree also acceptedBitcoinFor payment and transaction, users canCoinbaseOpen an account and link the new account to Braintree.

Now let's look at this picture:

However, not all of these platforms themselves are open source, but it is important that,The revenue linked to the service mode will be directly fed back to the value of the local token.under these circumstances,Over time, the motivation to promote open source will be huge, because it can enable a more dynamic developer and service-based ecosystem to continue to exist,Moreover, the project will strive to operate in the best interests of the entire network (because if it does not, it can be "forked" and others can rewrite a better version later).

Of course, tokenized and decentralized communities will not be the only viable model in the future. Nor are they the only possible innovations through cryptocurrencies.BTCIt is digital gold, and NFT can be understood as the safe of digital assets,The impact of these encryption sources and basic features may have a profound impact on the future of open source. But I think the reason why this particular field is so exciting is that the decentralized community is not only building open source, but also reconstructing many things in our modern life and optimizing many existing systems.

And it's not just code. Think about Wikipedia, Facebook, Uber, Linux -- all these projects are dedicated by a few people to defining the rules of the platform, and then a large number of people participate in building value. In these communities, the difficulty of acquiring and distributing value takes many forms, from a few people in Facebook or Uber mode to Wikipedia or Linux mode: few people directly obtain economic benefits. So,The structure described above can be applied to Facebook. Like Linux, users participate in the creation and acquisition of value.

The reason why I entered the field of Web3 is my lifelong connection and commitment to science, which is the most important public interest in the world. The biggest problem I found is that if public goods that rely on donations or subsidies are not directly related to the value of products, they will never have enough resources compared with their influence.Web3 provides a new business model through a more flexible and dynamic form of digital ownership. In this model, decentralized organizations and public goods can be directly linked to equity and income flow through token.

If this can be done, the open resource base that can be established will be greatly increased and provide impetus for a more innovative and equitable world.