The world — economies, societies, governments, individuals — relies heavily on a large body of open source software. This enormous corpus of freely available code touches every part of our lives and is critical infrastructure to any market. The volume and reliance on both new and legacy open source software is also growing rapidly over time. Yet only very few open source projects — typically those with commercial entities in the background — enjoy professional management — i.e. permanent and sustainable development, fixing, maintenance and upgrading. Other open source projects initially have development and maintenance driven by altruistic behaviour — but over time incentives can become misaligned, with the consequence that maintenance and active development becomes problematic. At the same time important open source software can also be under the influence of a single, exceedingly dominant gatekeeper.
In short: the world lacks a resilient infrastructure, incentive economy and governance structure to manage its reliance on open source software at scale.
oscoin aims to build a decentralized network between open source software and developers that would allow for a fair economy for the development and maintenance of the world’s open source software, independent of gatekeepers. oscoin will combine a distributed version-control (i.e. the management of projects and code commits to them), decentralized storage (making sure open source projects are permanently available to everyone) and a blockchain with its own native token to build an economic and intelligence layer around open source software.
Open source software has many benefits, mainly that it can be widely adopted and relied upon given that it is (mostly) free of any licensing or ownership constraints. However as outlined above, the downside is that it can be orphaned (lack of maintenance and further development) or hijacked (by gatekeepers) — making it hard to build companies, markets or even our societies on top of an increasingly complex body of open source software. If oscoin can build out a network that connects open source software with the world’s developers and ensure fair economics and governance through a decentralized network, it could become a very important fabric between the world’s open source software and developers; and as a consequence build a very valuable economy around its token.