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The Cardstack Membership System

You Can Be a Card Stacker, Card Maker, and/or Card Member

  • Card Makers
  • Card Members

Card Stackers

Card Stackers are members of the Cardstack community who have been with us through this journey — who have provided resources, guidance, and feedback as we designed the framework and the protocol.

  • Voter
  • Funder


Stakers provide tokens — either through liquidity pools like Uniswap or through the Cardstack-specific reserve pool — with the aim to support the security and trustworthiness of the network. Rewards will be distributed at a fixed amount per time period; they will be divided based on the ratio of the individual stake size against the overall amount of liquidity in key DEX protocols like Uniswap or the upcoming CARD payment protocol.


Many decisions in the network require an understanding of technical issues and market conditions. We see Card Stackers as competent individuals and teams, who can provide insight on key issues that will steer the network through the voting process. Since we don’t expect all Card Stackers to fully understand every single issue, they can delegate their stake too, assigning someone whom they deem more knowledgeable about a particular subject matter to vote on their behalf. It is important to note that rewards for voters are not based on the outcome, but on the consistency of participation.


The Cardstack ecosystem is built on a common framework and protocol layer that are under active development — which will continue under the guidance of the Cardstack Foundation. Applications that bring industry-specific capabilities to different markets can only be built on top of this framework if there are corresponding business drivers, considering the resource requirements for such projects; after all, design and development teams need to devote time to bring special types of cards to the market.

Card Makers

Like any software ecosystem, we need a team of designers, developers, and product experts to plan and execute software implementation projects, which will leverage the framework and create usable software that can be broadly distributed. We will acknowledge these individuals who make new cards as “Card Makers” and give them the ability to earn a share of the revenue, whenever their cards are used by paying customers as part of the overall Cardstack experience.

  • Creator
  • Reviewer
  • Curator


Writing software is important. But it is much more valuable when that software is actually maintained and continuously updated. Therefore, our system is designed to allocate part of the income from a particular software package to the active maintainer of that package. If the maintainer receives funding from a funder, the maintainer and funder will split the income based on an agreed-upon ratio. If one person starts maintaining a project and another person takes over, the new maintainer can gradually start earning the majority of the income that is generated by that piece of software.


Not all contributions require the writing or maintaining of code. The Cardstack system supports the creation of non-code assets too — such as mockups, usage scripts, prototypes, documentations, and implementation plans. Designers as well as product analysts can help the community clarify which types of cards will be useful and how existing cards can be augmented or extended, thus contributing their insight to the catalog. These creators will also receive a percentage of the income, based on the subset of cards they influenced.


The aim is to create a catalog that can be used by all members of the Cardstack ecosystem. We will manage a searchable catalog of reliable and safe software, which can be installed without fear of malware, privacy infringement, or stability degradations. The process to achieve this goal is similar to the way open-source maintainers review contributions from other developers before merging them into the codebase.


As the catalog grows, we will need individuals who are skilled in designing and modifying taxonomies, so we can capture not only cards that are already in the catalog, but also other projects, APIs, blockchains, and services that can be integrated into Cardstack. Curators can propose new categories, provide new descriptions or tagging for existing cards, and improve the findability, either by search or by algorithm. They can also bundle related cards into suites, which reduces the work customers need to do to get this software up and running.

Card Members

Users of the Cardstack ecosystem can actively participate in growing the network, so that the software they depend on grows in functionality, integration, and usability. We don’t see users of the Cardstack ecosystem as merely passive consumers. Instead, we offer different types of participation opportunities for both individuals and organizations, allowing those members to earn additional rewards beyond getting the software they need to do their work and run their business.

  • Believer
  • Connector
  • Supporter

Early Adopter

We will create an “Early Adopter” program that allows individual members to provide feedback, bug reports, and suggestions during the early phases of the beta test.


When the system is ready to become a revenue-generating service, we will give a limited number of users the opportunity to buy a premium “Believer” membership, which allows them to use any service on the platform for five years for no additional cost. They will be among the first to get access to new features; they will work with the core team, receive priority support, and help steer the product direction of the software platform.


Members who bring new people, organizations, and partners to the platform will earn the “Connector” badge. The more people join the network based on their invitation, the more usage credits the connectors will receive, as they bring more economic value to the ecosystem.


Users who support the continuous development of the platform by buying a subscription will receive the “Supporter” badge. They get all the benefits and support they can expect from a SaaS provider, while simultaneously benefitting from an open-source platform. Supporters may choose to run their own instance of Cardstack on their own device or cloud; but as long as they renew their membership, they will be contributing to the network, regardless of where they choose to host their information. We encourage hosting providers to include the “Supporter” option in their hosting plans, so that customers are given the opportunity to support the underlying framework and the community-building efforts directly.

  • Pioneer
  • Contributor


Organizations can sponsor the open-source development of Cardstack at various levels — e.g. on the Diamond, Platinum, or Gold tier — which will allow them to promote their product or project and introduce themselves to the broader Cardstack community. Sponsorships of these sorts are paid for in CARD tokens, which are burned on a recurring basis. Based on the price organizations are willing to pay, we will adjust the tiers, ensuring that each tier has an appropriate number of sponsors. However, this sponsorship does not give organizations special voting rights; they will have to become Card Stackers if they want to have a say in the governance of the network.


Organizations that want to include Cardstack in POCs and pilots can become Pioneers — either by purchasing a “Pioneer” package or by submitting a case study to show that they have independently launched a Cardstack-based project. Pioneers can seek feedback from the community, get access to beta features, and influence the planning for upcoming capabilities or features that are important to their projects.


Organizations can contribute non-monetary resources as well — such as design, development, and growth resources. They can provide staff to participate in the development of various aspects of the Cardstack ecosystem. Full-time, dedicated resources (sponsored by one of the participating organizations) who work as part of the core team or who work on a core piece of capability are extremely valuable for the growth of the ecosystem. This will allow the Cardstack Project to shift its current reliance on the core team (which is directly funded by the Cardstack Foundation) to a team funded by a distributed set of organizations with various needs and priorities.

Summary of the Cardstack Membership System

There are three primary roles for the participants of the Cardstack network:

  • Card Makers do the work and lend their technical judgement to grow the feature set of the ecosystem.
  • Card Members provide revenue, give feedback, and drive usage and adoption of the software.



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