The third year of Liberapay

This week marks the 3rd anniversary of Liberapay’s launch. It’s been a very difficult year, but there are some silver linings.

A difficult year

In July our payment “partner” decided to kick us and our users out of their platform. If you haven’t done so already you may want read our two previous blog posts about this ordeal: “Liberapay is in trouble” and “Liberapay status update”.

We still haven’t fully recovered from this crisis, but since our last blog post we have been able to bring back the SEPA Direct Debit payment method.

We want to thank all the people who supported us through this difficult year, including everyone who kept donating through Liberapay regardless of the transient difficulties in doing so.

A good year?

Paradoxically 2018 was also our best year yet if we consider the volume of donations processed, thanks to the fast growth of December 2017 and early 2018. In total we transferred approximately €109k to 700 creators in 2018, that’s 4 times more money than in 2017 and twice the number of recipients.

Partial screenshot of Liberapay’s stats page (February 3rd, 2019)

Improvements

It feels like we’ve spent most of 2018 trying to keep Liberapay in working order instead of improving it, but in fact the platform has gotten better in the past year.

33 currencies!

Having to rebuild large chunks of Liberapay to work with different payment processors has been a pain and has hindered progress in other areas, but it has also enabled us to greatly improve our support of currencies.

When Liberapay launched in 2016 its only currency was the Euro, then in 2017 we added the US dollar, and in 2018 we added support for 31 additional currencies: the Australian Dollar (AUD), Bulgarian Lev (BGN), Brazilian Real (BRL), Canadian Dollar (CAD), Swiss Franc (CHF), Chinese Yuan (CNY), Czech Koruna (CZK), Danish Krone (DKK), British Pound (GBP), Hong Kong Dollar (HKD), Croatian Kuna (HRK), Hungarian Forint (HUF), Indonesian Rupiah (IDR), Israeli New Shekel (ILS), Indian Rupee (INR), Icelandic Króna (ISK), Japanese Yen (JPY), South Korean Won (KRW), Mexican Peso (MXN), Malaysian Ringgit (MYR), Norwegian Krone (NOK), New Zealand Dollar (NZD), Philippine Piso (PHP), Polish Zloty (PLN), Romanian Leu (RON), Russian Ruble (RUB), Swedish Krona (SEK), Singapore Dollar (SGD), Thai Baht (THB), Turkish Lira (TRY), South African Rand (ZAR).

You should update your currency preferences if you haven’t done it yet. Below is a copy of the two paragraphs located at the bottom of that page:

Accepting foreign currencies can increase your income by convincing people in other countries to donate to you, but international payments usually result in a higher percentage of fees, and fluctuations in exchange rates can lessen the stability of your income.
Stripe automatically converts funds into your main currency, but by default PayPal holds payments in foreign currencies until you tell it what to do. If you have a Business PayPal account you can choose to automatically convert all incoming payments in foreign currencies to your main currency. This option is currently located in the “Preferences for receiving payments” page.

Better profile settings

Over time the profile settings had become a confusing mess, we fixed that in April by splitting them into multiple tabs. We also improved the responsiveness of a few elements at the same time.

Screenshot of profile settings.

Security alerts

In March we implemented a new feature to help you keep your account secure: when you set a new password or log in with your current one we automatically check it against the world’s biggest public list of leaked passwords, and warn you if we find a match.

Screenshot of a warning displayed when a compromised password is detected.

Sadly we’re still missing support for two-factor authentication (#926).

More public data

Liberapay’s Explore section has been expanded to provide more visibility into who is using the platform.

Partial screenshot of Liberapay’s repository explorer (February 3rd, 2019)

Roadmap

We don’t have a strict roadmap, but there are a lot of things we want to improve and a lot of new features we want to implement. Lately we’ve been working on these two important changes:

  • The possibility to send money to multiple creators at once instead of having to make multiple payments, when this kind of one-to-many payment is supported by the underlying payment processor.
  • The possibility to have your donations be renewed automatically. This long-awaited feature should make Liberapay much more convenient for donors and help stabilize the income of creators.

One of the reasons why progress has been somewhat slow in 2018 is that Liberapay is still shorthanded and underfunded, so please donate or contribute if you can. Having a second Python developer working on Liberapay’s core could be particularly beneficial, however programming skills aren’t required to contribute to Liberapay. For example improving the documentation or completing the translations can be equally useful.

Thank you for reading, we wish you peace and long life. 🖖