So, how will Openbook make money?

Jul 24, 2018 · 6 min read

Full-disclosure edit: The revenue model mentioned in this article is only that can only be achieved if we succeed at creating a great product that people love. While looking for more immediate funding options to help us get there and consulting with our community, we decided to introduce an optional subscription called Openbook Gold offering access to more reactions, themes and customisation options. Our vision for the revenue model mentioned below remains and it is something we will see through in what we hope is the near future.

Oh hi there! 👋

My name is Joel. I’m the founder of Openbook! An open-source, privacy-friendly and awesome social network that we successfully founded through Kickstarter.

I wrote this article one week after we launched our Kickstarter campaign and at that moment in time, we were Kickstarter’s #1 Software and #16 Technology campaign in the whole world 🌍 with 628 amazing backers ✨ and €16,891 reached out of our €100,000 goal.

Now, as for the topic of the article…

The #1 question we keep getting over and over again is: If Openbook is free, where will the money to sustain the network come from?

Ok, we accept it, our bad. We thought we did a pretty good job explaining it in our website, in reality, we did a terrible job. Sorry.

So… this is it, the moment to set the bill straight.

💰 Openbook’s revenue model

🎉 We will create a digital currency called Tip!

The end.

Just kidding, here we go!

You will be able to buy this coin in the platform with a currency such as Euros, Dollars or Yen.

You will then be able to give it away, exchange it for goods and services, donate, withdraw and pretty much every other thing you would with a physical coin.

Care for some examples? Feel free to skip to the one you find most interesting.

Please do note some of the steps of each example have been simplified for the sake of reading.

📸 Selling your old camera

You bought an expensive camera hoping for an adventurous life, perhaps in a couple of years, but for now it’s just a really expensive decoration item at your place. You decide to sell it. Where? In Openbook of course.

You open the app, tap marketplace followed by add new product. You take some pictures, add a note over the missing lens cover and ask for 200 Tips. You hit Publish.

Mike, a photography student had instructed the Openbook app to notify him of photography items published in your town. He gets an alert “Awesome Traveling Camera ZTX-1337” for just 200 Tips!. He quickly taps it, checks the photos and hits Purchase.

You get an alert “Mike has purchased your item”, next morning you send the item to Mike. He receives it and marks the purchase as complete. You receive your 200 Tips immediately 🕺.

🍊 Buying a fresh orange juice.

You just sold your old camera for 200 Tips, you feel great, you look great and you crave a delicious and fresh orange juice to celebrate.

You head to your local cafeteria.

You scan a QR code found at the entrance with the Openbook app and proceed to find a table to sit in.

On your Openbook app, there is now a menu displayed. Drinks, Snacks, Sandwhiches, Coffee… You tap Drinks followed “Almighty Fresh Orange Juice”.

It’s only 1 Tip today! You fill in the number of the table you’re sitting in and hit Purchase.

A couple of minutes later, Laura, brings your fresh orange juice. Thanks Oba..penbook!

🙏 Helping a cause

There has been an earth-quake in South America. The situation is devastating.

You open the Openbook app, search for “earthquake”. Top result: “South America Earthquake Relief Fund”. You tap on it, followed by a tap on Donate.

You donate 50 Tips. Pure wholesomeness. Kudos.

💪 Paying for your gym as you go

There’s a QR reader at the automatic doors of your gym. You open your Openbook app, tap Show Personal Code and show your screen to the reader.

2 Tips are deducted from your account and the door opens. Magic ✨.

💡 Supporting content creators

This is our priority in regards to the currency. The internet is nothing without content creators and we are committed to finding ways for them to not just make a living but also have a stable income and make profit.

Paul makes funny videos for the internet. His videos are awesome. You decide to become one of his angels and give him 5 Tips per month to support him on his content creation. In exchange, you get super-exclusive content from him on your feed.

All angels pledges are fixed to a minimum of 2 months, meaning Paul always exactly knows how much money he’ll be making for the upcoming 2 months.

If Paul nailed the last video and you would like to show him some extra love for it, you can also Tip him just once.

This is just the Tip of the iceberg. (Get it!?)

📖 Supporting publishers

Journalism on the internet is hard.

In social networks, algorithms prioritise articles not by their quality but by their shock-value, the most controversial and impactful headlines win. We end up having millions of low quality articles continuously fighting for exposure.

Outside social networks, publishers rely on advertisement to generate revenue. Apart from the companies facilitating the advertisement employing abusive and privacy invasive data collection schemes, increasingly, people use ad-blockers.

Publishers fight ad-blockers, ad-blockers fight back. It’s a never ending fight.

At Openbook, your favourite publisher, will be able to create exclusive articles and posts for subscribers. The subscription costs will be determined by them too.

For example, The New York Times might have a subscription cost of 5 Tips per month while the Associated Press 2 Tips per month.

That’s it. No need for ads. No need for abusive data collection, no need for shocking headlines. You want to increase your subscriber count? Focus on creating high-quality content.

👯‍ Hiring a DJ

You arrive at your moms party. Go in for a hugging session with everyone.

Once you’re done you start to notice something… It’s too quiet in here, where’s the music?

You look around and you see no speakers, no radio, nothing. Without music, this party might end a bit too soon.

You open the Openbook app and search for “Djay”. Voilà! Luis, a popular djay in your town is available for last minute calls! You tap on his profile, select the location confirm the 50 Tips cost and hit the Hire button.

Few seconds pass, you get an alert. Luis accepted and he is on his way!

Half hour later, Luis arrives with all the equipment needed to put on a show. He gets set up and… the party is ON! 💃🕺🎊

Once the party is over, you open the app, hit Complete Job, leave a kick-ass 5 star review to Luis and cha-ching 💸!

🛀 Buying a Jacuzzi

You want a jacuzzi and you can afford a jacuzzi. You open the Openbook app, search for Jacuzzi, look at a couple offers, choose the one that makes bubbles 🛁, fill in delivery location and hit Purchase.

Your jacuzzi gets delivered one day later. Cha-ching 💰! There goes your 1.5k Tips savings.

Hold up, what’s the difference between this example and the camera one? 🤔

The camera was a user to user transaction. This one is a user to business transaction 😏.

🤔 But wait, these are all monetary transactions, where’s your revenue?

Nicely spotted Sherlock 🕵️‍. You see, for every Tips transaction made in the network, we will take a small cut. Donations are the exception to this rule, we take nothing then.

🌯 To wrap things up

There you have it. That’s our vision for our revenue model. It’s clean, transparent, useful and it all revolves around a single currency: Tips.

You know what’s the best part of this all? That out of all this revenue 30% will be used to build a better world for everyone, not only the country that hosts us. We will do this in partnership with FoundersPledge.

We are also realistic about the complexity of the system we envision. We will start small, focusing on one thing at a time. But with your support, one day you will wake up to all of the previous items being part of your reality.

👷‍ So…

Although the Kickstarter campaign finished, there is still time to help make Openbook succeed. To change the future of social networks forever. To build something radically different, something useful, something better.

You can do this by supporting us in IndieGogo.

😍 By the way… did I mention all of the code of this ecosystem will be open-source? Meaning transparent and auditable.


An ethical social network for a brighter tomorrow.

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