A decentralized investment platform for open technology

The Problem

The lack of sustainable sources of capital for open projects and Open Intellectual Property in general.

While the collaborative development model of open projects can be sound, the economics of the system are weak. Today most open projects are largely funded by aggregate donations, and/or corporate sponsorships; this is not sustainable in the long term.

For widespread adoption of open technology in the consumer market (not only in niche markets): informed consumers must understand the value (and the cost) of open technology and engineers and developers must make a living.

The goal of the KipOpen project is to find alternative funding models that do not rely on donations but on tangible returns for consumers; incentives for them to invest on open technology.

We don’t claim to have a solution that solves the funding problem for every sector of technology; this would be naive. The funding problem looks different for every sector and must be tackled by passionate individuals specializing in those sectors (e.g. it would be futile for a hardware engineer to expect to solve the problem for open academic research).

KipOpen is simply a platform that incentivizes individuals from different technology sectors to find appropriate solutions.

What is KipOpen?

A web application

KipOpen is a self-hosted web application. Anyone can download and install KipOpen in their own computer to host a crowdfunding site.

The application comes with the minimal core functionality required to operate in small computing devices (e.g. single board computers) and it has a pluggable architecture to support the addition of extra functionality (e.g. research category plugin, hardware category plugin, Bitcoin payments plugin, Facebook/Twitter integration plugin, French language plugin …etc).

A decentralized network

Each individual crowdfunding site is part of a decentralized network of KipOpen web applications. Peer to peer communication and a distributed database allows every crowdfunding site to share important information with each other (e.g. project/developer reviews, user credentials, projects information …etc).

The following is a simplified diagram of the network architecture: A new user sees KipOpen as a large crowdfunding platform. But It accesses the network through particular crowdfunding sites that communicate among themselves (i.e. network nodes).

KipOpen Sites (Instances)
The grey circles represent KipOpen crowdfunding sites. Peer to peer communication between sites is represented with the black arrows. Users/Investors are represented by the white circles and gray arrows.

Each crowdfunding site hosts open technology projects. These projects generate a profit for the developer(s), a commission for the site’s administrator and a tangible return for the individuals and the community (an economically viable alternative for all parties). Read more about KipOpen Competitive advantage.

The long-term goal of the KipOpen application is to provide a completely open alternative path for the design and development of consumer products. KipOpen incentivizes individual players (potentially from different countries) specializing in different market sectors to host crowdfunding sites specially tailored towards the problem of funding of open technologies in those sectors. For example in our future we would expect crowdfunding sites in multiple regions (and languages) specializing in any of the following categories:

  • Technology Research.

  • Hardware Design.

  • Firmware Development.

  • Mechanical Design.

  • Industrial Design.

  • Software Development.

  • Manufacturing and Retailing.

Through the use of an investment platform designed solely for the development of open technology products, we aim to incentivize the use of public capital (i.e. from pools of informed consumers) to fund every stage of the design cycle. This is in contrast to the use of private venture capital for funding the development of closed/proprietary technology (which is our current standard) and the use of popular crowdsourcing sites for funding flashy proprietary tech products by uninformed or misled consumers.

Supporting Documentation