SourceCred is an open-source tool for communities to measure and reward value creation.
We're building SourceCred because we believe the way we value things is broken. We value people based on their credentials or job titles, not based on the true values they bring--especially if that value is "soft value" like emotional labor or leadership. We value organizations based on the profits they can capture, not the broader effects they have on society. We value the environment in terms of the resources we can harvest from it, not on the role it plays in sustaining our collective existence.
SourceCred offers a new perspective on value. First, we don't think value is universal. It's contextual (intersubjective), and different communities will have different perspectives on what is or isn't valuable. For that reason, SourceCred is an open-source project which any community can set up, tweak, or reconfigure based on their own needs.
Second, we think value isn't about transactions, but about relationships. SourceCred doesn't try to assign a dollar score or price to any contribution or person. Instead, every contribution or contributor earns Cred based on how it was connected to other contributions, and how much Cred those other contributions earned. Mathematically, we do this by constructing a network of contributions called a Contribution Graph, and then running the CredRank algorithm on it.
Finally, we acknowledge that in order to be sustainable, communities need to interact with the "real world" economy of dollars and cents. For that reason, every community can issue Grain, a community-specific cryptocurrency. Grain is distributed based on Cred, so it is all earned by community members and contributors. Sponsors purchase Grain, and then use it for Boosting, which allows them to influence the Cred scores, and thus the community's priorities. Basically, Sponsors help make the community economically viable, and in gratitude the community gives sponsors some infuence over the community's goals, values, and priorities.
In the short term, SourceCred is focused on supporting open-source crypto projects. Crypto projects are an ideal fit because they need a way to distribute the tokens that they natively generate, and need a decentralized, "new-world" appraoch for doing so--the old world approaches of corporations and shareholder value just don't fit. The key early adopter is the SourceCred project itself: we have no corporate structure and no investors, but we reward everyone in the community via Cred and Grain. (Big thanks to Protocol Labs for being our first and biggest sponsor.) We're also thrilled to be partnered with other awesome and idealistic projects like MetaGame and AraCred.
In the medium term, we want to make the whole open-source ecosystem economically sustainable. The core idea of open source is that we can make better technology, and empower more people, if we give away our work for free rather than encumbering it with licenses and paywalls. This is an incredibly powerful idea, but it's held back from its full potential because it depends on unpaid and overworked volunteers. Once enough open-source projects are using SourceCred, we will create a "MetaCred" instance that flows Cred and Grain across the open-source dependency graph. This will ensure that every project in the ecosystem--from flashy user-facing projects to the core infrastructure they depend on--will share in the success of the ecosystem. The result will be a golden age of flourishing open-source.
In the long run, we hope that SourceCred can help unlock big transformations to align the world economy with our shared values. So many of the thorny problems facing society seem to come down to us valuing the wrong things. We put a price on medicines when we should be valuing healthiness. We compensate investment bankers when we should be appreciating teachers. We "redevelop" rainforests when we should be stewarding them. We hope SourceCred will unlock the paradigm shift we need so that we can collectively re-orient.
If you'd like to get involved we'd love to have you. We don't care about college degrees or credentials. There's no whiteboard interview. If you have skills, creativity, or empathy to offer, then come earn some Cred. 😉