What is this? These pages started as a detailed straw-man proposal to flesh-out what it would take to realize our vision of a free and open cloud. They now serve as examples of the technology needed to implement the different facets of open cloud services. Here's how we are going to get there.

token flow


OneCommons will be funded by end-users paying subscription fees to access premium services beyond a free tier. In this way OneCommons is like a Netflix for web applications and SaaS services, where the user pays one monthly fee to get access to all the services running on OneCommons.

Based on the end-user’s usage, their subscription fee is divided among participating organizations as follows:

Allocation of subscription fees

The platform tracks the usage of services, code, and data throughout but determining how to assign value to that usage is a fundamentally hard problem. Instead, we can rely on market forces through a simple set of rules:

These fixed percentages are essentially a minimum and it is expected site and platform operators would negotiate higher percentages with developers based on their needs, essentially commissioning new development or maintenance. To prevent free-riders, we could require that if one operator grants special allocation rights then all operators need to follow them.

The owners of these organizations can choose to further divide their share among the individual participants in their organization. A cloud provider or site operator that is a commercial entity may choose keep their compensation and pay their employees as they see fit but collaborative projects – such as an open-source developer project – may choose to set up allocation rules for its contributors. This is easy because this subscription fee share is allocated using CommonCents tokens.

Subscription Tiers

All user-facing applications provide levels of service at one or more of these subscription tiers:

If a user subscribes to one of these tiers they will have access to all services on the platform available at that level (except for metered tiers where individual services may exhaust a user’s credits).


Despite the fact that subscription fees are fixed platform-wide, individual entities in the ecosystem have control over the price of the services they provide:

The prices for end-user subscription tiers themselves are relatively immaterial as there can be a range of tiers. What is significant is the resources available to the anonymous and free tiers – this is primarily set by cloud providers based on how much of a loss leader they want to bake into the rates they charge the platform.

CommonCents tokens

End-users pay for subscription with dollars or equivalent but internally they are converted to CommonCents tokens. As the usage of resources, services, code, and data are tracked by the platform, recipients receive their share in tokens based on the allocation rules described above. They can choose to have them transparently and automatically redeemed for dollars or hold them.

CommonCents tokens provide many benefits:

Learn more about how CommonCents tokens work