OneCommons is a cloud platform for running open source web applications (think a free AWS) that:
OneCommons is a not-for-profit project in an early stage of development.
OneCommons isn’t a single company or group – just as there isn’t a single entity called “the Internet” – rather, the Internet is more like a set of rules that connects networks together. Similarly, we can see OneCommons as a proposal for a set of rules that allows resources – code, data, and funding – to be shared and distributed throughout an ecosystem of participants in a manner that strengthens the system as a whole.
This ecosystem consists of a variety of individuals and entities such as the developers who write the code that runs on the platform; the site operators who run the websites users visit, and cloud providers who provide the hardware upon which the platform runs.
OneCommons is 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:
Internally, these payments are made by allocating CommonCents tokens to these participants via smart contracts. A CommonCents token is valued as a share of the platform’s total subscription revenue. This mechanism is designed to make it easy for participants to develop and experiment with different compensation and capitalization strategies while still providing price stability and liquidity. Learn more here.
There’s a lot here and you would be wise to ask “is all this necessary”? Putting the details aside, the core insight behind this architecture is that an open and decentralized web has to address these three aspects of resource sharing – code, data, and funding – in a synergistic way for there to be a chance to compete with the biggest players.
Their tremendous efficiencies and network externalities will enable them to accrue more and more infrastructure, more and more data, and more and more capital – but we can too if we can:
We need advantages over proprietary alternatives that they won’t be able to provide by their very nature:
We need the same economics of scale and network effects (the more people use it, the more useful it becomes) that has driven the consolidation of Internet around a few big players:
How can we get from here to there?