The Wall Street performer protocol: Using software completion bonds to fund open source software development

Chris Rasch


In their article "The Street Performer Protocol and Digital Copyrights" (Kelsey and Schneier, 1999) suggest that copyright will become increasingly difficult to enforce. They propose a general mechanism for funding digital public works, the "Street Performer Protocol" in which authors produce their work only after they receive enough contributions to make it worth their while. In this article, I sketch out a proposal for the creation of a software completion bond market. I think such a market would be a practical implementation of the "Street Performer Protocol" for the funding of open source software. I first describe how such a bond market might work, and why I think the open source community needs a bond market. Then I examine the underlying economics of open source software. Finally, I review some of the existing and potential alternatives to a software completion bond market. [1].

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