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Flipstarter 500k is a success! Now the real work begins.
Flipstarter set out a few months ago to enable trustless, engaging, voluntary funding, starting with EatBCH and Bitcoin Cash full nodes. We set ourselves a bar for success at $500k USD across all full nodes.
Starting with EatBCH who kindly supported us to run a limited test campaign, 17 members of the Bitcoin Cash ecosystem funded over 10,000 meals for one month in less than 12 hours.
The full node teams stepped up soon after and made proposals laying out their plans, accountability and specific funding needs. The campaigns went live and convinced the ecosystem to make 174 pledges worth a total of 2,073 BCH (roughly $520,000 USD) over the 3 week course of the campaigns. Because Flipstarter campaigns are "Assurance Contracts", only the campaigns that reached 100% of target paid out. The total result for completed campaigns was 164 pledges worth 2,039 BCH (roughly $510,000 USD).
EatBCH continues to provide support for people in need in South Sudan and Venezuela, even through the dangers and difficulties of the oil crisis for Venezuela and COVID-19 everywhere. We send our deep thanks to them and hope you will continue to support them.
The full node teams now have the hard but exciting work to follow through on their commitments. We also send our deep thanks to all of the node teams who worked and the funders who invested to take this step forward for the Bitcoin Cash ecosystem.
Much of the situation we laid out 2 months ago in "But who will build the platform?" is still true. However after receiving a lot of constructive feedback from the Bitcoin Cash ecosystem, we have a clearer view of what needs to happen next.
This proposal is a starting point that is still under consideration by the Flipstarter volunteers. This is a description of priorities and is not scheduled or committed at this time.
We set out to make Flipstarter available to everyone without needing to be gatekeepers or responsible as volunteers for the campaigns. We are close but not quite there yet. Making a Flipstarter campaign easy for any web developer to deploy is our next step and it will be one answer to the question "How can I run a Flipstarter campaign?". You are welcome to come develop with us on the Flipstarter repositories. There is some work on this underway already! Come join the flipstarter telegram if you would like to talk about it.
The number 1 feedback for UX was wanting to use regular wallets instead of the plugin. However that is hard and covered below. The number 2 feedback was that the minimum pledge at the beginning of campaigns was very high and inaccessible to a lot of people.
There was a good reason for this problem - the assurance transaction can only handle a limited number of pledges due to rules on the Bitcoin Cash network. However evidence during the campaign showed that:
Pledge amounts were not evenly distributed.
We did not use all the pledge slots to reach targets. The most pledges was BCHD with 77 out of the limit of 600.
Considering those facts, we thought up a few ways to enable a much lower starting minimum pledge without breaking the limitations of the assurance transaction. That will require resources to implement but it should be very limited compared to...
By far, the biggest request and confusion was about why the complicated plugin process was necessary. To quickly review the answer to that question, the assurance transaction method requires special signatures that no current wallets are able to do. We could have done various custodial solutions to avoid the pain, but that has been done very well already by bitcoin.com and does not solve the problem of refunds at all. The solution we chose (Electron Cash + Plugin) had the important qualities of high security for large amounts, and ability to refund in a meaningful way (in case you are wondering, in general, refunding to the sending address is a bad idea - don't do it!).
One way of switching to smart contracts was covered by a member of the Flipstarter team and there are multiple other solutions, each with different pros and cons. Not only will the contracts need to be developed, but also infrastructure for supporting them. It will be a significant investment of resources to get there and we definitely think it should happen eventually.
emergent_reasons has been reaching out to potential candidates for running a sustainable funding platform based on Bitcoin Cash but no one has made a commitment yet. The Flipstarter assurance contract, source code and assets are all open source and anyone is welcome to use them. If anyone is interested, please come talk with us in the flipstarter telegram or contact us privately.
There are also some members of the Flipstarter team who might like to run campaigns for a limited scope of projects. The arrangements for this are under consideration.