Tahoe-LAFS + Aspiration + BTC = more code for Tahoe

Brian Warner warner at lothar.com
Fri Dec 28 17:32:04 UTC 2018

Hey folks, I have some good news to share. As you all know, the
Tahoe-LAFS project has had a Bitcoin donation button on our site for a
long time, and we received some BTC very early on which has appreciated
considerably. But since our project is not a company, we've lacked a
proper tax-withholding structure to use it for significant development,
like hiring contractors to write code.

Fortunately, we've found a way forward. In December 2018, the Tahoe-LAFS
project engaged Aspiration[1], a US 501(c)3 nonprofit technology
organization, as a "fiscal sponsor"[2]. A portion of the project's
Bitcoin will be given to Aspiration, from which they can pay developers
and contractors to work on the Tahoe codebase. Aspiration will handle
the payroll, taxes, accounting, project management, and oversight, and
is compensated by an 8% management fee.

We're using 25% of our ~369 BTC for this initial stage of the project,
which will give us about $300K-$350K of development work, spread out
over the 2019 calendar year. While it would have been nice to make this
happen a year ago (given the recent decline of the BTC price), we think
this is a reasonable value, and we're excited to finally get to use this
surprise windfall to improve the codebase.

Our initial set of projects to fund, drafted by Liz Steininger of Least
Authority and approved by Zooko and Brian, looks like this:

* porting Tahoe and dependent libraries to Python 3
* improving grid operation/management tools
* community outreach, UI/UX improvements, documentation
* adding new community-requested features, improving garbage collection
* possibly run another summit

If this goes well (and especially if the BTC price recovers), we'll
probably do more next year.

As usual, the transfer amounts and addresses will be logged in
"donations.rst" and "expenses.rst" in the docs/ directory.

Many thanks to Gunner and Josh Black of Aspiration, and Liz Steininger
of Least Authority, for making this possible.


[1]: https://aspirationtech.org/
[2]: https://aspirationtech.org/services/openprojects

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