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Re: Modification to subversion to support information currency issuance - feedback requested

From: J. Patrick Bedell <jpb_at_infoeng.org>
Date: 2005-12-11 21:58:08 CET

         Thanks for your question. You can think of information currency
as similar to conventional stock certificates, only in this case
representing arbitrary digital information instead of a business
corporation and its assets. This will enable new economic organization of
software development and other actions based on information creation.

         In the case of this modification, a set of exchangeable
instruments are generated for each subversion changeset (if you have an
information currency server to issue IC for you). I implemented it
directly into the client to facilitate the usage of information currency
economics in software development, although I am trying to figure out the
most convenient way to realize this functionality.

         The simplest possibility for usage of information currency is to
pay software developers by purchasing the information currency they
generate by writing software. To illustrate, in today's world, many (but
not all :) software developers have jobs where they are compensated for
writing software. In the simplest case, a developer is today paid, for
example, $2000/week for being an employee, and their future pay and
continued employment are dependent on the quality of their work,
determined after they are paid.

         Using the information currency system implemented in this patch, a
developer who generates 20 changesets per week and receives 10 information
currency units for each changeset, could obtain compensation for their
work instead by selling each information currency unit that they receive.
An employer wishing to purchase the work of the developer could guarantee
a selling price of $10 for each information currency unit, and thereby
compensate the developer the same $2000 that they would be paid in a job.
In addition to this floor price set by the employer, there is the
possibility that, if the software developer created really amazing
software, they would find buyers for their information currency that would
pay more than the floor price paid by their primary employer.

         In order to transfer an information currency unit, the holder
sends the information currency unit to the recipient, who then exchanges
the icu. For example, if the developer who received the information
currency series wished to transfer a unit for $10 (transferred by some
means not addressed here), they would send the last unit in the series
attached to the original email:
<icu xmlns="http://infoeng.org/2005/10/ic#">

         When the recipient receives this icu, they immediately exchange it
with the server at leucine.infoeng.org:8443, which invalidates the old
information currency unit that the sender and receiver both have, and
replaces it in the information currency series with a new information
currency unit that is sent directly to the recipient who has just
exchanged the old icu. The old ICU is invalidated, and the new ICU, which
is valid and is held only by the recipient, is
<icu xmlns="http://infoeng.org/2005/10/ic#">

         To recap this transaction, the software developer has sold for $10
one of the nine information currency units that they received for their
software. The old information currency unit that the software developer
transferred is no longer valid, and they have received $10 (transferred by
some other means). The purchaser of the information currency has received
an information currency unit representing the changeset in question, and
has used their $10 to motivate the software developer to create a useful
changeset. Furthermore, the purchaser can potentially re-sell the new
information currency unit at a profit, if the market demand is sufficient.

         There is a similiarity between the models to be enabled by
information currency and the stock options that are an important part of
the compensation of many technology developers. If my explanation in this
email is not very understandable by a young child, I would only remind you
that calculating the value of a stock option might not be understandable
by a young child... however, it has been extremely important for a number
of software developers who must choose how to spend their working life. ;)


On Sat, 10 Dec 2005, Jim Blandy wrote:

> Do you have any references you could post that explain what in the
> world information currency is, in terms that a young child could
> understand? I've read the text at infoeng.org, and read the
> introduction of the draft RFC, and I'm afraid I still don't get it.
> I'm not sure why this functionality needs to be included directly in
> the Subversion client.

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Received on Sun Dec 11 21:46:41 2005

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