Project funders

Tips for being a project funder financially backing projects.

Project funders are able to pledge support and settle outstanding pledges on proposals for human action they wish to see in the world, as well as receive refunds for fulfilled pledges associated with work that was not completed according to the project terms.

Funding a project

Most users first experience with %fund will be in contributing funds to a project that they would like to see completed. There are three main ways for you, as a project funder, to interact with these projects: directly from the clearweb, using "eAuth" login functionality, or via your urbit's sovereign instance of %fund.

From the clearweb

Whether you find the project via an urbit group, an X (fka Twitter) thread, or get it emailed to you by your boomer uncle, the core interface for interacting with %fund as a project funder is via a "project page" that provides details about the project scope, worker, oracle, and milestones, as well as a front end interface for interacting with the escrow contract. The most 'lightweight' way to access a project page is to visit a url hosted by the project worker's urbit. This requires nothing more than a web browser, so anyone on the internet can see a publicly published project.

If you are interested in running private campaigns, restricted either by password, or Urbit ID please contact ~tocwex on the network and we'll see what we can do for you.

On-chain contributions

Any ethereum wallet—including those without a running urbit, or even an Urbit ID—can interact with the base features of a project page. In this capacity, the page is tremendously simple:

  • Read the project description and milestones, assess whether you think the project is worthy of funding

  • Connect your ethereum wallet to the page using the "Connect" button

  • Fill out the form with your desired contribution amount and message

  • Select "send funds" to prompt your MetaMask wallet transaction execution modal

  • Sign the transaction.

Interacting with the contract in this way is not fundamentally linked to your identity beyond the publicity of your chosen Ethereum address. It gives no way for you to contact the project worker or the trusted oracle, and gives you no mechanisms for verifiable discovery of those parties' reputation. Refunds are returned to the Ethereum address that contributed them, and for many this may be sufficient. Contributions can be directly made to a project, and aside from the basic action of connecting your MetaMask wallet, no novel interaction types are required.

It is important to note the "from the clearweb" and "using eAuth" methods of interaction implicitly mean you are trusting the page host to be telling the truth about facts such as: who else has contributed funds to the project, who the trusted oracle identity is, and what other urbit IDs have pledged future funding. This is generally the same way you put trust in other crypto front ends, but where %fund is different is in offering a "trust but verify" model. To operate on the verification model, just get your own urbit and run your own self-sovereign instance of the software and access the project page from your own urbit.

Using eAuth

If you have a running urbit, you can click the "login with urbit ~" button in the top navigation bar of a %fund project page hosted by an urbit peer. This will trigger a sign-in flow where you:

  • Provide your urbit ID in the login form

  • Get redirected to the public domain at which your urbit is hosted

  • If your browser is not already authenticated, you will be asked to sign in with your +code

  • After signing in on your personal domain, your urbit will ask you to approve access

  • After approving access you will be redirected back to the project page where the "login with urbit ~" button will be replaced with your @p.

Following successful authentication, you will be able to access additional functionality without needing to download a dedicated application, or in urbit parlance, a %desk. The actions of these features will be linked to your underlying urbit ID:

  • Pledge future commitment without needing to execute an ethereum transaction, so you can signal your support even if you don't have your wallet on you at the time

  • Get instructions for application download to fulfill pledges

  • Fulfill previously committed pledges made to the the project

Critical among these features are the ability to make off-chain pledges.

Off-chain pledges

Urbit offers something unique to crypto: a pseudonymous identity inextricably linked to a Turing complete virtual machine that runs as a node in a peer-to-peer network. This allows for off-chain promises of future funding contributions; one might even consider this the beginning of a sovereign credit network. There are a few things to consider about this functionality:

  • Pledging is only accessible to authenticated users; this works by linking the promises made to your urbit ID either by using eAuth, or by interacting with the project from your own urbit.

  • Pledges are made purely as a function of verifiable claims and social signaling. A pledge recipient can prove that you made the promise, but nothing more. Enforcement is purely social, with knowledge of your credibility propagating through the network in the same way social credibility does in the real world.

  • To fulfill your pledges, you will need return to the project page hosted by the project worker, or to access %fund from your own urbit.

Curious to learn more about the technical details of how pledges work? Read the developer docs.

From your own urbit

Accessing %fund from the application running on your urbit gives you all the above functionality and more. As a project funder you will need to access projects from your urbit to track and fulfill your pledges and if you want to dip your toe into running a %fund for your own project work—or put your reputation behind being the judge of the work of others—you will need to download the %fund desk directly. If you don't already have it installed, follow the instructions here to do so.

After downloading the desk, go to the %fund app and click "View dashboard ->" on the "Project funder" card to discover projects that you know about via pledging or funding contributions.

Additional discovery features such as "projects from your %pals" to follow after the initial beta release.

Fulfilling your pledges

Fulfilling your pledges is a critical step to how project funders interact with funding campaigns. Remember, the project worker you are promising funds to might really be counting on you following through on your word.

While it is possible to fulfill pledges using eAuth, we recommend installing %fund as it makes it much easier to track your pledge commitments, and offers you a chance to verify the details of the funding campaign via your own urbit. To fulfill a pledge:

  • Click the %fund app tile

  • Navigate to the project funder dashboard

  • See the list of projects under the header "My Open Pledges"

  • View the project. You will see the contribution card has the title "Fulfill Pledge" and that it is already pre-populated with the contribution amount.

  • Click "send funds" and use MetaMask to execute the resulting ethereum transaction.

You should see the "Proposal funders" section of the page update your entry from pledged to fulfilled and find that random people on the network are now nicer to you and somehow perceive you as more credible in applications having nothing to do with %fund. Congratulations, that is the feeling of a cohesive digital identity!

Getting a refund

Refunding is simple; if a project is terminated, either by the project worker or the trusted oracle, the funds sent from your address will be returned to that address. No action is required (or possible) on your end, technically. If a project has been partially completed and paid out to the worker, your refund will be proportional to the remaining funds unpaid to the worker. For example:

  • You contribute $250 to a project with a $10,000 goal in 2 milestones, each of $5,000

  • The project raises $8,000 in funding to it's contract, and $1,000 in additional pledges

  • The project worker delivers on the first milestone and gets paid $5,000

  • The project is cancelled after that first payout, so you will receive a partial refund from the available $3,000:

    • $3,000/$8,000 = 37.5 %

    • 37.5% of $250 = $93.75

Socially, if you are on the urbit network, you have the ability to exert soft power both on the project worker and the trusted oracle. Because identities bridge across all of the applications in the ecosystem, the mechanisms of influence are not purely limited to the affordances we provide directly in %fund. For example, project workers may run a %tlon group in which they provide project announcements, or where community members can discuss the project (or otherwise just build p2p relationships!). It is through these 'out-of-band' social channels that you have the opportunity to do things like voicing your discontent with work quality or timeliness, potentially influencing the worker or oracle to cancel the project and issue a refund to their funders.

Also, as a funding contributor to a project you automagically have a way to contact other project funders! So even if a malicious party kicks you out of an 'official' space for a project, you can reach out directly to other contributors. Who knows, maybe you'll unionize or something?

Getting your own urbit

If you've read this far, you probably want access to some of the features listed above. Great. You will find built into the clearweb UX flow, if you do not have an urbit, we provide an integrated way to get a ship hosted by Red Horizon. For other options for acquiring both an identity and a way to run it, visit our page on getting an urbit.

We highly recommend getting your own urbit at this stage. It will be necessary in order to access the functionality of the next role, that of the project worker.

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