SourceCred: a very high level overview

For a more practical and up to date guide on SourceCred please see SourceCred in 5 minutes

SourceCred is a protocol for open collaboration. It allows you to easily reward and recognize contributions. Let’s explore why this matters and how it might work.

If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it, did it make a sound? If an act of kindness warms a heart, but no one was able to measure it’s impact did it really have value? These are the questions that keep us up at night. These are also not questions that can be answered using our current tools and methodologies. There are many things that our society miss-prices or simply fails to price. Furthermore, there are many things who’s value is revealed over time, but often gets lost in the suffle. SourceCred aims to fix all this and more.

To quantify, measure, and reward value that is being created SourceCred creates a living graph that represents the value shared and created in a social network. Every time value is created or exchanged a connection is made. Then as more (or less) value flows through those connections the weight of those connections is adjusted accordingly. Just like planting seeds may lead to trees in the future, some things take time to mature. Furthermore, some things may seem like great ideas at first, but turn out to be less than ideal over time. SourceCred, as a living graph, takes all this into consideration.

Unlike with a traditional transaction where the value is exchanged up front, with SourceCred value is exchanged on a continuous basis over the lifetime of an event or thing. This incentivizes true value creation vs gimmicks and deception to close a quick sale. This also values contributions that might be hard to measure over time, such as writing an influential blog post. Currently great writing is subsidized with ads. With SourceCred it can be rewarded directly based on how many people read, discuss, and link to the post. This is especially applicable to open source software development where many people contribute, very few are recognized, and even fewer are rewarded. SourceCred would flow value to all participants in a community or endeavor.

When you plant a seed, if enough water and nutrients are directed towards that seed it will grow into a tree. That tree will, sometimes, produce fruit. This is good. We are rewarded for our efforts with sweet delicious fruit. If we keep watering and nurturing the tree more fruit will come. SourceCred also rewards value creation. Unlike trees, however, SourceCred’s rewards are financial. These are called Grain. When you receive Cred for value creation, you can eventually harvest that Cred to earn Grain. Just like real grain, you can buy and sell it like a commodity. Also, just like how eating fruit distributes seeds to plan more fruit trees, harvesting and exchanging Grain allows more people to interact with SourceCred communities and networks. This increases the likelihood of value creation, Cred flow, and more Grain harvesting. Yay. Everyone wins


I like it! Thanks for sharing your take on SourceCred. I’ve spent so much time trying to figure out how to describe SourceCred, it’s heartwarming to see others finding ways to describe it too. :heart:

Thanks! SourceCred is one of the coolest things I’ve come across in a long time and I want everyone everyone to know how cool it is. Thinking of ways to improve the onboarding flow for people who are interested. First making it easy to understand, then making it easy to play, then making it easy to deploy.

Also, just realized that I forgot to make the initial post a wiki. Feel free to edit and/or add to it if you feel so inspired :slight_smile:

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