2 min read

Pay Attention!

There is a desperate need for a way to fund freedom software. The entire world runs on it now. Many companies build their businesses on frameworks and libraries that are maintained for free. They rarely give back, because they don’t have to – I don’t hold it against them, I wouldn’t either. It’s just how the game theory works out.

What’s particularly unfortunate is how these people are treated. See what the core-js author had to say. Their experience isn’t unique. Often, working on open source projects is less than a thankless job – people can be downright cruel.

I want to address this issue, and I believe the solution needs to be “free as in freedom.” While I can’t force others to do anything, nor do I want to. It is within my ethical system to set boundaries. I am going to do that, and I would like you to consider joining me.

I’m setting a boundary around my attention. It’s difficult to control my eyeballs, but I believe the current state of the world warrants the effort. My attention is valuable, and it supports businesses like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc. These companies are making enormous profits off our collective attention, and part of that revenue is from me.

Not only do they make enormous profits off our attention, they have gone beyond simply showing advertisements. They now curate content, censor on behalf of governments, and manipulate elections. Worst of all, they pit us against each other when most of us are really seeking peace.

By averting my eyes, I am removing some of their revenue. And, I want that revenue to go to freedom software and protocols instead of any other “walled gardens.” To that end, I’ve been working on a project called Stamp for about 5 years. I believe it has the potential to fund free software, and take power away from mega-corporations.

There are many projects that are attempting to create free and open social media platforms. However, all of them struggle with moderation and spam. Stamp takes a different approach. It’s based on Hal Finney’s idea for RPoW tokens. Every message has a cost that is paid to the recipient. Our attention is valuable, and it should be paid for by the people who desire it. The tokens are themselves an imaginary concept, but I will accept them in return for my attention.

I’m now charging for my attention in these tokens, and I hope some of you will choose to charge with me. The more people who believe in freedom, who charge for their attention, the more freedom there will be. It is the purest non-violent act of protest that a person can do. Ultimately, only our attention really belongs to us, everything else can be taken away.

If you’re willing to charge for your attention, Stamp will pay you.

Addressing the problems of the world is as simple as controlling where we place our eyes.