My name is Yaseen Mowzer. I'm working on using dominant assurance contracts to solve the public good problem. I have a web platform where you can use dominant assurance contracts: EnsureDone.

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Partial Update

I'm fully funded! In fact, as of writing. I have nearly 3x more funding than I asked for! The money really started rolling in after Alex Tabarrok plugged my project on marginal revolution, which I did not expect.

I'm not sure why people continued to give me money after the project was fully funded but I'm very thankful. (Of course, the more money I get the longer I can work on the project increasing the chance of success). The fundraising only officially ends 15 September, so I'm not going to give a full report until then.

I was hoping to do some neglected chores while the campaign ran, but since I'm already fully-funded, I feel I can't leave people hanging. So right now I'm collecting people who would like to use my platform to produce public goods to solicit requirements from them. If you're interested join our Discord if you haven't already.

I agree with this comment except for these two points

About your element/matrix example, the problem is indeed free-riding, but DACs would only solve the problem if he wouldn't keep developing it unless he got a certain amount of funding (which would make it a coordination problem). If he doesn't want to condition the development on a certain level of funding, then funding will be based only on the goodwill of people. So DACs also don't solve cases where a reward is deserved, but you're gonna do the thing regardless.

I don't think he is going to do it regardless. Presumably if he doesn't get enough money he has to shut-down his company completely or reduce the amount he spends on open-source and focus on the more profitable consulting side of the business. If DACs were used they could invest more in the open source.

I think the focus on public goods in the post is a bit confusing. Not because it's a problem to have and offer that as the main motivation for this, but because it makes it seem like it's only relevant for public goods, where it's still as relevant for private goods if there's a big upfront cost to producing any at all.

Private goods already have a mechanism to solve this problem: investment. That's why I think DACs are not that relevant for private goods.

I think these examples are consistent with my views: Sometimes public goods are provided because the demand for them is so great they people overcome the co-ordination problem or just allow people to free-ride (lighthouses) or sometimes public goods are not that public (bee pollination) and so private enterprises pay for them for very little free-riding.

The problem is not the public-goods are never provided, but that the are under-provided: either they are not provided or are of low-quality relative to what is economically efficient.

I think it's about 10%, but I'll need more experience to see how much it actually works out on average. For comparison, I think normal crowdfunding has about 5-8% fees, but only if you succeed.

will you be happy if this only works for club goods? I think here the private entrepreneurial case is much stronger, and even in the original paper a lot of the discussion of strongest equilibria is for $K=N$ and club goods. 

No, because of the loss of value due to unnecessary exclusion.

What mechanisms other than "culture" can you think of to stop the "raise a bunch of money, then put ads in anyway"

So I think for the platform I'm creating, I'll only allow projects that are public goods (so if it's media/software it must have a permissive license). That means that anyone can take the public good with ads and just remove the ads. That's the main reason why open-source doesn't have ads, because everytime someone tries to add ads, people fork the project to remove the ads (on Linux usually the package maintainers will remove the ads).

is there any knowledge of Kickstarter or GoFundMe being approached and asked to implement this functionality?

Alex Tabarrok said he tried in one of the videos linked. I haven't spoken to him about it, but I assume they weren't interested.

I was hoping that proving the concept would cause more established players to adopt the system.

But what I’ve done in the past is that people sign up with my platform, get a code, and put the code in their pubic comment that they can attach to a contribution on the third-party platform. Then if they want to claim any rights attached to the contribution from me, I check that the code is the right one, and if it is, believe them that they’re either the person who made the contribution or that the person who made the contribution wanted to gift it to them.

Oh cool, that's a good idea. Then you can piggy back off existing crowdfunding platforms instead of making your own one.

people sign up with my platform,

Do you have a link? It sounds cool. I want to check it out.

Well, let’s say I barely have the money to pay for my own cost of living or that I consider a number of AI safety orgs to also be the even-more-cost-effective uses of my money.

I think I see your point. I agree that DACs don't solve this type of free-riding.

I haven't read the book, could you provide such examples?

I think there are obvious cases of where public goods version of something is under-provided (lower-quality) compared to the club good version of that thing. e.g. Proprietary software being more polished than open source software, HBO higher quality than YouTube.

Where I live the police are useless so neighborhood watches have sprung up in the wealthy areas. However, my impression is that the neighborhood watches appear much later and only in richer areas than you'd expect in an efficient market. Particular many people got private security years before neighborhood watches, and lower-income areas don't have neighborhood watches even though they would probably be willing to spend 1/1000 of their income (just pay 1 guy in the community of 1000 people) for more safety.

For Route B, I'm not sure I can find a super compelling sentence, that's why I thought it would be easier to just have something I could point to (Hey look at all these cool things we managed to raise money for, I can help you raise money too!).

For Route A, I'd would be surprised if there was a trusted influencer who would risk their reputation on this weird financial scheme, unless there were at least several examples showing that it worked. I think what I'm doing is a prerequisite for this route.

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