Pando Protocol

DAOs for content creation and collective ownership: building on the semantic web to enable the creation of commons economy

A major problem with open-source licensing today is the inability to provide a sustainable ecosystem for creators. Very often open-source creations move into proprietary licensing format after their original release, with no viable way of rewarding original contributors. This effect is often seen in software, but its ramifications are also visible in other adjacent creative industries such as writing, design, and music. Pando is designed to address this major problem by enabling new tools for collaboration and management of distributed ownership licensing among content producers. After released on the network, any content can be forked, merged, and receive new contributions--while maintaining a semantic relationship between its dependencies. By making the tools used in open-source development available to a wider range of creative practices, the protocol helps to support their dissemination to other areas and applications such as publishing, intellectual propriety, music, and art.

Discipline: Web3, semantic web, open-source
Role: lead designer, data visualization, protocol design, identity & branding
Team: Alexandre Rouxel, Cem Dagdelen, Daniel Shavit, Nolwenn Jollivet, Olivier Sarrouy
Year: 2018

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The lack of governance mechanisms for content creation

Current open-source platforms such as Github have contributed to the formation of live and organic communities of contributors that range from small experiments to large-scale infrastructure projects. While facilitating the orchestration of commits from different contributors, the platform doesn't support any form of governance (group consensus) among its users. Repositories are usually owned by a small group of core contributors, who in turn, act as gatekeepers. This clear division establishes a form of "soft" hyerarchy, limiting how projects evolve over time and how users engage with its development. Pando is an attempt to bring governance mechanisms modules to git platforms, and by doing so, to enable contributors to own parts of the "repository" they helped to create.

Semantic networks for the commons

Verbs such as “forking" and “merging" have become part of the lingo in open-source development. More open and user-friendly licensing models have contributed largely to how individuals collaborate and build upon each other's contributions online. Although being a common practice today, we still lack ways meaningfully visualize the lineage that precedes and follows the conception of any content type.

Either by hacking an existing work or decoding a bigger composition into small parts to create something new, every producer builds on what has previously existed. This interaction can happen by association or dissociation, literally (techne) or abstractly (episteme). Good examples of literal transformation are forms of active sampling in music production or the training of machine learning models on previously generated corpus to generate new works. Abstract association, on the other hand, builds on ideas, previous experiments, and knowlege; such as seen in academia and in the sciences.

Pando is heavily influenced by the early attempts to create what is commonly known as the semantic web movement. A proof of concept was developed using Ethereum, IPFS, and Aragon governance kits. The original source code is available on Github.