Why Public Goods Matter
TL;DR: Public goods are the future of the internet, and web3 is leading the way.
Web3 is more than just an industry– it's a community of people coming together to use technology to build a better world. And guess what? We all have a responsibility to contribute to making web3 a better place.
That's why at Taho, we're teaming up with the greater web3 community to promote the creation of public goods. These are digital assets and services that are conceptualized, maintained, and completely financed by community members.
Public goods are becoming increasingly important in web3, and it's worth taking a closer look at why they matter so much. They may just hold the key to the future of Web3. And here at Taho, we're doing our part to support their growth.
What are Public Goods?
Public goods have been a concept long before the emergence of web3. In fact, it has been a central theme in modern economics since 1954, when economist Paul Samuelson defined a collective good as something that can be consumed without diminishing the consumption of others. This is what is referred to as non-rivalrous. For example, the enjoyment you derive from a public mural does not reduce the satisfaction your neighbor derives from it.
In 1959, Richard Musgrave expanded on this definition, adding the idea of non-excludability. To qualify as a public good, it must be impossible for anyone to prevent you from using it. For instance, nobody can stop your neighbor from benefiting from the same streetlights that guide you to your front door.
The arrival of the internet saw the emergence of a new category of public goods - digital public goods. This category included open-source software and knowledge-sharing sites like Wikipedia.
The definition of public goods has always been somewhat nuanced. For instance, is a park bench truly a public good if the park is closed at certain times of the day? In the blockchain era, this definition has become even more complex due to the sheer number of projects and activities claiming public goods status in Web3. The label is so broad that determining what is and what is not a true web3 public good can be unclear.
In addition to being community-owned, non-excludable, and non-rivalrous, public goods in web3 must embody a level of decentralization and transparency that cannot be achieved within centralized systems. They must also adhere to web3 values, meaning they cannot be controlled by a single entity but must be powered by collaboration.
Blockchains, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, are perhaps the most prominent public good in web3. Anyone can use decentralized networks, and most are highly active, with various platforms and apps exchanging value, launching smart contracts, creating a digital identity, borrowing, and lending, and providing infrastructure services without impacting the efficiency of others. Moreover, no blockchain user can prevent another from participating in the same activities, irrespective of their location or identity.
Gitcoin: Transforming the way we fund Public Goods
Gitcoin has been instrumental in elevating public goods in the web3 ecosystem. The platform, which started in 2017, is a decentralized network that enables individuals to work together on open-source projects and earn crypto for their contributions.
One of the ways that Gitcoin has helped elevate public goods in web3 is through its popular bounties program. Through the bounties program, individuals and organizations can offer financial incentives for the completion of specific tasks related to open-source projects. For example, a developer might offer a bounty for the creation of a new feature for their project, or a designer might offer a bounty for the creation of a new logo.
The bounties program has been hugely successful in attracting contributions from a wide range of individuals and organizations and has helped to incentivize the creation of new public goods in the Web3 ecosystem. To date, Gitcoin has facilitated the distribution of over $50 million towards public goods, and there have been 3.8 million donations on the platform.
In addition to its bounties program, Gitcoin has also launched a number of other initiatives aimed at promoting the creation of public goods in Web3. For example, the platform has launched a grants program, which provides funding to open-source projects and initiatives that are working to build public goods in the Web3 ecosystem. The grants program has been hugely successful in providing financial support to a wide range of projects and has helped to accelerate the development of new public goods in Web3.
And speaking of grants...😏 Taho is currently in the Gitcoin Grants Beta Round! You can add Taho and other projects supporting Public Goods into your cart until May 9.
Open-source: The ❤️ of it all
Underlying nearly all of these decentralized networks and dapps is a transparent layer of infrastructure built on open-source software. Open-source software composed of always publicly available code isn’t unique to web3, but it is far more widespread here than in web2.
While it may seem counterintuitive, radical transparency makes open-source software safer and more innovative than closed-source programs. This is largely because it benefits from the collective brainpower of a vast tech-savvy community. The public status of such programs lets community members review and audit code whenever they wish – and, if necessary, to make suggestions for improvement. The fact that open-source software is monitored by many sets of eyes makes it safer for all users, and constant unrestricted collaboration means innovation often happens faster.
That’s why Taho is committed to making our browser wallet extension permanently open-source. You can check out the complete library of Taho’s code on GitHub. And this code is protected under our GPLV3 license, meaning that any project created from forking our code must also be open-source!
Join The Pack
Taho’s dedication to supporting public goods is firmly rooted in our determination to keep you– our community at the center of everything we do.
So if you have a feature you'd like to see in the wallet, join our Discord or leave a comment on our roadmap. If you're interested in having a more active role in the community, stay tuned for the launch of our on-chain DAO.