Is your participation in this exchange worth 2 cents? (PonyUPS and PonyXPS)

Though it does cost, I think what might be unique is that participants would receive money back (1 cent) for every reply they got. It is kind of up to the person that uses the system . And if they do not think their participation is worth anything to themselves. I am thinking that voluntary payment as @

I had not considered voluntary payment as an option, but that may be a better option, at least to start with. Both sender and receiver would have to have enrolled in the system or it would just confuse people.

Thank you for the feedback. I thoroughly appreciate the consideration and feedback.

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Schemes like these have been proposed numerous times before and they have yet to catch on, because users don’t actually wish to pay money to send emails around

Hmm, ask e.g. cause their stamp email server model works.
Maybe only in Germany people want to “pay money to send emails around” because they get a spam-free environment.

Things like pay for no advertising are working perfect at Europeans major newspapers and magazines like Der Spiegel / Spiegel Online (which for me is the most serious)
[disclaimer: also a customer of mine])…

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I know a lot of people who live in Germany and this is the first time I have ever heard of this, so I suspect the service is not as popular as you think it to be. If it would have truly caught on, bluntly, it would be something people know about.

I said, “it works”. In terms of the user who wants to be spam free.
And it is fair.
I do always think user first and not mass first.

Of course it is not “popular”. Because email is not popular anymore.
I mean some friends use hashcash.
Personally I doubt that paying with energy is better than with money!
Cause of climate crisis.

Feel also free to propose better solutions to Chris for the paper
It might depend what you build and who your users are of course.

I did not know about fediverse or the socialhub until about 3 weeks ago, and am pretty sure 99.9% of my friends are not aware of its existence. ; )

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I really like the mechanics of the system you laid out @richardhroth1 here. There is a lot in it, and the potential to design a generic model for the domain. As @kaniini says I also do not believe in having this as an internet-wide payment scheme. But I see viability to have it community-bound, as explained above, where the incentive for ponying up is either in appreciation of or in return for ‘community value’.

Where @davidak and Snowdrift are looking into tweaking and fixing the crowdmatching mechanism such that it cannot be abused or gamed (i.e. by project maintainers setting targets too high) I think for usage on e.g. the fediverse that a one-size-fits-all model doesn’t work. The domain vobabulary should allow anyone to configure the scheme to match their purposes.

Preferably this vocabulary should reuse from other existing Linked Data ontologies. I did a quick search, and did not find really appropriate stuff, but still found this:

It should be clear that really standardizing a specification for PonyUPS is a humongous task and most probably not feasible (unless there’s huge interest to help). But that is not to say that with way more modest ambitions we can’t create an attractive option for AP devs to implement.

I am such a neophyte in regards to how this might be accomplished that I have a hard time knowing how I might usefully reply. But . . .

  • I would expect that PonyUPS and PonyXPS would be trialed in a very primitive form, like a board game, with imaginary cash values, but very clear
  1. game-room rules

  2. and names for the bits and pieces that reflect back on the known history and mythology of Postal Services and specifically the Pony Express and the concept of Postal Banking Services whose rules are to give highest priority to the poorest and most underserved.

  3. both of which can be trialed and then transferred to the next iteration.

It will take those much more familiar with code and decentralized open source alternatives to map out a logical progression. I am grateful for those who see some merit and are willing to consider and discuss.


I put a couple hundred into crypto 3 years ago. I took it out a couple weeks ago for a bit of gain because I just can not wrap my head around its volatility and speculative nature.
I would love to hear the potential pitfalls of blockchain as well as possible alternatives. My guess is that blockchain takes up considerable bandwidth.

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You obviously gave the idea a lot of thinking already. And that’s way more valuable than you think: it makes you the domain expert. In my previous post, with the list of references, I went ‘ahead of the music’. Only if the domain is really well understood (and this is mostly a non-technical exercise) can there be any elaboration. But the list is valuable to find and extract domain concepts from the work that others have already done in similar domains. If there is much alignment it may be an opportunity to reuse to certain extent existing technology.


FYI @richardhroth1. An interesting article related to stamps with negative interest rate was posted to the Solid forum:

Links of @bhaugen led me to Bristol Pay, who have interesting examples, like SamenDoen (local transactions yield 1ct, various reward schemes for e.g. volunteering) and credit commons.

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A post was split to a new topic: Scope of the Fediverse: Rethinking Humanity

Upgrades to PonyXPS/PonyUPS
This remains the same:
PonyXPS is a Public Resource Commons for the Common Good.
PonyXPS is User Owned and controlled…

PonyXPS asks the question “ Is your participation in this exchange worth 2 cents?”
If the answer is “Yes”, then you purchase or use “seeded” postage to send your message, listserver post, emoji, comment, pizza order, whatever.

To get your Postage Seeds you purchase them from the PonyUPS network which

  1. provides user security,
  2. accounting,
  3. encryption,
  4. a range of anonymity, and
  5. preserves and tracks viability of public commons investments.

This is what changes:
Previously the proposed model split the 2 cents postage credit between the service provider (PonyUPS) and the person you are communicating with.

I amend to propose that


the entire 2 cent “seed” goes to the recipient in the form of a crypto, as the seed has been purchased.

by answering that you believe your participation in this exchange is worth 2 cents, you have set the value of the crypto in a Public Commons at 2 cents. (ie, you have “seeded” the currency and its value)
the value of the 2 cent “seed” remains intact and immutable forever
more resiliently than a minted quarter
the value follows that seed wherever it goes equal to any new seed purchased through PonyUPS.
as each crypto seed circulates within the system from person to person, the overall value of the commons grows and is tracked by PonyUPS, each person self proclaiming the value of their own participation is worth at least 2 cents.

In other words, each purchased seed is a legacy, designed to circulate and serve humans and the planet – forever.

This follows the Community Land Trust Model of “once invested, forever in service”.

It is the Primary Objective of the PonyXPS and PonyUPS to see that no seed ever leaves the system and continues to circulate for the common good.


the number of seeds a person accumulates is accounted for by PonyUPS
and can be
used to send social media communications, or
combined for purchases by the holder of locally produced goods and services (defined by Zip Codes, Area Codes, etc.,) only.


there SHALL be limits on the number of seeds a user can purchase in a quarter year,
as the objective is that this system is meant to be used to favor the lowest income and most disenfranchised.
there MAY be limits on
the time that a user may hold any specific seed (example: 5 quarter years) afterwhich
the seed is moved to scholarship in
Regeneration of Natural Resouces which enhance, improve, or expand the community commons,
including the education scholarship opportunities of the most poor, most discriminated against, and the at-risk.
Such as student research projects that sequester carbon through improvements in soil health
or scholarship purchases of locally grown foods for improved health (farmers market purchases).
Local Health Clinic services.


This system requires that there be no less than three types of users.

  1. A broadcaster
    who purchases the seeds from PonyUPS and then disperses them through the use of PonyXPS
  2. A conduit
    who recieves the seeds through the social media services provided for by PonyXPS and scholarship options provided for through PonyUPS and then passes the seed(s) on.
  3. A combination of the two above.

Thank you @richardhroth1. I’d have to reread carefully what the implications of these changes are. But I wanted to post something else in terms of payment technology, a cash equivalency: Delft café premieres with EEMCS blockchain euro | Hacker News (the lead professor answers questions here)

Now, important, this is not a blockchain despite its name. They have chosen this for marketing reasons (riding the hype train) to - strangely enough - imbibe trust when pitching to politicians. The lab that studies this has 12 professors and 65 Master students behind it (mentioning this because it is also an indicator of how hard the underlying tech for PonyUPS will probably be).

The difference with a blockchain is that there’s no foolproof (energy-wasting) consensus mechanism here, and no built-in solution for the “double-spend problem”. Instead focus is on early detection of double spending, and the technology needs an additional legal / financial system to be dealt with (the hardest problem to tackle still).

Transactions are only stored on the phone, do not appear on bank statements, and are therefore as anonymous as using cash.

With - due to Corona - amount of cash payments rapidly diminishing they want to avoid big tech pushing their systems:

But Pouwelse also sees that tech giants such as Apple, Google and Facebook are aggressively pursuing digital payment technologies. He emphasises that money transfers are an essential infrastructure that belongs in public hands.

I do not know how blockchain works, but I thought that perhaps having a blockchain whose value stays the same and can not be split into fractions and does not require “mining” would save energy and still be accountable, trackable back to the person who seeded that 2 cents, while also seeing how many times that 2 cents was added back into the community commons by folks participating in exchanges. Also thought that at some point, if it became as popular as I hope it might, it could become a trusted currency - based on the contributions people make to building the width and breadth of the community commons.

This may be way off topic too, but wondering why a plug and play router with built-in and configured web server could not be constructed and distributed to work as part of the PonyXPS/PonyUPS system. Should be getting cheaper and cheaper to put together something like that.

While this article deals with Bitcoin, it does so in a rather non-technical way, explaining what problem needs to be solved.

It is rather interesting, and hence triggered huge discussion on HN: Bitcoin Is Time | Hacker News. Problem with the plethora of blockchain-flavoured cryptocurrency is in the complexity of the tech being build, which is unsure to work, plus the fact that the motive of greed provides all the incentives to make it seem as if it does work, and you should urgently invest or miss the boat.

The difference is that a PonyUPS is non-negotiable and its value is set in digital stone. Like a stone (XPStone) it can be passed from hand to hand, but it remains a 2cent stone.

BUT, it would be nice to have a digital record of

  • where the stone travels to (zip code, country, region, etc.), and
    for what purpose

  • that assures that that UPStone continues to circulate -
    and for this I have no idea if something like blockchain could do this.

So, its value has to be affirmed by EACH spender of that stone that indeed "Their participation in this exchange is worth 2 cents".

But the use of that UPStone has an expiration date. After remaining unused for a specified number of days - say 180, 270, or 360 days - then that particular stone residing in a person’s PonyUPS account transfers out. For example, the stones are automatically collected into a PonyUPS scholarship fund for the poor which allows say students in India to access the PonyUPS system and use its security and accounting system.

I have thought that perhaps the best way to redeem a “bag of stones” without losing the value of the stones, would be at the local farmers markets, for purchase of fresh local foods (renewable resources). This builds the local self sustainability of the nearby community.

The farmer/rancher or other renewables vendor could use the “stones” as supplemental wages for localized labor, or as a basis for purchase of food and renewable supplies for their own families.

Again, PonyUPStones would become a currency of exchange of regenerative ideas and products, at each exchange the person reaffirms the 2 cent value of each particular stone.

Those who purchase 2cent stones using real(?)-world currencies - such as the US Dollar - would in essence be purchasing a legacy designed to serve humanity and the planet indefinitely into the future while funding the ongoing buildout and maintenance of the PonyUPS system; which according to Seba, will be getting cheaper and cheaper to run, until it is essentially free and self supported by the re-circulations of UPStones themselves.

Problem is that a “digital stone” does not exist. At least not in the same way as in the real world. It can be copied/pasted and hence leads to a double-spending problem. As soon as something is digital a (distributed or centralized) ledger of sorts is required (see the article above).

Thanks for that article. “Bitcoin is Time” That helps me a lot - probably not enough -but a lot!

I would like to run these ideas past you to toss or tangle with.

Postal Banks historically have been created to serve the poor. Therefore the minimum requirement to open an account was
very small, (say 2 cents)
as was the total amount that could be held in an account (say $3,000), as was the total amount that could be passed through the account in a:
day (say $100)
week (say $300)
month (say $1,000)
and year (say $8,000)

Now consider that no individual can purchase more than $5 of 2cent credits in a 24 hour period, and that those credits can only be used in 2 cent increments (sent email, blogs, emoji’s, photos, etc.) until each credit has a tail of at least 3 (or whatever) transfers.

And all transfers required a day (or more) to be used by the new owner of the credit (there is Slow Food - this is Slow Money). I imagine the same restrictions could and should be placed on PonyUPS as it would make forgery a pain in the butt, and likely to fail.

say I am going to buy a $5.00 loaf of bread at the farmers market with PonyUPS credits. That is 250 PonyUPS Credits that will have to be verified, 250 times that the transaction is checked to verify transaction legitimacy.
part of the identifier is the identifier for the original purchaser, and a tail of - say - the 5 previous transactions - that have taken place with each 2 cent credit. So any transaction with bulk numbers of identical previous transactions would be very suspicious since the service system operates in 2 cent purchases.

And if that does not suffice then maybe issuing “digital object identifiers”. (which I do not understand either.)

I hope my ideas are not a waste of time and I very much appreciate the attention, direction, and dialogue you have helped spread. I wonder if anything will become of it.
Take care,

I am in the middle of reading Kim Stanley Robinson’s new SciFi Novel “The Ministry for the Future” (October 2020) and found what he calls “YourLock”, which seems to parallel many of the ideas behind PonyXPS/PonyUPS so thought I would share those paragraphs.

Chapt 54, Page 241:

“What have you got for me, Janus Athena?”

“The AI group is making open source instruments that mimic the functions of all the big social media sites.”

“So people can shift over to this new set?”

“Yes. And it will protect their data for them using quantum encryption.”

“Then China probably won’t let their people use them.”

"Maybe not. China is under huge pressure to change, so, unclear how that will play out. For everyone else, using these sites means they’ll control their data, rather than it being used and mined. That privacy can then be a resource to them. They can sell their personal data if they want. That plus the security of encryption, and the public ownership of these sites a commons, should be enough to entice every user on the planet to shift. Publicize it, make it easy, set a date, be ready to handle the influx, boom„:,

“How many do you think will shift?”

“Maybe half. After a few years, everybody.” "

So, the decapitation of Facebook."

“And all the rest like it.”

“Replaced by a system owned by its users, in effect.”

“Yes. Open source. A distributed ledger. The Global Internet Cooperative Union. GICU.”

“Is that a good name?”

“Is Facebook a good name?”

“Better than GICU.”

“Okay, think of a better one. Then if it works, it will serve as the operating platform for ICU.” “Which means,” Mary prompted, playing along.

“International Credit Union. A people’s bank. The team has set that up too. Lots of bank mirroring, and credit unions are already a thing. This won’t be quite like a credit union, because it would be an open net-work of people who make a distributed issuance of credit, issuing carbon coin fractions to each other on proof of good action on carbon. People deposit their savings and create new value in a customer- and employee-owned distributed ledger. Their bank, as one function of their YourLock account. It invests mindfully as a group mind, a kind of planetary mind, that has to always be funding biosphere-friendly activities. Also, a place to go if everyone removes their deposits from current private banks at the same time. Those banks are so over-leveraged that they will immediately crash. Then individuals have to have a safe harbor. For-profit banks will go running to central banks to ask for bail-out, and legislatures will panic and agree to let central banks create however many trillions the central banks recommend. That’s been the template so far. So, for any planned attack on private banks, best to have a safe harbor ready. Then you can tell the legislatures to approve central banks’ bail-out QE, but only on condition of buying equity in them.”

in Chapter 60: page 281:

Spring came and Mary began to swim again from the Utoquai schwimmbad, first once or twice a week, then every day. Then tram back up to the office. She gave the final nod to Janus Athena’s YourLock, and J-A posted the website address to the internet and they watched it go through its unobtrusive birth, a slow week as it turned out, as it was just one spike in the endless interference patterns of discourse. Then people began to share the news that you could transfer everything going on in the rest of your internet life into a single account on YourLock, which was organized as a co-op owned by its users, after which you had secured your data in a quantum-encrypted cage and could use it as a negotiable asset in the global data economy, agreeing to sell your data or not to data-mining operations out there who quickly saw the new lay of the land and began to offer people micro-payments for their data, mainly health information, consumption patterns, and finance. The royalties for being oneself in the world machine were not insignificant, a kind of lifetime annuity, small but useful. And so people began to make the shift, and one day that tip-ping point arrived where a non-linear shear occurred, like an earthquake, and suddenly everyone had a YourLock account and would henceforth be conducting their internet life by way of it. A whole new internet ecology, the much-hyped but previously vaporwaresque Internet 3.0. This was news, of course, remarked on everywhere. But on the other hand, when Mary went down to the lake in the mornings to swim, every-thing looked the same; and this was true everywhere. Global revolutions these days were strange, Mary thought, being as virtual as everything else. And of course in the virtual world it had indeed caused an uproar. What did it mean? Who owned this new system? It was open source, some said, 0 one owned it. People working in the gift economy had made it, which meant maybe just people playing around.”

A number of the things you mention seem to be aimed at making the system less attractive to fraud. But if fraud is possible, it will happen. Slow money concepts don’t work, if someone can simply write some scripts that wait patiently to commence their fraudulent actions.

But in general these measures decrease the attractiveness for fraudsters to jump on it, so they may be considered (you’ll still get ‘script kiddies’ that sabotage the system, just for the fun of it, if they find a way).


Instead of complicated cryptography, innovative digital coins, etc. you can also - at least for the time being - fall back to a much more ‘traditional’, well-understood model. Consider that:

  • Individual ‘public banks’ are tied to a small community (limited scope, not a global waterproof system).
  • Public bank runs a PonyUPS system with community members as only participants (offers the PonyUPS mechanism) → C2S.
  • Public banks may federate with other public banks (in a federation) → S2S.

ActivityPub provides decentralization via Federation, meaning there is still a centralized server (an instance) with which members communicate. The specification consists of two parts: Client-to-Server (C2S) and Server-to-Server (S2S).

If we forget peer-to-peer (P2P) interaction for now (a future fediverse will allow both federated + p2p interaction → hybrid decentralization) and look just at Federation, we see that there’s centralized control - just like this forum software (Discourse) has - where authenticated members communicate with the server via UI and API’s and you have humans (admins and moderator staff) that oversee and safeguard server activity.

  • The heavy financial lifting is delegated to specialized fintech providers, e.g. a payment provider such as Stripe.
  • People must sign up to an instance (the community, or the public bank) and will be authenticated/authorized users.
  • They might transfer a yearly subscription as a budget to the public bank (a non-profit with a real bank account).
  • Now they start interacting with the community using PonyUPS/PonyXPS via authenticated API’s and/or C2S.
  • The public bank is set up as a traditional online platform, and keeps track of transactions, offers full transparency.
  • There’s manual oversight on what happens in the system, and arbitration is possible. Double spending isn’t possible.
  • At certain moments (e.g. monthly) transactions are bundled, handled with payment provider (minimize transaction cost).
  • At any moment in time participants can ask the remainder of their budget to be refunded (they pay transaction cost).

You might see this as an extension to how OpenCollective works, where PonyUPS adds a mechanism for the spending side of things.


2 cents – to offer a toast:

PonyUPS YEe fruited champions of the AESIR
Autonomous Anonymous Anarchists;
and mount your Grizzly WaterBears

RIDERS of the PonyQST
WEe do resist the myths of CHAOS!
and imbibe the fragil fractals !
of the fomenting horizons of THe BuddhabRoot!
within and without WEe!

Where does eOUR power come from?
Suns and Moons…

Where does the WEe ferment flow?
To you…

Where lay eOUR domaines?

How are THESe tokens stamped, verified, reborn?
Through eOU…

Wherein do THESe riches lay?
In webbed mycylium exchanges
of eALL breathing nature…

RIDERS of the PonyQST
WEe do resist the myths of CHAOS!
and imbibe the fragil fractals !
of the fomenting horizons of THe BuddhabRoot!
within and without WEe!

Autonomous Anonymous Anarchists;
champions of the AESIR
RIDERS of the PonyQST