Quid pro quo or not?

Hello, champs of the web3 GIVe economy,
I come to you asking for feedback on a proposal of provisioning through commoning, i.e., an economic model for sustaining Urbánika

-Urbánika’s TL;DR-

As Urbánika, we create educational content for urban change makers to help them transition their cities to regenerative, ethical and solarpunk places to live.
We teach them Philosophy and Practical uses in two formats: Learning paths and learning pills.

Learning pills are basically Twitter threads and videos about key books and research on #postCapitalist, #cybernetics, and #SolarPunk knowledge.
They are completely open and gamified.

Learning paths are gamified, full courses on postCapitalism and web 3.0 tools to equip city shapers with the skills and tools to lead the transition.
Learning paths require the apprentice to complete the whole level to advance into the next one. This guarantees that an apprentice cannot specialize only in DAOs and AI without actually learning the proper mindset to use those tools in the most ethical, smart, and regenerative ways.

-Urbánika’s give economy proposal-

In contrast to Learning pills, Learning paths are accessed only by registered apprentices. Becoming a register apprentice comes from either paying for it or contributing to Urbánika’s mission.

What’s the difference between paying and contributing? Easy:
Paying is a transactional interaction. The price is fixed to $8/mo. You pay and we give you access to the content.
Contributing is a caring interaction. You support us with what comes from your heart, and in gratitude, besides giving you access to the content, we report back to you with updates, spending, ideas, and invite you to the monthly community calls. We care about what you think, your experiences, and any suggestion you have. We appreciate the time and thought you took for supporting us.

With this approach we are seeding a giving economy pattern to raise as a model for other web3 postcapitalist organizations.

What are the channels for contributing to Urbánika?
Donation. Whatever amount of money is well appreciated, we just want to highlight that the commercial value of our courses is as low as $8/mo. But, if that is too much, feel free to donate whatever you feel is fair for you.
Our fundraising campaigns are open all-year long in Giveth (crypto) and OpenCollective (fiat).

If you don’t have any money to donate or pay with, we have bounties to contribute in Time, Work, or Resources. Bounties are found in our deWork taskboard. There we announce the work or things that we are looking for or are in need of. These bounties offer a payment in Giveth’s GIV tokens and include at least a month of the apprentice subscription.

Are you wondering if Urbánika is closing access to open knowledge? No way, we are not!

If you want to access the educational content we created, and you are unable to perform a task, donate, or pay for it, BUT you have the true impetus of learning how to shape your city for good, please reach us out. We will like to know you through a call. Be sure that we will give you access to the content. It will be an honor to help a comrade in need.

The above is not implemented yet, is just an idea, and will not be implemented unless there is consent from you Givers, our donors, David B., and the Urbánika team.
The current setting is a completely open knowledge approach where everything is free and public to get.
The model for sustaining us we currently is looking for organizations that can sponsor scholarships of $500 USD for 30 registered apprentices. This strategy requires adding another layer of stakeholders and implies risks and lots of time.

What do you think about the above proposal? Do you see quid pro quo there? I’ve been thinking about an economic model that is based on the GIVING economy and that leverages the potential of web3 fundraising.

Thanks for your time to read until here and the mind you put in your commentaries :heart:


Can you help summarize what the quid pro quo is? I’m not totally clear on what the situation is.

According to The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition, quid pro quo means:

  1. Something that is given in return for something else or accepted as a reciprocal part of an exchange.
  2. Something given for something else; a tit for tat; in law, an equivalent; a thing given or offered in exchange for or in consideration of another; the mutual consideration and performance of either party as toward the other in a contract.

The gift economy is based on not having quid pro quo, i.e., not having an exchange, but a true gift that one gives to another when someone is in need of it or because one thinks it will genuinely benefit the other.

In the above proposal, I ask the Giveth community if it is ok to have Giveth as one of the ways to access Urbánika’s course. TL;DR:
One can access the Urbánika’s course by any of the following ways:

  1. Paying for it $8/mo through OpenCollective’s UI, or by
  2. Contributing to a task in our task board, or by
  3. Donating to us in Giveth whatever amount.

I consulted with David Bollier on the topic, he said that he doesn’t find quid pro quo in the proposal, that in fact it provides a way for donors to become commoners of Urbánika, also providing resiliency by breaking free of the dependence of a single or few big donors.

That said, this proposal could be an example of how Giveth works as a module for digital commons/public goods to sustain themselves through the gift economy.

LMK if there’s something unclear about it, otherwise, I’ll proceed with the proposal.

Right, gotchya - I think we touched on this a bit during our last gov call on Mondays. Taking a look at the proposed structure, it looks similar to an issue we had with the Trusted Seed project.

Essentially in our GIVbacks rules we state that project owners cannot offer their own service/product/reward to qualify for verified status. What happened with the Trusted Seed is that it was offering memberships to its donors and in the end result we decided to revoke its verified badge.

So again, this looks to be a similar issue and can create conflicts or confusion around when a donation is no longer a donation but a payment for something.

That being said what I say is not binding and I’d be curious what the verification team has to say. @WhyldWanderer @NikolaCreatrix

Ok! waiting for their answers to know how to proceed.

One additional comment:

Maybe this proposal can open the possibility to shape further the initial rules. Commons are known to have governance protocols that are flexible yet formal enough to keep the commons protected, for example, one of the patterns of the Triad of Commoning is keeping commerce and commoning distinct, which I think it applies in here (check a one min video that we made about it with D. Bollier: Keep commons and commerce distinct - YouTube)

That said, I hope the initial set of rules made to protect the GIV economy could be rethought to accept those projects that look to enrich it and whose models are within the gift economy architecture (not providing room for quid pro quo). Rethinking the rules with the community will allow Giveth to provide further value while also enabling the commons to sustain themselves without depending on the markets or the state. The first 30 secs of this one min video explains exactly this part of what it is known as peer governance.

Hopefully my commentaries can provide value to the Giveth Galaxy and open the discussion for finding ways forward. If this is not the case, I’ll stick with the rules and continue to appreciate Giveth as I already do.



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@HBesso31 that is a really great video! Thank you for sharing. I wish it was at least an hour longer. :smiley: Send me down the rabbit hole on this topic somewhere please! (I also watched the second one on peer governance.) I do agree with you that we need more insight and reflection on this topic.

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Thank you!! We have been turning complex, long, or not so mainstream content about postCapitalism and The Commons into micro-learning videos and threads. You can find everything we have done so far here: https://urbanika.notion.site/

Hola @HBesso31!

I appreciate the thought that you have put into this proposal… and I have watched the involvement of your project with Giveth since the beginning. I love what you guys do and I think that it is a great service to offer people.

Unfortunately, if your current Urbanika project started offering goods or services in exchange for donations, it would become disqualified from the GIVbacks program. Its like buying votes…
It’s not a donation if they are purchasing access to something.

However, I can see a path forward where Urbanika has 2 projects:

  • 1 for the paid program where people can contribute their care interaction in exchange for goods and services - this one would not be GIVbacks eligible.

  • and 1 for the Urbanika community or scholarship fund that provides great value to the web3 space, not turning people away from the open knowledge streams by providing scholarships - this one can be verified.

I haven’t had a chance to dive too much in the links you provided… I will try to make some space to explore them this week. Our verification process is very centralized right now and as we take baby steps to move toward decentralization in this area, its good to look from all angles.


Hello there. Looking at this proposal now. Quid pro quo? I think so. Why? It is not a gift anymore when you receive something in return. I donate to your project and get access to your course. I wish I got access to your course first and if I love it I would donate, maybe even more than you ask…but that’s me.

For me - we can not keep you verified if you decide to implement this proposal because it would be against our policy.

’ 1. Giving/offering goods or services to donors in exchange for their donation. A project owner cannot offer goods such as a sponsorship for a conference, Girl Scout cookie purchases or tickets for a dinner, even if the proceeds go to charity. Project owners cannot provide services like acting as a crypto exchange for their donors. They can explain how to use an exchange, but they cannot convert the money for their donors.’

I also haven’t had a chance to look at those links you sent, but are you proposing that Giveth changes the giv-economy model? :slight_smile:

Thank you for providing an alternative and not just saying no. It’s much appreciated.

We will remain as we are, using Giveth and Gitcoin to get donations for the content we create, and use Opencollective for the course access.


Thanks Nikola for replying and for including your opinion.

Let me add to it. I don’t see quid pro quo because Urbánika is not selling the course for a price. The proposal was: Giving access to the course content which has a commercial value of $8 USD/mo to people that support us with ANY amount.

In fact, it happened something similar with another project in Gitcoin that others and I flagged as Quid pro quo (here). In here, Gitcoin stewards agreed that this project was selling membership access because a price was given, instead of giving access to any kind of support.

And yes, I was proposing re-thinking the giv-economy rules. Re-thinking them with the community and the context in case, as the videos show. Maybe watching those 1 min videos will make my point clearer and your perspective wider.

But, as said before, if this is the final deliberation, I’ll not ask people to donate through Giveth for accessing the course, and things will stay as they are.

thank you Nikola for thinking through and taking the time to add a reply. I appreciate the Giveth stewards’ time in thinking and discussing this case.


Thank you @HBesso31 for the clarity and I love the overall love that you show to our Giveth community. Even the fact that you come to share this post and ask for opinion, many other innovative thinkers/project owners just give it a shot before we find out. :slight_smile:

I too, as well as Ashley, am enjoying watching evolution of your project and like every little update you post. I do agree with her idea on creating another project specifically. That may be a solution.

I will def dive deeper into those links because I like to expand my mind. And also, this is just very tricky edge between buidling&learning around public goods while creating our own regenerativeness in it. For all of us. So I agree its better to find a ways to get there together.

If adjusting our giveconomy model would make sense in this regard - that would be another forum post for more opinions to gather in terms of our governance.