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Meet the Innovators Looking To Secure and Incentivize the Open Source Internet

How the blockchain can help maintain an open source digital ecosystem.

The internet is built on open source software. Because of this, many of the programmers who created and continue to maintain its infrastructure have never been remunerated for their work. In the words of developer Max Howell, this open source ecosystem is “really just charity.”                 

Howell knows the context well. He is the creator of Homebrew, an open source piece of software that has become ubiquitous among developers. His new endeavor, Tea, uses the blockchain to remunerate creators of open source software. 

In an interview with Roundtable during Puerto Rico blockchain week, the team behind Tea discussed their quest to solve a problem that’s long bedeviled developers: how to secure digital infrastructure based upon open source code and labor. 

“Open source software is maintained by someone who lives in Nebraska and nobody knows that they don't get any money and just live slaving away,” Howell explained. “If that pillar fell, then the whole internet collapses.”

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If blockchain is the future of financial markets—and the Tea team believes that it is—then maintaining digital infrastructure will only grow in importance. 

“I think open source is amazing,” says Luke Stokes. “But we have those situations where it's like, 'Why is the person that's doing the most important work barely able to survive?' This is a problem.”

As the Tea developers see it, the solution lies in the blockchain itself. 

Watch the full panel: