Jesse von Doom: A Grant for the Web Ambassador

Founder of CASH Music returns with a new project called Substation to explore community and membership business models for creators

Photo by Sean Bonner

When Grant for the Web launched in September 2019, we knew we needed creative, ambitious individuals willing to experiment, play, and communicate how Web Monetization can work for the long tail of content creators, so we created the Ambassador Program to fund ecosystem evangelism and dynamic case studies. Today we announce that Jesse von Doom will join our ranks.

Jesse’s been working at the intersection of open and media for more than fifteen years. In 2007 he was a founder of CASH Music, a nonprofit dedicated to building open source tools for musicians. As a fellow with the Shuttleworth Foundation, he continued that work focusing on the impact of open models in the arts. His latest project, Substation, draws on that experience and looks to support creators of all stripes as they explore the potential of new membership models. 

The Substation project was started to explore decentralized membership and subscription-based business models. It’s clear the public is ready to support independent creators directly, but the platforms that currently support those efforts fall into the walled garden trap and place revenue over community health. Substation wants to help creators gain agency building decentralized, long-term, and sustainable communities. 

As a Grant for the Web ambassador, Jesse’s focus will be on exploring Interledger pull payments — preauthorized, recurring payments from a user's digital wallet. Exploring pull payments will better allow building a membership economy that isn't solely reliant on institutional credit card networks. As Jesse explains,                       

"We’re at the beginning of a new way of thinking about money. The adoption of Web Monetization standards will take time. But as we decouple payments from credit card infrastructure, especially at the lower transaction rates usually involved in recurring membership scenarios, significantly more revenue will flow to creators from their audiences — exactly as it should be.”

During his Ambassadorship, Jesse will,

  • Research around not just the mechanisms of pull payments, but how they can be used interchangeably and side by side with credit card payment workflows. The specific goal of this research would be to find a payment flow abstraction that would provide as close to a single functional workflow to handle the various steps of payment logic for CC and Interledger Protocol payments in between user input. 
  • Proof-of-concept UX examples that implement findings from the research. These would give a real-world example of how recurring open web payments could feel in workflows similar to, or even alongside more traditional payment networks. The goal is to build something tangible that can serve as a first step towards a plug-and-play library for including fast and reliable membership sign-ups in any project, all built on top of the Interledger protocol.
  • Planning the integration of Interledger Protocol pull payments into the core Substation product. This would happen in public after research, code, and writing work has been published to leverage a broad spectrum of perspectives in the community at large. 
  • Work with the Grant for the Web program team to improve the program and grow the openly networked Web Monetization ecosystem.

Read more about Jesse and Substation and learn more about Grant for the Web's early awardees.

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