Mitja Goroshevsky, CTO of TON Labs, has developed a concept for rewarding developers of free software and similar smart projects. In short: the TIP  proposal is a mechanism for redistributing gas fees.
In a simplified way, the mechanism can be compared to royalties in copyright, where the author receives a royalty for each use of his work.
Open Source Free TON = Free Software
The Free TON philosophy is completely open source. But the concept of free software is somewhat broader than just open access to data for practical use.
Mitja Goroshevsky draws attention to the connection between his idea of redistributing gas fees for transactions in Free TON and the philosophy of free software.
Free TON fully supports the Freedom to run software, without which the Free TON network would not exist.
TON Labs understands that the movement for freedom and justice for free software users is much broader than the idea of free code with its purely practical benefits.
One area of free software distribution is copyright and license. Richard Stallman was also thinking about the mechanism of copyleft reward to developers when using their product freely. With the advent of blockchain, a new effective mechanism for solving this problem should appear.
TIP-4 Concept: Making Free Software Development Profitable
If access to software is unlimited, how can a developer be rewarded for their development? According to Mitja Goroshevsky, current business models can be ignored as ineffective. This is the root of the problem of the development of the free software market.
Blockchain can fundamentally change the situation and make the development of free software commercially profitable. The time has come to use the unique features of the blockchain, the ecosystem of which implies the benefit of one participant with the benefit of all.
TIP-4 TON in Free: Commission Distribution Scheme
Gas is considered as a source of resources — a payment for network maintenance.
Miners in Proof-Of-Work and validators
in Proof-Of-Stake are rewarded
according to two criteria:
for work and for transaction as a commission
The scheme includes in the distribution of the commission for the transaction of one more participant — the developer of the smart contract.When a specific smart contract is used to create a transaction, the payment to the author should be transferred automatically.
The opcode — TVM FB0A — fits into the contract along with license information and developer address. The reward also fits into the address block. This license mark, introduced into the block created on the basis of the author’s source code, activates the action of withdrawing part of the tokens for gas. The reward is sent to the address indicated in the record.
The amount of reward for the developer will depend on the type of license and will range from 20% to 30% of the gas value.
The TIP-4 scheme provides all four stages of free software distribution:
- The freedom to run the program — freedom 0
- The freedom to change the program — freedom 1
- The freedom to redistribute copies — freedom 2
- The freedom to distribute modified copies — freedom 3
A prerequisite for implementation is access to the source code.
For security reasons, it is proposed to introduce a special contract for payments. Copyleft payments will be accumulated and paid only after reaching the savings threshold and a certain period of time. Thus, the participants are motivated to maintain the reliability of the network. The interests of the recipient of the delayed payment coincide with the interests of the platform.
Impact On the Development Of the Free TON Ecosystem
The network incentive mechanism built into the blockchain has not previously considered the developer as a participant in the reward distribution scheme. The incentive for free software developers will attract new productive forces and new users. The total transaction fee will increase, which is beneficial for validators as well.
Will Validators And Users Bear the Cost?
Forum members have questions about the possible material costs of validators and users.
- If the gas fee for the validator is reduced, then what is its benefit in this scheme?
- If the costs are offset by an additional user fee, why would the user need it?
Answering questions, Mitja Goroshevsky reminded that validators receive a commission because developers create smart contracts. The validator pays part of the commission to the developer, which is why these commissions exist. A fair deal is one in which no one encroaches on the validator’s commission per block. And sharing the transaction fee with the developer develops the entire network and leads to an increase in the number of bonuses. No additional user fees. This is the principled position of the laboratory.
At the same time, when asked how to prevent forks, the CTO of TON Labs answered:
“Nothing will or should prevent it. That is the whole point of Free Software. It should not be prevented but rather encouraged. The original author will get people to use its original code for many reasons: the formal verification, the reputation, the quality etc. But eventually someone else will write better version and the community will accept the code modification as a better alternative and use it and pay the fees to the Author of modified version. IMO this is exactly the best process we want to encourage, isn’t it?”
Users will choose the contract that suits them best. Typically, this choice is based on the reputation of the code. Therefore, original developers and fork creators can equally benefit from community guidelines.
Reward doesn’t change the essence of free software. Distribution is still free, and the software can still be used by any member of the community at their own discretion.