Assembly Uses the Bitcoin Block Chain to Monetize Development

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Matthew Dieters’ LinkedIn Profile Photo

In a recent interview with John Light’s podcast, P2P Connects Us; Matthew Dieters said of the project he helped start, Assembly.com:

Assembly is a platform that allows people all over the world – designers, developers, community people, people that want to do marketing – to collaborate together on building real products. […] At the end of every month, Assembly collects the revenue for those products, pays any bills, and then distributes any proceeds to the people that built them.

It’s GitHub but with a monetary incentive – “bounties,” which should be familiar to those in the altcoin space – to perform and contribute. Assembly handles the sales of the products, and those who contributed receive a fair share of the value of the income generated from these software suites. At present time, the company boasts 4.5 million customers using products produced on its platform.

App Coins

Users are initially rewarded with “App Coins,” an implementation of colored coins. Then, as money comes into the coffers of the project, those who are holding app coins, based on their contribution to a particular project, are paid in proportion to how many App Coins they have.

Thus, users who contribute the most are supposed to earn the most, but all users who contribute should receive something. Of the current 154 active projects, several were live at time of writing. Not all of them appeared to be specifically monetized, such as Formspree, which targets users with a volume greater than 1000 form submissions per month for paid service.

An example of an Assembly.com bounty

An example of an Assembly.com bounty

Block Chain Technology At Work

The use of the block chain offers developers and contributors a great deal of assurances that their ownership and contributions will be indisputable. Matthew Dieters says this is the point.

[…] the goal there was that the ownership was transparent. It’s there, everyone can see it, everyone can see their coins on the block chain – it’s not just something in our database. We can’t tamper with it. You know, once you earn your coins, you have your coins. And then, you know, we’re just continuing to, like, build up the ecosystem around that technology.

Dieters claims that the company is constantly looking for ways to further empower the user base. Although this is a for-profit venture, in the end it was founded to help developers work on projects they truly love. Bringing the different experts together, especially those who are expert at developing and those who are expert at profiting, is a surefire way to achieve this. To this end, Dieters said:

And so as people in the community participate on that product, other community members award them ownership in app coins, in that product, so then at the end of the month, when we talk about how we distribute revenue, what we do is look at how many app coins are out there and then distribute the remaining proceeds to all of the app coin holders.

Success Stories & Other Use Cases

Gamamia is a live project native to Assembly which seeks to connect indie game developers and fans with a somewhat Reddit-like interface where users can upvote games they like, write reviews, and submit new games for the community to support. It has yet to earn any revenue, but presumably it will make for a quality advertising platform in the future.

Some projects that otherwise would have died have showed up on Assembly and seen renewed life. A notable example is Coder Wall, a developer community that gets over half a million visits a month. It has the added benefit of a job board for unemployed or unsatisfied professional coders. Coder Wall has brought in $288,000 at time of writing.

The web developer services company Brace.io, when swallowed by Squarespace, managed to open-source three of its projects, including the previously mentioned Formspree, and release them to the Assembly community for further development.

Bitcoin is native to the internet and the peer-to-peer ethos of development that preceded it lives on through projects like Assembly that seek to enable up-and-comers without compromising their integrity. Through Assembly, developers can connect with all the resources they need in order to get their project off the ground. It’s the sort of project that wouldn’t make any sense without the block chain, which, in this case, is used to keep track of the stake a given contributor has earned.