Sun 1 Jul 2018

Cobudget Crypto: continuing the thread from the Network Convergence!

Francesca Public Seen by 323

The idea

One of the main challenges with the current version of Cobudget is the fact that it often takes a lot of time and effort to design and setup a system around Cobudget for money to come in (to be allocated to buckets) and to flow out (when buckets are funded). In many cases this system needs to be quite different for each organization, depending on its regulatory environment, legal type, etc.

At the Network Convergence, a group of us had a conversation about a idea I’m calling “Cobudget Crypto”: when you create a new Cobudget group, you have the option to create a crypto group and connect a crypto wallet when you login. That means you can spend the funds in your wallet in the group, and buckets receive payments instantly in cryptocurrency when fully funded.

A quick anectdote on what sparked this idea: a person in another group I am running a Cobudget round with said that they thought it was too much of a hassle to donate funds to our Cobudget round, because they would have to physically go to a bank in the US and pay large fees (because this was a foreign bank account). They said: can’t I just end you some ETH?

Notably, this person is very active in the crypto space and feels very comfortable transacting in this world. Therefore we very clear about the fact that this feature would mainly be useful for a small niche, the crypto-friendly audience. The reason I think this could still be very valuable is that it could bring instant liquitity into a process that currently gets stuck at many steps, which could create a lot of new learnings about collaborative funding as a model for budgeting / funding (and how to then make this more accessible to broader audiences again in the next step).

Some of the questions we discussed

  • What is the technical feasibility and complexity of this?
  • Could this be built with a wallet that includes both Fiat and Cryptocurrency?
  • What technical infrastructures could this be built with?
  • Who are the right partners?

Where from here?

This thread is for continuing the great conversation we started at the convergence and defining potential next steps and how to best keep working on this with those who are feeling energy towards this (having a call, moving to a more fast-paced place to talk etc.).

Looking forward to hear your thoughts:)


Graham Sun 1 Jul 2018

I'd say this has some potential, for those who are happy working with crypto (a lot aren't). Take a look at https://bankofthecommons.coop which has a nearly functional multicurrency wallet theoretically it supports ETH, Faircoin, Euros and maybe some others, I can't recall.


Graham Sun 1 Jul 2018

Certainly the ability to get real funds in and out seems critically important.


Francesca Wed 4 Jul 2018

it is, and it's currently quite the blocker. For now it's just a governance tool :)


Kieran Sun 1 Jul 2018

I think the primary concern always crossed is that private keys cannot be kept on the server. There was discussion about whether a mutisig could be implemented whereby a transaction is signed by both cobudget (on the server) and the sender (locally). Still feels a bit iffy but interested in talking through the practicalities / security risks of this. @ameba23 do you recall the details of this?

Interestingly this links quite strongly into @danhassan and I's initial plan for mmt's rails app, having a blockchain scanner which can check to see when a transaction has had n confirmations so as to be valid.


peg Sun 1 Jul 2018

Hey everyone. What i was kind of proposing at the discussion we had at the convergence was that one could add some cryptocurrencies to cobudjet, but still need to actually make outgoing payments manually, just as with other currencies.

If there seemed to be a lot of interest, maybe someone could ask those using it if they would be willing to install a client side application in order to sign outgoing payments, and if they were that could be built, or existing wallet software used, such as the bank of commons wallet that Graham mentioned, or a multisig wallet with one key on the sever hosting co-budjet as keiran mentioned. Just so that not too much work gets done before a real need is identified.

Accepting incoming payments would be much easier to automate, as no private key is needed.


quijano flores Sun 1 Jul 2018

What technical infrastructures could this be built with?
1. a set of smart contracts that exist on a blockchain platform. the smart contracts are the business logic programmed. create a bucket, add funds to bucket, delegate fiduciaries, release funds from bucket. there can be a a base set of contracts that can be extend upon

  1. a web based user interface to interact with the smart contracts. this abstracts much of the complexity for people who are not experienced with programming crypto

  2. a browser based wallet. such as https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brave_(web_browser)


Aspasia Beneti Mon 2 Jul 2018

hey @francesca, am I looking at the right code base? https://github.com/cobudget/cobudget


Michael Arnoldus Tue 3 Jul 2018

Yes, it's the right codebase


peg Tue 3 Jul 2018


alanna (a member of our group who has had some previous involvement in cobudget) has said she would like to be a part of this conversation. Her email address is hello@alanna.space


Francesca Wed 4 Jul 2018

very happy to hear that @alanna is interested in jumping in :). I've added her! (and we know each other very well, as you may have guessed @ameba23 )


Alanna Irving Thu 5 Jul 2018

Hey everyone. I'm excited about the prospect of crypto in cobudget. I'm working with @ameba23 @kyphae and others on MMT, and one of our projects is a collaborative multi-sig wallet, which conceptually makes a ton of sense with Cobudget.

It occurs to me that there are actually different 'levels' of users in Cobudget. Not everyone has to be a co-signer on a connected crypto wallet. It's only when money leaves the system that it gets complicated with people having to cryptographically sign transactions. The Cobudget process can occur with virtualised money as people move funds between unallocated funds and funds in different buckets. It's only when someone wants to get paid out to their own wallet that the complicated stuff involving crypto keys comes into play. Some Cobudget groups might want everyone to sign off on everything, but I think most have a small number of admins supporting a larger number of users. Only those admins would need to do the crypto transactions.

As Kieran mentioned above, one really tricky part of crypto is the secret keys and all the security involved with managing them. Groups should be able to chose their own level of trust/involvement (ie how many people need to approve payouts), but the fewer the better in terms of admin and issues with getting locked out because someone is MIA or forgets their password. You don't need to sign anything off to receive crypto, so that part (accepting contributions) would be pretty easy in comparison.

The other thing we're building with MMT is a social secret sharding tool (called Dark Crystal), to make securely recovering crypto keys easier. Building that into Co-Crypto-Budget would make it easier to deal with lost keys or an unreachable team member. Cobudget groups are by definition trust-based financial collaboration groups, so perfect use case for Dark Crystal.

The "cheap" version would be to test Cobudget with crypto the same way it currently works with fiat, ie manually reconciling. You could do that just as easily with a regular multi-sig wallet as you can with a fiat bank account. Are there any groups that want to do that right now?


Graham Thu 5 Jul 2018

I'm a member of the Digital Life Collective - https://diglife.com and we'd love to have a collaborative multi-sig wallet. Having that integrated with Cobudget would also be lovely.


Guy James Wed 18 Jul 2018

This story from - I am assuming - Bernini, who is one of the lead devs on the FairCoop Open Collaborative Ecosystem suggests how CoBudget might be integrated into a multicurrency wallet managed by a community, and thus also ties into what MMT are doing:
It doesn't mention CoBudget specifically, but of course it could be 'plugged in' to the budgeting phase of the story.


Francesca Sun 29 Jul 2018

yeah that makes a lot of sense, thanks for sharing! So basically Cobudget comes before the statement "The budget approved for the solar panel plan is ~ 200 eco.", because as we see it is not described here how that decision was made.


Francesca Sun 29 Jul 2018

I've just run across this platform called Copay, which I bet many of you know: https://copay.io/

It seems like they offer an open source multi-currency crypto wallet. Could this be a good fit for integration? What differentiates it from other potential solutions? Any insight would be useful :)


peg Thu 2 Aug 2018

No reason not to use Copay - its easy to use and designed specifically for multisignature (group use). Although bear in mind it has some commercial features (buy amazon vouchers, etc) built in.

Its not gonna bridge the gap between making decisions about how money should be spent using Cobudget and actually making the payment with Copay or another wallet. But thats no reason not to start using it.