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Testing the Contingency Market · Wednesday January 16, 2008 by Crosbie Fitch

I think it’s time I embarked upon a worked example with which to test the Contingency Market.

As you may already be aware, the Contingency Market is a web service that enables the specification and observation of events, and the making of bargains that depend upon the outcome of those events (contingencies). It’s designed to facilitate very large numbers of contemporaneous bargains concerning the same events and parties to them, e.g. bargains between a musician and their audience concerning the release of a particular work (qv QuidMusic).

For my first worked example I will start off with a similar idea. This will be a sponsorship facility to enable a blogger’s readers to pledge the payment of a penny for each new article subsequently published. Essentially, each time a new post appears in the blogger’s RSS feed, the penny pledged by each reader is credited to the blogger. So, it’s not a charitable donation, but a commercial bargain, i.e. “If you publish a new article, I’ll pay you a penny. If you don’t, I’ll pay you nothing. My sponsorship will continue for as long as you keep publishing great work”.

Most importantly, the Contingency Market enables participants to fund their bargains. PayPal can be used to do this, although it does charge a significant commission for doing so, i.e. 3.4% +20p. This means that in order to deposit £10 one must pay PayPal 56p (3.4% of £10.56 is 36p which +20p=56p leaving £10). In terms of pennies this means that a penny to a blogger costs the reader 1.056p. Which at just over five hundredths of a penny is paltry compared to the 21p it would cost if they wanted to pay a penny to the blogger via PayPal directly.

I should add that the Contingency Market has no commission or membership fees of its own. It is to be funded by the very same revenue mechanism it enables, e.g. sponsorship – if a user wants a specific feature sooner rather than later, they join in with everyone else in pledging something for its implementation.

The source code to the worked example will be published throughout its development (under the GPLv3). Everyone is encouraged to follow along, contribute, produce parallel sites, etc.

This is to be a work of free culture.

Next Steps

  • Register a domain to host the example site.
  • Write an overview of how it’s all expected to work.
  • Produce a rough project plan.
  • Start work and blog on progress.



 

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