A curated decentralised library (app) on the SAFE network

I’ve been mulling over how a curated decentralised library app could potentially work on the SAFE network. I have a rough architecture in mind, and it’d be great to get some feedback on the potential viability of such a structure so I thought I’d share my thoughts so far.

There are various roles that people can choose to fulfil on the app:

Lender - Someone who donates a book to the library
Borrower - Someone who borrows a book from the library
Librarian - Someone who curates the content of the library.
Builder - Someone who maintains/improves the codebase.

There would be an innate token on the app which is tied in to the rewards which the app earns through GETs when a book is borrowed. This token would be used to incentives/pay Lenders, librarians and builders.

Things to think about:

Tipping - it would seem that an innate ability to tip the author of a book you have read would be a good thing. Ascertaining the correct recipient of the tip would be fairly complicated for historical books (ie where the lender is not the author), but would be pretty simple for new books where it is assumed that the author has ‘lent’ their book to the library before it is made public elsewhere.

Lending - Could the lender/author earn funds from the GETs their book receives (incentivising uploading and overcoming the initial cost of the PUT)

Governance structure - Is there a simple way to do this by using the native token as having voting rights? Is there a pre-exiting solution which already exists which could be used?

I’m aware this is a high level design and ignores things like how librarians reach consensus in a decentralised environment and many other things. For right now though, I just wanted to see if there are there any obvious technical reasons why such an app structure may be floored, or could be improved upon, so all feedback/input welcome.


If I understand correctly your vision is a library where people upload content, librarians then decide what should and should not be allowed and anyone can download anything for no cost?

Though I’m not quite sure why you would need your own coin, if pay the producer is implemented wouldn’t those that upload the content be paid by the network directly?

Tipping on the safe network couldn’t be easier though, just place a link to their webid, which can then be used to transfer funds to.

note: I use content because I’m assuming things like strips and magazines could also be uploaded.


Correct, with the exception of the role of the librarian. Instead of choosing what content should/should not be allowed (all content is allowed), they determine whether a book is indeed what it claims to be, and in which section of the library it should be.

The coin would would use the app rewards as an incentive mechanism to keep the whole thing going essentially - so that builders maintain the codebase, so that lenders/authors can earn rewards, and to pay the librarians to make sure the content is organised in a coherent and verifiable form. PTP if implemented would only reward the lender.

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Ah right, forgot about librarians.

So, you have a set amount of coins in some wallet which are rewarded for sorting new content and uploading new content, which I assume are freely transferable to any other “coin wallet” app.
But how do they get any value? there doesn’t seem to be an outlet for the coins, apart from being a collecters item.

Why not use a previously established coin, or just SAFE for that matter, I’m sure there’s a reason you want a new one?


Interesting idea.

As @isntism says, why not just use Safecoin?

One of the things I like about SAFE is that the network itself is perfect for this sort of thing, so a lot of the heavy lifting has already been done.

To my mind it makes more sense to think of it as a digital bookshop rather than a library. We surely borrow books from a library because it costs money to print, distribute them etc. so it’s cheaper to re-use them than buying them. Obviously this isn’t really an issue in the digital world, where copies can be made for only the cost of the storage space, which is not much for a book.

On that basis, the copyright is really what we’re paying for when we access a digital book (or any other kind of digital media, although a film for example obviously costs more in terms of storage.) We may well also be willing to pay something on top of that for a service that does a good job of curating things that we like.

For these reasons I’d like to see a workflow becoming commonplace where the creators of artistic works keep ownership of the files and are paid directly by the reader, listener, viewer etc., and sites that curate things add a surcharge to the consumer, much like a shop taking a cut of the price of a book.

Copyright can either be ignored, enforced softly by prioritising ‘official’ versions of content (which is my personal preference,) or enforced strictly using DRM. I would have thought that borrowing anything in the digital world only really makes sense if DRM is involved.


Why not just use Safecoin?

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Potentially a percentage of app rewards could also be given as dividends to existing holders of the coin which will give the coin perceived (and tangible) ‘real world’ value. There is already an example of a SAFE network crypto asset which only had utility within the app but also had real world value (i.e. was being actively traded) and that is the original SAFEX token.

A decentralised library on the SAFE network is ultimately an app, and as such it’s imperative the app itself is also decentralised. There can’t be one person with the ability to hit the off button! It seems the best way (and only way?) to do that is to have a DAO of sorts with a native token which has voting rights (and rewards). From a legal perspective ownership, or rather lack of ownership seems to be very important too.

A final point is that this would ultimately be a real world project, with lots of hard work which needs to be done. Having a token which can be sold in an ICO to raise funds for initial development would give the advantage of breathing life into the project.

Right, I completely neglected to think about the legal and decentralisation perspectives, especially the latter is kind of weird to forget around here.

But now I’m out of questions, thanks for answering all of them! this lurker is going back into the shadows for now.

Is the library intended to be for casual reading only, or also for research? if the later then it’s going to need a decent search engine built in.

I see the ultimate end point for it to be a library which houses all books (by virtue of the incentive mechanisms to ‘lend’/upload), and which anyone can ‘borrow’ books from for free (with the option of tipping), so that would include both research and casual readers alike. I agree that the ability to search for books on the app would be necessary.


You may want to broaden the concept beyond just books


If that app was functioning well as a library for books, it it would be fairly simple to also use it as a library for films, music etc.