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Decentralized funding platform for creative projects and charity initiatives.
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README.md

EthStarter

Decentralized, peer to peer funding platform for creatives, charities and open source projects.

Overview

Ethstarter enables individuals to create new campaigns and publish them on an open platform. Key campaign logic is stored within Ethereum Smart contracts and additional information (such as images, text and embedded content) is stored on IPFS. Any other user can then fund the campaign during the funding period. Ether is locked in the contract until the end of the funding period at which point the campaign manger can withdraw from the campaign, if the campaign was successful. If the campaign does not receive enough donations during the funding period, the donors can withdraw their contributions after the end of the campaign. The whole process occurs without the need for a central authority to oversee any aspect of the exchange; the campaigns can be seen as a peer-to-peer exchange between the fund manager and the donors enabling a novel, trustless mechanism for funding projects!

How to run the project

The smart contracts have been set up to compile and run with truffle. The front end was created with vuejs and elementsUI. The project has been tested on: Windows 10, Arch Linux and Ubuntu 16.04 and run successfully on all platforms without errors.

To interact with the dapp, you can skip the truffle steps and jump directly to npm run serve after npm install as the contracts have been deployed on the Rinkeby Testnet. No further configuration is required after pointing Metamask to the correct testnet.

Requirements to run the project are: Node>=8.11,npm and truffle. To begin with, we need to install all required libraries and utilities. From the root of the repo, run:

npm install

Contracts have been deployed to the Rinkeby. Addresses can be found in deployed_addresses.txt To interact with the contracts on the local machine, run a local test blockchain on 8545 and then:

truffle compile
truffle test
truffle migrate

To test code coverage, from the root directory, run:

npm run coverage

Lastly, to interact with Dapp, from the root directory, after running npm install, run:

npm run serve

The Dapp(same as in screenshots below) should open up on your local machine.

Why

Current web2.0 funding platforms like Kickstater, Indigogo and others all suffer from the same underlying problems. Theses problems can be broken down into two main sections:

  1. Cost: The current funding mechanisms take a cut from every project funded on the platform. Kickstarter, for example, takes 4% of all projects funding. Indigogo also takes 4% for sucessfuly funded projects but this cost jumps to 9% if the project is unsuccessful. EthStarter, on the other hand, takes no fees from Campaigns.
  2. Accessability: Many projects are restricted to particular geographic regions. If you fall outside of these regions, you can't contribute to the projects. Clearly, if the project intends to sell products that require shipping, this needs to be taken into account but there is no reason that someone should not be able to contribute to charity or open source projects from anywhere in the world. Additionally, current funding platforms restrict the kind of projects that can be posted on them, resulting in many projects not making the cut. A curation mechanism for quality projects is important but this is out of the scope of this project.

User Stories

The workflow and user interaction for Etherstarter is very simple. There are two broad categories of users: Campaign managers and campaign donors. Each users story will be shown with some accompanying sample campaigns.

Campaign manager:

  1. The user accesses the system through a web3 enabled browser (metamask, Status, Cipher etc.) to create a new campaign. The user fills in all relevant information. They are able to speify: the name of the campaign, where it is occuring, a description, the duration of the funding period, the type of campaign, the goal and cap of the campaign. The user is also able to upload an image, used to represent the project as a whole. The user then have the ability to write as much text as they wish to describe the project. This section enables fully customisable typography, from bold/italic/underline to imbedited images, Youtube videos and any other HTML representable content (basically, you can put anything in here.)

Date Picker
Date Picker. Select the start and end date/time for the campaign.

Date Picker
Create New Campaign

  1. They Click create on the project, publishing it to the Blockchain and IPFS.
  2. The project is now publicly viewable by anyone on the platform and can be funded by anyone. Clearly, a user can only fund the project once the funding period starts.
  3. As the manager, you are given extra controls, such as the ability to withdraw the funds from the campaign. This functionality is restricted until after the end of the campaign period. Additionally, withdraw is only enabled if the campaign was successful.

Campaign Donor

  1. Donors to the platform can view all currently listed campaigns. Below is a screenshot of a silly example of a sample project.

Date Picker Non-Funded Campaign. Note the embeded youtube video and that the status is "Not Started"

  1. They can then contribute to any project they see fit by clicking the "Fund Campaign" button.

Date Picker Funded campaign. Note that the goal and cap has progressed and that the time bargraph is at 93%. Also note that as this user has contributed, the have the ability to withdraw an amount from the Campaign. The imbedded youtube video plays directly from Youtube.

  1. The donor can choose to reduce their donation, if they wish, after the donation period. This can only be done if the reduction does not result in a successful campaign becoming unsuccessful.
  2. In the event of an unsuccessful campaign, the donor is able to withdraw their funds.

Design Patterns and Desicions.

Key separation of concerns was employed at all levels. This implementation is detailed here.

Security Tools, Common Attacks, Contract Testing and Coverage

EthStarter has been designed with a number of security considerations in mind, taking into account the common attack vectors. Additionally, EthStarted has been extensively tested with a number of tools to verify the integrity of the contracts. Unit testing was done on all key operational logic to ensure correct behavior. Documentation can be found here.

Future Improvements

There is still a lot that can be done with this project before it is considered close to MVP. Future iterations would involve more complex designs involving a community driven campaign curation process and some form of verification for quality of projects added to the system. Additionally, the separation of logic and storage layers using eternal storage design patterns. Integration with Uport and ENS would also be useful.

Additional UI improvements and error handling would also be advantageous, such as the detecting if the user is on the wrong network or if their wallet is unlocked. Eth Starter has this functionality to do this but the underlying logic has not bee implemented.

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