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Liberapay 2.0 #1171

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Changaco opened this Issue Jul 12, 2018 · 86 comments

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@Changaco
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Changaco commented Jul 12, 2018

This issue is about the migration away from Mangopay (#374) and the ensuing changes to how Liberapay works.

@ericfont

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ericfont commented Jul 13, 2018

I would hope "Liberapay" would have a fully "libre" payment processor. So I think that means adding support for cryptocurrency (#364) and when need to use traditional banking systems, to prefer open-source implementations (e.g. https://github.com/openach/openach for US Automated Clearing System support), and if no such fully libre credit card processor exists, then I would say that is what needs to be created, either as part of liberapay or as a separate project.

@Flaburgan

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Flaburgan commented Jul 16, 2018

Hi! Sorry to hear what's happening to Liberapay.

There is something I don't understand. You're writing:

In addition to the problems caused by the sheer number of transactions, the processing of donations over time also requires holding the donors’ funds in their “wallets”, often for many weeks. This way of doing things severely limits the number of payment processors we can use, because few of them can provide this kind of wallet.

You mean that you're not holding any money, and that you created a "real" wallet managed by Mangopay for every liberapay accounts out there?

I was thinking that Liberapay was the one holding every $$. So that you only have one bank account, with all the money in it, and you're only storing the transaction in a classic database. So that money really moves only if I add it from my bank, or ask for a payout. But that all my +0,50, -1.00 were only done in a DB, not really with money. Why don't you do that? (of course, all users need to trust you but eh, they're already trusting you).

@thehowl

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thehowl commented Jul 16, 2018

@Flaburgan Discussed elsewhere, in a nutshell: to do that they would need to have a license (otherwise it would be considered illegal), which I guess what PayPal and other services have. But that has a minimum capital requirement of € 350k.

@arunisaac

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arunisaac commented Jul 17, 2018

Would it be possible to re-imagine Liberapay as a mobile/desktop app where users can find and donate to creators? The app could periodically (say, weekly) prompt users to send out their recurring donations to creators. This way, the money goes directly from the donors to the receivers. There is no intermediary, and no need for Liberapay to get into contract with a payment processor like Mangopay, or buy an expensive license. Liberapay will only have to maintain information about creators on their website. What do you think? Is this worthwhile?

@notpushkin

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notpushkin commented Jul 17, 2018

@thiscantbeserious Interesting that you push just that one crypto token.

@codl

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codl commented Jul 17, 2018

you're right, this cannot be serious

@rugk

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rugk commented Jul 17, 2018

The actual only relevant question for SC is:

  • Can you just make a bank transfer to someone/somewhere and get some (whatever) coins into your Liberapay wallet, which you can donate to others?

Everything else is totally irrelevant here. (okay, except of currency stability and some other minor stuff, but that is the biggest question) And I guess this question is very hard to fullfill with any crypto currency.

@notpushkin

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notpushkin commented Jul 17, 2018

@thiscantbeserious Please stop. We did get your point already.

@dotlambda

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dotlambda commented Jul 17, 2018

Would the following work legally?
All donors donate to Liberapay, which in turn donates to recipients according to the amount set by donors. This would probably require Liberapay to be officially recognized as cheritable in order to avoid paying income tax, but it would avoid the problem of too many micro-transactions.

@rugk

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rugk commented Jul 17, 2018

@dotlambda Great idea! Actually if that worked, donations may also be tax-deductable, so it's also a win for the users of Liberapay.

@rugk

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rugk commented Jul 17, 2018

BTW did not you wanted to send a mail with the announcement about the issue? (so people can empty their wallets) I still have not received any.

@coderberry

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coderberry commented Jul 17, 2018

@Changaco We would love to discuss with you ways we could help if you are deciding to move to the crypto-based system. CodeFund is part of Gitcoin / ConsenSys and has a lot of experience/resources with that kind of stuff.

@rikur

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rikur commented Jul 17, 2018

Please don't go all shitcoin.

@snm247

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snm247 commented Jul 17, 2018

So far I didn't receive any email notification about the migration away from Mangopay. What if Liberapay donors don't read the blog post before July 26th? What will then happen with the money they donated?

@bjorn

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bjorn commented Jul 17, 2018

@rugk @snm247 I did get an email yesterday. Maybe there have been some delivery problems.

@aggsol

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aggsol commented Jul 18, 2018

I would like to see a European solution in Euros first things first as I found that always a very attractive suite of Liberapay. That is it not another US Dollar system built by some American startup/company. For people that require USD and American laws there enough other options.

That also means that crypto is not yet an option. Legislation on crypto in the EU is still in flux.

@mattbk

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mattbk commented Jul 18, 2018

I would like to object to the solution given at https://medium.com/liberapay-blog/liberapay-is-in-trouble-b58b40714d82:

So, we’re changing our approach of recurrent donations. Instead of distributing them weekly we’re going to distribute them as soon as the money arrives. For example, instead of disbursing a payment of €26 for a weekly donation of €0.50 as 52 weekly transfers of €0.50, we’ll do a single transfer of €26 and inform the recipient that it corresponds to “52 weeks of €0.50”.

All this would accomplish is to close #415 and allow people to give one-off donations. This isn't bad, but it's not supporting the original goal of providing sustained funding. It also doesn't allow donors to adjust their donations after setting them, because the money is already gone.

@rugk

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rugk commented Jul 18, 2018

I guess they had it in mind by just leaving the current settings and money just goes directly to the donors, but it is still saved you donated the money for "x weeks". So you basically donate for future weeks at once in a (periodic) interval.
But that thing is just caused by the payment processors, and if they have no other way… well… we'll see what they do.

@bluecephalopod

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bluecephalopod commented Jul 19, 2018

From the Medium post:

[T]he processing of donations over time also requires holding the donors’ funds in their “wallets”, often for many weeks. This way of doing things severely limits the number of payment processors we can use, because few of them can provide this kind of wallet.

Couldn't Liberapay do what Patreon does by billing donors once per month for their total donations for that month? This would seem to eliminate the wallet issue and at least reduce the number of small transactions. (The bill also could be quarterly, while still providing projects with a weekly source of revenue.)

@auge8472

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auge8472 commented Jul 19, 2018

Couldn't Liberapay do what Patreon does by billing donors once per month for their total donations for that month?

Wouldn't this shift the problem only from once a week to once per month?

This would seem to eliminate the wallet issue and at least reduce the number of small transactions.

The wallet issue would still be existent but yes, the number of transactions would get reduced.

@arunisaac

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arunisaac commented Jul 19, 2018

@MartinDelille

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MartinDelille commented Jul 19, 2018

@bluecephalopod

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bluecephalopod commented Jul 19, 2018

Wouldn't this shift the problem only from once a week to once per month? ... The wallet issue would still be existent

My understanding is that after users are billed, the funds would be aggregated and sent (effectively) immediately to each project, without the need for Liberapay to store the money for more than a few seconds, if at all. As holding money in wallets "severely limits the number of payment processors [Liberapay] can use," this approach might be able to expand our options. I would think payment processors would have experience with monthly recurring subscriptions, for online magazines for instance. However, I do not understand all of the intricacies of the banking system and am no expert in this.

I am also not opposed to adding cryptocurrency donation options, however I would like to see a more conventional payment method added as well in order to attract the maximum number of people to the platform. I think using cryptocurrencies as a payment option is a separate issue as it poses a unique set of technical questions, and should be addressed in a separate issue thread.

@Changaco

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Changaco commented Jul 19, 2018

@mattbk The change has nothing to do with #415, the donations will still be recurrent, but they'll be transferred immediately upon payment instead of being stored in a donor wallet and transferred weekly. This is necessary to be able to use payment processors like Stripe, PayPal and Adyen.

As a bonus, not having donor wallets will also reduce the amount of personal information we have to collect from donors, because we won't be holding their money anymore so they should fall out of scope of the banking KYC (Know Your Customer) requirements.

Donors will still be able to adjust the amounts of their donations at any time, such adjustments will automatically affect when the next payment is due and how the money will be distributed. The possibility of stopping a donation at any time could be preserved by implementing refunds.

@spiraldancing

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spiraldancing commented Jul 19, 2018

Hello, big fan, long-time listener first-time caller, etc ...

I came here, essentially, to agree with @mattbk et al. I understand the Medium blog description of the new plan for recurrent payments may be poorly described, and we may be misunderstanding it.

That said, if I set up a 52-week recurrent payment schedule, then two weeks later, I decide to cancel it, but I can't because all 52-weeks' worth of money has already been given to the donoree ... then this is not a recurrent payment program, and I would be much less enthusiastic about Liberapay.

Separately, please, absolutely continue to support USD and Euros. However, adding support for one or more cryptocoins would be wonderful -- to date, I have not found any service/wallet/exchange that supports recurrent payments in crypto. Yes, I do appreciate how complicated it will be; just adding my vote for this option.

@trebmuh

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trebmuh commented Aug 9, 2018

In French https://mastodon.xyz/@Liberapay/100520156957572197 and https://mastodon.xyz/@Liberapay/100520158923864989 :

Bonne nouvelle : le traitement des paiements à travers #Stripe est maintenant opérationnel !

Si vous utilisez #Liberapay pour recevoir des dons et que vous n'y avez pas connecté un compte Stripe, vous devriez le faire : https://liberapay.com/about/me/payment/ (Si Stripe ne supporte pas votre pays, il vous faudra attendre un peu jusqu'à l'intégration de PayPal, navré.)

Si vous utilisez #Liberapay en tant que donateur, vous pouvez ouvrir https://liberapay.com/about/me/giving/pay/ pour voir si vous avez des dons en attente de financement. Ou vous pouvez simplement attendre, nous vous enverrons une notification lorsqu'un paiement sera nécessaire.

PS : seules les cartes de paiement sont supportées pour le moment, mais les débits directs SEPA seront disponibles dès que #Stripe activera cette méthode de paiement pour notre compte.

@auge8472

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auge8472 commented Aug 10, 2018

Will this going to be the solution? Until now I had to transfer money to the Liberapay's Mangopay account with a simple bank transfer. Now I should register an additional account for the payment itself? That makes it more complicated. :-(

@rugk

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rugk commented Aug 10, 2018

Also think not being able to use Liberapay with a simple bank transfer but e.g. PayPal or so, is senseless and defeats one big selling point Liberapay had in the past.

When you need PayPal, you could just directly send your money to the PayPal account. I don't need Liberapay for that, I can just post a paypal.me link.

@Grammost

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Grammost commented Aug 10, 2018

If Stripe gives you access to their SEPA integration, will I be able to donate from a Stripe account that has only SEPA set up to another Stripe account that has only credit card set up?

@tuxayo

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tuxayo commented Aug 10, 2018

@rugk

When you need PayPal, you could just directly send your money to the PayPal account. I don't need Liberapay for that, I can just post a paypal.me link.

Did you need to interact with Stripe once per donation? (hadn't have the time to try yet) If not, then it's still interesting. One of the main points of Liberapay is to be able to easily donate to dozens of things. With ease to add a new donation target. Do we still have that?

@mattbk

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mattbk commented Aug 10, 2018

Did you need to interact with Stripe once per donation?

I would like to test, but I haven't found another account besides https://liberapay.com/Mastodon_SFFBookClub/ and my own that have Stripe set up and accept USD. So someone could kick me and SFFBookClub $0.50 to see if it works.

EDIT: According to the screenshots at #1191, funding multiple donations on one transaction isn't possible yet.

image

@rugk

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rugk commented Aug 11, 2018

Wow, you need it for each single transaction? That's really horrible and fully defeats any usefulness in Liberapay.

@MartinDelille

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MartinDelille commented Aug 16, 2018

What about my proposal for avoiding problems with the payment processor? #1209

@rugk

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rugk commented Aug 16, 2018

@MartinDelille What does this has to do with the payment processor/this isssue? I see no connection between how moderation may be done and how one handles payments in Liberapay.

@MartinDelille

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MartinDelille commented Aug 16, 2018

@rugk It's no directly related to the payment processor (somewhat since its the reason Mangopay banned us) but it's related to Liberapay 2.0 (which is a more general issue).

@rugk

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rugk commented Aug 16, 2018

somewhat since its the reason Mangopay banned us

I thought they did not provide any reason? So what was the reason?

@MartinDelille

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MartinDelille commented Aug 17, 2018

So what was the reason?

I spoke with Mangopay legal departement 2 weeks ago and they explained to me that having no moderation system in Liberapay led to the funding of illegal organisation.

@rugk

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rugk commented Aug 17, 2018

So when you introduce this, may you be able to get back to them?

@DanMan

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DanMan commented Aug 18, 2018

The donations will still be recurrent, but they'll be transferred immediately upon payment instead of being stored in a donor wallet and transferred weekly.

I'd like some clarification on that. Like @spiraldancing already explained, if the payments are transferred immediately, it's not actually recurring. At least not in the same sense as it has been, because you couldn't decide half way through to allocate them differently, for example.

So how about this for SEPA payments: you simply assign a percentage to all of the people you support, representing how payments are split between them. Then, any time you transfer money to Liberapay, completely at your own discretion (weekly, monthly, yearly, or any other frequency), you forward each share to the recipients directly. That way no money has to be held in a wallet either, and donors can set up standing orders directly at their banks. So Liberapay's job would be merely to route the right amount of money to the right place.

Or maybe that's what you meant? Of course, that would be most interesting to those people whose banks require little to no transaction fees. I personally don't need to pay any, so this would be nice for me.

@Changaco

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Changaco commented Aug 18, 2018

@MartinDelille Mangopay's "explanation" is bullshit.

@rugk No.

@rugk

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rugk commented Aug 18, 2018

Well… after declaring that publicly, you may indeed have problems getting back. 😉

But AFAIK there was no moderation system, at least not visible to the user (i.e. no "report user" button). I just assume you would have deleted accounts that abuse Liberapay. Did not you?

@mattbk

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mattbk commented Aug 18, 2018

Then, any time you transfer money to Liberapay, completely at your own discretion (weekly, monthly, yearly, or any other frequency), you forward each share to the recipients directly. That way no money has to be held in a wallet either, and donors can set up standing orders directly at their banks. So Liberapay's job would be merely to route the right amount of money to the right place.

I'm not sure this would be legal, from what I understand. It would still require money to pass through (be held in escrow by) LIberapay, even if on it's way to someone else. Previously, money was held in Mangopay wallets, not by Liberapay itself.

This has come up before, with the idea that money would be donated to Liberapay, and then Liberapay would in turn donate to others. This adds an extra transaction and likely more paperwork.

@MartinDelille

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MartinDelille commented Aug 18, 2018

@rugk We should continue this conversation here: #1209

@vadim-frolov

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vadim-frolov commented Aug 22, 2018

Hi! We at smartlike.org/thank-u.org are testing a commission-free micropayment platform which might suit your purposes. We could join our forces.
Please take a look at https://smartlike.org/wiki/Micropayment_platform
We seem to have the same business model and share some views. Might work.

@MartinDelille

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MartinDelille commented Aug 23, 2018

@vadim-frolov I created a dedicated issue to speak about it there: #1224

@tuxayo

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tuxayo commented Sep 2, 2018

After trying the new version the few donations, if I understand correctly:

  • One must interact with stripe first to plug Stripe with Liberapay to be able to receive and send funds with a credit card
  • One must renew all it's donations
    • paying in advance sometimes a lot to small monthly amount (e.g. a year upfront for a 1€/month to have only 0.42€ of fees)
    • resigning from micro donations (e.g. I had a lot of stuff at 0.52€ or 1€ or 2€ or 5€ per year)
  • the transaction fees are not aggregated so giving to two people the same amount will also double the fees

Two questions:

  • will the renewed donations automatically retrigger a payment when the "payed upfrond period" is over?
  • will the future PayPal integration allow to share fees across donations? With one card payment for multiple donations. Or filling a PayPal account once a while like we used to fill a Liberapay/Mangopay account.
@mattbk

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mattbk commented Sep 3, 2018

You'll get a notification when it is time to donate again, but won't be charged automatically.

Gratipay was able to bundle PayPal, but only because they held money in escrow. I'm not sure Liberapay will be able to operate this way.

@Changaco

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Changaco commented Sep 3, 2018

will the future PayPal integration allow to share fees across donations?

No, we might be able to aggregate payments someday but PayPal always takes a fee for each recipient (as illustrated in the "Fee Payment Configuration" section of the "Adaptive Payments" documentation).

Stripe allows aggregating payments, but only to accounts within the platform's region (Europe for Liberapay). This isn't implemented yet on our side but it will be soon.

@trebmuh

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trebmuh commented Oct 1, 2018

Does anyone know about mollie ? I've just heard about it a few minutes ago.

It looks like they support recurrent payment, have an API, are a "Local payment methods in Europe" (don't know how it could works or not outside the EU), have code under BSD licence, support multiple-currencies, support VISA, support MasterCard, support SEPA, support other means of payment,...

See also their github.

@Changaco thought?

@mattbk

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mattbk commented Oct 1, 2018

@trebmuh that looks interesting.

I think a true Mangopay replacement would allow for virtual/e-wallets in order to reduce fees. This was a real strength of Liberapay 1.0 and Gratipay (which had its own escrow account through which payments were processed). Maybe I should do more searching on "e-wallet" since the term seems to be used by more than just Mangopay.

@Changaco

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Changaco commented Oct 2, 2018

@trebmuh Mollie only accepts registered businesses (source: Why is a business account compulsory?).

@mattbk We don't need wallets to have low fees, we only need to be able to aggregate multiple donations into a single charge. Wallets only allow moving money around in circles inside the platform without any fees (Alice gives to Bob and Bob gives to Alice).

@trebmuh

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trebmuh commented Oct 3, 2018

Aie, you're right, too bad 😞 .

@Changaco

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Changaco commented Oct 12, 2018

The long-overdue update on the status of Liberapay has just been published: https://medium.com/liberapay-blog/liberapay-status-update-a76403f4e0

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