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Liberapay is in danger of closing #232

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Changaco opened this Issue May 31, 2018 · 106 comments

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@Changaco
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Changaco commented May 31, 2018

[Update] Do not share this issue on social networks, we will do so ourselves if and when it becomes appropriate.


Copy of liberapay/liberapay.com#374 (comment):

I have just received an email from mangopay saying that they want to terminate their contract with us because we have/had a few controversial users.

I've replied, asking for confirmation, and information on how much time we have left.

As you probably know Liberapay cannot operate without a properly licensed payment partner, so if Mangopay really has decided to ban us then we're in trouble.

ping @liberapay/codirectors

@aggsol

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aggsol commented Jun 1, 2018

Awwwh FUCK! What can we do now? Alternatives?

@Changaco

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Changaco commented Jun 1, 2018

I'm currently looking into all the alternatives I can think of:

  • contract with another licensed e-money emitter like HiPay (Marketplace) or Stripe (Connect)
  • get our own e-money license and use a lower-level payment processor like Braintree (Marketplace)
  • attempt to avoid the need for an e-money license by turning Liberapay into some kind of international cooperative

@Changaco Changaco referenced this issue Jun 1, 2018

Closed

E-money license #37

@Changaco

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Changaco commented Jun 1, 2018

Getting our own license is out, there's a minimum capital requirement of €350k.

@jorgesumle

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jorgesumle commented Jun 1, 2018

attempt to avoid the need for an e-money license by turning Liberapay into some kind of international cooperative

That's doable, but it could take more time than the other alternatives and some legal knowledge.

contract with another licensed e-money emitter like HiPay (Marketplace) or Stripe (Connect)

I guess that's the easiest thing for the short term. For the long term, we should be prepared for similar issues with vendors.

@mattbk

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mattbk commented Jun 1, 2018

Hate to suggest this, but are they not open to Liberapay booting the users to buy some time?

@Changaco

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Changaco commented Jun 1, 2018

@mattbk Whenever Mangopay is unhappy with a specific user they order us to close that account. This is what they did yesterday, and if I remember correctly it was the 3rd time since Liberapay's launch, but this time they're kicking out everyone else too.

@Changaco

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Changaco commented Jun 1, 2018

I haven't received any confirmation from mangopay today, which means that we probably won't get it before Monday at best.

@Changaco

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Changaco commented Jun 1, 2018

The user they ordered us to ban yesterday joined Liberapay two years ago and has received less than €400 since then. It's unclear how Mangopay "found out" about this controversial user, they may have been contacted by a third party.

@trebmuh

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trebmuh commented Jun 1, 2018

Practical question here: what does that means/involves for the current users with money in their wallet if Mangopay is going to terminate the contract with LP?

@Changaco

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Changaco commented Jun 1, 2018

Mangopay would have to repay all users by doing refunds or payouts.

@Changaco

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Changaco commented Jun 1, 2018

Actually if I'm interpreting the contract correctly they have to contact all users to ask for consent to close the wallets and instructions on where to transfer the funds.

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Changaco commented Jun 2, 2018

Other alternative:

  • avoid EU regulations by operating from the US like Gratipay did
@aggsol

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aggsol commented Jun 4, 2018

The sole reason I joined Liberapay was because it is EU based and operating in the EU. Especially that SEPA transactions just work. This is horrible.

@Changaco

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Changaco commented Jun 4, 2018

This issue is now being shared on social networks. Doing that is inappropriate at this early stage.

@albjeremias

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albjeremias commented Jun 4, 2018

I'm not sure.. but might be relevant: https://fair-coin.org/en/use-cases

@tuxayo

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tuxayo commented Jun 4, 2018

@Changaco

Doing that is inappropriate at this early stage and only sends me a signal that discussing sensitive matters publicly is not a good idea.

I'm not sure. Such transparency and open discussion also build trust. There might be a balance though.

Thanks for your work in handling all this mess.

@jelv

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jelv commented Jun 5, 2018

I hope you can work it out with Mangopay.
How would the cooperative work for Liberapay?

@Changaco

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Changaco commented Jun 5, 2018

The basic idea of the "cooperative" alternative is that everyone who receives money on the platform would be a member of the Liberapay legal entity, and that all the collected funds would legally belong to that entity instead of to each individual user. This should remove the need for an e-money license since we would no longer be holding money that belongs to someone else.

This model would require rewriting the bylaws, the rules of procedure and the terms of service of Liberapay. We would have to completely abandon the neutrality principle and approve all members manually like Gratipay did.

@jelv

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jelv commented Jun 5, 2018

Is Adyen MarketPay also a option?

@Changaco

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Changaco commented Jun 5, 2018

@jelv Probably not, but I've added it to the list in liberapay/liberapay.com#374.

@MartinDelille

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MartinDelille commented Jun 6, 2018

Do we really need to close the website if Mangopay block us? We could just pause the service, inform everyone no?

This would have a massive effect on the social network and would be a very bad buzz for Mangopay. Its marketing service will face a communication crisis and we may have argument to reactivate Liberapay then (with a short cutage in the service).

Can we handle such cutage technically?

@jelv

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jelv commented Jun 6, 2018

For the people on the platform continuity would be best option.

If we could change to another supplier it would be good to know how they handle our neutral position. Has there been in contact with other e-money emmiters on this topic?

@Changaco

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Changaco commented Jun 6, 2018

@MartinDelille Having a "bad relationship" with our payment partner is not a good idea. If Mangopay doesn't want to work with us, then we don't want to work with them.

@jelv I haven't initiated any contact with potential new partners yet.

@Changaco

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Changaco commented Jun 7, 2018

Regarding the neutrality issue, I did notice this:

Screenshot of solarisBank's homepage

(Screenshot of https://www.solarisbank.com/en/.)

However just because we use the same word doesn't necessarily mean that we're talking about the same thing.

@Changaco

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Changaco commented Jun 14, 2018

It's been two weeks, I haven't received any email or letter from Mangopay.

@mattbk

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mattbk commented Jun 14, 2018

It's been two weeks, I haven't received any email or letter from Mangopay.

That makes me worry that they're going to cut Liberapay off without warning. What's the level of effort required to switch to a new payment processor?

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Changaco commented Jun 14, 2018

That makes me worry that they're going to cut Liberapay off without warning.

It's more likely that they haven't reached a final decision yet.

The normal procedure for termination of the contract is to not renew it, and that means we would have until 2019-02-03 to migrate, because the contract is renewed yearly based on the date of the first transaction. Moreover Mangopay has to formally notify us of their intention not to renew the contract at least 3 months before the renewal date.

The contract does have a clause for early termination that Mangopay could use, by claiming that we have failed to fulfil our obligations, but that would be shady and very stupid.

What's the level of effort required to switch to a new payment processor?

Very high, higher than it was for Gratipay.

@mattbk

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mattbk commented Jun 14, 2018

Thanks, that was very helpful.

@tuxayo

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tuxayo commented Jul 5, 2018

platform that doesn't require signups, like ye olde IRC channels (accessible even on the web, thanks to web clients), or rocket.chat (i think?).

Just for the info: Riot also doesn't require an account and is accessible on the web. And it has history which can help people not coming right on time.
But not sure if the UX is straightforward enough when using it for the first time.

@eldelacajita

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eldelacajita commented Jul 5, 2018

Considering all this, I'd suggest using two/three existing channels, linked from the text:

  • Github issue: For a simple, clear debate thread that can be reviewed afterwards. With login.
  • IRC channel (or Riot?): For instant questions, chit chat, etc. with no login required. A chat is generally more difficult to follow and read afterwards, even if it keeps a log, but is still useful.
  • (Medium comments: if we publish the text on Medium, that is. Also requires an account.)

What do you think? Enough choice with those three?

Regardless of the channels we choose, at least one of us could be watching each channel from time to time, replying to questions or providing the relevant info.

PS: I tried using Riot without registering a user, and it feels kinda cumbersome and slow. Is it only me?

@trebmuh

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trebmuh commented Jul 6, 2018

Using the IRC channel is as easy as clicking on this link, choosing a name, filling up the captcha, clicking on "connect", done.

@tuxayo

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tuxayo commented Jul 6, 2018

@eldelacajita

PS: I tried using Riot without registering a user, and it feels kinda cumbersome and slow. Is it only me?

No, thanks for confirming my impression.

@heinezen

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heinezen commented Jul 8, 2018

IRC channel (or Riot?): ...

@eldelacajita Why not both? Matrix/Riot rooms can be bridged to IRC channel, so that messages from the IRC chat appear in the Riot room and vice versa. It should also be pretty easy to set up in the Riot UI.

@tuxayo

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tuxayo commented Jul 8, 2018

@heinezen

@eldelacajita Why not both? Matrix/Riot rooms can be bridged to IRC channel

Then there is nothing to do. People who want to use Riot will be able to join the channel. As there is a brigde for Freenode.

link here: https://riot.im/app/#/room/#freenode_#liberapay:matrix.org

But from my experience, there is more than a 10 seconds latency when sending and receiving a message. And with the bridge on Freenode, one can't be PMed by non-registered user. (something about the defaut IRC mode of the bridge which forbids that and I could find how to change it)

@eldelacajita

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eldelacajita commented Jul 8, 2018

So, let's say IRC is the main channel, and the rest are bridged to it. There are still several decisions that have to be taken ASAP for the communication actions to work coherently:

  • When and where is the text going to be published? Who will publish it?
  • Is there a way to publish the text also on Liberapay itself, and mail it to all registered users?
  • Who will share it on social media?
  • Who will take care (read messages, answer to questions, clarify things) of each channel?
  • Can @Changaco, @Zatalyz or someone else keep us informed here so we can communicate the same things?

I could take care of creating and moderating a new Github thread, ideally in collaboration with someone else. As I am travelling right now, I wouldn't be able to regularly check the chat channels.

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Changaco commented Jul 10, 2018

We've just received confirmation from MangoPay that they won't reverse their decision to cut us off, despite our proposal to "fix" Liberapay so that it would no longer be a problem for them.

@jelv

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jelv commented Jul 11, 2018

Did you get the extra month before closing?

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Changaco commented Jul 11, 2018

MangoPay's message didn't include a termination date. I immediately replied asking for clarification on that.

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Changaco commented Jul 11, 2018

I'm planning to publish a blog post soon, probably tomorrow. It will contain a link to the "Emptying your wallet" page from liberapay/liberapay.com#1169.

After that I'll see about emailing all active users.

@techtonik techtonik referenced this issue Jul 11, 2018

Closed

Going crypto #247

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Changaco commented Jul 12, 2018

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mattbk commented Jul 12, 2018

There's a note in the donor section, but should also be a note in the team section that all teams should increase their takes so they can actually accept money.

"normal procedure " should have a link if possible so people can see the source for this information.

Inconsistent capitalization of "Mangopay." From their website, I can't even tell what the right way is (IMHO "MANGOPAY" is an annoying style that they use).

Should link to whatever ticket/PR includes the new distribution system. (I'm not super excited about it as a donor because it changes how often I can change donation amounts, but that's for another place.)

@EliotBerriot

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EliotBerriot commented Jul 12, 2018

Thanks for sharing the draft @Changaco.

The part about switching from recurring donations, maybe I missed something but I think the phrasing is a bit weird:

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”.

Basically, there won't be any recurring donations anymore, so it is a bit weird to refer to « weeks » and « weekly » periods. AFAIU, it would be a basic donation system (you give X€, the creator receives X€, period).

@jelv

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jelv commented Jul 12, 2018

In the begin also mention that you end with what it will mean for the future of Liberapay.

Also start the few paragraphs with a quick summery of whats coming and then explain it further. That makes it easier to read

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Changaco commented Jul 12, 2018

There's a note in the donor section, but should also be a note in the team section that all teams should increase their takes so they can actually accept money.

Added.

"normal procedure " should have a link if possible so people can see the source for this information.

It's in the Mangopay contract, we can't really link to it.

Inconsistent capitalization of "Mangopay." From their website, I can't even tell what the right way is (IMHO "MANGOPAY" is an annoying style that they use).

AFAIK the official style is all-caps. I also think it's annoying so I'm using "Mangopay" instead.

Should link to whatever ticket/PR includes the new distribution system. (I'm not super excited about it as a donor because it changes how often I can change donation amounts, but that's for another place.)

Created liberapay/liberapay.com#1171.

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Changaco commented Jul 12, 2018

Basically, there won't be any recurring donations anymore, so it is a bit weird to refer to « weeks » and « weekly » periods. AFAIU, it would be a basic donation system (you give X€, the creator receives X€, period).

The difference with a basic donation system is that all involved parties (the donor, us, and the recipient) know that the X€ received correspond to N weeks of income, and that if all goes well the donor will pay X€ again in N weeks.

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Changaco commented Jul 12, 2018

In the begin also mention that you end with what it will mean for the future of Liberapay.

Done.

Also start the few paragraphs with a quick summery of whats coming and then explain it further. That makes it easier to read

I'm not sure what you mean here, but I'm out of time anyway so…

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Changaco commented Jul 12, 2018

@Changaco Changaco closed this Jul 12, 2018

@tuxayo

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tuxayo commented Jul 12, 2018

Damn I got distracted and lost few hours before finishing writing this ^^"

Blog post draft: https://medium.com/@liberapay/liberapay-is-in-trouble-b58b40714d82

We’ve tried to understand their concerns, they seemed related to the fact that Liberapay is open to everyone, so we proposed to review every user and block any potentially problematic account

From what I understood there was some kind of strong neutrality towards who could use Liberapay to collect donations, which is really great. But I couldn't refind that. If that was the case, will the Mangopay issues change Liberapay's "policy" in this regard?

@LiamDawe

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LiamDawe commented Jul 13, 2018

Will you turn off the quarantine then, so us creators can get our funds right away? Don't like the idea of losing some of it if they do abruptly cut you off.

@markasoftware

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markasoftware commented Jul 13, 2018

In light of this, could liberapay/liberapay.com#364 be an option? Or would that also require some sort of e-money license?

@dixonge

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dixonge commented Jul 16, 2018

I see that MangoPay has finally responded, sort of...

https://www.mangopay.com/blog/liberapay/

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