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Internet Communities with Bitcoin Economies

  • Stacker News makes internet communities that pay you Bitcoin
  • What You See is What We Ship (look ma, I invented an initialism)
  • 100% FOSS
  • We pay bitcoin for PRs, issues, documentation, code reviews and more
  • Next.js, postgres, graphql, and lnd

Getting started

Launch a fully featured SN development environment in a single command.

$ ./sndev start

Go to localhost:3000.


  • Clone the repo
    • ssh: git clone
    • https: git clone
  • Install docker


Start the development environment

$ ./sndev start

View all available commands

$ ./sndev help

      .d8888b  88888b.  .d88888  .d88b.  888  888
     88K      888 '88b d88' 888 d8P  Y8b 888  888
     'Y8888b. 888  888 888  888 88888888 Y88  88P
          X88 888  888 Y88b 888 Y8b.      Y8bd8P
      88888P' 888  888  'Y88888  'Y8888    Y88P

manages a docker based stacker news development environment

  $ sndev [COMMAND]
  $ sndev help [COMMAND]

  help            show help

    start         start env
    stop          stop env
    restart       restart env
    status        status of env
    logs          logs from env
    delete        delete env

    login         login as a nym

    fund          pay a bolt11 for funding
    withdraw      create a bolt11 for withdrawal

    cln_fund      pay a bolt11 for funding with CLN
    cln_withdraw  create a bolt11 for withdrawal with CLN

    psql          open psql on db
    prisma        run prisma commands

    pr            fetch and checkout a pr
    lint          run linters

    compose         docker compose passthrough
    sn_lndcli       lncli passthrough on sn_lnd
    stacker_lndcli  lncli passthrough on stacker_lnd
    stacker_clncli  lightning-cli passthrough on stacker_cln

Modifying services

Running specific services

By default all services will be run. If you want to exclude specific services from running, set COMPOSE_PROFILES to use one or more of minimal|images|search|payments|email|capture. To only run mininal services without images, search, or payments:

$ COMPOSE_PROFILES=minimal ./sndev start

Or, as I would recommend:

$ export COMPOSE_PROFILES=minimal
$ ./sndev start

To run with images and payments services:

$ COMPOSE_PROFILES=images,payments ./sndev start

Merging compose files

By default sndev start will merge docker-compose.yml with docker-compose.override.yml. Specify any overrides you want to merge with docker-compose.override.yml.

For example, if you want to replace the db seed with a custom seed file located in docker/db/another.sql, you'd create a docker-compose.override.yml file with the following:

      - ./docker/db/another.sql:/docker-entrypoint-initdb.d/seed.sql

You can read more about docker compose override files.

Table of Contents


We want your help.

We pay bitcoin for contributions

  • pull requests closing existing issues
  • code review
  • issue specification whether for bugs, features, or enhancements
  • discovery of security vulnerabilities
  • discovery of privacy vulnerabilities
  • improvements to development documentation
  • helpfulness

View a current list of granted awards

Just in case

This document in no way legally entitles you to payments for contributions, entitles you to being a contributor, or entitles you to the attention of other contributors. This document lays out the system we can use to determine contribution awards which we generally intend to abide by but importantly we reserve the right to refuse payments or contributions, modify rules and award amounts, make exceptions to rules or reward amounts, and withhold awards for any reason at anytime, even just for the heck of it, at our sole discretion. If you need more certainty than what I've just described, don't participate. We provide awards as an experiment to make FOSS less sucky.

Pull request awards


  1. PRs closing an issue will be awarded according to the difficulty tag on an issue, e.g. difficulty:easy pays 100k sats.
  2. Issues are occasionally marked with a priority tag which multiplies the award of a PR closing an issue, e.g. an issue marked with priority:high and difficulty:hard awards 2m sats.
  3. An award is reduced by 10% of the award amount for each substantial change requested to the PR on code review, e.g. if two changes are requested on a PR closing an issue tagged with difficulty:hard, 800k sats will be awarded.
    • Reductions are applied before priority multipliers, e.g. a PR closing a priority:high and difficulty:hard issue that's approved after two changes are requested awards 1.6m sats.
    • You are responsible for understanding the issue and requirements before requesting review on a PR.
    • There is no award reduction for asking specific questions on the issue itself or on the PR before requesting review
    • There is no award reduction for asking more general questions in a discussion
  4. A PR must be merged by an SN engineer before a PR receives an award

Due to Rule 3, make sure that you mark your PR as a draft when you create it and it's not ready for review yet.

Difficulty award amounts

tag description award
difficulty:good-first-issue at most a couple lines of code in a couple files and does not require much familiarity with the codebase 20k sats
difficulty:easy at most a couple lines of code in a couple files but does require familiarity with the code base 100k sats
difficulty:medium more code, more places and could require adding columns in the db and some modification chunky db queries 250k sats
difficulty:medium-hard even more code, even more places and requires either more sophisticated logic, more significant db modeling eg adding a table, and/or a deeper study of a something 500k sats
difficulty:hard either a bigger lift than the what's required of medium-hard or very tricky in a particular way that might not require a lot of code but does require a lot of context/troubleshooting/expertise 1m sats

Priority multipliers

tag multiplier
priority:medium 1.5
priority:high 2
priority:urgent 3

Requesting modifications to reward amounts

We try to assign difficulty and priority tags to issues accurately, but we're not perfect. If you believe an issue is mis-tagged, you can request a change to the issue's tags.

Code review awards

Code reviewers will be awarded the amount their code review reduced from the PR author's reward, e.g. two substantial problems/areas of improvement identified in a PR closing a priority:high and difficulty:hard issue awards 400k sats.


  1. The problem or improvement must be acknowledged as such by SN engineers explicitly
  2. A PR must be merged by an SN engineer before a PR's code reviewers receive an award

Code review approvals are more than welcome, but we can't guarantee awards for them because the work performed to approve a PR is unverifiable.

Issue specification awards

Issue specifiers will be awarded up to 10% of a PR award for issues resulting in a PR being merged by an SN engineer that closes the issue. In addition to being subject to PR award amounts and reductions, specification amounts are awarded on the basis of how much additional help and specification is required by other contributors.


  1. The issue must directly result in PR being merged by an SN engineer that closes the issue
  2. Issue specification award amounts are based on the final PR award amounts
    • that is, they are subject to PR award code review reductions and priority multipliers
  3. Award amounts will be reduced on the basis of how much additional help and specification is required by other contributors
  4. Issue specifiers who can close their own issues with their own PRs are also eligible for this 10%
    • e.g an issue tagged as difficulty:hard that is both specified and closed by a PR from the same contributor without changes requested awards 1.1m sats

Relative awards

circumstances award
issue doesn't require further help and/or specification from other contributors 10%
issue requires little help and/or specification from other contributors 5%
issue requires more help and/or specification from other contributors than the issue specifier contributed 1%
issue is vague and/or incomplete and must mostly be entirely specified by someone else 0%

For example: a specified issue that's tagged as difficulty:hard, doesn't require additional specification and disambiguation by other contributors, and results in PR being merged without changes requested awards the issue specifier 100k sats.

Responsible disclosure of security or privacy vulnerability awards

Awards for responsible disclosures are assessed on the basis of:

  1. the potential loss resulting from an exploit of the vulnerability
  2. the trivialness of exploiting the vulnerability
  3. the disclosure's detail

Award amounts will be easiest to assess on a case by case basis. Upon confirmation of a vulnerability, we agree to award responsible disclosures at minimum 100k sats and as high as the total potential loss that would result from exploiting the vulnerability.


  1. Disclosure is responsible and does not increase the likelihood of an exploit.
  2. Disclosure includes steps to reproduce.
  3. Disclosure includes a realistic attack scenario with prerequisites for an attack and expected gains after the exploitation. Disclosures without such scenario, with unrealistic assumptions or without meaningful outcomes will not be eligible for awards.
  4. You must be the first person to responsibly disclose the issue to be eligible for awards.

Development documentation awards

For significant changes to documentation, create an issue before making said changes. In such cases we will award documentation improvements in accordance with issue specification and PR awards.

For changes on the order of something like a typo, we'll award a nominal amount at our discretion.

Helpfulness awards

Like issue specification awards, helping fellow contributors substantially in a well documented manner such that the helped fellow contributes a merged PR is eligible for a one-time relative reward.

circumstances award
substantial and singular source of help 10%
substantial but nonsingular source of help 1-5%
source of relatively trivial help 1%

Contribution extras

We want to make contributing to SN as rewarding as possible, so we offer a few extras to contributors.

Dev chat

We self-host a private chat server for contributors to SN. If you'd like to join, please respond in this discussion.

Triage permissions

We offer triage permissions to contributors after they've made a few contributions. I'll usually add them as I notice people contributing, but if I missed you and you'd like to be added, let me know!

Contributor badges on SN profiles

Contributors can get badges on their SN profiles by opening a pull request adding their SN nym to the contributors.txt file.

What else you got

In the future we plan to offer more, like gratis github copilot subscriptions, reverse tunnels, codespaces, and merch.

If you'd like to see something added, please make a suggestion.

Development Tips


We use JavaScript Standard Style to enforce code style and correctness. You should run sndev lint before submitting a PR.

If you're using VSCode, you can install the StandardJS VSCode Extension extension to get linting in your editor. We also recommend installing StandardJS code snippets and StandardJS react code snippets for code snippets.

Database migrations

We use prisma for our database migrations. To create a new migration, modify prisma/schema.prisma according to prisma schema reference and apply it with:

./sndev prisma migrate dev

If you want to create a migration without applying it, eg to create a trigger or modify the generated sql before applying, use the --create-only option:

./sndev prisma migrate dev --create-only

Generate the local copy of the prisma ORM client in node_modules after changes. This should only be needed to get Intellisense in your editor locally.

./sndev prisma generate

Connecting to the local database

You can connect to the local database via ./sndev psql. psql is an interactive terminal for working with PostgreSQL.

Running lncli on the local lnd nodes

You can run lncli on the local lnd nodes via ./sndev sn_lncli and ./sndev stacker_lncli. The node for your local SN instance is sn_lnd and the node serving as any external node, like a stacker's node or external wallet, is stacker_lnd.

Testing local auth

You can login to test features like posting, replying, tipping, etc with ./sndev login <nym> which will provide a link to login as an existing nym or a new account for a nonexistent nym. But, it you want to test auth specifically you'll need to configure them in your .env file.

Login with Email


  • The app is already prepared to send emails through MailHog so no extra configuration is needed
  • Click "sign up" and enter any email address (remember, it's not going anywhere beyond your workstation)
  • Access MailHog's web UI on http://localhost:8025
  • Click the link (looks like this):


  • Create a Sendgrid account (or other smtp service)
  • Click "sign up" and enter your email address
  • Check your email
  • Click the link (looks like this):

Login with Github

  • Create a new OAuth app in your Github account
    • Set the callback URL to: http://localhost:3000/api/auth/callback/github
  • Update your .env file
GITHUB_SECRET=<Client secret>
  • Signup and login as above

Login with Lightning

  • Use ngrok to create a HTTPS tunnel to localhost:3000
  • Update LNAUTH_URL in .env with the URL provided by ngrok and add /api/lnauth to it

Enabling web push notifications

To enable Web Push locally, you will need to set the VAPID_* env vars. VAPID_MAILTO needs to be an email address using the mailto: scheme. For NEXT_PUBLIC_VAPID_KEY and VAPID_PRIVKEY, you can run npx web-push generate-vapid-keys.



The site is written in javascript (not typescript 😱) using Next.js, a React framework. The backend API is provided via GraphQL. The database is PostgreSQL modeled with Prisma. The job queue is also maintained in PostgreSQL. We use lnd for our lightning node. A customized Bootstrap theme is used for styling.


Currently, SN runs and maintains two significant services and one microservice:

  1. the nextjs web app, found in ./
  2. the worker service, found in ./worker, which runs periodic jobs and jobs sent to it by the web app
  3. a screenshot microservice, found in ./capture, which takes screenshots of SN for social previews

In addition, we run other critical services the above services interact with like lnd, postgres, opensearch, tor, and s3.

Wallet transaction safety

To ensure stackers balances are kept sane, all wallet updates are run in serializable transactions at the database level. Because early versions of prisma had relatively poor support for transactions most wallet touching code is written in plpgsql stored procedures and can be found in the prisma/migrations folder.

Need help?

Open a discussion or issue or email us or request joining the dev chat.

Responsible disclosure

If you found a vulnerability, we would greatly appreciate it if you contact us via or open a security advisory. Our PGP key can be found here (EBAF 75DA 7279 CB48).