Liberapay vs Open Collective

We already have patreon, direct donations (paypal), and bitcoin 17j2g7vpgHhLuXhN4bueZFCvdxxieyRVWd as a means of directly supporting the Mastodon Project.

However, we are considering a way for people who may avoid Patreon for ideological reasons, to be able to help support the project on a monthly basis.

Currently we are looking at two ways,
Liberapay and Open Collective.

I think a good start to this discussion would be to weigh pros and cons between the two services.

Note: This will not be a discussion about leaving patreon entirely, but rather complement it with something more for a stable monthly income.

I’m an fan of Liberapay and help them out with translations. The organisation is transparant and code is open source. Its also focussed on code and art and there are already a few admins collecting income on there. There are pledges for a still to create Mastodon team here Gargron’s profile - Liberapay

I dont know the other site but it seems bigger then Liberapay.

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I love the transparent and pro-coop philosophy and structure of Open Collective. My vote is for OC. : )

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I’m in Europe - although UK is not in Eurozone I already use Euros for a lot of other transactions and realistically this isn’t going to change after Brexit and had a look at both sites, for me Liberapay “wins” as it has customer service contact details for real humans (as required by European law) slightly more promimently displayed (OC does have them but I had to delve into the FAQ; this might simply be a “cultural difference” in site layouts as well as regulations).

If one is perhaps better for Europeans and the other for Americans (exchange rates and different banking regulations are a factor here); any reason why both couldn’t be used?

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Simply because I’ve learnt from past experiments (by others) that dividing up for too many ways to support is generally bad and confusing. So patreon will continue being the main venue for continuous support (for now), while we are looking to add 1 other service as a complement.

We may also need to take into consideration VAT etc. But I am not sure how that actually connects with the service we provide, as we do not really sell a service, no one is forced to pay for using Mastodon. This is probably another good angle to investigate further.

in that case I would suggest Liberapay as Patreon already seems to be geared more towards dollar transactions and some admins already use it.

In the UK small non profit organisations for such projects (usually set up as “community interest companies”) can be exempt from VAT (they still have to separately prove this to the Revenue and Customs authority).

The situation would of course vary depending on what country (DE?) the “core organisation” of Mastodon is registered to, although from what I’ve briefly searched for with regard to DE the rules are fairly similar.

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My main goal is for as much of my donation as possible to actually reach Gargron. And this is what I would measure all these systems against. For me, the calculation currently would look like this:

~3% lost to my bank for converting EUR to USD (fees + spread)
5% fixed fee from Patreon
unknown fee from Patreon for "payment processing"
2% PayPal pay-out fee for Gargron
unknown fee+spread from Gargron’s bank to convert USD to EUR (assuming he uses the money to pay his bills)

Open Collective:
Same as above just worse because they take a 10% instead of 5% cut

0.6% for me to pledge via bank transfer
Free payout to Gargron via bank transfer

This is just my calculation, if you as a donor are sitting in the U.S. the calculation is obviously different. This is why purely from my perspective, Liberapay would be the best choice as alternative, providing a non-USD and PayPal-free option.

But in the end, IMHO whatever option is chosen needs to work best for the project - I will obviously also continue to use Patreon if that works best for you.

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Gratipay don’t take any cut of the transfer (they’re funded by donations using Gratipay, like any project they host) so they might be an attractive option in that respect. (I haven’t tried any of these platforms, just checked out the link @wakest posted earlier.)


Well, Gratipay doesn’t take a cut, but because they rely on Braintree (as payment processor) and PayPal from the EU perspective they are still a lot more expensive than a bank transfer based service. Gratipay will take 2.9% + 30 cents for every incoming payment and then another 2% PayPal fees for any outgoing payment, so 4.9% + 30 cents in total. And you also keep the EUR/USD conversion problem, as Gratipay also only works with USD. You gain a bit over Patreon, but not that much.


The code behind Liberapay is an fork of Gratipay. So they share a big part of the code. The big difference between them is that Liberapay is an non-profit France/EU based and Mangopay powered and Gratipay is an business USA based and Braintree/PayPal powered. Featurewise you can see the difference, from the Liberapay viewpoint, here Why Liberapay, and what are its differences with Gratipay · Issue #8 · liberapay/salon · GitHub

I do agree with @maloki we should limit it to just a few options. Japanese people seem to take the major part of the fediverse. The focus should be an option that works for that group.
Patreon works fine for US based. Open Collective smees like good code solution for US too. Liberapay is still being build but is a good option for EU focus.

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Biggest problem I find here is that neither I nor Gargron can read Japanese. Maybe we should find someone we trust who understand japanese to help us research it. I think I’ll ask @Yukari to see if we could use for a Euro-based programmer.

Edit: Yes I am an idiot, hey look there’s a flag to view the page in English!

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Oh, yeah there is English available isn’t it :slight_smile: Let me know if you have some questions though

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Their terms of services are not translated: Enty|Let all the creators supported by their fans directly

Gah. By skimming through it it does look like a pretty standard TOS but did you want me to translate it? I’m just heading out and prob won’t be able to get to it until tomorrow.

Nah, that skim ought to be enough. Thank you

Seems we ended up with a Liberapay team. And an account each.

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Be aware that Liberapay can be translated to JP but there payment provider Mangopay has only an license for Europe and a few selected currencies. Japan and Yen are not supported.

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