I've been working on a site that can act as escrow and independent arbitration for bitcoin projects and have been thinking of listing it on GLBSE. Since the code for the site is approaching a useful testing state it seems now may be a good time to get some feedback from potential investors.
The site will provide a method for employers to hire employees to complete digital work (projects) for them. The payment method for all transactions will be in bitcoin.
btcarbitrator will take a fee from all projects through the site (at project resolution) in return for acting as an impartial arbitrator in the case of a dispute between the employer and employee.Typical work flow
An employer will advertise a project by creating a listing for it on the site. The listing should include a detailed description of the required work and a maximum amount the employer will consider paying for the completed project, and a required deadline for completion.
Potential employees may then contact the employer through the site to clarify further details about the project or to bid on the project.
If the employer decides one of the bids made by an employee on a project is acceptable, they will accept the bid. At this point the bid amount (in bitcoins) will be deposited to btcarbitrator to be held in escrow until project conclusion.
If the project is completed to the employers satisfaction, the funds held in escrow will be released and transferred to the employee (minus the btcarbitrator fee).Arbitration
If during the period after a bid is accepted but before the funds are released from escrow either the employee or employer chooses to enter arbitration for any reason the project will enter an arbitration phase. During this phase both parties will be required to provide evidence to show how they have kept to the agreement entered into when the bid was accepted. All existing on-site communication between the employer and employee will also be considered as evidence. btcarbitrator will then be responsible for deciding an outcome based on the provided evidence. This outcome maybe a complete (minus btcarbitrator fee) refund to the employer, a completed project payment to the employer or a partial refund to the employer and and partial payment to the employee.
I want to make the company totally run by the shareholders and as robust as possible. Ideally, after launch the company should be able to continue on even in my absence. This is were I'd love some ideas from the potential investors, many of whom probably have more knowledge of this stuff than me.
Initially, I'd like some trusted way of making the site code/administrators passwords available if the shareholders pass a vote to release it. This is for two reasons, firstly it should give the initial investors confidence that they can't be left with absolutely nothing from their investment (they will at least have a share of the company assets). Secondly it's to allow the company to continue functioning if anything should happen to me.
It seems to me the only way to do this currently is to ask some trusted member of the bitcoin community to act as a sort of escrow, promising to respect any vote passed. Another idea was to somehow use http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shamir%27s_Secret_Sharing
, but given that any vote will likely be to pass the 'site' to another individual rather than release it publicly I'm not sure this could work.Company funds
At initial listing the financial state of the company could be considered as follows (italic
items are still to be done before listing):
- The site code and design work
- 1 month of VPS hosting
- 1 year of domain registration
- Payment for site code and design work, owed to me to be payed in non-voting company shares
- 5BTC for VPS hosting (owed to me, with no interest)
- 3BTC for domain registration (owed to me, with no interest)
- 5BTC/month for VPS hosting
- 3BTC/year for domain hosting
- Some form of renumeration for company employees (see company structure)
Given this, an initial issue of something like 150BTC of shares seems reasonable to me, allowing the company to run for a reasonable amount of time before needing to turn a profit, although I'd love to hear peoples opinions on this.Company structureCompany management
Management decisions for the site should be made by the shareholders. The obvious way to do this seems to be to hold an election for a CEO type leader (or possibly a board of directors). Again I'd love to hear opinions on how this could work. Company employees
Company employees should be 'hired' by company management to actually run the site. Initially there seems to be two (types) of employees for the company.
Developer/IT officer: this will initially be me, continuing with the site development.
Arbitrator: This will be the person (and hopefully later people) responsible for arbitrating on the projects listed on the site. They may also be responsible for approving/moderating project listing and providing user support. Drafting the initial policies arbitration/project listing etc. is also possible for this role.Future direction
It has been suggested by a few people that the site might also be able to arbitrate on bitcoin financial transactions, this is a interesting idea and an example of something that shareholders could potentially vote on.
These as just my current thoughts, I'd like to have a much more detailed plan before I ask for anyones investment, so please ask questions and give your opinions.