Retribute, a donation system for fediverse creators

As media applications begin to emerge and thrive within the fediverse ecosystem, the question of how to financially support the creators using those platforms has been raised. How do you donate to someone making your favorite videos on PeerTube, or a musician putting out work through Funkwhale? And how might you make recurring donations to the people you want to support?

Short of suggesting building crypto wallets into fediverse apps, few other solutions have materialized, until now. The creator of Funkwhale has unveiled an intriguing solution called Retribute.

The concept is relatively simple: Retribute can be authorized against user accounts on various federated platforms. parse metadata in profiles, and then find the appropriate donation methods for a given user account, such as PayPal, Patreon, Liberapay, or OpenCollective.

The Retribute prototype, authorized against a Mastodon account, parsing the donation links of contacts.

Right now, Retribute only connects with Funkwhale, Mastodon, and PeerTube. In the future, more platforms may be supported, provided some kind of integration or authorization is possible for each of them.

Because of the complexity and scale of the issue, Retribute can’t work as single app or service. Instead, it will rely on a set of several components and parts that will, together, provide a solution.

Agate Blue, Funkwhale’s creator

The goal is to build a platform that automates the acceptance of fan contributions for works. Some of the concepts being explored in the future will involve a lightweight protocol, along with budgeting pre-calculated amounts for donation splits between your contacts.

Eliot seems confident that people won’t need to change how their works are hosted, emphasizing a solution where people making works and people supporting works wouldn’t have to do much to set things up. We’re excited to see somebody double down on this, as it aims to tackle an age-old problem.

Check out the prototype here:

Sean Tilley

Sean Tilley has been a part of the federated social web for over 15+ years, starting with his experiences with back in 2008. Sean was involved with the Diaspora project as a Community Manager from 2011 to 2013, and helped the project move to a self-governed model. Since then, Sean has continued to study, discuss, and document the evolution of the space and the new platforms that have risen within it.

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