Colony’s Developer Incentives

The Colony Hackathon is an MVP of a perpetual inflation funding model for developers building applications on the Colony Network.

Not every app can or should have a token. In many cases, it’s hard to imagine how one could even practically charge for a service if it’s small, or open source— and yet, it might be relied upon by millions of people.

Many teams in the Ethereum space have funds they use to encourage developers to build on their protocols. That’s nice, but a dev grant only gets you so far. If you want to build a business, you need revenue, not handouts.

Our vision of Colony is as a fully decentralised network, owned and operated by its stakeholders: people who contribute work to, run a Reputation Miner for, or build applications on top of, the Colony Network.

Colony’s reference client provides an example of the kind of decentralised applications developers can build with Colony’s developer tools, but no single interface could provide the full range of possibilities the Colony Protocol enables.

As we approach Colony’s Ethereum mainnet launch therefore, it’s time to share the plans that will enable the developers of the world to not only build decentralised applications on Colony, but create sustainable businesses as stakeholders of the Colony Network.

Colony’s Developer tools

A brief rundown of some of the tools we’ve built, or are working on, for developers building with Colony:

colonyNetwork is a suite of Ethereum smart contracts that handle the consensus-relevant aspects of organizational operation and governance such as reputation, ownership, division of labor, decision making, and dispute resolution.

colonyJS allows JavaScript developers to interact with the Colony Network through a simple and predictable interface, and call the colonyNetwork’s functions from within their own application.

The Extended Colony Protocol enriches data stored on chain with metadata (which might be too expensive to store on chain) by integrating information from the decentralized database (OrbitDB), ColonyJS, IPFS, user wallets, and local data.

colonyWallet is a set of utilities for developers to create/open Ethereum accounts from a variety of sources (e.g. metamask, hardware wallets, mnemonic phrases, private keys), as well as to sign and pass transactions to an Ethereum-like network provider (e.g. a local node, metamask/infura, or etherscan).

colonyUI will provide a rich set of beautiful UI components to make integrating Colony tools into external websites and applications, building new modules and extensions for the Colony dApp, or even entirely new dApps as easy, and user friendly as possible.

trufflePig is a simple tool for local development with the truffle framework. It loads and serves contracts you’re working on over HTTP to your application, so that it can interact with a local test chain like ganache.

solidity-coverage is a tool for ensuring that tests written for solidity smart contracts actually runs all of the code. It’s one way to ensure that smart contracts behave as expected.

But why should you, Miss Talented Developer, care?

Right now, there is $25k in DAI sitting out there on the blockchain. From the perspective of Colony, that money is spent. It’s been earmarked for prizes, and it will be sent to the 16 teams who best meet the judging criteria at the end of this month.

But, there is more to the Colony Hackathon than meets the eye: it’s a taster of a continuous incentive model for developers who build applications on the Colony Network, and we hope that some of the 60+ teams already building will be among the first to take advantage of it.

We think ‘Total Network Transaction Value’ is the ‘One Metric That Matters’ in Colony: it’s the most objective metric we have for evaluating the significance of the activity on the Colony Network.

Inflation funding will incentivise development of applications built on the Colony Network, which expand the scope of the network’s utility, increase its use, and therefore Total Network Transaction Value.

A novel curation mechanism will allow the Colony Network to allocate newly minted CLNY to applications proportional to their value to the Colony Network.


The incentive game is similar in intent to Proof of Work, in which the more hashing power you have, the greater your share of block rewards — hence the incentive is to compete for hashing power.

In Colony, the more valuable an application is to the network, the greater the share of the newly minted CLNY will flow to its developer — hence the incentive is to maximise the application’s utility to the network.

Tokens earned also earn the developer ‘Reputation’ in the Meta Colony, which puts the Colony Network’s governance under the direct control of the people who rely on it for their applications.

No doubt this raises many questions about the token model (LPT: the whitepaper lies on this 😉), and the so-called “novel curation mechanism”, but I’m afraid children, those are stories for another day.


If you have any feedback or stories to share, reach out to us on Twitter.

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