On Tue, May 17, 2016 at 02:00:25PM -0600, Peter Harpending wrote:
> On Tue, May 17, 2016 at 03:48:54PM -0400, Stephen Michel wrote:
> > To me, it seems like arrears is the clear superior option for MVP. Holding
> > funds adds significant legal complexity for what seems like a small benefit
> > -- and it's something that we could transition to later anyway.
> > 
> > Imagine we're doing arrears, because that's the easier way. Then, because we
> > think the benefits of holding are worth it, we invest in a lawyer and figure
> > out a legal way to do it. It should be relatively easy to modify the
> > existing system to simply pay into the arrears system from the bank account
> > where we're holding funds instead of from a patron's own credit card.
> > 
> > So we want to offer gift cards? Same deal, or we can partner with a bank
> > that already offers something like that (similar to
> > http://www.walmart.com/c/kp/visa-gift-cards -- but more morally palatable
> > than walmart :P).
> > 
> > The only disadvantage I can see with arrears that absolutely could not be
> > worked around would be if no payment processor met our moral standards.
> > Except -- imagine in a few years when snowdrift.coop has become wildly
> > successful: maybe now it's time to start our own ethical payment processor
> > (or gnu taler, or ethereum/maidsafe as discussed elsewhere, is up and
> > running and stable/trusted).
> > 
> > BOTTOM LINE: When comparing a thing that we know will work for us on launch
> > to a thing that needs further exploration, I need to pick the former.
> This might be a case of "complicated for programmers" v. "complicated and
> expensive for lawyers". In that case, I would vote for the option that makes
> things complicated for the programmers, because it's much easier and less
> expensive.
> I actually have no idea how to actually go about arranging a transaction 
> between
> any of these third-party payment systems, especially from a Haskell program.
> > BOTTOM LINE: When comparing a thing that we know will work for us on launch
> > to a thing that needs further exploration, I need to pick the former.
> All of these options need further exploration. None of them are very easy.

I agree arrears is easier, legally.

My top plan right now is to use Stripe for MVP. There's only one
payee for MVP, the Snowdrift project. This makes it very simple to use
Stripe for arrears accounting.

Somebody already made a Haskell binding to the Stripe API (which
wouldn't be hard to do anyway, just REST and JSON).

Aaron believes it will also be easy to do multiple payees in Stripe,
post MVP, but I have a strong hunch that is a misunderstanding between
Aaron and whoever he talked to at Stripe on that topic. I will remain
cautiously optimistic, however.

If we ever end up doing up-front payments, we can probably *still* use
Stripe in that situation. The accounting will just change, as will the
fine print.

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