Colony for Co-Operations, a community of independent professionals


I have been following Colony for years and I am a big fan! I see plenty of potential in the platform. Among other things for an initiative I am working on myself.

Together with two partners, I am creating a community of independent professionals. Experienced freelancers, mostly with a background in the financial services industry. The main purpose of our community, called Co-Operations, is to help each other find interesting assignments and jobs. That is, this is the objective for the first phase. Once we have a solid community, we want to use Co-Operations as a platform for doing business together.

Inspired by Colony, we want to implement a (simple) system of incentives to be able to reward members for actions that create added value for our collective. We want to introduce ‘Co-Op Coins’ that members can earn by, for example, finding new Co-Operators, creating publicity for Co-Operations or by finding jobs and assignments. This will be the tasks. We put 5% of the turnover that is generated via Co-Operations in a joint piggy bank. Every year we distribute the amount that we have saved among the members, based on the Co-Op Coins that they have earned. So next to building a reputation, our members will earn money by doing tasks.

In my opinion, Colony can be a perfect infrastructure to mobilize the collective power of our community. Do you agree? Do you have any ideas and tips that we could use to encourage behavior that makes our community stronger and to prevent unwanted side effects?


Petrosjan Damen


Hi Petrosjan,

Interesting idea you have.

From what you described, it sounds like Colony might be a good fit.

Could you explain what you mean by this? Who is paying who in this scenario?

Hey Petrosjan!

This is actually very very similar to a project I was working on before I joined Colony! I wanted to create a worker’s cooperative for freelancers in SE Asia, and while doing research I found – I realized that the project was much better than anything I could create myself, and decided to contribute!

What you’re describing in terms of the turnover and shared funds is definitely a key functionality that works with Colony’s rewards cycle.

As Auryn was getting at, if you want to encourage the right behavior and prevent abuse and side effects, the devil is really in the details about how you set up your tasks to reward action. You can definitely import or create an ERC20 for the co-op coin, but it’s still up to you (and your team) to decide what kinds of work get rewarded, and how much of your internal token is paid out with every task.

This kinda thing is less a question about the technical side, but more about what your cooperative values and what the culture is. Which is not an easy question to answer!

P.S. tasks can pay out any number of ERC20 tokens, so you can reward your contributors in both money (Ether, DAI) and internal tokens (which give members reputation).


Hi Auryn,

Thanks for your reply.

Of all the revenue that our members earn through Co-Operations, 5% goes into a piggy bank. At the end of a year, we distribute that money among the members on the basis of the Co-Op Coins that they have earned. If someone owes an assignment to another member, the member in question pays another 5% of that turnover directly to that other member.

So there is a flow of money that runs between the members and a flow of money that goes through the central piggy bank. Is it a little clearer now?

Thanks a lot for your reply Gichiba! I fully agree that our values and culture need to be the basis of the rewards cycle. This Friday we will have a meeting with the first group of Co-Operators, members of our community, to determine the principles for our co-operation.

Are there already projects that have had concrete experiences with the Colony reward cycle? If that is the case, what lessons have they learned? I am very curious!

Interesting. So the co-op effectively charges its members a 5% fee for interacting with other members of the co-op, and then returns a relative percentage of that “revenue” to periodically to each member based on their co-coin holdings / reputation.

Is that right?

I’m not quite sure what you mean by this.

More or less. That will enable us to reward members for their contribution to our collective.

Just playing devil’s advocate here, what is to stop co-operative members from interacting directly in order to avoid that 5% fee?

It seems as if a fee structure like this might encourage members to transact with each other directly, outside of the co-op.

Say you have got two independent professionals. One professional (Co-Operator A) is looking for a new assignment and the other professional (Co-Operator B) helps him/her to get a new project. To reward Co-Operators B for this, Co-Operator A gives him/her 5% of the revenues involved. That is, 5% of the turnover that he/she receives with the assignment in question. We will limit this amount.

Ah ha! So kind of like a referral reward.
I help you land a contract/job/project, in return you pay me 5% of the reward for that contract/job/project.

Certainly that could happen. However, we want to experience whether it actually happens. We don’t feel like building in all kinds of controls. We want to work with the principle that it is up to the professional assessment of our members to determine whether they owe an assignment to Co-Operations. We mainly want to learn and experience how this works out.

Exactly! That is the less innovative part of our model.

Totally fair enough. I definitely appreciate the desire and will to experiment! Kudos

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We mainly want to learn and experience how this works out.

That’s a good approach I think. What works for one org might not work for another, so best to just try and see if it works for you.

More importantly, we want to learn from you too! Please keep us posted on your experiments and reach out if you would like help setting anything up, or with thinking about how to structure domains and tasks to suit your org structure!

I like this idea. Happy to collaborate, and i think if you guys are already testing IRL, then the future colony d’app could serve as a perfect platform.


Hi Donfelicio, thanks for your post! I have been traveling the last couple of weeks, so that’s why I am responding only now. Thanks for your offer to collaborate. I noticed that you are also (like me) living in The Netherlands. Do you already have experience with (coding / developing) Colony? We can certainly use someone who can help us with the technical side of Colony, once we decide to start using the platform. Would you be able and willing to help us with this? Looking forward to your reply. Regards, Petrosjan

Petrosjan, i haven’t worked with colony before. Still waiting for the d’app, which hopefully eliminates the need for code. I’ve dabbled with smart contracts and setups, but i still have a steep learning curve ahead of me. Happy to have a look with you and who knows, maybe i can be of help:) I mostly appreciate the thought of co-ownership that builds through proof of work during collaborations, i’ve been a builder of coworking spaces and collaboration networks for the past 10 years and i’ve switched to coding since about 3 years (been coding since early age, but as hobby). I think i understand a lot about the future of collaboration and have quite a clear vision on collaborative networks.

The dapp eliminates the need for code, but I think it’d still be worth looking at some of the docs to get a better sense of how glider implements things. Especially if you are designing a colony that might want to interact with other contracts on Ethereum. Plus, IMHO it’s always nice to know more about what’s going on under the hood!

a good place to start if you’ve dabbled in solidity is to have a look at the IColony.sol contract – this is an interface contract that contains all functions that can be called in a colony, but none of the function logic. The comments in this interface might be helpful in imagining what specific events are taking place on-chain as members of your colony “do stuff”.

For example, in a freelancer’s co-op, you could be asking the question “How do freelancers get paid for a completed contract”? The answer depends on how much of the process you want (or need) to be “decentralized”, and to a lesser extent, “trustless”.

With the addPayment workflow, someone with an ADMINISTRATION role can create the payment, another (or the same) person with a FUNDING role may add funds to the payment, and the freelancer can claim it after the payment is finalized. This is great for when a freelancer has already “done stuff” and just needs payment

With the makeTask workflow, the funding is similar to payments, but funds are held in escrow until the task’s manager, evaluator, and worker complete a rating cycle. The complete task workflow involves more exact agreements to be reached on-chain, including a due date, a specification for what’s to be done, and a deliverable submission for the worker. This is better for when the freelancer is being commissioned for stuff that has yet to be done, and which needs evaluation by other members of the organization. It also allows a job-well-done to award a 1.5x reputation bonus to the worker :slight_smile:

So yes, I’d say that getting a little more technical with colony can definitely help, but this will all more or less be possible in your browser window when the dapp is released :slight_smile:

EDIT: The interface does not have events, my mistake. those are in ColonyDataTypes

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Hi Gichiba, thanks for your explanation! We have decided to award our members (we call them Co-operators) in a simple way, for now. They can earn points (Co-Op Coins) by: 1. introducing new members, 2. generating publicity for our collective and 3. introducing suitable leads. In addition, they receive a reward if their lead leads to an assignment for another Co-operator. We work with three fixed amounts. In addition, there is an amount in the piggy bank that we use to reward members for their contribution to our collective. So everyone who has earned Co-Op Coins will eventually receive money for it.

So we want to start simply and, based on the lessons we learn, further expand the system of rewards. We will therefore not use rewards for the execution of assignments by our members. They carry out these assignments as an independent professional, without the intervention of our Co-operations collective.

The most important question I have now is: when will the Dapp be launched? I look forward to it!

Hi I am interested in learning the mechanism and how it works in practical terms