Funding Development through ICO

Idea - to fund sonic-pi through Initial Coin Offering

Got to know that the core team is looking for new ways to fund the project. It may sound weird but how about funding this project through a cryptocoin. The developers can build a cryptocoin around sonic pi so that early adopters of the software are early investors as well.

In future this software can be expanded to a platform where that coin will become the token for selling your code/tutorials/live streams and gives a way for artists/coders to earn and make a living .

A lot of community driven projects have been raising funds like this.


Lovely idea, but I wouldn’t know where to start and also I don’t currently have the energy to figure out how it might fit.

The sad thing about being burned out is that I don’t have the substantial energy I would typically need to move forward in a new direction like this. It all got poured into v3, my third child and trying to jump through funding hoops (and still being told I didn’t jump high enough)

I understand and truely appreciate your honest answer. Well me and other devs can plan this initiative and start implementing it and see if more developers in the community like the idea . I am hoping I ll be able to put this together.I am also assuming you might be required to do high level reviews of the system and rules only and not dirtying your hands with the code.

Sounds fab - I’d love to explore what this might be able to offer. I guess the biggest question is what an ico may offer over a more traditional Kickstarter fundraiser for a new version and the existing Patreon campaign (

Because world is already moving towards storing value generation on blockchains, to minimise middlemen costs, cross boundary funding and democratising control

Right now Patreon may be the way to go. But ICO will pull in other developers/coders/artists into the system to put their efforts seriously as they see the potential of this software and community. Once they start putting their efforts there should be some sort of token for the value they generate. If Patreon had a way to give future returns to the people who initially fund the project , then it would be closer to an ICO.

Creating the ICO token may also help in creating feature development bounties, bug bounties and other tasks which require micro payments.

You may watch this video to understand more


ICOs are a bit off-topic, but I’ll bite. What would be the value of a sonic-pi coin? The project is open source and there is no resource that I can think of that a “sonic-pi coin” could be traded for. ICOs that peddle coins that can’t be traded for something are literally selling nothing. Stretching my imagination, maybe you could trade ‘Sonic-pi’ coins for access to Sam’s practice videos, or perhaps prioritization of feature development, or maybe exclusive sonic-pi recordings? Putting aside that those suggestions are all problematic, the notion of reward management is already accounted for in services like Patreon. Sam already has enough on his plate without putting his time towards anything except what he deems important!


Hi Sam,

I am very sorry to hear about your exausting but nonetheless (till this day) unsuccessful attempts to secure a proper funding after the former threatens to run out (I did a similar thing years ago when I had my own company).

What can we do

  • to cheer you up
  • (or even better) to lower your workload?

Having that said: I had a quite nice presentation at the Hackerspace at Bremen. Not many people, but what they saw triggered some quite enthusiastic reactions. So: You are definitely on the right path with what you have created (probably no need to get a confirmation about that).

You have also done a brilliant job in marketing and promoting your ideas. I can only imagine, how much work you invested during the last years. So again, thanks for that!

I guess you have already done that, just in case, does the Mozilla foundation know what you are doing? I am just asking because education is one of their primary goals.



Native Instruments have just had a 50 Million investment and are looking for new innovations etc:

@gavin - cool to read that money is being made available to help ‘democratise music’. However, it’s not clear how this has any chance of helping Sonic Pi - particularly as:

“The money comes from private firm EMH Partners, which seeks to help the German technology company grow its core business as well as create new services.”

I’m not entirely sure how a free, open source system like Sonic Pi can help any company grow its core business (unless the business is to provide services around that open source system). I’m pretty sure they’ll want to have all the intellectual property for the products/systems they create with that money so the investors can make more money back than they put in…

Hi @Martin,

thanks for the kind words and thoughts :slight_smile:

Right now, I’m trying to relax and not pressure myself too much. I’ve had a serious case of burnout once before and it wasn’t fun in the slightest - especially as I didn’t know I had it until way too late, and because my job at the time didn’t give me the space to recover. Luckily I am very aware of the symptoms, and have fully pulled the brakes and will only slowly start to work back up to the rate I was working prior to v3 being released when I feel ready.

Thanks also for the positive feedback. You’re right - I am already very aware of how enthusiastic pretty much everyone is when they experience Sonic Pi. It’s beautiful and rewarding and is what has driven me for the last 5 or so years working on it.

I guess one of the problems is that despite the many enthusiastic reports I’ve had with Sonic Pi, I feel that the more successful it becomes, the less help I’m getting and the larger my workload. I should make it clear that I’m hugely grateful of all the amazing help and support I’ve had - Sonic Pi wouldn’t be what it is today without the work of many amazing people. However, the reality of open source projects is that you’re reliant on people donating their time - and people tend to only donate time on things which are fun and rewarding (completely understandably). They also tend to donate their time sporadically as it fits around their life and workloads. So I therefore have to pick up all the annoying, hard, difficult, dirty, frustrating, unrewarding jobs. Also, as the user base grows, so does the number of people wanting/demanding support which is getting largely unmanageable for me. Finally, I now have 3 kids and I want to spend some time with them as they grow up. I also want to not have to worry about feeding them - which tears me up as I could easily be earning a LOT more money in industry (I’m currently earning a considerably smaller salary than I was earning 7 years ago - I’m pretty sure most decent programmers are earning a considerably larger salary than they did 7 years ago).

Somehow I need to get some time and space to recover and re-orientate myself - yet I’m running out of both. If I could get 8-10x more Patreon supporters and/or get some corporate sponsorship, then I should be good - but I can’t currently consider funding opportunities that have lots of requirements and bureaucracy - I’d much rather just get a well paid job instead :slight_smile:


I guess I was optimistically extrapolating what they have done with STEMS

i.e they have (admittedly limited) form with Open Source ‘software’ or in this case a file format.

You know I would love to see Sonic Pi hardware integration beyond the Mac/PC/Rpi.

If they produced something like Maschine that was programable by Sonic Pi I would bite their hands off!

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Dear @samaaron,

I have the feeling this is more of a conversion from person to person - and not really for public forum. Nevertheless a few thoughts to your answer:

  • I spent 10 year of my life trying to reach a break even with a software project. I do not say at all that I was unsuccessfull (allthough it was concerning the money side), but in the end I gave up. Even though, the thing was growing. But this can be ambigious. On the one hand this is exactly what you want, but on the other hand never underestimate the enfolding dynamics coming with it. If you are not equiped with (what the business world calls human) ressources and money (or funding), you are bound to become owverwhelmed (which is an euphemistic way to put it).
  • It is good to know, that you know you limits. No one will profit (especially not you and your family) if you don’t.
  • I am (just) a part time father with an 8 year old daughter. I know that children demand and need dedicated time. And the have the right to get it. it may sound a bit dramatic or cliché, but in the end love, relationships and friends are the most precious thing on earth.
  • It might be a good idea to earn your money not (only) in projects filled with lifeblood (not sure whether you say so in English, but you get the idea); first you might feel resistance because spending time mainly for money does seems to be a kind of waste, when there is so much to do on the side where things really matter and make a difference. But it does not have to be forever, it provides a stable ground to reorganise yourself and often new opportunities pop up because you did not try to follow you initial idea by hook or by crook (looked that up in the dictionary).
  • So in the end: I would totally understand if you chose to earn some money (I guess there are many options because you have more than proven your qualities as programmer, project manager and expert) to then decide how to pursue your real passion. Lots of famous artists just did it that way…
  • Last but not least: I am sure you already know all of what I was pondering about.

PS.: I love Sonic Pi. It’s my new instrument.

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Just replying to myself with another Open Source example:

I recently upgraded to Bitwig 2 and one of its highlighted new features is Ableton Link compatiblity.

Link is described as “the de facto sync and jamming protocol”.

If the Sonic Pi code interpreter was seperated from the synth engine it could become the “de facto programming protocol” for a whole range of software and hardware insrruments.

We would just need NI or Ableton etc to host the project and employ you on a bit fat salary to head it :slight_smile:

Sorry just thinking aloud!

I agree, I think ICO is a broader and more aggressive approach to make sonic pi its own platform and become something like patreon in itself where coders/artists/synth designers all run the economy of sonic pi and everyone is rewarded according to their work.

Right now if coders/artists/synth designers all open their patreon accounts, they would be individually building their profiles and their efforts may not be unified towards common goal of pushing sonic pi community forward.

Let’s hope you can get that time. In such creative endeavours, it’s not just about pushing forward all the time.