Draft Proposal

This is a first draft of a proposal to design and build a user friendly, egalitarian, and decentralized social platform that enables and inspires a mass of cooperative participants to come together as a powerful movement. A movement capable of transforming our political and economic systems in order to make a more just, democratic, and sustainable world. It’s a plan to build a platform designed to facilitate a modern renaissance. Your feedback is welcome.

Link to Anchor Identifiers


If we are going to build a future with a new values system we have to begin construction of that future on a foundation that reflects and supports that values-system, of openness, cooperation, democracy, sustainability, and egalitarianism. To create alternatives to extractive and wealth concentrating businesses, alternatives to the mega corporations and monied elites that undermine our democracy, we’ll have to cooperate at the scale of mega corporations and even governments. The internet is clearly the tool that can enable such large scale collaboration in a more horizontal, rather than hierarchical way. But, the web applications that define our interactions and our power dynamics, needs to be decentralized like the internet. Currently, the web is full of walled gardens, businesses that use our activity and data to concentrate wealth and power to the hands of the few. With a decentralized protocol the web can more easily become an open garden where the wealth and abundance created there benefits the many.
What we propose is a way to utilize the web to facilitate decentralization. When our interactions on the web are decentralized it becomes a more powerful tool for we, the people, to create a more just, democratic, and sustainable world. With the fertile foundation of a decentralized web a living, breathing, interoperable, and adaptable ecosystem of software can help foster a more egalitarian society. The foundation of this ecosystem is decentralized identifiers that allow users to communicate person to person without a central authority, on which decentralized applications of any type can be built, including apps with similar functionality to Facebook, Uber, or AirBnB, Taskrabbit, Itunes, and even Amazon. Decentralized identities and web applications will allow more complex functionality to operate in a decentralized fashion just as email does today. Imagine if one company owned email, that would be crazy. It’s just as crazy that single corporations monopolize so many other web functions. The hope is that social entrepreneurs will utilize this decentralized platform to develop decentralized apps intent on disrupting any and all tech monopolies with decentralized P2P schemes, egalitarian business models, and “platform cooperativism”.

Detail of a green leaf, close-up.


Decentralized Identities

The decentralized identities are foundational to this software ecosystem. It creates a peer to peer foundation that empowers the individual and self organizing groups of individuals, rather than relying on privately controlled walled gardens. Your data is permanently in your control for your entire life. The decentralized  identities/nodes enable communication across servers without a central hub. Identities can be used to identify a particular entity such as a person, organization, or device. For our purposes we will be focusing on identities for individual persons. Each user will have a personal server that stores their identity, data, and has an operating system that runs their decentralized apps. Users can access their personal server from anywhere on the web. Personal servers will be hosted on a home server or with a hosting provider, and be migratable from one host to another. In short, liberating the user from any platform to freely choose to, or not to, interact with any applicaitons built using the decentralized identities creates a more horizontal power dynamic and fosters a more organic, liberating, long lasting and robust approach to organizing.

A decentralized system levels the playing field by bypassing tech monopolies, the gatekeepers, who take undue tolls on all our online activities. It also enables people to more freely organize to make change in all of our offline business and institutions. Because crucial data will be held and controlled by the user, and all software will be open source, there is less chance of new unaccountable monopolies forming. For example, an alternative to Uber could consist of a federation of worker/consumer cooperatives around the country, and even the world, each with their own local cooperative that along with all the other coops has democratic control of the app and its administrators. Drivers could easily take their data, driver history and ratings, with them to work for another driver cooperative, and the federation of cooperatives could take the app and their data and restructure around new app management if they felt management was failing them. Mobility and accountability is better for our economy and society. Ideally, decentralized and open source applications create true competition in which the most productive and ethical models can emerge as the most prominent.

Lissajous figure

Decentralized Protocol Diagram

Mosaic Network

Mosaic will be a decentralized social network familiar to those who have used Facebook, Google+, or Ning. It will be one of the first major decentralized apps built on the decentralized web protocol. Its codebase will have a type of licence that is open to commoners but closed to extractors. We hope that Mosaic will not only provide an escape from Facebook, but the means to better coordinate and act with our purpose-driven peers, a way to unite our economic, political, environmental, and social movements.

We will create Mosaic as a decentralized social network, as a vehicle to bring millions of people and thousands of purpose-driven organizations together in a way that reflects the values-system of the future that we want to create together. We will bring together an ecosystem of users and organizations and their associated solutions to help realize their synergies with one another. We want to enable solidarity and bring visibility to the very many working toward the common good. We, the developers of the Mosaic app, won’t have any control over who joins the Mosaic network but we will be designing with those serving the common good in mind. Because Mosaic is open source and users are autonomous, if users are unsatisfied with Mosaic management they can swarm around different management. Mosaic does not have power over users.

Facebook and other centralized platforms not only create a central point to make government surveillance easy, but they often provide unfettered access to your personal data. They are also platforms designed to maximise their profits, derived from your activity, not your user experience, well being, or freedom. As we increasingly use the web to communicate and relate to one another, it’s increasingly important that the values of liberty, privacy, and freedom of association that we so value in real life extend to web life as well. It’s imperative that we stop building our connections on the private property of these tech monopolies, and move our online relationships to the commons where we are free to associate without a gatekeepers.

There are Facebook alternatives like Tsu and Ello, but they are are still centrally controlled and funded by, and accountable to, venture capital. Blockchain technologies, while decentralized at the core, often rely on speculative cryptocurrencies and mining. This perpetuates wealth concentration and is a waste of energy. The blockchain is a compelling and potentially very useful technology but it’s not the best choice to provide a foundation of decentralization nor the best option on which to develop a decentralized social networking application. Additional alternatives either don’t have a good growth strategy, are not user friendly, or rely on gimmicks with too much complexity. There is yet to be a straightforward and user friendly decentralized social networking application. Ind.ie, Hubzilla, and GNUSocial are the most promising but I feel the Mosaic model has some important features and strategies. Perhaps we’ll find a way to work together.

Mosaic Structure

Mosaic will consist of independent nodes operating on the decentralized protocol that interact across servers. At first, there will be two primary types of nodes, user nodes and a community nodes. Because users of the decentralized protocol have the freedom to move from one server to another and Mosaic is an app run on the decentralized protocol that means Mosaic users have mobility as well.



Users will be able to communicate peer to peer without going through third party servers or apps with loose privacy policies. Users will own their data, and have fine grained settings to define view and edit access to all their data. Users will have standard social networking functionality such as friending and personal messaging. Users will be able to access all the community nodes they are members of without separately signing into each community. Community news feeds will stream into the users node and onto their Mosaic river, where all the users’ social streams from all their friends and community sites converge. Users will have complete control of the algorithm that propagates their news feed.



Communities are groups of users coming together for any purpose, they are smaller social networks within the Mosaic network. Community sites can be created with existing CMS software such as wordpress with the buddypress plugin, joomla, and/or elgg. They can be owned and controlled by individuals or any type of organization, including democratically controlled organizations. Users will have to operate under the terms of that particular community. Communities can run on any open source CMS software, as long as those communities are configured to accept Mosaic users. Plugins of any kind will provide tailored applications for a community’s goals. There are thousands of plugins. If a plugin you need does not exist it can be developed. Below is a non-comprehensive list of the functionality that already exists as plugins for wordpress/buddypress.


Mosaic UserCommunity Diagram

Some Community Plugins


Take a vote or poll on issues, to elect representatives, or to decide the direction of the community.


A full service donation/rewards/equity white label crowdfunding site like Kickstarter but owned by your organization.


Create one or as many wikis as you want so your community can collectively document anything they want.


Create groups so users can collaborate on a more focused topics.


Participate in forum topics linked to a group or as a stand-alone forum.

Web Docs

Upload documents and share with the community or just with a group. Jointly edit documents, see revision history, and set read and write access.

Instant Messaging

Instant message one-on-one or as a group.


Create and manage events. Promote events to those within or outside the community.

Drag and Drop Page Builder

Drag and drop page builder

Project Management

Project management to enable groups to more easily plan, assign and complete tasks, and collaborate on complex projects.

Community Site Use Cases

Community sites are for groups of users or organizations who want a social network for their organization for affinity group. Many use cases could be a preconfigured/templated community site and copied to replicate the set of functionality for the purpose it was designed for. The intent is for new use cases to be developed and cloned, efficiently providing means for those working toward the common good to grow their solutions. For example, a participatory budgeting app or direct democracy voting app could be created and replicated for use in municipalities and/or organizations anywhere. Each community could stop receiving updates and/or migrate from their current host if they chose to. Their existence and security in the Mosaic network is not dependent on the host.

Crowdfunding Sites

Community sites are for groups of users or organizations who want a social network for their organization for affinity group. Many use cases could be a preconfigured/templated community site and copied to replicate the set of functionality for the purpose it was designed for. The intent is for new use cases to be developed and cloned, efficiently providing means for those working toward the common good to grow their solutions. For example, a participatory budgeting app or direct democracy voting app could be created and replicated for use in municipalities and/or organizations anywhere. Each community could stop receiving updates and/or migrate from their current host if they chose to. Their existence and security in the Mosaic network is not dependent on the host.

Local First Market

Localities could create online marketplaces that function similarly to Amazon but only sell products from local merchants. This could include the procurement of services as well as a variety of products.

Participatory Budgeting

Participatory budgeting allows citizens to identify, discuss, and prioritize public spending projects, and gives them the power to make real decisions about how public money is spent. This configured site could also be replicated and branded for municipalities or other organizations.

Direct Democracy

There could be many types of specialized communities tailored for certain applications of direct democracy. Municipalities: towns, counties, states, and eventually the federal government, could have a platform for regular voting, collective documentation, or other forms of participatory democracy. Perhaps DemocracOS, Loomio, and others could be cloned many times and exist as communities within Mosaic.

Organizational Site

Whether you’re an existing organizations or a start-up, a cooperative, social enterprise , non-profit, benefit corporation, or NGO, a community site could provide some useful collaboration features as well as enhance your ability to connect and share with other organizations and people in your areas of interest. It’s a site for your organization that you own and control.

Activist Groups

Activists groups such as Black Lives Matter or Greenpeace can use a social platform to discuss issues and plan actions. It’s a way to bring activist members into the creation and action process, rather than whole groups relying on leadership deciding the direction of action.

Portals, Directories, Search?

Portals are places where you can search the entire network, all the users and community sites, to find particular: people, forums, groups, documents, news, or anything else. It will provide fine-grained searching of all public data in the Mosaic network.

Funding/Growth Strategies


  • Start-up funding could be crowdfunded. Start-up costs are not estimated at this time. This is a big project. For examples though, 6M can be raised from $300,000 donations averaging $20. Perhaps there are some large donors out there as well.
  • Crowdfunding can also play a role in funding new features. Since the API is open anyone can crowdfund and develop new software on the distributed protocol or new features for the Mosaic network.
  • Hosting of user and community pods could be a regular revenue source to maintain operations. Profits, if any, from hosting could be donated to the foundation that maintains the distributed protocol and open apps.
  • If any other decentralized apps get build there will be more support to maintain its underlying  decentralized protocol.


  • Part of the growth strategy is through the offering of community sites that are immediately useful to small groups of people without the need for the network effect.
  • Also, assuming the crowdfunding campaign scenario in funding is achieved that would likely mean 300,000 users.

Organizational Ecosystem

  • Non-Profit, WC3 for distributed protocol
  • Non-profit, like wikipedia, for Mosaic
  • Coop/Benefit Corp for hosting of user and community nodes
  • Coop/Benefit Corp for New Power consulting and web development. A web development cooperative that develop new cooperative platforms apps integrating cooperative organizational structures, open licenses, and other aspect of a common good ecosystem in order to help create a more just, democratic, and sustainable world.If any other decentralized apps get build there will be more support to maintain its underlying  decentralized protocol.

We Are

A Social Enterprise: which means we exist to create social benefit. We are exploring different business entities like multistakeholder cooperatives, non-profits, benefit corps, or hybrids, with the goal of being both effective and egalitarian.

Open: all products we develop will be designated open source, peer production, or similar commons-based license.

Independent: we will never take venture capital or equity-based funding unless its within a cooperative ownership model.

New Power: we believe that the world needs a new type of power that does not concentrate power through coercion or walled gardens, but spreads and distributes power by designing in liberty and openness. Its this ethos that guides every aspect of development.


  • What do you like and dislike about this draft proposal? What would you add?
  • What people and organizations might be interested in this approach?
  • Where will the startup money come from? Large donors that don’t expect any equity in return would be the easiest path, but that might be like trying to find a unicorn.
  • Do enough people see the value of developing this common infrastructure to invest and even pay a premium until it reaches sufficient scale?

Call to Collaborators

There is nothing stopping us but our ability to functionally collaborate around common cause.
We welcome your feedback and interest in collaborating on this project.


We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.


©2015 Mosaic

Log in

Forgot your details?