As far as I know, all Pickle code is open source and it is entirely appropriate to fork us and use our intellectual property for commercial purposes.
We have just committed to expand significantly and spend $2.5m, largely on intellectual property.
I propose that for Pickle code we use license the same as Uniswap V3 license – it limits use of the source code in a commercial or production setting for up to two years, at which point it will convert to a GPL license into perpetuity.
In other words, I propose that we become as permissive as Uniswap V3 and more permissive than Curve, which has a permanent license. Both are widely considered great DeFi poster children.
“Ok, so how does that work in real life?”
Let me describe examples of Uni V2 and Curve. It’s criminal to fork Cruve, it’s ok to fork Uni V2.
We are all impressed with Curve, CVX and YFI. But do you know how important was the license in securing Curve’s dominant market position?
Curve gets forked by Swerve Finance. Launches a big campaign against them, Swerve goes bust.
Curve gets forked by Saddle Finance. Launches a big campaign against them, Saddle gets removed from CoinGecko, Saddle’s upside is limited, no CEX or VC wants to associate with them.
Saber - low effort curve fork on Solana gets $4b TVL. It’s such low effort that code says “some number from curve” with devs not understanding what it is and what it does. Curve threatens legal action, Saber will not get CEX listings or VC funding.
Curve licenses a fork on BSC and takes revenue from there. Curve launches on Polygon and Arbitrum and takes revenue.
Meanwhile Uni V2 gets forked by Sushi and loses large market share on Ethereum.
Quickswap fork prohibits expansion to Polygon.
Trader Joe prohibits expansion to Avax
Uni V2 gets forked left and right.
Another example how licensing the code leads to better financial returns: HEX.com. Forking HEX is illegal. It is possible that in the Adoption Amplifier crowdsale, Richard kept buying HEX from himself for ETH that he recycled through CEXes, similar to what he praised in EOS sale. HEX now has market cap of 570b unlocked float and 60b staked, with HEX trading at $0.4 each, with total valuation of $255b (see hexinfo). Mcap of ETH is 410b and BTC 896b. All thanks to lack of fair forks.
My main fear is as follows: A competent group forks Pickle, deploys it somewhere, maybe on another chain, gets a bit of traction and then gets a big investment from one of the leading DeFi VC groups. That VC group starts to favor the fork through VC portfolio connections and eventually manages to outcompete us. For example, the fork gets liquidity mining from Balancer, Sushi, partnership with Uni, YFI/CVX-like derivatives, CEX listings but we don’t.
“What are you smoking, this has never happened and will never happen!”
We don’t have strong VC backing. We’re not a portfolio company of a big VC group.
Some VCs did not get on the Uniswap round and I believe funded “Chef Nomi” group to vampire attack, creating a “fair launch” competitor - Sushi. Extreme volatility and drama confused retail and created big buy opportunities.
Optimism is a portfolio company of the VC group owning Uniswap, as a result they have refused to give Sushi the same early access as they gave to Uniswap.
Three arrows capital and Polychain could not participate in Polygon’s success, so they have funded the very similar competitor – Avalanche to outcompete Polygon. Avax is largely the same as Polygon, with a slightly better bridge, but the capital creation now ends in the pockets of 3AC, Polychain and partners.
Portfolio companies within the same VC group have strong partnerships, for example Balancer does liquidity mining for MTA, AVAX and SOL. Ever wondered why Coinbase listed MTA much earlier than CRV? If our fork gets all the VC support and steers portfolio projects away from us, we might miss out on partnerships, liquidity mining, and listing
If you are an optimist, you expect YFI, CVX and other lockening wars on DILL. veToken and Frax are the first ones that come to mind. These wars were forced to happen on Curve because Curve murdered all the copetition, despite competition being VC backed. If you want to have lockening wars on DILL, you might want to make sure that we don’t have to compete with low effort forks supported by VC which has sniffed an opportunity.
1/ One interesting piece of Uniswap v3 is its use of Business Source License (BSL) 1.1, which restricts production use for two years.
I see people asking if @Uniswap can really use BSL 1.1 against v3 forks. Answer: yes, mostly, at a cost.