OsmAnd Live payments temporarily suspended

January 14, 2018

Hi All,

Through 2 complete years, we've been using Bitcoin to facilitate direct donations to mappers. Though it has always been a discussible idea whether it could work or not, I could say I was happy with the way it was going. Last year, something crazy started happening around Bitcoin and the price of it increased almost 10 times. Actually, we've been mostly interested in Bitcoin as a technology and not using it for speculative growth. Meanwhile, Bitcoin popularity has become a serious issue as the transaction fees increased almost 100 times.

Last 3 months, we were constantly working on new improvements: lowering transaction fees, finding the direct time spot to send transactions, preparing special rules and not making payments where transaction fees were higher than the actual transactions, but I should admit we temporarily failed. So we have to open a discussion and come up with a more stable approach. Today, with the price of 100 satoshi per byte, the transaction fee (200 bytes to withdraw from stock + 100 bytes to send) is at least 5$. We follow the rule that transaction fee must not be higher than 10% of the value and today no transaction could pass that threshold. I kindly encourage you to comment on AltCoins and future payments here on Github #4871.

Another reason we have to postpone payouts is the need to understand our mapping community (KYM - Know your mapper). With increasing popularity of Bitcoin, we noticed a couple of fake accounts with fake edits. Of course, 1 payout is too small to make any difference but multiplying it by 10 by generating new OSM users – it makes the whole system vulnerable. Fortunately, we traced most fake users and fake changes; they were harmless to OpenStreetMap. The solution we see is a new way of identifying our mappers. After new program launch, we will request more information from our users:

  • OSM Username
  • Email (in order to send important announcements)
  • Phone number (to verify a person)

I am personally concerned that some mappers may not be willing to provide all the information. However, I sincerely hope you understand that, to us, strict registration is the only way to maintain the community of 1200 OSM users.

We believe implementing new rules could take 1-2 months and, during that period, payouts and registration will, unfortunately, be frozen. Though the funds for the commits created in that period will be accumulated (likely in EUR and not BTC) and paid out once the platform launches.

Happy mapping!
OsmAnd CEO, Victor Shcherb