What FreedomSponsors is

FreedomSponsors is a platform for supporting free/libre software projects through microcrowdfunding – that is, crowdfunding individual open source project’s issues.

The issue crowdfunding system is similar to JIRA’s voting system, but the votes come with a “money offer” attached. Anyone can go and place a bounty on an specific issue they need. If more people also need it solved they can “chip in” and the bounties will add up. Developers then can resolve the issues and claim their prizes – the sponsors are notified and pay the developers once the solution is verified.

You can think of FS as a big online board for WANTED signs like in the wild west movies :-)

bug - Wanted

FreedomSponsors source code is free, and is available on Github (and help is welcome). Feel free to browse (or add issues to) our issue tracker or leave us some feedback.

How to use it

Whether you want to place a bounty or begin working on issues, first you need to sign up. You either use OpenID or create a user and password.

Once logged in you can place new bounties by clicking on “Sponsor new issue”, or join other sponsors on existing bounties by clicking “Sponsor this issue” on the issue page.

When placing a new bounty you’ll need to provide the “original” issue URL, such as “https://hibernate.onjira.com/browse/HHH-1050“. FS will try to discover a few issue details (issue key, title and project) – so you won’t have to type those yourself.

You must also specify a few acceptance criteria items – a checklist on what the final solution must be/have:

  • requirements (free text),
  • expiration date,
  • “no forking” (checkbox), and
  • “require release” (checkbox).

When you finish placing your bounty a popup warning will remind you that you have to let the developers know about the issue you just sponsored. The best way to do so is to visit the original issue URL and drop a comment with a link to the bounty you just created.

When a developer starts working on an issue he/she can let everyone know about it by clicking “Work on this issue” (the developer will also need a FS account). The sponsors are then notified by email that someone is working on their sponsored issue – and once the developer officially solves the issue (by clicking the “Resolve issue” button) they’ll get another e-mail.

Once the issue is officially solved the sponsors can verify whether their problem is really gone (according to the established criteria) and pay the developer  - otherwise they can just walk away.

This is very important: there is nothing on the system forcing anybody to pay anything. There are no escrows and no pre-paid credits whatsoever. This is not an implementation detail – it’s by philosophy.

The whole thing is voluntary to begin with. We want sponsors to pay the developers because they feel grateful for their work, typically after their problem is actually solved.


There are currently two supported payment methods: Paypal and Bitcoin. We charge a 3% fee on top of the sponsor’s payment (to cover hosting and other expenses).

For Paypal payments, we use Paypal’s Parallel payment type. On a parallel payment an account A can make a single payment that will be distributed to two or more receiver accounts.

Suppose a sponsor wants to pay a US$ 10 bounty to two developers and decides to give US$5 to each. On the payment page (on Paypal’s website) the sponsor will see:

- Developer A ......... US$ 5.00
- Developer B ......... US$ 5.00

And there’s also Paypal’s fee on top of that.

For Bitcoin payments, the same principles apply, except that there’s no “parallel payment” – you send the bitcoins directly to FreedomSponsors wallet. Once the transaction is verified, FreedomSponsors will transfer the bitcoins to the developer(s) being paid.

Since FreedomSponsors is open source, anyone can review the code that processes transactions, both for Paypal and Bitcoin.

Spreading the word

We believe that if this model really succeeds it might have a huge positive impact on open source projects.

Developers will be able to spend more time working on the projects they love. Open bounties will make a gentle pressure on projects into making more frequent releases. It’s a “win-win” scenario.

We believe we can make that happen.

We want to let the world know that FreedomSponsors is made by developers, for developers. Our biggest goal is to serve the free software community the best way we can.

If you love free – libre – open source software too, and you believe in that vision then:

Have any questions?

Happy sponsoring!


Calleri Informática is the legal entity behind FreedomSponsors.

CNPJ: 10.522.445/0001-95
Address: Rua Araçuaí, 89, Bosque dos Eucaliptos.
São José dos Campos - São Paulo - Brazil.
CEP: 12233-380
Phone numbers: +55 12 39371638 / +55 12 81440013

Learn more about the people behind FreedomSponsors.


  1. What if the developers implement a bountied feature but the sponsor never pays?

  2. “Suppose a sponsor wants to pay his US$ 10 bounty to two developers and the sponsor decides that she will give US$5 to each.” ??

    I’m all for gender-neutral language, but there’s got to be a better way to do it than referring to the same person as “he” in one clause and “she” in another clause of the same sentence. In this particular sentence, it would be easy to just not refer to the sponsor with a pronoun at all:

    “Suppose a sponsor wants to pay a US$10 bounty to two developers and decides to give US$5 to each.”

  3. Typo: “tipically” -> “typically”

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