HIP#5 - Adopt BSL license

Objective :

Allow the entirety of the Honey protocol’s programs to be made public but limit its commercial use under the authority of the Honey DAO. Approve commercial use and distribution rights for Honey Labs and Honey Development Association.

Description :

Honey’s backend programs have recently been audited and deployed on Solana mainnet and Ethereum testnets. Our goal is to make the code for these programs public to create an open-source environment where developers can build features, participate in bounties, verify security, and learn from our codebase.

A fully open-source license such as MIT would allow anybody to fork the code and redeploy it for their own commercial use. While this was originally thought to facilitate innovation in DeFi, it has also led to countless Olympus and Uniswap forks seeking to turn a profit through unsustainable tokenomics, ultimately harming the original project.

This proposal is modelled after a solution from Uniswap Labs and Compound Labs for Uni V3 and Compound V3.

The code for Uniswap version 3 is public and published under a special license, named BSL, with Uniswap Labs retaining the ability to grant commercial use of its code to other projects for a period of time.

This proposal offers the code be published under a similar license but gives the Honey DAO the ability to grant commercial use through veHONEY.

Under BSL, everyone can view or use the code publicly, but anyone wishing to use the code for commercial purposes must request permission from the Honey DAO through a governance vote. Furthermore, this vote can be incentivised by a token allocation to the Honey DAO or granted in good faith as part of a grant.

This proposal also stipulates that Honey Labs inc. and the Honey Development Association, the two current largest contributors behind the project, receive commercial use and distribution rights in perpetuity from the Honey DAO. This allows Honey Labs to profit from it’s work by one day building privatised or KYC solutions for companies, DAOs, and institutions looking for modified versions or private versions of the Honey protocol. This grows the reach of the Honey ecosystem while providing additional economic incentives to fund future contribution.

Any company with similar goals as Honey Labs (build on top of Honey protocol and distribute it) should apply to the DAO for a similar licensing status.

Example of BSL license with Compound v3: comet/LICENSE at main · compound-finance/comet · GitHub
Example of BSL license with Uniswap v3: v3-core/LICENSE at main · Uniswap/v3-core · GitHub
FAQ of BSL licenses from Uniswap FAQ on Uniswap v3’s Business Source License — Uniswap Foundation

The question is whether to adopt the BSL license, maintain intellectual property as part of the Honey DAO (defended / represented by Honey Dev Association), or move development to an MIT / GNU license (open source commercial rights to everyone).


How small can the code changes be not to infringe? How likely/possible is enforcement in web3?

Well I know where I stand, its BSL license for me. If its good enough for Uniswap and Compound its good enough for me.

In order to protect the initial development and its commercial value I’d stick with BSL. While rights enforcement of IP violations in web3 are near to impossible (regardless of BSL or MIT/GNU license) it may be an important part to maintain value in the project.

You guys are killing it with these proposals :100: :fire:

I think it’s easier than most realise to enforce web3 IP. If someone infringes on it, it stops them from being able to raise capital, be a legal entity, etc.

It’s quite restrictive. Where do we draw the line on infringement is for lawyers and judges to decide.


Is there associated, granted IP? I’m not sure how this works in software.

Infringing doesn’t really stop anyone from doing anything. Being found to infringe by a court changes things. I guess in my mind I’m not sure how likely that is. If open source is a must, then the BSL thing seems like the right play. I’m not from the space and don’t totally get the value of publishing code. Is the value in people hunting for bugs worth the potential for copy-cats? I really don’t know (not in a sarcastic way, I actually do not know the answer).

LFG,I’m so excited , this will huge ,thank you TOM

This sounds like a great source of revenue and influence on the market