Hats Protocol is committed to open source, decentralization, and composability.
We value each of these as desirable in their own right, but more importantly, the combination of these tenets is critical to the long-term success of Hats Protocol.
Hats Protocol v1 is licensed as AGPLv3 to ensure that core protocol code is always open source. Additionally, we have built a number of modules, extensions, and plugins for Hats Protocol that are licensed as MIT for maximum permissiveness.
We take this approach because we believe open source is more effective at achieving our goals relative to alternative licensing approaches. We recognize that open source code makes permissionless integration easier and reduces platform risk for builders, both of which are critical to Hats Protocol’s growth and long-term success.
We believe that sustainable, lasting security is more effectively achieved by public inspection than by obscurity. And that a credible threat of permissionless network forking is a crucial measure of accountability for the Hats Protocol ecosystem as a whole, creating clear incentives for contributors to create collective value rather than to build for extraction.
Lastly — we see that open source code can last forever as an idea, far past the life-span of any individuals or organizations contributing to Hats Protocol.
Public blockchains and smart contracts give open source software a permanent, immutable, and gatekeeper-free home. This compounds on the advantages of open source, enabling unstoppable infrastructure and permissionless integration further minimizes platform risk for builders as well as resistance to capture by bad actors.
In addition to being open source, Hats Protocol v1 is also non-custodial and non-upgradable — it is already an unstoppable public good in Ethereum.
Beyond immutable and persistent code, we are committed to imbuing decentralization into our governance and operations to extend those benefits to the human dimension of our ecosystem. We believe that multi-stakeholder representation and contributor autonomy are not only fairer and more equitable, but they also attract more talented contributors and unlock more creative, productive, expressive value creation for better collective outcomes.
At its core, Hats Protocol is infrastructure for organizations to create and manage their own roles and structure. Our focus on roles yields a rich and important design space, but we recognize that roles are just a slice of the broader organization and coordination problem space that we are committed to helping solve.
With that recognition, Hats Protocol itself is designed explicitly to compose, integrate, and interoperate with as wide a variety of tools, applications, and protocols as possible. And we extend that practice to all other aspects of Hats Protocol-related technologies, from infrastructure to user-facing applications.
Let's Build, Together
The Hats Protocol ecosystem is a living organism. We have strong pillars that undergird our approach to everything we do, but exactly how these values are expressed will inevitably evolve with shifting conditions and community needs.
As stewards of this part of the greater whole, we are doing our best to build something incredible and valuable while navigating a high-complexity, high-ambiguity environment. We welcome your feedback, and invite you to join us on this journey to help shape the present and future of Hats Protocol.