SPADE: Making Open Source Work

SPADE: Making Open Source Work

After several months of research, experimentation, soul searching, and tweeted hints, we are thrilled to share Special Projects & Decentralized Engineering (SPADE) with the world! In short, we are a PBC dedicated to making open source projects succeed & remain sustainable!

A sword, a spade, and a thought should never be allowed to rust. -James Stephens, The Crock of Gold

Fighting the Good Fight

As serial FOSS maintainers and community organizers ourselves, we deeply understand the passion and pressures that come with the territory. It is a balance of many factors that goes far beyond the code. You need to consider community management, promotion, contributor pipelines, and a myriad of other factors. If you want to make FOSS as part of your day job, there is an ever-shifting landscape of grants, tax incentives, private programs, and events that are difficult to keep on top of while also balancing code, community, and (hopefully) a personal life and self care.

This is where SPADE comes in. Our mandate is to support free and open source software (FOSS), standards, and communities in a way that is sustainable for creators, maintainers, contributors, and users worldwide. Every decision we make is put through this lens.

We are a friendly, values-aligned corporate wrapper with companies, projects, and individuals as our partners and customers. We see ourselves as delivering back-office, community support, and technical expertise to help build a sustainable future for open source.

Getting the Ball Rolling

Our first project is Ethereum Status Codes (ERC1066 or "ESC"), an HTTP-like semantic signal layer for smart contracts with a focus on contract autonomy, contract reuse, flow efficiency, and end user feedback. We began this project in early 2018, when it was generously supported and open sourced under the Apache 2.0 license by Finhaven.

We believe that this is a high-impact piece of infrastructure that can benefit everyone from smart contract developers to end users. We are working diligently with the community and corporate partners to ensure a great UX and DX, while making smart contracts easier to use, reuse, and build upon.

Support a Project or Get Support

Do you want to support ESC, or learn more about how SPADE can support you as an individual or small team? We'd love to hear from you! Drop us a line at or join the #lobby of our Discourse server.

About the Founders

Brooklyn Zelenka, Chief Scientist

Community is in Brooklyn's DNA, having participated in feminist, queer, environmental, and tech organizations. She has contributed to open source since entering the industry, and is probably best known for the Witchcraft Suite — a collection of libraries that enable a more principled/algebraic style of programming in Elixir.

Brooklyn is the founder of the Blockchain Whitepaper Reading Group, Vancouver Functional Programmers, is one of the primary organizers of Code & Coffee YVR, and mentors the local Haskell Reading Group. She is frequently on the conference circuit as a lecturer, panelist, and mentor, and has given keynotes in Europe and North America.

In the world of Ethereum open standards, she is the primary author of ERC902 (token validation) and ERC1066 (status codes).

Boris Mann, Head of Community & Operations

Boris brings years of experience building communities and companies, is passionate about open source and standards, and speaks developer fluently.

Boris started with open source while in university, later becoming active in the Drupal community, and was part of founding of the Drupal Association. He later focused on founding and funding, creating Bootup Labs (Canada’s first modern startup accelerator), running Full Stack (a small seed fund), and many projects and companies focused on frontier technologies.

Boris has most recently become very engaged with the Ethereum community, including taking a major organizing role with the Fellowship of Ethereum Magicians.