Standard Grant: PeopleLearn (Phase Two – NEW)


Project Name: PeopleLearn (Phase II)
Name of the organization: Dapp Mentors Ltd.

Project Description:

Note of Appreciation:
Thank you grant committee for your support of Phase I of our project, with that support we were able to bring an idea from nothing, into a fully working concept that can now be viewed in our official project domain.

We have also prepared a short video, showcasing PeopleLearn’s current state. Please see the demo below for your comfort.

Product Definition:
In an era where censorship and cancel culture are on the rise in major social media platforms like YouTube and Vimeo, it has become more important than ever to have a platform that allows creators, coaches, and educators to teach, educate, and express their views freely, without interference from listening bots and algorithms. Such a platform is the need of the hour for all those who value free speech and the power of knowledge dissemination.

Since completing Phase 1, PeopleLearn is transitioning into a one-of-a-kind eLearning platform that empowers creators and educators with the advantages of a marketplace, decentralization, and education. As part of our roadmap of building on the Sia Ecosystem, PeopleLearn also aims to offer a gamified learning experience for its end users (students, learners, and creators globally).

Our project takes some inspirations from popular platforms like BuyMeACoffee and Patreon, but we have taken things to the next level. We provide creators with all the tools they need to manage their eLearning business and offer their audience an exceptional learning experience. We are proud to say that we have leveraged the power of Sia Renterd to achieve these goals, and we found Sia Ecosystem to be extremely useful in accomplishing this project, here are some of our reasons:

Unlimited Decentralized Storage Space: Sia Ecosystem provides us with unlimited access to decentralized storage at an economical price compared to centralized storage providers. This advantage suits well with our business model which involves hosting the creator’s content and only making a profit when the creators make sales.

API Resources: Sia Ecosystem provides several API resources that will enable us to provide better services to both ourselves and our customers. API resources such as webhooks for responding to events are very useful for building bots, file upload, and download are crucial for our eLearning platform, metrics and network resources, and so on provide us with the bread and butter we need to serve our customers better.

Data Encryption & Security: One question that often arises when building a data-driven business is the concern for data security. The last thing we want is to build software projects upon a platform that is prone to data attacks and lacks encryption which is important for providing privacy advantages for users. The Sia Network is not just an infrastructure but a Blockchain network that gives us the confidence that even if a breach could happen, its consensus mechanism and peer-to-peer nature will prevent malicious activity from prevailing over the network and extending over our users’ data.

Phase II – Needed Features and Enhancements to be Implemented:

We did some brainstorming around how we can further enhance the Sia Ecosystem through our product and also enhance user experience and content management for both the creators and students in our eLearning platform, we saw the need for the following features:

  1. Enhancing Operational Efficiency and Awareness, Service Bot Integration, and Real-Time Notifications: We aim to integrate service bots for Email, Discord, and Telegram to streamline alerts, analytics, and essential information about hosted content for both us and creators. Additionally, we will implement service notifications with Sia Renterd webhooks to receive real-time updates on storage contracts, balance, and hosts, ensuring we don’t overlook critical warnings that could impact PeopleLearn, such as notifying us to top-up our Sia wallet balance or increase storage demand.

  2. Empowering Creators & Admins: Introducing an Analytics-Driven Dashboard for Content Performance Evaluation and Network Oversight: We will develop a dashboard for content creators to view analytics on their files, including bandwidth usage, file size, and viewership records. We will also create a separate dashboard for admins to monitor the network, focusing on storage contracts, balance, and hosts. Also, we will add functionality for sorting files by size, bandwidth usage, and sales performance. These tools are aimed at providing creators and admins with a comprehensive overview of their business performance, enabling them to make well-informed decisions based on data.

  3. Integration of a Seamless Cross-Platform File Transfer from Google Drive to Sia Renterd: We are looking to implement a cross-platform upload feature that integrates Google Drive with Sia Renterd. This will provide a convenient way for creators to transfer their files from Google servers to Renterd. We used to use the Sprout video platform which had this feature and it made it very cool and easy to move files to their platform.

  4. Advancing Content Distribution: Introducing a Public File-Sharing Feature for Enhanced Visibility and Engagement: We aim to introduce a file-sharing feature that allows the public to view, stream, or download creators’ files stored on the Sia Network through a social link, aiding in content promotion and marketing.

  5. Introducing a Dedicated Page for Educators and Content Creators: We are introducing a new creator page, which will enable creators to list their courses, books, and bundled courses stored on the Sia Network for sale. This feature will simplify the process of showcasing and selling educational content, providing a platform for direct interaction with potential students and customers such as with the BuyMeACoffee creator page.

  6. Streamlining Data Access: Simplifying File Retrieval and Automated Management on the Sia Network: Our goal with this feature is to make it easier for creators to download their files from the Sia Network with just one click, emphasizing the importance of data ownership. Additionally, we intend to implement removal warnings and an automatic content deletion function to properly manage abandoned products that exceed our inactive policy period. This will help us manage our platform more effectively saving us storage costs on unused products.

  7. Advancing Upload Efficiency: Introducing a Multi-Chunk File Uploader for Seamless Management and Enhanced User Experience: We are introducing a multi-chunk file uploader that allows for faster uploads, as well as the ability to pause, resume, and cancel the upload process for an improved user experience and revealing the seamless file upload potential of Sia Renterd.

  8. Enhancing Video Delivery: Implementing Multi-Quality Splicing and Caching for Superior Scalability and User Experience: Lastly for this phase, we want to optimize the video delivery process and scalability. To achieve this, we will develop a backend feature that will allow us to splice videos into multiple qualities on our servers. We will also implement a caching mechanism to enhance response times and improve user experience.

Project Beneficiaries:

Our project is set to achieve deeper integration with the Sia ecosystem by the end of this phase. It will seamlessly incorporate Bots, Webhooks, Data analytics, Network Monitoring, File sharing, and dashboard systems that will leverage the numerous resources provided by Sia Renterd and its ecosystem. We are confident that the result of this project will greatly benefit our primary beneficiaries below:

  • Sia Ecosystem: While most people only think of the Sia Ecosystem as a blockchain network for storing data, our project offers a more creative way of expressing the relevance of the Sia Network by demonstrating how it can be used in an eLearning marketplace. This in turn benefits the Sia ecosystem by showcasing its capability not only in managing files but also in revealing its decentralized peer-to-peer nature of data storage and consumption.

  • Sia Hosts: It is a fact that creating a course marketplace will require increased storage capacity, which is unavoidable. As a result, Sia Hosting providers who offer data infrastructure services in exchange for Sia Coins will benefit greatly from this development.

  • Educators: PeopleLearn is the ultimate solution for instructors seeking a more flexible and cost-effective alternative to traditional course hosting platforms. Our platform is specifically designed to cater to creators who monetize digital content. With our innovative sales model, creators no longer need to worry about paying for hosting monthly. Our platform only makes money when creators make sales, thereby providing a stress-free experience for both parties.

  • Students: We aim to provide learners with an innovative eLearning platform that will remain accessible even if censorship and cancel culture prevail in the big media. The entire process of integrating PeopleLearn with the Sia Network is geared towards ensuring that learners, who are the end-consumers of our products, have access to a reliable platform for their educational needs.

  • Content Creators: Our project offers numerous benefits to content creators. They can now host their videos on our decentralized platform without relying on centralized video hosting services. This shift not only reduces costs but also guarantees full ownership rights to their content through our Sia-based platform. We are confident that our solution will revolutionize the way content creators share and monetize their work.

  • Community Users: For members of the Sia network community, our open-source project serves as an invaluable learning resource for those keen on contributing to the Sia ecosystem.

  • Application Developers: The open-source code of our project is an invaluable asset for developers in the Sia ecosystem. It offers practical and efficient examples for integrating Renterd into user applications, promoting innovation, and contributing to the rapid growth of the Sia network.

How our project serves the Foundation’s mission of user-owned data:

Our PeopleLearn project serves the Sia Foundation’s mission of user-owned data by creating a cost-effective, decentralized eLearning platform for educators and content creators to move away from centralized course hosting.

This not only enhances educational access to the global community but also provides a valuable resource for others seeking to integrate Sia Renterd into their projects, addressing a gap we faced in phase I of this project, while searching for useful examples that match our development stacks (NextJs, Typescript, NodeJs).

By open-sourcing, documenting, and sharing our project, we are also saving others from similar challenges, fostering innovation and growth in the Sia ecosystem.

Grant Specifics

Project Budget:
We are requesting $55,000 for 5 months, to be disbursed in line with the milestones outlined below. This budget will cover the following costs:

  • Development and Team’s Full-Time Salary: $48,000
  • Testing and Deployment Cost: $2,000
  • Additional pages, components designs, and Logo: $2,000
  • Additional Cloud VPS and Hosting Costs: $1,000
  • Additional Software Supports (Domains, SC, etc.): $1,000
  • Miscellaneous: $1,000

Project Milestones:
The first milestone shall be paid on approval to enable us to begin work. Here are the project’s milestones for a total of 5 months (May 15th to November 15th, 2024):

Milestone 1: Enhancing Operational Efficiency and Awareness: Service Bot Integration and Real-Time Notifications (1st Month)

  • Integrate service bots for Email, Discord, and Telegram to streamline alerts, analytics, and essential information about hosted content for both us and creators.
  • Dashboard Alert Display of Service Notifications from Sia Renterd Webhooks.
  • Testing of Alert Notifications on both the Dashboard and via Email, Discord, and Telegram.

Milestone 2: Analytic-Driven Dashboards for Creator and Network Insight Dashboard for Admins Empowerment (2nd Month)

  • Develop a dashboard for creators to view analytics on their content, including bandwidth usage, file size, and viewership records.
  • Add functionality to sort files by size, bandwidth usage, and sales performance, enabling creators to make informed decisions based on data.
  • Implement a dashboard for admins to monitor platform analytics, including storage space, bandwidth usage, Renterd balance, Sia Renterd alerts, and top creators.
  • Utilize Sia Renterd webhooks for real-time notifications on storage contracts, balance, and hosts, crucial for timely action on essential warnings.

Milestone 3: Seamless Cross-Platform Transfer, Google Drive to Sia Renterd Integration, and Public File Sharing (3rd Month)

  • Implement a feature allowing creators to easily transfer files from Google Drive to Sia Renterd, streamlining the process of moving content from Google servers to Renterd, and expressing the versatility of the Sia Ecosystem.
  • Implement a file-sharing feature that allows the public to view, stream, or download a creator’s file by visiting a social link, enhancing content visibility and engagement.

Milestone 4: Dedicated Creator Page, Reinforcing Data Ownership, Content Backup Retrieval on Sia Network (4th Month)

  • Implement a creator page where creators can list their products (courses, books, bundled courses) stored on the Sia Network for sale, simplifying the showcasing and selling of educational content.
  • Develop a simplified background feature to allow creators to download their contents in one zipped file from the Sia Network with a single click, reinforcing data ownership.
  • Testing of the background zipping and download feature.

Milestone 5: Dedicated Creator Page, Streamlining Data Ownership, Content Backup Retrieval on Sia Network (5th Month)

  • Implement a multi-chunk file uploader to enhance efficiency, allowing for faster uploads, pausing, resuming, and canceling, improving the user experience.
  • Develop a backend feature for splicing videos into multiple qualities and implement a caching mechanism to optimize video delivery and scalability, improving response times and user experience.
  • Conduct a test on these Phase II features to verify that they all work correctly.
  • Deploy and merge Phase II updates with Phase I.

These enhancements will see PeopleLearn deeply integrated into the Sia Ecosystem with these changes not only implemented on our backend but also the front end of this application.

Potential risks of the project:
Two potential external risks we consider are:

  1. Restrictions on Credit and Debit Card Usage for Crypto Transactions: There’s a risk of credit and debit card usage for cryptocurrency transactions being banned in certain countries, such as India (2018), China (2021), Nigeria (2021), and others. This could potentially hinder users from purchasing Sia Coins. However, it’s worth noting that this risk is relatively low nowadays, as an increasing number of countries are recognizing crypto assets as valuable commodities rather than threats.

  2. Dependency on Stripe for Payment Processing: Another external risk is our reliance on Stripe for payment processing, which SiaPeopleLearn uses to facilitate learner subscriptions. Stripe is only available in 46 countries and could be susceptible to disruptions due to regulatory changes, especially in regions with evolving central bank regulations. Despite the risk of Stripe’s availability, we’re developing alternative payment methods in cryptocurrencies to ensure uninterrupted access, aligning with decentralized principles. Additionally, it’s important to note that PeopleLearn can be utilized by community users and application developers independently of Stripe by simply swapping payment processors, further mitigating the potential impact of this risk.

Development Information

Will all of our project’s code be open-source?
Yes, all project code will be open-source and made available on GitHub.

A link to where our code will be accessible for review:

Frontend Codes:

Backend Codes:

Sia Storage Service

Renterd Mainnet

Renterd Testnet

Do we agree to submit monthly progress reports?
Yes, we agree to submit monthly progress reports in the forum.

Contact info:

Any other preferred contact methods:

Forum: @DappMentors
Discord: Daltonic

We sincerely ask the committee’s support for the integration and enhancement of PeopleLearn. We are confident that this project will bring innovation, introduce a new product in the ecosystem, and expand the Sia network ecosystem.

Thanks for submitting your updated proposal to the Sia Foundation Grants Program. After review, the committee has decided to reject this proposal.

We appreciate your effort to add in new milestones that expand the grants scope. However, with the Sia integration portion done, the Grants Program is no longer a good avenue to support continued work on this project. The proposed features lean more toward building a business and less around data-ownership specifically.

Thanks again, and we wish PeopleLearn the best of luck in the future!