"Devs are paid too much"

Given the discussion in other threads, I thought it might be helpful to directly address the recurring theme that ‘devs are paid (wayyyy) too much’.

My intention here is not to discuss the how and why and by whose decision developers are paid, which is another matter that deserves a separate topic. I would simply like to address the notion of the monthly amount being exorbitant and present some reasoning behind my firm belief that this is not the case.

I made a similar posting in another thread on someone else’s funding earlier in the year, but in this case I’ll apply the same logic to my own situation and add a few more bits of thinking to it.

As everyone knows, the current customary rate is 10k (I’ll use EUR) per month.

Most cities should have plenty of recruitment agencies (or other bodies) that will publish salary surveys and/or contract rates for the local area. This is the survey that I use for my particular area:

I’ll just look myself up here, and I’m going to humbly say that my current role falls between a ‘Senior Level (something) Developer’ and a ‘Technical Team Lead’ (I do not consider myself the ‘Team Lead’ of Grin, I am just trying to establish a modest baseline of where I might be contracting on a daily rate). The range between the extreme ends of these roles is 450 to 650 EUR a day, and I’m going to take a mid-value of 550.

I’ll use a very conservative average of 18 working days per month (which accounts for holidays and other leave,) so 550 x 18 is 9,900 per month.

The rates listed in the salary guide are the rates as paid to the contractor. You’d expect anywhere between a 5-15% fee paid to the agency on top of this, so the real cost to the company paying this would be on the order of 11,000 per month. If this is an on-site role (as is usually the case with these positions,) you can add the expenses for seating, equipment, IT, etc… though we can’t really determine specific figures without getting into a P and L, my point here is that the real cost to an employer always more than is listed in this survey.

I always stress that there is no way that the money paid to Grin developers can be considered a salary. A ‘salary’ implies stable employment under a permanent contract that usually comes with certain benefits and paid expenses that the employee does not need to worry about. Grin developers are paid via short-term contracts, and are generally expected to pay their own expenses. Contract rates are always higher than salaried rates to account for the lack of stability and expenses.

In my own case, in order to remain tax and legally compliant all of my funds go through a limited company, which has many ongoing costs to maintain. There is bookkeeping, accountancy, regulatory filings, equipment expenses, ongoing electricity costs (running the Yeastmonster for dev purposes isn’t free!), travel expenses for the Grincons I’ve been to, etc.

Also, there are no financial perks or incentives to continue working on Grin other than simply being paid. There is no pre-mined fund waiting to be shared, no stock options, no possibility of future windfalls, no annual bonus.

This is not to say there aren’t upsides. The work is very satisfying and meaningful, and there is total freedom to pick what you work on and contribute where you feel you can have the most impact. Working hours are flexible (although you do feel you are on-call and invested 7 days a week). You have the satisfaction of being able to contribute towards something you love at a fixed rate. But there is no way this can be considered a get-rich-quick (or get-rich-ever) scheme.

If you disagree with the figures, the logic or conclusions I’ve presented above that is of course your right. But I do ask that if you feel compelled to refute anything above that you at the very least provide alternative sources of remuneration information along with reasoning as to why you think the current rate of compensation is unfair.


I think noone disagrees with the fact that 10k EUR is normal salary for a programmer, especially in such field. One might say it is even below the standard rate. It is more about not having any financial stake in the project by the devs and taking the salary no matter what. Remember people in early days of Bitcoin? They were building it because they wanted to change the world, not to take the monthly check. And when in 2010 it become clear, that BTC can make you wealthy, they built even more and even better stuff, because they were also invested in the project (by mining or early trading) and wanted it to be both technical and economical success. They had stake in it. They really cared. I think that most issues people are having with Grin now, is while devs seem to deliver excellent code and ideas (way below my level of comprehension), they seem to have lost wider picture. It is more about building small, excellent pieces, and not thinking about project as a whole. As it was mentioned before in one of the posts - immediately after laying foundations they build the roof without other floors. Grin is simple and elegant at it’s core. Mathematically speaking. Protocol level speaking. And yet many years after the initial concept and many months after launch, most users still don’t know how to send the coins. And that is meaningful. That’s why people are disappointed. That’s why market reacts like that. That’s why the community reacts like that. People tend to ask “why we are paying those people from the project’s fund so much money, if the projects is still unusable for most people” (well, technically, they are paying themselves that money). And don’t get me wrong. This is not about my opinion or about some other persons opinion. That seems to be the zeitgeist when you read all the posts here on Telegram and on Discord from recent weeks. This is of course sad to read for the devs, which I believe have right intentions and are doing their best to create excellent stuff. “Being out of touch with the community” is unintentional. And “if you don’t like it, just fork the code” is not the right attitude, because it should be more about working together (also the council would retain the funds, which were donated way below things started to go downhill, from the pro-forkers perspective). So my recommendation to the pro-forkers: don’t be so radical. My recommendations to the council: don’t be so radical. Pro-forkers should understand that the devs are really aiming to build something great, but the council should understand what the community and the project really needs. Beam would be natural project to compare with. Let’s deliver all the stuff that Beam delivered: easy transactions, nice GUI wallet, atomic swaps or whatever else they have and what Grin could easly implement. Then go for the other stuff.


Well said. We should not forget the difference between Beam and Grin though. Doing protocol changes later on when the community grows for Beam is as easy as it is now. The same can’t be said for Grin, so I do think consensus breaking changes should be prioritized over UI/UX, even though I think a nice UX makes all the difference.

10k EUR?! Damn! Personally I think that’s too much.

Anyways… I think we’re missing the point here… The council should prioritise everything aims to bring sustainability for long. Yes, UI/UX sucks right now! it should be improve it! sure! no doubt, but these type of changes should come from the community, not from the council.

Users do not know what they need, they just know what they want. The council should give them what they need and others should give them what they want. This is actually very important, the Grin environment should be business friendly, so anyone can solve users problems and get rewarded, meanwhile the Council should be focused on creating a more secure and stable coin.


That’s not how I see it. We’re still working on the ground floor. Working slow and steady to make it more robust while trying to avoid technical debt.

Is that your way of saying development is too slow for your taste?
Do you think that core has their priorities wrong? If so,
which of the many code commits do you object to as being not


Just my humble opinion, 10k per month is on the high side. Let me explain. As entrepeneur or scientis, or in any other way idealisticly invested programmer you earn less for similar work. Friends of me in similar positions in NL in the private sector earn 75k a year. In accedemia less, e.g 40-50k. So in my humble opinion, as lead/senior programmer in the “idealistic” project GRIN, accepting more modest pay, 6-8k (in euro per month), if you are able to, would show merits. The project might not not always get such generous gifts as 50 Bitcoins from anonymous angel investors. In the end there is a finit amount of funding that when shared in modesty could empower more developers. Appart from the somewhat high developers fee, I do think the project is going in the right direction, 2020 will be the year everything will come together and usability (and required work on the core) will become apperent and recognized by the community.

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Entrepreneurs often work for less then they’re worth because they’re hoping for a much larger future payoff. Grin developers have no such payoff to look forward to. (Sorry, I know nothing at all about scientific work)

It looks as if you’re talking about salaries here, not contract rates. I’m not sure what salaries are like in you area, but that seems about right for a modest senior salary depending on the company. Contract rates are expected to be higher due to lack of stability, expenses, etc that I outlined in the original post, (and in our case is less than most companies would be paying for contractors due to no overheads, agency fees etc).

Thank you, appreciate you saying this and we’re trying our best to achieve these goals!

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Just to be clear, I am not saying devs are greedy. Even within the EU I know sallaries (and costs for food and living) vary greatly. So I am not judging, only comparing to my own countries wages and costs. I just hope developers will also look carefull at their own situation. E.g. if a developer would live in a low income country with low living costs, please adjust your requested funds accordingly🙏. Personally I accept a much lower payment as entrepeneur simply because I get to do what I love, workinh with crypto, not because I expect very high returns😊


Software engineering is a highly skilled, high-demand position. It’s one of the most difficult and stressful jobs out there, but it comes with great financial benefits. Devs who choose to work on Grin full-time are giving up up the opportunity to work full-time at more stable jobs that pay an equivalent amount, in addition to providing benefits. In the US, contractors routinely charge much more than what the Grin devs are asking for. The going rate here for a self-employed contractor who is providing his own benefits is $80-150 hour. At the low-end of $80/hr, assuming 40 hrs/wk, and 2 weeks off per year, that’s $160K/yr.

Regardless of my opinions on how the core fund should be used, I don’t see any issue at all with the amounts requested.


oh damn. I didn’t know the numbers were this high. Thanks for sharing them!

Wow, that is high! I often forget that US is high pay and high costs unlike EU where the payment is somewhat lower and less deviating between jobs, but is compensated by a lot of social benefits. It does sometimes make me wonder why I am working for much much less while nearly having finished my PhD and having experience in programming :sweat_smile: (not at the level of a software engineer unfortunately).

Yes, it depends a lot on where you live. Often people do contracting work for the US from Europe because the US can pay them less and they get paid more than in their home country. It’s a win-win situation. Most of the programmers in my country get paid around 1500 euros (salary). It’s much harder to “stack sats” if you’re from Europe, especially if you’re not a programmer.


Food for thought :thinking:. Maybe it is time to broaden my horizon a little and consider part time work as programmer in US. I currently run my newly started company https://walletrecovery.nl, unfortunately it does not pay me that much, although most of my earnings are luckily in sats :stuck_out_tongue:.

careful, you just doxxed yourself :smiley: time to change your nickname

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With my line of business, I need to be fully transparent, otherwise people do not hand me their crypto :wink:

(S)he already changed it by taking an anagram. Though not as subtle as one of these:

yuan moons
annoy sumo
mousy anon
moony anus
mayo nouns
unsay moon
yamun soon


I will consider switching to moony anus, has a nice ring to it🤔

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I’m a programmer, and I made $10k/month in NYC in the 90’s before I was even 30 years old. Not trying to brag-- I wasn’t the only one. In today’s market, at least in the inflated SF Bay Area, you would need to double that amount.
That being said, entrepreneurs around here will make LESS cash than that, but they also own a large chunk of equity to make up for it. There’s no equity gained by Grin devs, and there are no benefits, either.
I bet all the ZCash devs make more than that. I have no special insight but… I seriously doubt that with their resumes they’d take that job for $10k monthly unless they really REALLY love it. It’s just not close to market rate.
I have seen junior programmers just out of school make more than that.

If anyone thinks $10k is too much, learn to program and work for Grin.


So that point is interesting: why don’t you have a financial stake in grin’s success? Like a previous poster said in this thread, early bitcoin developers had such stake by the appreciation of bitcoin’s monetary value.

That stake can be in the form of a large stash of grins sitting in your computer, since most of the devs being the earliest of adopters of the project, etc.

With thousands of new software engineers graduating, and/or joining the work force every year…

That’s their personal decisions, and no need to stress this point. Devs can choose to work in a more conventional, better paying, but boring job, where they put their times in and get their salaries out. Or, they can choose to have a less paying (currently) but much more satisfying (with prospects of changing the concept of money) job in grin or other crypto currency projects (bitcoin and monero are my favs).

Getting paid in grins the first year (or even now?) is a very bad idea due to the high inflation. It’s one thing having a regular job and contributing to Grin in your free time, it’s a whole different thing being a paid contributor to Grin and this being your only source of income.

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