I keep seeing similar variants of this same argument. It’s always a half-baked proposal that seems to stem from the idea that a developer paid in Grin will have an extra incentive to drive up the price of the coin so that they can personally profit.
But every proposal so far is deeply flawed in that they all suggest something along the lines of just replacing bitcoin payouts with Grin payouts, leaving everything else about the requests the same. But regardless of whether the payout is in BTC, Grin, or Dogecoin, most developers are going to immediately sell the coin for their native currency (or another crypto that they want to hold onto). There’s still no additional incentive to try to increase the value of Grin.
I can think of only 2 ways we actually could use the fund to motivate devs to care about the price:
- Require all funding requests to specify the amount in Grin, and then pay out after the work is complete - either partial payout each month, or full payment at the end of the funding period (usually 3 months). If the price of Grin drops during that time period, then the developers don’t make as much money.
I believe this approach would be a huge mistake, because when we’re hiring developers, we want them focused on writing quality code. We don’t want them to have to worry about whether they will be properly compensated for their work. I don’t think you’ll get far arguing for this.
- Offer something like “ownership stakes” for core members of the dev team & community (core as in “critical” members - potentially, but not necessarily, the legacy “core team”). Determine an amount that each individual will receive, and a period over which the funds will be given.
As an example, we could decide to pay Igno 100,000 grins over the course of 3 years, so that he receives ~2,777 grins each month. We would make this payment regardless of the work put in, and then he would naturally have an incentive to try to improve Grin’s market performance.
Historically, this idea would’ve been dead in the water, because a heavy focus on price makes Grin less distinguishable from the thousands of other coins out there. Obsessing over price can have all kinds of negative consequences, and often leads to marketing gimmicks and the constant chasing of fads & buzzwords like DeFi, dApps, NFTs, etc.
However, it’s hard to deny the effect that a perpetually falling price has had on developer morale. When I started working on Grin a few years ago, we had plenty of devs working on the core code, building out 3rd party projects & mining software. Cryptographers were focusing on improving the protocol. Community members were writing documentation. There were daily active discussions in the public grin channels. People thought Grin was really going to take off right away. Entire businesses were created to focus solely on Grin (e.g. Vault713, Cycle42, etc.), including an entire exchange built around grin.
Fast forward to today, and there’s next-to-nothing. None of those businesses are still around or focused on Grin. Keybase is only lively when there’s a big council vs anti-council debate. Github Pull Requests & issues stay open for months, sometimes even years. Technical topics are rarely discussed outside of the same 3-4 people, and questions often go unanswered. These same few people occasionally still come up with some cool ideas like coinswap, but then there’s a struggle just to get even the most minimal of feedback.
The entire dev community lacks the spark that once made Grin special. I know it wasn’t all caused by Grin’s disappointing market performance, but I’m confident it was at least one of the major factors. I don’t know if offering some kind of no-strings-attached paid dividends priced in Grin would be enough to bring that spark back to certain members of our dev team or not. But maybe something like that might actually be worth trying after all. Speaking only for myself, it’s certainly a much more appealing idea than it was a year or so ago.
Epilogue: I started out just by explaining how flawed the OP’s post was, but as often happens when writing thoughts down, I found my views evolving slightly. I didn’t intend to turn this into a separate proposal, nor do I think this should derail the existing conversations around the fund. But I’m ultimately deciding to post it anyway because I’m curious what everyone else’s thoughts are. It would definitely lead to some very tough questions, and perhaps it’d turn Grin into just another shitcoin™, which would be a mistake. But at this point, most of us are ready to try just about anything to change Grin’s direction.