A previous thread, Let's talk about the elephant in the room, was a long discussion about disappointments the community had about Grin, which later spilled over into keybase as a discussion on governance. Decentralization was discussed, and a suggestion I made to the community about encouraging exchanges and mining pools to use Grin++ or any other implementation of Grin was brought up. Concerns were mentioned by a few core team members about how using Grin++ doesn’t improve the situation, since it’s a one-man show. Here was my response to that, as well as my comments on other governance issues that were being discussed. I’m sharing here for more exposure and to provide a better place for the core team and others to respond.
re: your concerns about Grin++ being a one-man show. Yes, I share those same concerns, and am open to outside developers and users contributing, and frequently reach out to the community for feedback and suggestions. I would love to share responsibility and privs with other protocol devs, but so far, none have shown interest in contributing long-term. Grin as a whole is losing developers, not gaining them, and it’s even more difficult to attract devs to what’s seen as an unofficial implementation. Building active dev communities takes years, and I’ve always been planning for the much more distant future.
I never had the illusion that G++ or any alternative impl (there were a few when I joined the project) would be able to compete with the Grin repo in the first few years, which is why myself and others looked toward the council’s version as the way to drive protocol improvements during these early times. I believed that core would have the community’s best interests in mind, and at first it seemed to. Unfortunately, the narrative began to change rapidly after the loss of Igno, to where core no longer stood for the decentralization and advancement of Grin the coin, but instead solely for the development of the github.com/mimblewimble org and the enactment of the core team’s agenda (whether good or bad). Ultimate authority was collected by a tiny group with no checks and balances in place, and opposition began to be met with suggestions like “fork the repo”, which would take years to build support. Whether the change in narrative was intentional or not, it was a dramatic shift, and now many of us feel left without a voice.
To make matters worse, this small group collected massive amounts of money from donations back when they still claimed to be representative of the Grin project, and thus far, all of that money, of which they alone have decision-making power, has been used to give themselves a salary. Many of us were originally optimistic that we could do a lot of good with the money, but negotiations to set aside some of that money to hire a cryptographer, or to contribute toward a security audit for G++, which made up 1/3 of the network, went nowhere fast. The core team is about to be spending nearly $0.5 million per year just to retain people who once contributed for free, which contributed to the driving away of outside developers. To many of us it appears as if that money was not effectively used to grow the project or further the tech much at all, and an opportunity has been squandered. Many people donated varying amounts for a much different vision, and now feel duped.
I’ve come to expect very little good to result from these discussions, but if I could make just one point stick, I hope that it’s this one: The core team’s attitude has shifted dramatically over this past year, from an open and approachable group of leaders contributing to a once community-driven project, to a project whose every decision is made by a small unelected group of people with lots of wealth and power, of which the community has extremely limited ability to influence, if at all. This is worse than the federal reserve board I was hoping to someday abolish, which at least has limited terms and oversight by elected officials, and sadly, none of the core team members appear to show any genuine concern (at least not publicly) about the complete centralization of power. I’m truly saddened by the direction everything has gone, and quite frankly, exhausted trying to fight the current. I love the Grin community, and love what the coin once stood for, but find it increasingly difficult to contribute in any meaningful way.