Help us write Grin's Mission statement!

Hi,

I’d like to suggest, whatever you propose, ask yourself:

  • can this apply to Bitcoin?
  • can this apply to Monero?
  • can this apply do some centralized coin? (Ripple etc)

IMHO the draft so far is also fully applicable to Monero. And possibly Bitcoin in the future (if/when privacy/fungibility is solved). Is that a problem? Maybe not. But we should be aware of that.

Also everything should be viewed through eyes of second generation maintainers, that will come later and possibly over time replace you (creators, 1st generation maintainers). - Is the mission statement so clear that it can be interpreted only in the way you mean it? How much ambiguity and space for “twisting” are you leaving there.

I think, if we are honest, this mission statement is a little bit tricky. We have the technology first (super small scalable blockchain with anonymous transactions) and we are trying to fit some goals/mission onto it.

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New take after watching the conference:

Grin is a minimal, private and trustless tool for Freedom, open to all.

I believe Grin is more than just a currency and this goes in line with the ‘nice to haves’ below :thinking:

A quick point of view: I think I wouldn’t put too much emphasis on the “digital” aspect of a cryptocurrency. As far as I understand it, if we were “as fast as computers”, we could run a cryptocurrency network with our minds only (and some way of communication, of course). It’s only digital because we aren’t that good at remembering, mentally calculating and so on…

edit:
I reinforce this digitization point - insignificant but may be fun to reason about - which is tangent with the “is [Crypto] private property” question.

I just saw a libertarian (Kinsella) post about it, with lot’s of references: https://prestonbyrne.com/2018/11/23/krypto_property/#comment-3045

(again, this is sideline off-topic. I just find it fun)

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In 2008, Satoshi started not a revolution, but laid the final brick of a massive foundation. This foundation, our dear internet, has been under development for several decades through the accomplishments of many heroic architects, some known and some anonymous.

Labeled heroic because these builders built with a purpose to empower the masses. For the first time in human history, using technology to break the continuum of using power and knowledge to enrich oneself and kin. Instead, these builders choose to level the playing field for all of posterity.

For these visionaries had a radical belief: “power to the people” works.

Humans are their own masters, and can self-organize more complicated structures than any ant hill. Yet instead of pheromones, we organize trust with code (replacing institutions) to build a Utopia in which everyone has equal access to all the tools and opportunity available. Together we create an exponentially growing stack of open sourced human knowledge leaving each generation more equipped than the last.

We are #GenerationBlockchain. We are citizens of the internet. The first generation to experience connection through the power of digital technology. This is our way of life and how we view the world around us. The blockchain is our declaration of independence. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that our digital identities are endowed with certain unalienable rights: financial sovereignty, open access to a borderless digital world, and uncensored freedom to collaborate in that world.

this is from moonshot.express’ manifesto. Might be inspiring for a higher overview Vision Statement to give meaning to the features of privacy, scalability, opensource, etc.

I like the idea of stacking human knowledge. Unlike the library of alexandria, once we distribute our knowledge on nodes across the world, it’ll be incredibly resilliant to catastrophes which could halt human progression and knowledge. We’re building the fundamental institution for this new model of resiliency: cash.

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I think these are must haves.

You cannot have censorship resistance without privacy because the ability to censor something is directly tied to the ability to tell apart A from B. While most blockchain protocols might treat all traffic equally, so do the protocols that run email and https. What counts is that second layer applications, things that people actually use, also can’t discriminate between users or transactions. If second layer applications can differentiate between users A and B they can censor or marginalize some users and not others based on the origin IP address of transactions, whether accounts have gone through a KYC, whether they have a certain balance in their account, etc…

Furthermore, you also cannot have a community that is “open and for all” without the community being anarchic by design. Anarchy, as defined by Wikipedia, is a society, entity, group of people, or a single person that rejects hierarchy. This means decisions are not top-down, but sourced by the community with the option to opt-in by anyone who wants to be involved. This seems to be how Grin was formed, how it’s currently operating, and how I hope it operates in the future. This is one of the main aspects that differentiates Grin and why people (at least myself) are excited about it and volunteer time freely to participate :slight_smile:

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Here’s my attempt at a short version:

  • privacy and security for users at every layer of the protocol
  • open community that welcomes divergent views, talents, and solutions
  • open source code and research for anyone to audit, explore, and improve

But frankly, the points outlined in the docs intro seemed pretty solid too:

  • Privacy by default. This enables complete fungibility without precluding the ability to selectively disclose information as needed.
  • Scales mostly with the number of users and minimally with the number of transactions (<100 byte `kernel), resulting in a large space saving compared to other blockchains.
  • Strong and proven cryptography. MimbleWimble only relies on Elliptic Curve Cryptography which has been tried and tested for decades.
  • Design simplicity that makes it easy to audit and maintain over time.
  • Community driven, using an asic-resistant mining algorithm (Cuckoo Cycle) encouraging mining decentralization.

Sorry for all the edits, but as I’m going through the forum discussions I keep learning more and more. Don’t want to spam the channel so I’m just updating this post. Anyways, in the foundation / no foundation discussion @igno.peverell added these points which I think are really relevant to emphasize and cultivate as the project and community grows :slight_smile:

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I really liked the vision/philosophy statement in the docs:

"Grin likes itself small and easy on the eyes. It wants to be inclusive and welcoming for all walks of life, without judgement. Grin is terribly ambitious, but not at the detriment of others, rather to further us all. It may have strong opinions to stay in line with its objectives, which doesn’t mean disrepect of others’ ideas.

We believe in pull requests, data and scientific research. We do not believe in unfounded beliefs."

It feels fun and like something I want to be apart of.
There are a lot of narratives out there on “disruption” or “overthrowing the status quo”, but… to what end? The only purpose in doing those things is to get to a better place, and what you described here is that better place. As Ghandi probably said somewhere at sometime “be the change you want to see in the world”. To me Grin is doing that with code as well as with an open community. It takes both. All that to say, I think that clearly stating the change we want to create is a much stronger direction than the “everything’s fucked fight the man” argument I hear time and time again…

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I like the word adhocracy. because there is a hierarchy but its flexible.

It’s an attractive word with a powerful meaning indeed, but also one that 95% of the global, non- English native speaking crowd would have to google or simply ignore.
I know I had to, never seen that word before.

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Just came across this mission statement in the latest Tor newsletter:

  • “Tor Browser protects against tracking, surveillance, and censorship, and we think everyone, no matter where they are in the world, should be able to use it and enjoy their universal human rights to privacy and freedom.”
    It’s a bit of a run-on sentence, but it also really gets to point explaining what Tor is and why it matters.

It also reminded me of this:

I like this a lot. The only thing I would change is more of an emphasis on the fact that money and markets are a shared good for people to store and exchange value, and they’re actually a requirement to participate in modern society. As such they should empower the users rather than a few special interests, and privacy is the only way to ensure that. Here’s my attempt at another draft:

  • We believe in a world where there are no barriers to creating, receiving, and exchanging value. We see a world where anyone can participate in the economy equally regardless of their personal background, ethnicity, or religious and political views. Privacy guarantees this because it is impossible to discriminate when users, transactions, and data all look the same.

Also, in one sentence: Grin is net neutrality for money.

Well people are a quick learn when the words are good.

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about mission statement and mulling over ideas and I keep thinking that less is more. I think we should keep as much philosophy and ideals out of it and just give as much of a technical mission statement as possible. I think just explaining the bare technical goals and letting people attach their own ideals and missions to it makes it more versatile and minimizes the teams need to comment on politics. Grin aims to provide secure, private value transactions with as little overhead as possible on a global scale. What it gets used for could not be any less of our business. We are in the business of tools and freedom will come from how users apply the tools.

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That’s impossible because anything with value, esp money, is inherently political. Same with encryption, privacy, and most open-source projects these days lol. Leaving it open to speculation is asking for trouble because when people believe something, they also like to argue with the people who believe different things. Money is already contentious, vague, and political enough as it is, but when you add technical discussions of top it’s a perfect storm for conflict. If we have goals like building an open and inclusive community, building minimalist yet effective blockchain tech, preserving privacy, etc… we should clearly state why those goals are important. We need to provide signal, otherwise there will just be noise.

Speaking of signal, if you want to minimize inbound comments and questions, just clearly state your views! People ask questions when they have questions. Providing a clear signal and direction for the project makes development upgrades, community building, and any type of governance orders of magnitude easier. It gives you a north star so that in any decision you can ask if it aligns with the vision and goals of the project or not. Everyone who wants to participate will know what they’re getting into, what the direction is, and why. The more information we can provide about the project the more open and community driven it can be :slight_smile:

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Maybe it’s both technical and political? Maybe it’s none of them? Privacy is a human right. Fungible digital value is a big deal. I fully endorse your previous statement

Grin is net neutrality for money.

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All of the above. When people care they have strong feelings and opinions. For this to be healthy it’s important to create a framework that encourages open debate, but also has a clear path towards resolution in order to minimize negative conflict while maximizing learning and collaboration. Without a direction, goals, or answer to the question why (aka mission statement) there’s really no answer. Politics (or war) are the way humans resolve conflict and decision making in the absence of any real objective metrics. That’s why politics are so contentious and inefficient: there’s no ground truth other than opinions. The point of blockchains is that they’re an upgrade to human coordination, minimizing trust while creating positive sum systems that incentivize cooperation. Blockchains are still built by and for people though, so it’s important to create systems that manage the people/community (governance) just as much as the protocols. Thus why this thread exists, as well as all the other discussions/debates in all the other blockchain communities too lol

i think it is important that the mission statement should remain as apolitical as possible.

The Grin currency itself may have political ambitions, and indeed act as a vehicle for political change, but i believe that is symptomatic of how people are using it to embetter their lives and free themselves from political stasis, rather than singularly deriving from the technology itself

if the technology is political, it becomes the focus of resistance from powers at be.

If the technology is seen as neutral, than we - the people - are seen as the focal of change, and that - i think - is sometimes more powerful a message. this is even more so the case when our ideologies have extremely powerful technology as support structure and mechanism for change.

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If there are such ambitions, it should be stated clearly. Otherwise it’s just sending mixed signals.

Can you please be a little more specific and provide examples of how similar projects have encountered and then navigated the scenario you’re describing?

From what I can tell technology is seen as anything but neutral these days. Software is eating the world, and as Ben from a16z so clearly stated recently, it’s moving from digital first ecommerce and advertising to everything else. There’s nothing neutral about that. Every business, organization, or community has goals and motivations, otherwise they wouldn’t exist. The motivations and incentives are what determine the outcomes, and setting those clearly from the beginning creates alignment and direction.

Exactly! You have ideologies and there’s a specific direction of change that you want.

  • What are those ideologies?
  • What is that direction of change?

Pretending to be neutral when you harbor these sentiments underneath your public image is just lying. Literally every corporation, politician, and TLA does that. Grin is about community and creating something together openly and honestly. That’s why it’s 100% created by volunteers, there’s no pre-mine to skew incentives, and everything is discussed in the open where anyone can contribute :slight_smile:

I think it is neutral. Better technology eats the world for no reason except that it is more efficient, it is NEVER because it has better ideals or philosophy. It is inherently neutral. Maybe a company like apple eats markets because of some aesthetic principle, but I can’t think of other examples of technology that is not neutral. It is the essential neutrality of it that allows it to take over the world.

I think grin’s mission is just to be the best digital cash. Spend it on whatever you want, that’s nobody’s business. Grin’s mission is to be private, scalable, digital currency. The first digital cash that is fungible and lightweight like real cash. How that affects freedom or society is literally not grin’s job to imagine. And that goes with the whole cypherpunk libertarian conundrum of truly having to not give a damn beyond furthering freedom. Cypherpunks want you to be free to keep your harmless fetish, or your terribly misguided plans for world domination private.

In a lot of ways its horrendous. Libertarian types want a level playing field, so that the humble fetishist is on the same starting point as the multinational corrupt conglomerate. The corrupt dictator is just as free to use grin to further their plans as the gentle pervert.

But as it is the playing field isnt level and there is a lot of good work that can’t be done until people are free to do it without fear of prejudice.

Grin aims to be the soundest money possible.


Introducing…


HAMMERS.
Build a utopia free of judgement where everyone can live in peace and construct the most free world possible without limitation.

Dumbest thing I ever heard. Hammers are invented to hammer, thats it. Whether it’s nailing someone to a cross or building a hospital. We just want a world where you don’t have to go begging the monoply man with the biggest biceps to borrow his hammer. Everybody should have access to hammers. Use it to smash your genitals or kill the immoral.


GNUnet has one:

The foremost goal of the GNUnet project is to become a widely used, reliable, open, non-discriminating, egalitarian, unfettered and censorship-resistant system of free information exchange. We value free speech above state secrets, law-enforcement or intellectual monopoly. GNUnet is supposed to be an anarchistic network, where the only limitation for peers is that they must contribute enough back to the network such that their resource consumption does not have a significant impact on other users. GNUnet should be more than just another file-sharing network. The plan is to offer many other services and in particular to serve as a development platform for the next generation of decentralized Internet protocols.

https://gnunet.org/philosophy

I disagree, but that’s ok :slight_smile:

I agree.

Ok. Fair point lol. The hammer is not what causes things to be great or terrible, people are. It would be nice to make hammers more readily available because hammers are useful. If that’s truly the goal, then great. That’s simple, straightforward, and honest. I support that :slight_smile:

If, however, there are ulterior motives, or if there is confusion about the motives, then that’s bs. I think it’s really important to have a clear vision and direction (even if it’s a simple one like making hammers readily available). Then everyone can be on the same page, even if that page is one sentence.

If you leave things open like you mentioned here:

then people attach their wild crazy dreams and fantasies to it. That leads to lots of noise and inconsistency and confusion, which is exhausting. It doesn’t have to be that way though. If the goal/mission is to make hammers (or digital cash) readily available, and the reason is that hammers/cash are useful, then great! The mission doesn’t have to be more complicated than that, but it does have to be clear.

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I don’t personally have other motives. I think a level playing field is more interesting. Consumer crypto is cool. Igno may have their own philosophy (there are reasons to believe they’re a cypherpunk) but most likely saw cool math and wanted to make it. Being first is cool and as good a motivation as any, but not likely enough to get put into the mission statement. Yeastplume’s personal philosophy would be interesting to know, he has kids.

Wondering what examples you have of philosophy/ideals pushing technology? I’m dense, but can’t think of any good examples. Everything that comes to mind is simply more efficient at turning labor into money, but that is instinct more than a mission statement I would think.

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Honestly I think that making cool crypto should definitely be put in the mission statement. I mean… this whole thing was started from a Harry Potter meme after all :wink: Also, the motivation to make useful stuff available for people to use is a great motivation and totally worth putting in the mission statement as well. As are the points @igno.peverell stated about being friendly, welcoming, and open for anyone to participate :slight_smile:

Regarding examples of philosophy/ideals pushing technology:

  • Signal is a great example of focusing on secure messaging that enables personal privacy and freedom. They said no to a lot of features and revenue models to focus on the core thing they were after, and they do it very well. They’ve even set a standard that several other companies have implemented.
  • Ethereum saying that it wants to focus on building a decentralized computation platform helped it (so far) avoid some of the gridlock that Bitcoin has experienced (Bitcoin is great, but there’s no point in recreating it so Ethereum said we’re doing something new, not recreating the old, so people who got involved knew that going into it)
  • Amazon’s “day 1” and their decision to always try to please customers as much as possible, and that decision informed and inspired a lot of their other decisions that went against the norms at the time but proved to be very effective.

While mission statements do say what you’re doing, I think the part that’s even more valuable is that they also say what you’re NOT doing. For example:

  • Grin is not trying to be a store of value, and that informs a lot of decisions around supply schedule
  • Grin is trying to be a privacy preserving protocol and that informs reasons to use dandelion and things that other blockchains didn’t bother with
  • Grin is not trying to be a world computer so there’s no scripting language
  • etc…
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