Ironbelly is Spitting Fire No Longer

Dear Grin Community,

Today, I come before you with a heavy heart to share a significant decision regarding the future of Ironbelly. After much deliberation and hours of thought, I have made the difficult decision to discontinue the development and support of the Ironbelly project. This was not an easy decision to make, especially considering the passion and effort we’ve all invested in Ironbelly over the years. However, I believe it is the right decision for me at this time.

There are several reasons behind this decision, and I want to be transparent about them:

  • Complex Technical Stack: Ironbelly’s technical stack, which includes TOR on mobile, the grin-wallet rust codebase on mobile, and react native, is quite complex. This complexity has made it increasingly challenging to maintain and update the app, requiring a significant amount of time and resources.
  • Low Usage: Despite our efforts, Ironbelly has seen relatively low usage, with approximately 150 downloads combined across iOS and Android per month over the last year. This level of engagement has made it difficult to justify the continued investment in the project.
  • TOR Stability Issues: Using TOR for addresses has introduced a level of instability, leading to user complaints and dissatisfaction. Ensuring a stable and reliable user experience on mobile devices has been a challenge due to these issues.
  • Legal aspect: The situation regarding the legality of privacy coins changes continuously across different jurisdictions. The app on iOS or Android app stores is tight to me as a developer. It’s rather overwhelming to monitor all of these.
  • My personal shift of priorities: The truth is that I also no longer as passionate about Grin as I once was.

Given these challenges, I have decided that it is time to wind down the project.

Here are the key dates and actions you need to be aware of

  • 8th April 2024 - The Ironbely Grin node will be stopped: I will be stopping the Ironbelly Grin node. However, you can continue to use https://grinnode.live/ or any other Grin node. Just change it inside the app.
  • 8th April 2024 - Removal from iOS and Android app stores: Concurrently with the node shutdown, the Ironbelly app will be removed from both the iOS and Android app stores.
  • APK file: Latest APK file is accessible here - Releases · i1skn/ironbelly · GitHub.

I want to assure you that this decision was not made lightly. Ironbelly has been a lot of fun to work on, and it saddens me to see it come to an end. However, I believe it is the best course of action under the circumstances.

For the Future

  • Open Source Code: The code for Ironbelly will remain open and available. Should anyone wish to pick up the development, I encourage you to do so. However, I ask that you use a different name, logo, and branding for the project. This is to ensure that users are aware they are engaging with a project that is distinct from Ironbelly. This is already required by Irobelly license, just want to re-iterate it here.

FAQ

  • What happens to my funds? Literally nothing. Your funds are tight to your 24 words, not Ironbelly. You can:

    • Stay: Continue using Ironbely at your own risk using any other trusted Grin node (like https://grinnode.live/, but DYOR)
    • Move to another wallet: Take your 24 words and restore your wallet using any other Grin wallet (Grin)
  • Import new wallet after 8th April. The app will show initially a network error, then you should change the node inside the settings and then click on “Repair Wallet”.

I want to extend my deepest gratitude to everyone who has supported, used, and believed in Ironbelly. Your enthusiasm and feedback have been the driving force behind the project, and I am truly grateful for the community that has built up around Ironbelly.

Though this chapter is closing, I am hopeful for the future and excited to see what new projects and innovations will emerge from this incredible community.

Thank you for your understanding and support.

Warm regards,

Ivan Sorokin
Creator of Ironbelly

22 Likes

Thank you for all the work you did for us, Ivan. It is a sad decision indeed.

I will take a chance and share a funny memory related to IronBelly. Back during my expat years, I did convince few of my friends to install IronBelly on their mobiles and while we went out to grab a beer or a bite I was sending them some ツ. They were always happy to see those ツ numbers confirmed. It felt good to have a feeling of using ツ on a daily basis.

I sympathise, I can only imagine how hard it is to make TOR daemon properly run on iOS/Android. As an IronBelly user myself I am amazed I am able to interact via TOR using IronBelly.

I wish you best and I hope ツ will get more traction in the future, enough to justify resources put into amazing projects such as IronBelly.

~ IronBelly User

3 Likes

Thanks for creating a great app, i hope you could learn a lot in the process. Its a pity but i totally understand your reasons. Do you leave the Crypto Space all together or do you plan to work on another project?

3 Likes

I’ve remembered today end of 2018, Grincon0 and my lightening talk, where I first presented Ironbelly, which had like two buttons: Wallet Info and Send some Grin :smiley:

7 Likes

I’m planning to not leave crypto-space for now :slight_smile:

2 Likes

Ironbelly worked like a charm for me.
Sade to see you go and see such a beautifull wallet discontinued. I hope you still have some fire in you for crypto in general.

Thx and all the best🙏

2 Likes

Thank you for all of your contributions Ivan. I totally respect your decision and wish you all the best with your future endeavors.

1 Like

Thanks so much for everything Ivan! May you find happiness and fulfillment in whatever endeavors you take on next.

Ironbelly was so useful when I was just starting out mining and it will be missed.

Can you share a post-mortem for future reference? Specifically, I’m curious about what would have made things easier for you. Like “if this existed, it would have been so nice”. Or “I would have done this different today vs back when I first started” etc.

Super professionally handled. Anyone should be proud to have you work with them. Thanks for the contribution!

2 Likes

Just want to say ‘thank you’. Seems that privacy coin will be hard to survive in future.

3 Likes

Truly sad to read this but it’s totally understandable. Thank you for all the time and work you gave to this community.

1 Like

Thank you @i1skn for providing us with such an elegantly and well crafted wallet.
I enjoyed using Ironbelly immensely and have fond memories of it. I used it as my hot wallet to buy beers and send to friends and strangers who I met at crypto meetups who were interested in Grin. Ironbelly always worked perfectly for me at these times, no issues with tor whatsoever. I can only hope Ironbelly will one day rise from the ashes with the support of you or another motivated developer.
It is unfortunate to read that you passion for Grin has waned. If it was only a matter of financials, there would not be a problem since we offered to provide funds to maintain Ironbelly.
However, if your heart is captivated by another muse, project or endeavor, I can only wish you the best and hope you will work with as much passion on your new project as you did on Ironbelly.

Like @trab I would like to take the opportunity to ask you for feedback. What made your passion for Grin weaker and is there any part of the governance system or community that might need reconsideration? While we are discussing with the CC that we need to put an opening for another core dev to help realize items on the Wishlist and to support @yeastplume, we have yet another developer who is leaving team Grin. It would be helpful for all of us to understand if there is anything in the governance or in community that we can do to make Grin a more welcoming and fulfilling project to work on as developer. You can answer these question here on send them to me in a private message if you prefer so.

Thank you again for all that you did for the project, and I wish you well with the next ‘dragon project’ you will work on, keep the fire going :fire:.

1 Like

Sure! I’m happy to provide some closing thoughts on my involvement.
Disclaimer, though - It’s my personal opinion and I have no intention for anyone to agree with it.

Slatepack and Addresses

In my opinion, interactivity is not so alien idea for people and they understand it quite fast, but what has created confusion is when we wrapped interactivity with a synchronized flow like HTTP or Grin Addresses, which is a masquared HTTP request over TOR. From my experience, users see a Grin address as something permanent, like in another blockchain, which is not what it is. Slatepack on another hand has proven to be a really good option. The number of support requests related to Slatepack or TrageOgre, which only supports Slatepack, was around zero. It’s simple, unique and extensible.

Another problem with addresses is mobile phones. One can not run a permanent HTTP server on iOS if the app is in the background. This means no one can receive funds in the background, which makes life miserable for people who wait to receive something from a pool or an exchange. Even on Android, you would be amazed at how often your phone is losing connectivity in elevators, tunnels, etc. or the connection is just slow, which results in timeout errors. People just do not get why they can not send money or receive money at their addresses.

I personally always liked the idea of an asynchronous side chain or just some other layer of building transactions in an asynchronous interactive way (like Grin Box for some, who is here from 2019). It would be also a no-brainer to make it a smooth mobile experience, as there is a way to schedule tasks every 15 minutes or so on iOS/Android to check if anything is waiting for the wallet to receive and sign the transaction if needed. There would be no need to keep the phone in the foreground and to have compiled TOR inside app binaries, etc.

Developers and Funding requests

One metric people measure the success of different projects is the amount of active developers. I think Grin here is falling rather short. I see the main reason is that there is not much cool stuff to build on Grin. It does not have smart contracts, no sidechain to spin something fun there, and no interoperability with other chains. I’m not sure what is a Grin pitch for developers to come and build something on it. I built Ironbelly because it was fun and noone did before. I remember initially there so many plans: atomic swaps, assets on chain, etc.

Funding requests from my point of view do not really solve it. The idea is good, but my experience has some bitterness in it. As a dev you ask for some amount of money you can provide your caclulation or not. The community council or some other council can either tell you yes or no. But comments like “it’s too much, in place I live no-one earns that much”, “others would do it cheaper”, “we can not pay the same hourly rate as to core devs”, etc. really distances you from another try to make a funding request. And you need to listen to this all. And when you get a request it could continue. Like now people trying to measure would that pay that much for what you’ve done. This really did not happen to me, but I’ve observed it for other devs. This is partially the reason why I did ask for funding only once.

Developers like to build cool stuff and get compensated for this, not get compensated to build stuff no one wants to build. Probably many see it differently, but that’s how I see it.

This mem roughly summarizes how I see the situation around funding requests for devs rn :slight_smile:

Lack of interest in Wallets and Exchanges

Exchanges and wallets are two of the main entry points for users. Both of them must deliver great UX for users, who honestly most of the time do not give **** what is dandelion and how it works. Btw Ironbelly has never had dandelion even turned on :slight_smile: From a wallet developer perspective, I can say that since the beginning it’s the first time someone has asked me proactively on what I think can be improved :slight_smile:
From the perspective of exchanges - looking at this bizarre memo logic they came up with to identify the transaction shows that not enough thought was put into how would an exchange handle Grin tx on their side. Like this memo could’ve been and still can be a field inside a Slatepack. They do not know it, but people on thsi forum do. Half of the support requests for Ironbelly are from people who did not enter their memo, cause they did not understand how. Another half of the requests btw - people can not get their funds from a pool/exchange using Grin addresses.

Community

I’ve been thinking to discontinue Ironbelly since like 2022, but kept going purely to not let down these few folks, who use the wallet. It was really a hard decision for me. I believe with right focus this community can achieve great results.

Again, my opinion, no need to agree.

14 Likes

@i1skn Thank you for your honesty. This is actually very usefull for us. I know you are not the only developer who does not like to “have to put his hand up” to aks for funding and defend himself for asking amount XYZ.
There never has been any restriction on the way developers can get funding and in most cases I think no unfair demands have been put forward to developers. However, I am starting to understand how from a psychological point of view Funding Requests do not feel attractive or welcoming since making a request is putting yourself open to scrutiny and bashing from people who often do not even know much what they are talking about. If you have suggestions on a better funding or governance format, let us know.

It is also very useful to hear how the need to be online all the time poses a bottleneck. Interactive is not an issue on its own, but the need to be online combined with the lack of a default channel for sending slate-packs can be a bottleneck. Perhaps we should dive again into this discussion on Bulletin boards:

I am afraid we cannot do much to the enduring issues with memo’s. It is bad system since it just hijacks normal transactions without using the specific ‘memo’ field. Worse of all, I think I am the one who proposed this hacky workaround solution a long time ago. Mea culpa.
The real problem is the unwillingness of exchange to implement slatepacks which always have been the only proper solution

Again, thank you for keeping Ironbelly alive for so many year for enthusiast like myself :pray: .

3 Likes

I love Nostr for this idea.

A purpose-built side network would inherently be tiny, unreliable, and somewhat centralized just given the size of the Grin community. But if we could build on pre-existing Nostr relays, that would be great!

Nostr address could be your “permanent” address for all intents and purposes. And it also would make transactions feel non-interactive, because the wallet would be handling the sending back and forth of slatepack messages for you.

1 Like

Ironbelly thanks for your service

and we need some amount of non-interactive payment

Nostr alone will not solve all the problems

You know farcaster could also do a similar thing as Nostr… They keep a personal on chain address for you for the farcaster protocol, but it can be linked to a separate address externally… they obviously have Ethereum-based verification of addresses but a user can also now have a Solana-based address tied to their farcaster account… just saying as an option as well…

I once proposed this SlateStore Protocol and @tromp found a cool way to pay for storage using tx excess.

I applaud your decision to wind down Ironbelly in a planned and controlled manner. It demonstrates your commitment to grin even at the end of your commitment to grin.

I believe you never got heckled for your funding request in the way that others did because your results were just better. In my opinion Ironbelly is simply the best end user wallet experience Grin has ever seen. Maybe I’m just trying to justify myself being one of the hecklers that you are pointing to as a deterrent to developer participation and I am simply that problem, but I don’t think you got lucky; you did better work.

I think you are so right about Slatepacks and Tor addresses. Slatepacks demonstrate to the user the transaction steps they are taking part in and they are not hard to learn. Someone could fumble their way through a Tradeogre deposit or withdrawal without any prior instruction and it would still be less confusing than Tor addresses that flicker on and offline. I have though the same thing before but there never seemed to be motivation around here to do anything other than keep supporting them. In stead, constant ideas from the community about how to replace Tor addresses with yet another opaque address based transport protocol. If I get a chance to, I will more proactively advocate for Slatepacks only grin.

1 Like

@Trinitron, maybe time to start a Slapack Maxi’s group, similar to what you see for example for Bitcoin maxi’s or Lightning maxi’s :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
In any case, the presence of tor has never been a problem IMO, it is the absence of support for slatepacks by exchanges and mining pools that has been at the root of most user issues from day 1 and which unfortunately can only be fixed by those parties themselves.

1 Like