, 25 tweets, 9 min read Read on Twitter
$100m for VC mining vs. $5k for core development.

A short thread on Grin, incentives, and the state of the crypto commons. /1


2/ Last night, Ignotus Peverell, pseudonymous dev who launched @GrinMW shared his frustration w industry around Grin. "Grin will profit infinitely more from the contributions of a great developer..than from any single additional miner, exchange or fund." grin-forum.org/t/early-disapp…
3/ Specifically in question was the disparity between VC-backed mining, which @wheatpond estimated at $100m+, and the crowd funding campaign for @yeastplume, which stood at ~$5k before the announcement and is a bit over $20k now theblockcrypto.com/tiny/grin-lead…
4/ One reason for the mass mining excitement around Grin was their “fair launch” - which offered no pre-mine and no founder’s reward, and which @arjunblj and @hasufl explore in this essay. uncommoncore.co/grin-and-the-m…
5/ In the absence of either pre-mines or founders rewards, however, the development team has to rely on other means to continue their work, including crowdfunding campaigns like that of @yeastplume grin-tech.org/yeastplume
6/ Developer incentives and the sustainability of open source contributions sit in the crypto space like a cigarette butt on a dry forest floor, just waiting to spark destruction.
7/ Some might argue that these projects had it coming by trying to unleash yet another token on the world. There are two reasons why - however deliciously schadenfreude gratifying this position might be - the problem of dev incentives is not limited to new coins.
8/ The first is that the Bitcoin ecosystem is not immune to the challenges of funding developer contributions. Londstanding core dev @lukedashjr for example, uses @patreon and wrote about the challenge of funding Bitcoin work directly
9/ @Naval tried discuss Bitcoin dev incentives last year, but it unfortunately devolved into a debate of the value of hodlers - an important but separate conversation. His original point was about the implications of *not* funding Bitcoin devs directly:
10/ Which brings us to the second reason even Bitcoiners (or Ethereum folks, or Monero, etc) should care about dev incentives.

Without incentives to contribute to core, a huge amount of talent will flow towards new projects with better value capture and upside opportunities
11/ So, what are possible answers?

One is an acceptance that some reasonable (however that’s defined) founders reward is the price for attracting quality talent to projects in their early stages.
12/ A second possible answer is to build an ecosystem where the for-profit businesses that sit atop the open protocol 1) provide sufficient incentives to attract top talent, while 2) continuing to contribute to core development roadmaps. This seems to be where Bitcoin is headed.
13/ A third possible answer is to create better structures for community support of projects. While many “foundations” haven’t worked well so far, that doesn’t mean, necessarily, that we should throw the baby out with the bathwater.
14/ To that point, at last year’s Baltic Honeybadger conference, @AlenaSatoshi and @giacomozucco announced the creation of @TheB_Foundation theb.foundation/media/The_B_-_…
15/ Over in the Ethereum community, one of the most interesting efforts in this area is the Moloch “grants DAO,” which will attempt to create a mechanism for coordinating funding around shared infrastructure needs and is launching at @EthereumDenver
16/ So what do I think? A few things
17/ First, in the specific case of @GrinMW, I do think the disparity between dev funding and speculative mining interest is a bummer - if a perhaps predictable one.
18/ And, while I think Igno’s frustration is sincere, to whatever extent this is also an example of strategically leveraging his bully pulpit to generate some PR that gets @yeastplume funded — good on him.

Attention is a market too, and if this solves the funding gap, great.
19/ When it comes to the broader issue of dev incentives, I think it’s incredibly important to deal with, both to ensure continued development, security, etc, as well as to create paths for talent that aren’t just more venture-backed seignorage plays.
20/ In a free market where developers are rewarded as handsomely as they are for building *new* things, there have to be better answers for attracting talent than just hoping people are so aligned with the mission that they go against their financial interests.
21/ The answer for that is less clear, but I’d bet it is a combo of 1) a robust for-profit business ecosystem that continues to invest in core infrastructure; and 2) better community funding coordination to fill in gaps and provide direction independent of any one co's agenda.
22/ The good news is that we’re talking about core dev incentives. The better news is that projects like The B Foundation and Moloch DAO are doing something about it. Will be watching to see what develops. 👀
For those interested in this point, this thread has a lot on Founders Rewards and a promise of a new @hasufl article on the topic
Appendix: similar conversations in the Ethereum context
Appendix: voluntary contributions by business members of the grin economy
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