Thanks for starting this! I am going to give it some thought but for now one thing that standed out while reading your vision draft:
Physical cash is disappearing. The physical and digital worlds are merging, with the digital taking up an ever increasing amount of humanity’s time and attention. With the ascent of the digital world, transacting in physical cash has naturally given way to electronic means of transacting. Along the way, these electronic means have introduced surveillance, tracking, and gatekeeping abilities that are not present in physical cash. These reduce the authority that we as individuals have over our money and how we choose to spend it, and they undermine our privacy.
Cash is important. It is certainty. It offers privacy. It’s inclusive, it does not pass judgement on its user, or on how it is being spent. It safeguards freedom and democratic values. We live in an era of ever increasing surveillance, data collecting, and targeting. We believe a payment form with true cash-like abilities is needed in the digital world, as it is needed in the physical.
Crypto has the potential to deliver electronic cash but has not done that yet. There is still no true peer-to-peer-based electronic cash system. Previous efforts allow for surveillance and tracking, offer little privacy, have unnecessary complexity, work with unclear objectives, or are driven by questionable motives.
Feels like you are talking about the same thing in all three bullet points. We need a clearer statement about why privacy matters, maybe we can also refer to or shamelessly copy excerpts or even repurpose The Cypherpunk’s Manifesto through this community’s lenses.
On top of privacy, things that we may want to call out:
minimal design: this is very important from a project lifecycle perspective.
scalability: Grin comes very close to enable stronger security and privacy guarantees for all network participants than most other coins do.
“Cash” has connotations of the past, a bygone era (and good riddance). Grin has connotations of a magical future. Therefore, I don’t like “digital cash”—I find it derogatory. For Bitcoin, it was necessary to say “digital cash” because otherwise no one would have a frame of reference for what it was. But Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc. bridged that gap and I believe enough people know that we’re stepping into something new for us to be able to safely say something more hopeful, something along the lines of:
Grin is a mathemagical particle of power and influence that flows through a cryptographically liberated MimbleWimble blockchain. Our mission is to distribute Grin to the furthest reaches of the realm to liberate the spirit of magic from the forces of darkness.
Here’s a mission statement I came up with quick! I’ll put more thought into it if it sounds like it’s on the right track.
To create a minimalistic, yet powerful form of open electronic cash that prioritizes privacy and…” ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:
“overcomes censorship boundaries.”
“overcomes the boundaries of censorship and authoritative systems.”
“tackles censorship and authoritative abuse.”
I’m really struggling here on this second part. I’d like it to sound a bit more toned down, but still powerful. I don’t think it’s a good idea to outright say “fight the man!” lol. Let’s do that, but in the coding of Grin.
Also, I understand the use of the term “anarchic” for Grin, but vote against using it for a mission statement. If we’re looking for the mass adoption of Grin, unfortunately I think the general public would associate it with something negative, disorderly, or dysfunctional.
For the webpage, I rewrote the original text into this:
Grin builds electronic transactions for all, without censorship or restrictions.
I agree that “for all” might be tricky. A plus is that it is short. Is “for everyone” better?
I prefer keeping grin texts short and clear, in easy English. At least for what’s “above the fold”. I suggest we use Grammarly.com or even better, some writing tool that ensures we don’t write long sentences and with complicated language.
The most important part is usually placed at the beginning of the sentence. “Transactions” is primarily understood as monetary transactions, but grin with scriptless scrips etc will likely support other assets in the future.
It seems “for all/everyone” takes priority over “privacy” - otherwise, we’d use Monero.
Future-proofed privacy has so far taken priority over protection from inflation, unplanned or not.
Oh, and as soon as we have a few alternative formulations, we should find some persons of the target audience. The crypto coin community/-ies are very small on a global scale, and we understand phrases and ideas that most others don’t. I tried talking about M0, M1, etc (not crypto related) with friends who studied or mastered in Economics. And they had successfully forgotten 99% about that topic…
The anarchy narrative helped BTC in the beginning, I don’t feel that we should look back. We know the current narratives, anonymous coins, launder money, buy drugs, leaderless will not get a leader arrested, etc.
We are 10 years past that and I would not want any biased nocoiner put Grin in this basked. I believe in today’s world it is more important then ever to consider privacy a human right. Let’s talk about that.
1 for the fair emission and distribution - not because of the emission line but because it starts in a moment when a much larger percentage of the world population can / will get involved from the beginning.
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.
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…
I reinforce this digitization point - insignificant but may be fun to reason about - which is tangent with the “is [Crypto] private property” question.
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.
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