On Alternative MimbleWimble Projects

The members of Grin’s Technical Council have been asked several times recently about our view of other MimbleWimble-based projects. The following summarises our position.

With much credit to @lehnberg for helping to refine this message.


The Mimblewimble protocol is an exciting and, I think, transformational development in blockchain.

Grin happened to be the first effort to implement the protocol practically, but it was certainly never intended to be the last. It is likely that there will be many more Mimblewimble-based projects to come, each with their own agenda and priorities, and most of them will hopefully be genuine efforts to advance Mimblewimble technology. We welcome and embrace any and all such efforts, and look forward to collaborating with other projects wherever possible.

We generally do not make comparisons or comment on other projects. Instead I mention some of the things that I believe makes Grin special.

Our values center around being open, inclusive, transparent, and fair.

Grin is not blessed in any way, we do not claim any technical or moral high ground. We do not see ourselves as ‘the one true interpretation of Tom Elvis Jedusor’s intention’, nor do we claim to have all the right answers.

What we do have however is a large, open, and highly engaged community that has grown organically, believes in the tech, the project’s overall approach and values, and in the importance of privacy and fungibility. We are not driven by profit or corporate interests. We’re open-source and community-driven by design—we see this as important from a security and decentralization perspective, making the project more resilient and censorship resistant.

This community is our strongest feature. In the two years of the project’s existence it’s been growing steadily and continues to do so each day. I’d describe it as consisting of two layers. The first is the participants who frequent our forums and gitter chat and contribute to Grin on a daily basis. The second is a larger group of observers from all aspects of the field, including many heavyweight cryptographers, developers and thinkers, who break their silence from time to time to challenge something the core team is doing or to offer suggestions that might be useful for Grin. This kind of engaged and supportive community is something that cannot be bought and is not easily replicated. It is, I believe, a direct result of Grin’s values and approach to development. The project has a firm commitment to not engage in any ICO, pre-mine, founder’s rewards, or similar activities. In a field full of get-rich-quick schemes and endless price speculation, Grin is trying to distinguish itself by adhering to its principles. The quality of our community, I believe, is a testament to the value of this approach.

Grin is by design intended to be focused and minimal on the protocol level. We believe this improves our security and quality performance. Rather than trying to build everything ourselves, we encourage the community to build second layer solutions to fit the needs of users as they arise. A great example of this is the recently announced Ethereum-Grin atomic swap. This is to our knowledge the first ever Mimblewimble-based atomic swap conducted, it validates a lot of the previous theory, and it was devised and executed by one of our community members.

Also, as you may know, we’re taking great care with our Proof-of-Work to try to ensure that the needs of as many people and stakeholder groups as possible are being considered. We aim to be inclusive to decentralized GPU miners while still encouraging ASIC development over the long term, in the hopes that a healthy ecosystem develops over time. We don’t know whether this will work in the end, but I believe our decisions are driven by a desire to serve the community in the best possible way.

To get a better understanding of the project from a technical standpoint and the decisions we make around implementation, we encourage those interested to review our code and engage with us on our Github, our forum, or in our Gitter channel. We welcome all contributors.

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but it was certainly never intended to be the last

Grin is not blessed in any way, we do not claim any technical or moral high ground.

on the topic of pushing my politics.

No. spray bottle

Fracturing, is a multi-century long issue for radical freedom movements in general; the whole “join or die” political cartoon from early america is (semi-)remembered for a reason. And I as a proud member of People’s Front of Judea I take great issue to this.

I don’t know of a solution for it, but can we at least acknowledge the problem and hopeful not have a well intentioned dev stumble off and make the next shitcoin generator like https://cryptonotestarter.org/ or the lightcoin version thats hard to google for now. Lets aim high and have the mimblewimble shitcoin generator run by a conman who charges for it, so this wave of shit coins is much smaller.

Your implementing good tech and I believe your going to do it well, don’t sell yourselves short; for some cough fake humbleness

Treat forking like divorce it needs to be there but really you should never be planning on it.

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I’m an open anarchist

I don’t know of a solution for it, but can we at least acknowledge the problem and hopeful not have a well intentioned dev stumble off and make the next shitcoin generator like https://cryptonotestarter.org/ or the lightcoin version thats hard to google for now. Lets aim high and have the mimblewimble shitcoin generator run by a conman who charges for it, so this wave of shit coins is much smaller.

That’s not very anarchist of you. It is a long way from a code fork to an intentional network split. It remains to be seen whether the Grin community is immune to the latter, but trying to avoid code forks is a waste of time. Also, this thread talks about alternative implementations that are not necessarily forks. Different ways to explore a new technology is a good thing.

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Sorry that I fail to fit your stereotype; I’ll strive to assassinate political leaders to spark world wars in the future.

Perhaps even more important than “no presale, no premine, no tax,” the linear supply growth is an extremely egalitarian, modest, and clear expression of the temperance of the project philosophy and shows a deep earnestness toward trying to create the most functional and capable currency possible. Even if there was an ICO, premine or tax, the constant emission rate would minimize any effect this would have on the network/economy in the long run. Grin is programmatically not-greedy, while still being deeply valuable as a means of transacting.

The mimblewimble protocol is an interesting experiment in and of itself, but the attempt to create a currency that is founded on the philosophy of usefulness and fairness, with the premise that the value inherent in that will be apparent enough to allow the development to be funded by the community without traditional investors is awe inspiring. If we pull it off and grin flourishes for many years, it will be an impressive example for all open source projects, and the future of digital commons in general.

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