BHEX Original — Ignotus: Grin as Bitcoin’s younger, more nimble brother.
In the evening of January 25, BHEX and Mars Finance co-hosted a conversation with Grin core development team. This is the first time Grin’s core development team share their view in a live streaming session. Ignotus Peverell, the founder of the Grin project, and two fellow core developers Garyyu and hashmap joined the conversation. Transcript of the conversation is as follow:
Note: Gary and Hashmap has participated in ‘live-sharing’ while Ignotus’s answers can be found in grin official gitter group: https://gitter.im/grin_community/events
Q1: Tom Elvis Jedusor, the author of the agreement MimbleWimble, and Ignotus Peverell, a member of the core development team, were both anonymous. It’s a bit like bitcoin and Satoshi Nakamoto. But when it comes to names, we have a particularly interesting observation: MimbleWimble means “tongue-tying spell”; Tom Elvis Jedusor is the real name of Voldemort (dictator who strongly believe in pureblood/lineage) in French. Ignotus Peverell is the owner of Cloak of Invisibility — which, one says, is a bit of a joke compared with the Grin team’s claims about “decentralization, computational power, and privacy protection.” Is this a deliberate irony on the part of the sponsors, or is it something else? What does the Grin team really believe in?
Ignotus Peverell @ignopeverell: I can’t speak for Tom Elvis Jedusor and that choice of name, but for a privacy-related technology, MimbleWimble seems pretty fitting. As for myself, my cloak is also a good image for what Grin can provide to its users. And of course, all Harry Potter references should be taken with a good grain of salt.
hashmap: It’s really important to not take yourself very seriously. But at the end of the day what really matters is what people do, not what they say. I’d ignore any serious claims and not so serious jokes and pay attention to the results. I hope Grin speaks for itself.
Q2: It’s fair to say Grin was the hottest project in January under the bear market. Miners, exchanges and medias are excited and have acted quickly on this so-called “the next bitcoin.” But since bitcoin has been around for more than a decade and in fact spawned the whole Blockchain industry, what is the justification for the name “the next bitcoin”? What about the design in Grin that give its distinguish advantage compared to Bitcoin?
Ignotus Peverell @ignopeverell ：I don’t think the “next bitcoin” moniker was ever used from anyone involved closely with the project, and has never been on our site or in our documentation. It’s definitely not a title we want to claim. I have a lot of respect for Bitcoin, where it’s at, all the great developers and researchers that have been and still are involved in its development. A lot of the ideas that are present in Grin originate in Bitcoin. Bitcoin is still the most mature and secure chain, with the largest network and the most traction. It doesn’t mean however that there aren’t some areas that can’t be improved upon. And practically, unless you take a lot of precautions, the privacy in Bitcoin is rather poor, and long term scalability limited, as blockchain data can only be added. I do think Bitcoin is a great store of value and see Grin as additive to Bitcoin’s strength, rather than a replacement. Perhaps think of Grin as Bitcoin’s younger, more nimble brother.
hashmap: Yeah, well said, will not add anything
garyyu: I fully agree to Igno, Grin core devs never said it’s “next bitcoin”, we have the proof on the over 2 years message history in Gitter main channel, grin forum and Gitter dev channel. And we never thought that.
You can see the Grin core devs respect Bitcoin with our best way: Grin inherits a lot of great characters from Bitcoin: anonymous founder, no C no E no O, PoW, no ICO, no pre-mine, no mining tax, …
Q3: Bitcoin is a choice of history, but 10 years later its payment properties is still questionable and is often considered as a SOV. Based on the team’s vision, Grin doesn’t seem to become a SOV but a MOE. So how would you solve the problem of broad consensus and price stability?
Ignotus Peverell @ignopeverell: Price stability is out of our hands, but very few things have a very stable price nowadays. And besides, price stability is less of a requirement from a MOE than for a SOV. We can’t expect wide recognition after barely more than a week, Grin is still immature. We will have to build adoption gradually, as we polish the technology, make it more user-friendly and strengthen some of the underlying infrastructure.
hashmap: I believe market will decide, we focus on the technology and adoption.
Q4: Under the emission rules of bitcoin, its amount will not exceed 21 million, and production will halve roughly every four years; Meanwhile, Ethereum still has no formal monetary policy by far. Grin will follow a tail emission according to the plan where the overall supply is unlimited, with subsequent releases lasting forever. What is the implicit value, purpose and motivation behind Grin’s design?
Ignotus Peverell @ignopeverell: Simplicity is a big part of Grin’s design and a constant emission is by far the simplest. Other emission schedules seem rather arbitrary and there are no science or study to can definitely show which emission schedule is optimal. There are studies that have shown that having zero emission after a while can be dangerous however. And short emissions schedules seem to unfairly reward early adopters. So what we have currently seems to be the most pragmatic approach.
hashmap: Caped emission punishes people who was born too late. Also all commodities we use now (oil, gold etc) are effectively uncapped (at least we didn’t hit the limits yet), so such design is quite natural.
garyyu: propose to read https://www.grin-forum.org/t/emmission-rate-of-grin/171
Q5: Bitcoin has the mining reward of 50BTC per block at the earliest, and the mining reward will be halved when the output is halved. It can be said that the early bitcoin is a high-risk high-return mining model; But Grin seems to be going the other way around, with high inflation rates in the early stage and gradually fall under 10% in more than a decade time. In other words, mining or investment may be uneconomic at the moment. Did Grin consider this — the long term plan seems promising while in the initial period miners may need compensatory incentives to keep mining on a loss (potentially) What will be the plan to attract the attention of ordinary investors to complete the basic market penetration? What scenarios are you going to look into to scale up your users?
Ignotus Peverell @ignopeverell: Our current hashrate is rather high, so that doesn’t seem to be a problem. Our emissions after 4 years will be the same as Bitcoin’s after 4 years. And after 10 years we’ll have only issued 40% more coins than bitcoin. This is certainly negligible compared to price fluctuation.
hashmap: Any new coin is highly infaltional in the beginning and minig in the first year is always a bit irrational. It made no sense to calculate profitability of bitcoin mining in 2009.
Q6: Is there an intention for Grin to support smart contracts, and if so, will the lightweight, un-programmable nature of Grin be a constraint? Meanwhile, the TPS of Grin now is obviously lower than that of some emerging projects. Are there any plans for the subsequent expansion?
Ignotus Peverell @ignopeverell: The absence of scripting doesn’t mean smart contracts are impossible. We already support multi-signature transactions, atomic swaps and should be able to develop a lightning network or confidential assets.
Proof of concept of atomic swaps was presented in November at Grincon0 in Berlin:
Click here to Watch
Q7: The recent 51% attack of ETC has posed great challenges to the newly emerged PoW chain. Although the initial anti-ASIC algorithm can prevent the birth of whale to a certain extent, it is still inevitable that there will be corresponding risks. How will Grin address such issue?
Ignotus Peverell @ignopeverell: It’s definitely a concern but we’re currently fairly secure against that sort of attacks. Our longer term path to encourage ASIC development will hopefully help as well.
Q8: As Grin is a decentralized project with decentralized team, how has the development resource being allocated so far and what sort of development resource is mostly needed? Also How would you plan to contribute back to RUST community — since the whole project is based on RUST.
Ignotus Peverell @ignopeverell: I wish we had more time to contribute to Rust, but overall we’re still very resource limited. Most developers aren’t paid to work on Grin and we don’t have the budgets that company-driven projects have. So if you’re a developer, tech writer, designer and project manager, we need all of you.
hashmap: That’s a beauty of opensource, we don’t allocate resources, we don’t even have resources. People comes to the project and contribute freely. We need developers, researchers, designers, writers, project managers, community members of course.
We don’t work on Rust, we are users of Rust. We publish our code opensource on GitHub and as crates (on crates.io) so any Rust project can use it.
Q9: Along with Grin, there are other major private coins in the market right now: Monero ($752 million market cap, no. 14), Zcash ($300 million market cap, no. 21), MobileCoin, and Beam — Grin’s direct competitors. Is there a need for so many private coins on the market? What improvements did Grin make relative to them to show the superiority?
Ignotus Peverell @ignopeverell: Grin has a lot of advantages and differences, in privacy, scalability and simplicity. Historically privacy and scalability have been opposites, you would have to sacrifice one to get the other, sometimes making adoption quite a bit more difficult. MimbleWimble is one of the first blockchain development that makes both work hand in hand. Also Grin is a community-driven project, anyone can come and help. There is a lot of strength in that concept.
hashmap: couldn’t say better:)
Q10: According to the MW agreement, when the transaction is generated on Grin, other nodes will only verify whether a certain transaction has occurred and its legality, but will not confirm the details of the transaction. So since it is anonymous currency if the party making the transfer and denies the amount or details of the transfer, how can others verify it?
Ignotus Peverell @ignopeverell ：A transaction can’t be made without the involvement of both parties. So there is no deniability possible.
garyyu: That’s the basic concept of Mimblewimble protocol.
hashmap: In MW nodes verify transaction homomorphically, which means that even real data is hidden full verification takes place. Simply speaking you can do some simple math on “encrypted” values without knowing those values
Q11: Grin has made a unique design for the mining algorithm. The main algorithm Cuckatoo31+ is designed as ASIC friendly while the secondary algorithm Cuckaroo29 is ASIC resistant. When initially released, 90% of the blocks will be produced by secondary algorithms, while the primary algorithm will only produce about 10 percent of the blocks. This proportion will be further increased as mining progresses. For example, within two years, 100% of the blocks will be mined by the main algorithm (ASIC algorithm friendly to the mining machine), so as to encourage ASIC producers to develop the mining machine targeted at the main algorithm. In the development course of bitcoin, mining equipment has gone through CPU, GPU, FPGA and finally ASIC. The upgrading of mining equipment not only brings huge improvement of network computing power, but also makes mining market develop towards the direction of specialization, large-scale and corporatization. However, one consequence is that the problem of computing power concentration of bitcoin is inevitable.
Can Grin do something about this centralization of computational power? What are the main ones? Why is that?
Ignotus Peverell @ignopeverell: This would invite a rather long answer and a lot of it has been discussed on our forum already. I would encourage you to check the mining section of grin-forum.org for multiple threads elaborating on the pros and cons surrounding mining tradeoffs. And I think that’s about it for me :-)
garyyu: There’re a lot of related materials on the grin forum, please search PoW or Cuckoo there: https://www.grin-forum.org
hashmap: We try to find a balance by preventing secret ASICs in the first 2 years and encouraging ASIC development open for everyone (and devices availble for everyone)
Q12: If Grin’s vision is to become a MOE, then compared to emission policy of fiat currency — where the emission is based on central bank‘s estimated need according to economical growth (or at least as stated) a liner issuance model for Grin may add difficulty to maintain a relatively stable price. Given that the current emission plan has faced inevitable difficulty, what is the governance mechanism and processes in place where the community can vote on changing the inflation rate/plan should things don’t work out or for any improvement needed?
hashmap: Grin is less inflationary than gold, gold supply is effectively unlimited and its yearly supply has been increasing at least last 120 years, grin has fixed emission rate.
Personally, I don’t see the community or developers doing anything to maintain the price, it would be unfair
garyyu: propose to read @CryptoProfG’s Medium blog about this: hppts://medium.com/@CryptoProfG
Q1：How does Grin achieve an inflation rate that is below 1%)
hashmap: Fixed supply — 1 grin/sec. With enough grin mined new supply is negligible
Q2：(As a private coin, what will be the main use case and has there been any practical use case already?)
hashmap: I don’t like the idea of the private coin. The money we use has some fungibility and privacy, right? My co-workers don’t know how much money I make, not because I’m a criminal and hiding something.
If you are business — for example producing candies — you don’t want your competitors to know how much you pay for sugar. That’s in human nature, let’s not focus on the underground market, but on privacy for everyone.
Q2a: But sometimes, evils don’t want people to know how much they pay for bad things, either
hashmap: Sure, there is a cypherpunk idea — privacy for the weak, transparency for the powerful.
Grin is a technology which gives you some abilities, technology doesn’t care who you are. You can’t artificially make it work just for some people, good people. Even you could — who decides what is good and what is bad.
garyyu: Privacy by default blockchain. I hope people see more points in Grin other than the privacy.
It also provides better efficiency, and lightwight. If we take privacy as a default feature, we can focus on more application situations, with Grin’s efficiency and lightweight characters.
hashmap: There must be some regulations on top of monetary system which provide such guarantees. One step at a time — privacy for the weak.
hashmap: Thank you all for inviting me
garyyu: Hi friends, I have to go now, thanks for this discussions.
And please support Grin and Grin community, we’re a pure open-source and non-commercial project, if you want to help, here is something perhaps you can do:
1. Join Grin community, involve Grin development, review the code, design and docs
2. Research Grin, Develop more 3rd party projects for Grin, Explore more practical applications of Grin, Invest on innovation projects in Grin ecosystem
3. Public education: let more people know Grin’s openness and support Grin
5. Create a 3rd party project, growing together with Grin, and continuously contribute to Grin fund, to support Grin Core development.
6. Any other aspects which could help Grin.