IGNOTUS PEVERELL interview Highlights after Grin Launch.
Ignotus Peverell is the wizard who was gifted the Cloak of Invisibility by Death.
Grin is short for the Gringotts Wizarding Bank.
On Oct 20 2016, a pseudonymous developer using the name Ignotus Peverell, announced in the bitcoin wizards IRC channel that he began work on a minimal implementation of the protocol, which he named Grin.
Igno was joined on GitHub by other developers who took interest in the project, several of them bearing pseudonyms of other Harry Potter characters. A community of contributors and users slowly started to form around Grin.
Grin’s genesis block was mined on January 15th, 2019. Igno gave an interview via email, answered questions. Interview by David Z. Morris
Some highlights below.
D.Morris :What was the thinking behind the decision to make Grin entirely community-driven and nonprofit, at a time (pre-bust) when hype was so intense around anything blockchain or cryptocurrency related?
IGNO: First, there were fairly obvious signs of overheating. Second, I was very uncomfortable with all the moral hazard existent in most new projects. Despite what can surface in various articles and reports, there is no free money if you prefer to stay on the right side of the law.
Accepting extremely large amounts in ICOs results in extremely large headaches. I prefer to focus on creating something I believe in, and keep building it over time.
The approach currently adopted in Grin seemed the best I could think of to achieve that and keep both headaches and noise as far away as possible.
D.Morris: Why do you believe the world needs a(nother) privacy currency?
IGNO: I was generally dissatisfied with the direction of most cryptocurrencies at the time, privacy-oriented or not. And in some ways still am.
By now, it seems we have a clear achievable goal for cryptocurrencies:
Make better money.
And there is a compelling and fairly obvious set of characteristics that would require: digital, private, trustworthy (by which I mean secure, and censorship resistant), and a few other more minor ones. But instead, most of our field is chasing feature check boxes to capture more froth.
To be clear, I do have a lot of respect for projects that are trying to push research forward in what can be done. But those should be considered research, instead of a huge diversion.
‘’I’m no maximalist, but I do believe in the bitcoin ideals. But bitcoin is 10 years old now, it’s become impossible to change meaningfully and those 10 years represent a century given how much has been researched and developed since. When the MimbleWimble white paper was published, it seemed like a good base to attack the goal head on.’’
D.Morris: The most interesting economic decision in Grin’s design was to make the supply curve “inflationary,” at least in theory. Do you find bitcoiners’ fear of inflation and love of “hard money” compelling?
IGNO: Not really. There is no evidence that bitcoin’s supply curve is optimal. But there is a growing body of solid research showing that several aspects of it are problematic. To be honest, I have a pretty poor opinion of where the field of economics is generally at right now (not to say there aren’t any promising directions) as well. And so pragmatically, the best line to walk on seems to be only trusting strategies that have reasonably been proven to be true, either empirically or with solid research, and in the absence of such positions, pick the simplest rational solution.
Too much early supply is scammy and quickly indistinguishable from a pre-mine. Tail emissions are more secure.
With all that taken into account, constant emission can be shown to not be wrong, be simpler, create far less market uncertainty (aka “halvening” events), fair, etc. What’s not to like?
‘’White paper is actually really short and only specifies a small part of the blockchain format. So even if a lot of our design decisions build on MimbleWimble, practically I see Grin as much closer to Monero or Bitcoin.’’
D.Morris: You remain anonymous, at a time when that’s much rarer than it used to be — hell, the lead dev of the current biggest privacy coin regularly posts video from inside his own house. What motivated you to kick it old-school?
IGNO: There seemed to be no downside. I didn’t want the stress of being a public figure in this space, for myself and those close to me. By being anonymous, I’m also much less of a victim for people who’d want to influence me or profit indirectly from my position. I can be a good layer of insulation for contributors and developers directly involved in Grin: People can blame me instead of them.
My anonymity avoids too much polarization, keeping the project more decentralized. I can’t appear in public, do conferences and podcasts or tweet and that’s a good thing. It means Grin has many public figures instead of just one. It helps keep egos in check, as well.
“I would like all entities interested in Grin to go beyond the regular rivalries and competition that can arise in the space and recognize that they can all benefit by being constructive.”
D.Morris: Finally, Grin has been seen as a kind of symbolic return-to-roots for crypto in the wake of the bubble/crash. What advice would you give the broader industry to help keep the development and use of crypto/blockchain going over the next five to 10 years?
IGNO : State your goal clearly and keep pushing toward it. Be patient. Be very wary of too much affluence, it’s a distraction. We’re developing open source projects that happen to deal with money. Adopt the open source ethos first, it’s a proven model. Be humble and exceedingly nice.
I’m convinced we really have a chance at making a broad positive impact on many people’s lives. Let’s not get lost in the weeds.
‘’When Grin grows, we can all grow with it.’’
- Electronic transactions for all. Without censorship or restrictions. Designed for the decades to come, not just for tomorrow. To be used by anyone, anywhere.
Edited by Cekickafa. Any feedback, news or other suggestions, you can email: firstname.lastname@example.org