Hans Schmidt :  March 7th 2021


Thoughts about moving forward

Update 2021 Aug:

The opinions and recommendations written in the original document below have become somewhat dated since they were written in March 2021, five months ago.

After the positive feedback which I received from the community about those writings,  I decided to work within the Ravencoin community to launch Special Interest Groups (SIGs) in order to lead and expand the amount of code development taking place in the community in a volunteer distributed manner in the spirit of bitcoin. That effort has been well accepted by the community, and now consists of many talented hard-working developers working on different projects in multiple SIGs. As the leader of the raven-qt SIG, I am more optimistic than ever about Ravencoin's future.

For more information, please see especially the following resources:

Ravencoin needs to increase the pace of development progress quickly or risk being left behind.
The recent increase in interest has been great, but we have already lost many new members who were disappointed by poor useability and poor scalability.

Imho we are stalling because we have not yet properly adapted to a future without Medici. All eyes appear to be looking to the Foundation as the new centralized entity which will provide Ravencoin's leadership and resources. But the Foundation will not and should not provide centralized leadership.

In Friday's meeting, Bruce Fenton raised his concern that the community has been conflating Development and the Foundation, while in fact they are not the same thing at all. He proposed that they should be treated as separate entities even if it is many of the same people. I strongly agree.

The Foundation is not Ravencoin. The Foundation was created as a centralized entity for those circumstances when a centralized entity is unfortunately unavoidable. It can provide a corporate entity to hold a bank account or an "official" contact person as required by some crypto-exchanges. But in no sense is the Foundation "officially" Ravencoin. It is a few volunteers and a corporate entity which should do what the community wants them to do.

Ravencoin's technology is decentralized. Ravencoin's people are decentralized. Ravencoin should be decentralized. Period. That is vital for practical and legal reasons. There are many centralized ICO-funded blockchain projects with centralized websites, centralized Github accounts, centralized management. That is not Ravencoin.

Many people seem to believe that bitcoin has an "official" Github repository at "github.com/bitcoin". But it is not "official". That repository just happens to be the most trusted because they have attracted many talented devs, found the most funding, and done the best job. Electrum, mobile wallets, and countless other bitcoin projects are all independent with no "official" Github account or repository. Bitcoin has no "official" home.

I have heard complaints that Ravencoin lacks leadership. But we should not be looking to the Foundation. We should look to each other and build the needed organization.

In my opinion, my recommendations are=>

  • The Foundation and a Code Committee (consisting of a volunteer leader and other dev volunteers) need to build and manage separate organizations and procedures because we don't want centralization, because they have different priorities, and because they are both big efforts.
  • Items which require formal voting such as setting policies and procedures must be done by the Foundation or on-chain because forums like Discord cannot prevent duplicate account creation. But informal surveys can be used for most routine decisions once policies are established.
  • The Code Committee should do administrative work common to all code projects. It should form code SIGs (Special Interest Groups) like an Electrum SIG and a Mobile Wallet SIG, and recruit a volunteer leader and other volunteers for each SIG. Code-related items which require voting such as standardizing the bounty approval procedure should be drafted by the Code Committee and submitted to the Foundation or on-chain for voting.
  • The Code Committee and each SIG should pick a non-conflicting one-hour weekly time slot during which they will meet on Discord in their own channels to discuss their focus topics. We could post a combined meeting calendar on "teamup.com".
  • The SIGs should decide on the goals, milestones, and timeline for their projects. The SIGs should decide how their project can be broken into the smallest incremental bounties, how much the bounties should pay, what the deliverables are, and when they have been met. The SIGs should submit those recommendations to the Code Committee for check against policies, which will then submit them for vote by the Foundation or on-chain for financial approval. Once approved, it is OK for SIG participants to participate in the bounties, and they most often will do so, since they are the subject matter experts.

Lastly, for those who don't agree with any of this:
Ravencoin remains an open source project. Anyone can write and run any software they want and can even fork the project if they have the desire and the skill to do so.

Some Foundation-related things which I would like to see discussed at the Friday meeting:

  • Which non-code things should the Foundation control and spend money on? Seeds? Websites?
  • Can someone put together a list of all the major Ravencoin-related websites & github accounts and who owns them or has control?
    • What about social media accounts (Discord, Telegram, Reddit, etc) and who owns, controls, moderates them?
    • Post them on the Foundation website
    • The point of the exercise is transparency, not to gain control.
  • Should we fund someone a modest amount to go through the Discord helpdesk and put together & maintain an organized FAQ for noobs?
  • Should we fund someone a modest amount to keep Raven.wiki updated? Who owns that?

Some SIGs which the Code Commitee should form:

  • SIG for SPV wallets (Electrum in particular)
  • SIG for raven-qt improvements (P2SH, memo support, etc)
  • SIG for Hardware wallet support
  • SIG for Mobile wallets (Blue wallet?)
  • SIG for Scalability solutions (more nodes, Segwit, etc)

Copyright 2021 by Hans Schmidt