13 Feb 2023 [CT] [guides]

CT-013: Moneranoj: Unite or 'curb your cypherpunk'

This is the 13th report in the Cypherpunk Transmission series.

\Mon-er-an-o-j\ (eo) [n,pl]: members of the Monero community


This special transmission offers a big picture view of current Monero research & development efforts and it should be perceived as an invitation for astute non-devs to get more involved and help the project grow and become more resilient.


1. A big picture view

1.1 State of affairs

One could attempt to visualize Monero as a bag of nuts:

Let’s take a closer look at those numbers: assuming a total population of 300,000, do we actually have 300 devs and researchers working on the project’s kernel and a group of 2,700 extra helpers and contributors?

Keen observers of weekly workgroup meetings and dev activity, know that the answer is clearly no. Unfortunately, we are off by at least an order of magnitude.

1.2 The issues

If it is not yet clear why that can be a key issue for Monero, we can go into it.

The handful of industrious people working on Monero are doing their best to steer the project down the path they perceive to be the right one. That’s what anyone in their position would do. But are we still on the original cypherpunk path? Or are we slowly sacrificing user privacy for extra features and in the name of adoption?

How could users really tell? By looking at the price and market cap? By reading mainstream FUD articles? By watching adoption metrics? By simply using the digital cash and hoping for the best? Could that be good enough?

The default reaction is to delegate all responsibility to the devs, cheer for the companies that are building around the project, and whenever something goes wrong just turn around and blame the same devs and companies. Is that fair and productive?

A rare and extraordinary decision would be to accept some of that responsibility and get more involved, learn and eventually work with the experts, become one, build and maintain more cypherpunk projects.

Even if you’re not a cryptography expert, you don’t know C++, and you can’t even work with a terminal, you could still come help us strengthen the nutshell. There are ways.

2. Getting involved

To contribute, one needs to first understand some of the challenges Monero is facing today, and the solutions proposed by our devs and researchers.

Let’s look at a few examples that are still relevant today, try and ask valid questions, and explore some learning options:

I could go on, but you probably get the point by now. Just keep an eye on dev activity12 (merged PR’s and new issues) to get in the loop.

It might take some time before you write a single insightful comment on a relevant issue, or contribute something of value to a research meeting, but that’s okay. Just be persistent, question everything, and never stop learning.

You don’t have to be a developer to do this and it is unnecessary to ask for permission from anyone. Monero’s future is not set in stone and your voice can indeed be important.

Remember that Monero is not a company, and we move forward by reaching loose consensus. The more eyes on the issues, code, and proposed solutions, the stronger the process becomes: 50 people agreeing on something is much more reliable than 5.


That’s it. Share this transmission with others that might be interested in helping Monero stay true to its original values so we don’t have to curb our cypherpunk any time soon.


Let me know if you find this helpful and, depending on interest, I will do my best to post a new Cypherpunk Transmission report every (other?) Monday.

Questions, edits and suggestions are always appreciated @ /about/.


Credit goes to gnuteardrops from monero.graphics for the amazing xkcd graphic. Work and xkcd Script font licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0.

  1. https://github.com/seraphis-migration/strategy/wiki 

  2. /seraphis-wallet-workgroup-meeting-13-february-2023/ 

  3. /tag/logs/ 

  4. https://github.com/noncesense-research-lab/monero_tx_extra/blob/master/ascii_data.md 

  5. /monero-research-lab-meeting-15-february-2023/ 

  6. https://github.com/monero-project/meta/issues/356 

  7. https://github.com/monero-project/monero/issues/6668 

  8. https://github.com/monero-project/monero/pull/8733 

  9. /ukoehb-invites-community-input-radical-proposal-eliminate-monero-10-block-lock/ 

  10. https://github.com/monero-project/research-lab/issues/95 

  11. https://github.com/monero-project/research-lab/issues/102 

  12. /tag/dev/ 

  13. /ultimate-guide-new-monero-contributors/ 

  14. https://github.com/monero-project/monero/tree/master/contrib/gitian#gitian-building 

  15. https://redirect.invidious.io/playlist?list=PLsSYUeVwrHBnAUre2G_LYDsdo-tD0ov-y 

  16. /cypherpunk-transmission-008-mitigating-dusting-attacks-monero-cli/ 

  17. /cypherpunk-transmission-005-contribute-monero-anonymously/ 

  18. https://github.com/monero-project/research-lab/issues/94 

  19. https://forum.monero.space/d/79-how-to-join-the-monero-core-team-matrix-server-web 

  20. https://masteringmonero.com/free-download.html 

  21. (pdf) https://getmonero.org/library/Zero-to-Monero-1-0-0.pdf 

  22. (pdf) https://getmonero.org/library/Zero-to-Monero-2-0-0.pdf 

  23. https://monerostandard.com/ 

  24. (pdf) https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Rucknium/OSPEAD/main/OSPEAD-Fully-Specified-Estimation-Plan-PUBLIC.pdf 

  25. https://gist.github.com/tevador/50160d160d24cfc6c52ae02eb3d17024/ 

  26. https://gist.github.com/UkoeHB/f508a6ad973fbf85195403057e87449e