A message from the Core Team about the General Fund

Posted by: The Core Team

Administration of the General Fund

The Core Team as a group has existed from the very early days of Monero, and its responsibilities have evolved over the years. For a write up of the responsibilities that the team considers itself responsible for nowadays (that is, trusted by the community to take care of), see /2018/03/01/core-team-announcement.html. These responsibilities tend to diminish as the project moves forward and some structures are changing; for instance, reproducible builds are a big step forward to provide binaries to the community without having to blindly trust any of us.

A responsibility that remains fully in our hands is to administer and/or escrow financial donations to the project. In practice it means:

  • escrowing and arbitrating the Community Crowdfunding System (CCS), and

  • stewarding the General Fund (GF), spending funds as the team sees fit for the advancement of Monero.

It is important to note that none of this is a forced monopoly. Anyone who does not trust the team’s arbitration can easily raise funds the way they want, the CCS software being even open source this is technically trivial. Similarly, anyone could set up their own general donation fund and administer it as they see fit, including hosting it on a different website than getmonero.org.

The CCS has clear rules (https://ccs.getmonero.org/what-is-ccs), so the arbitration we offer is as predictable as possible and donations can be sent to various proposals with confidence that the mechanisms are clear both for donors and recipients.

The General Fund on the other hand is more loose, the principle being simply that the funds are spent for the advancement of Monero, at the discretion of the Core Team. In the early days, the GF was used liberally, with payments supporting early work of the Noether's (Sarang, Shen, and Surae) as full-time members of the Monero Research Lab. Later on, Sarang and Surae began to use the CCS directly to raise quarterly, which moved their accountability to their CCS donors.

The GF has also always been used to pay infrastructure and server costs, even if nowadays these have lowered thanks to Globee and Tari maintaining and paying for the getmonero.org infrastructure, as well as some sponsors donating assorted VPS’ for our use (sponsors can be seen on the sponsor page).

Current usage of the General Fund

For the past couple of years, the Core Team has seen beneficial to the project to pay Diego “rehrar” Salazar for assorted work. Rehrar originally started part time, then moved to working full time last year. Today this constitutes the largest recurring expenditure of the General Fund.

Obviously, we believe that the added value from rehrar is worthwhile, otherwise we would not have continued this arrangement. If you ever contributed to Monero one way or another, it is likely you have been supported in your contributions by his work, from running meetings, researching and deploying community resources, doing high-quality UI/UX work, etc.

Additionally, we believe there is specific value in employing someone for this role directly (as opposed to a typical CCS with the community). There are multiple reasons for this. First it allows to employ this person for a broad set of tasks, whether these tasks are actually known in advance or might suddenly fall in a domain a priori unknown (in which case it is hard to receive donations via the CCS beforehand). Second, the accountability to the Core Team allows for a highly efficient, quick decision making process, in a way that would not be possible by having accountability to dozens or even hundreds of CCS donators. This efficiency also translates in practice to a degree of availability in reporting, discussing and executing, that would not be possible with only volunteers or individuals paid via the CCS (who generally promise to work a certain number of hours but are free to organize their time and do not answer to anyone besides fulfilling the proposed CCS description of work). Hence, to allow for these efficiencies, it is a deliberate choice that he is not answerable to the community directly, but indirectly via the Core Team.

Increased transparency going forward

We would like to institute more transparency going forward for the General Fund. We will publish regular reports, probably quarterly. We will include donations that have been received, how much and how the funds have been allocated, and what is the state of the “reserves”. You can expect the first such report soon.

As of December 2019, the amounts (including XMR and BTC) in the General Fund account to roughly $180,000.

We hope this information will shed some light for everyone contributing to Monero on how funds are allocated, and motivate more donations to the GF. Thanks to everyone who is part of this incredible, world-changing community!

Post tags : Community