Finally: an official statement
Because of a comment from one of my donors, and other recent events, I've re-opened negotiations for the remainder of my contract. This issue is between me and my donors and no one else (although moneromooo, hyc, and MRL may be contacted for technical affirmations).
For the important backstory to this post, and some information regarding recent events, read my comments here, and here (trigger warning: bring your popcorn), and the original taken-out-of-context paste that has set everything on fire (as seen in my "Milestone 15" post below). If you want a clear, level-headed, technical understand of what the hell is going on; you can also contact Monero Project lead developer moneromooo as he understands the technical aspects involved.
TL;DR: I love you all, but, with that said;
TL;DR: I've provided 99% of everything I've been asked to do for Kovri but the remaining 1% has been deprecated and should not happen. I've listed the reasons above and below. I asked to be funded for that remaining 1% on a new, actual solution (as posted below); but there are too many questions at this point. What is not a question though is that Kovri is 100% done in terms of my funding (if we are not "baking-in" the router or if we are not interested in more Kovri fixes and development). Regardless, Monero Project needs to focus on moving towards an actual solution: Sekreta. Sekreta will also deprecate Monero's SOCKS proxy; the SOCKS proxy of which takes the incentive out of "baking-in" Kovri to begin with (for the longest time, the proxy was never supposed to happen because of fluffypony's "baked-in I2P" pipe-dream but now both have now been deprecated by Sekreta). There is such an incredible lack of understanding within Monero about Sekreta technology because nearly everyone in the community is not an internet-anonymity engineer nor specialist so, the responses have been mixed, somewhat uninformed, and hostile (with the exception of moneromooo, MRL, and the founding community). I don't blame anyone in community though: cryptocurrencies are surrounded by scams and shit at all times. As such, I've empirically proven that Sekreta is not a scam nor is it shit but, rather, an actual solution - a solution that we all wish we had years ago before I started Kovri. Now, it's time to move forward. Erwache, mein monerochen.
Note: aside from the other technical reasons I gave in the links above, the reasons why Kovri should not be "baked-into" Monero at this time (or ever, because that's been deprecated by Sekreta:
- Conflicting minimum requirements, needed for all supported systems:
- Boost 1.67
- CMake 3.5
- C++14 capable compiler
- Monero will need to have rolling releases in order to stay up to date with Kovri development. fluffypony is barely around to release normal releases let alone rolling releases.
Alone, these issues aren't insurmountable but do take into consideration my reasons in the links above. Also, Sekreta already has less dependencies and will have more stable interfaces than Kovri for any "baked-in" integration.
Regarding my release of Sekreta
Because of the response from some of the most subversive elements of this Monero "community", but also the positive response by seasoned Monero researchers/developers and founding community, and the neutral/limited/no responses from my donors; I've decided to take Sekreta off the table for Monero Project for now. This doesn't mean that there won't be collaboration; this just means that Monero won't get any points for innovation at this point in time - of which Monero sorely needs right now.
Regarding the remainder of this FFS contract
One of my donors has brought up a very good point:
2019-01-04 10:25:42 thrmo thanks for the thorough reply anonimal, and to be clear I wasn't implying you were malicious. Having said that I wish sekreta the best, despite having donated to Kovri 1.0 it always seemed like a fools errand for me, so I'm also glad to see it go.
And indeed: "baking-in" Kovri is a fool's errand at this point because of Sekreta (you can instead "bake-in" Sekreta and have access to every existing anonymity system, not just Kovri). Monero will be doing an incredible disservice to itself by becoming "tribal" to a single anonymity network or by allowing any single-network usage (via SOCKS) or by "baking-in" any specific implementations.
Now, since this issue is regarding my two remaining milestones, let's consider the options.
One possible option is to back-pay me for services rendered to Monero Project from 2015-2019. Why? Well, Monero Project failed to meet their end of this contract in terms of providing labor for Kovri code development and support as promised by fluffypony before we forked (note: luigi has always been 100% responsive in payout and I'm thankful for that). Because I was told that this project relationship would be both a mutually exclusive and beneficial by fluffypony, I dedicated my life to Monero Project since 2015 in order to ensure the success of both the projects and for my future investments (that and because of labors of love) - but I never received the support I was told I would receive. As a result, I'm forced to bring numbers into this equation in order to negotiate a fair trade for my time and labor.
But first, a little background; since most of this "community" has not been around as long as myself and a good chunk of others:
When I arrived in 2015 to work on Monero Project, Monero was a shit-coin with huge potential. Raw and beautiful, it was exciting. Part of the excitement was that it was always pushing forward with momentous innovations. With my help along with moneromooo (who has also dedicated his life to this project), hyc, fluffypony, a small team of incredible researchers and developers, passionate miners and node operators, and a talented founding community; Monero became the #1 leading privacy technology in the world.
From everything trivial to my meeting template (which is still used to this day), to implementing CI and demanding greater CI (which eventually happened), to the creation and extensive usage of the Meta repo, to the maintenance and auditing of dependencies (as proven throughout the various Monero repositories), to maintaining the Monero AUR package for 10's of thousands of Arch Linux users around the world, to Monero code security auditing (when I had the time) and suggesting fixes, to code collaboration and contribution across nearly every single Monero Project repository (go look at the git-log and the github issues/PRs), to implementing Monero's first-and-only VRP, to setting up and maintaining HackerOne and regularly collaboration on producing sensitive security fixes (some of which I can be credited for), to inviting Michael to do the Hardware Wallet (go ask him about the story, he's a great guy), to Riccardo Spagni regularly going on television and various interviews over the years calling me 1 of "2 full-time developers" as a result of all of my work - all so that the "community" had something to brag about; I've done all of this since 2015 without being paid a single XMR or any currency, above or under the table, in any capacity; zero financial reward. Zero. ZERO. Z. E. R. O. Zero financial compensation outside of Kovri (with the exception of Defcon 26 in which I was thankfully paid for travel expenses to speak about Kovri and to speak about the VRP).
But why, you ask?
First, shouldn't my Kovri payments have gone to all of that? Well, no, and they didn't. But even if they did, since no one mentioned that XMR received is subject to income tax; that issue combined with the 2018 bear market + market volatility at worst possible times during the 2018 bear market = 6 figures back taxes + 6 figures capital losses but, even if I did include those numbers, I would still be massively underpaid in any other situation or project regardless if cryptocurrency was involved (yes, I know that the markets are not anyone's responsibility here but I'm just clarifying because people seem to think I own a yacht now, or what have you).
As for why, and if you're also concerned about the Kovri timeline or payment amount, let's do a brief review:
I was told by fluffypony that, for my contract, I was to bill for all mentoring, project management, project development, promotion, education, and anything Kovri related across the now 4 kovri project repositories and beyond - and that's exactly what I've done.
Also, as part of my contract, one of the proposes of Kovri was to build a real project and an educational space, not just software. Education being a huge factor - and that's exactly what I've done.
On top of that, as part of my contract, I was told to engineer Kovri by any means necessary; using multiple languages, across multiple systems, across multiple release platforms, to audit and develop the dependencies and all code as a means to ensure stringent security methods, to implement and supervise quality assurance across the spectrum, to train every developer involved, to lead the entire project, and sooo soooo soooooooooo much more on top of everything else I mentioned above with Monero Project - which is exactly what I've done.
To add to insult to injury, I've massively under-billed all of my Kovri work because I chose to "be the better person" during the 2017 bull-run by not being a money grubbing cancer like so many in the cryptocurrency space now. So; indeed, I have won the spiritual battle but I am under-financed as a result. I take full responsibility for that.
But, the only thing I asked for in return was for Monero project to provide me help in filling all the roles that I was filling so that I can focus on code development - which was going incredibly slow because of all the hats I had to wear. This help was never received at the level promised despite repeated requests, and that was part of the deal. Some may say "but this is an open-source community". Yes, but there is more to this than most people know, and if someone can't provide something then they shouldn't say it will be provided.
So, at current market value, for the two remaining milestones in my contract, divided by 40 months of labor from 2015 to 2019, at full time, comes out to about
~$6.5 USD per hour of labor (~46*900/6400). Mind you, I had been paid to work on Kovri from the end of 2016-2018 so, let's be more realistic and cut the hours in half:
~$13 (~46*900/3200) per hour. Oh, but wait, what about the end of 2015 through end of 2016? I worked then in parallel on Kovri for free so, let's be even more realistic and cut the outcome back down to:
~$9.7 (46*900/6400*1.5) per hour. Womp womp. I should've worked at McDonald's as a manager if I wanted more money. More benefits too.
So, where does that leave us? First, a few extra tidbits of info for those who wish to read more about character when perusing prose:
People at Defcon 26 approached me, random people that I'd never met in my life nor had spoken with online (that I know of), and they all told me the same thing: they told me I was a "workaholic" and that I "looked miserable".
Sure. Yes. Absolutely. I've proven to have worked a bit too much, and Kovri has been absolutely miserable to work with from the start (I never wanted to fork, voted against it, as I detailed in my links at the top of this post). On the other hand, now, Sekreta has been a completely different experience. More joy, more output, more productivity, less mentoring, less project, less anything that takes me away from positive and productive R&D. More-so, it's an actual solution to Monero's network stack and not some hack, so it's an exciting prospect to work on.
Ideally, I'm paid out in both milestones a.s.a.p and we brush our hands clean of this all so we can move onto a much brighter future. This will be the best outcome because relations will be mended and everyone will be happy (or should be happy, because everyone got way-more than they paid for).
Another possible option
Now, if paying me for my past labor is something that donors don't want to do (I can understand for "technical" reasons), let's consider another option: we can move my remaining funds into a new FFS guaranteeing my continued contributions to Monero Project (VRP manager, VRP marketing and promotion, Monero code development, lots of ways to skin this cat). These contributions will be unrelated to Kovri or Sekreta (or, if related to Sekreta, as a "donor" to Sekreta development). Mind you, moneromooo has already taken upon himself to collaborate on Sekreta on his own volition - even though he is not paid to. How long he does this, I don't know; but I've seen more collaboration from Monero Project in
#sekreta/#sekreta-dev than I have seen in Kovri for as long as I can remember; so that's certainly a good sign. As such, I highly encourage donors to move my remaining milestones to Sekreta development.
Note: I must say this though: this payment option, if not related to Sekreta, will be my least desirable option as I will have never been paid for my services rendered, regardless of any written contract or not.
Now, the last and most final option will be for me to complete my Kovri proposal as originally stipulated - but this is stupid. Why? Because this solution has been deprecated. You can use Kovri now with Monero's new SOCKS proxy as well as Tor. It's extremely limited in any capacity, as proven by Sekreta, but it's what fluffypony wanted and handed down to his MyMonero minions to implement (see github for proof) in an executive action without any input from anyone competent in internet-anonymity nor from any communication with me or anyone in Kovri. Note: to solve the "but we've been waiting" problem, you need to pay more than one person to do the job, not pay another person to do another job.
So, if you want to waste your time (and my time), we can proceed with this option as originally planned. It won't be a waste of XMR though because I certainly need it.
Regardless of any outcome, the contract will be completed and I will receive my payments (I also have medical bills coming up, so I hope this project doesn't screw me).
Thanks to all for everything good that's happened so far. Certainly there will be more good to come.