The problem of how to properly and successfully fund open source, non-profit projects has been an eternal question and altruism only goes so far. Some ventures are sustained purely as passion projects by a small highly engaged group of people, and others supported by a thriving business ecosystem privately funding developers, Square et al.
The Litecoin Project however, has found itself in a type of purgatory for sometime taking aspects from both the above. The largest developer group, Litecoin Core lead by Australian based Adrian Gallagher, consists entirely of volunteers and as such new releases are often slow to emerge.
In what appears to be an indirect response to the recent proposal by BTC.TOP CEO Jiang Zhuoer to implement a block tax through majority consensus on the BCH network to fund development, Lee yesterday published his own thoughts and opinions on the matter, writing on twitter:
I think a better way to fund development is mining pools voluntarily donate a portion of the block reward. How about Litecoin pools donate 1% (0.125 LTC) of block rewards to the@LTCFoundation? If every miner/pool does this, it amounts to about $1.5MM donation per year! Currently with merged mining of Dogecoin and other Scrypt coins, miners make 105%+ of block rewards. So 1% is a reasonably small amount to give back towards funding a public good. Better yet, pools can let miners decide what organizations to send their 1% to. It can be Litecoin Foundation, @LitecoinDotCom, @theliteschool, or any other Litecoin project. What do you guys think?
There have been instances in the past of private companies donating to fund development, for example Innosilicon, a mining chip manufacturer, gave Ł666 to the Litecoin Foundation lead by Lee back in 2017. However for the most part private companies are understandably less interested in just giving unless they are getting something in return. This is an issue brought up by BCHABC developer ‘Deadalnix’ who claims the group has perviously declined money in order to keep the project independent.
What then do miners have to gain from Lee’s proposed arrangement? The main benefit is potentially seeing an increased value in the Litecoin they are mining and holding as funding typically brings certainty, confidence and stability with it. This would ideally at the very least offset the voluntary 1% fee.
If such a voluntary donation is to arise it would likely need a wide consensus and agreed participation, especially since pools are made of many thousands more individuals who would also have to give consent. Those who refuse to partake would also benefit without contributing, which may cause understandable animosity.
The Foundation along with ourselves at Litecoin.com also fund our efforts through merchandise sales of cryptocurrency wallets and apparel, although this is supplementary and not enough to run a dedicated operation. Encouraging a fund would greatly benefit both parties however it’s not clear if the current suggestion would be agreeable especially when private companies could hire someone directly accountable to them to do the work on their terms.
On the other hand Core already has a proven track record and good will built up, so unconditionally funding them could provide indirect access to that good will, which does hold its own value via a positive wider community image.
As of writing no mining group has publicly weighed in on the matter