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Re: Branding and messaging


Hi all,

Just a few thoughts from me on naming and ‘narrative’; most of my points on naming are subjective and should be read as such, but of course, naming can’t be entirely decoupled from narrative. So rather than spit out a list of names I thought I'd just outline the thought processes behind how I’d go about choosing one in this instance.

Initially I was neither here nor there about the Harry Potter theme, but after thinking about it I recognise that it gives the project some personality and, more importantly, gives journalists and tech writers something very easy and relatable to grab on to for what is fundamentally a heavily mathematical and difficult-to-explain technology. I can live with Harry Potter references so long as A) they're used very sparingly and respectfully to avoid looking like we're trying to piggyback on someone else's popularity (and starts to look less ‘homage’ and more ‘fanboy') and 2) we're 100% sure there will be no copyright/trademark, C and D unpleasantness, or any other bad will as a result. We'd also have to be very careful with any imagery to ensure it's not seen as piggybacking.

Honestly, I'm not crazy about the name 'MimbleWimble' because, while I appreciate trying to keep it light-hearted, it goes a bit too far and detracts too much from the seriousness of the technology when you try to mention it to people. I'd also be interested in hearing the thoughts of non-native english speakers on the impression it gives.. (it becomes MeembleVeemble’ in a lot of European languages :D ) However, on reflection I don't actually think this project really has the right to change it as it didn't create the name; it was given by someone else previously. MimbleWimble is the blockchain format, and I think we can look forward to 'The Fundamental Theorem of MimbleWimble' being taught in university in years to come.

So, on the bits we can control, Grin is obviously a reference to Gringotts, the goblin bank, and I think the reference is subtle enough. I'd be strongly against naming currency units after those found directly in the Harry Potter universe (as per point A above,) but if the name Grin is used, it seems logical that some play on 'ingots' would make sense for a currency unit, (for the smallest denomination, perhaps?) However, neither of these names really relate privacy or any other fundamental concepts. Perhaps something like 'Cloak' might also be considered for the name of the implementation? Or alternatively, if Grin is kept use 'ingots' for the smallest unit, and then come up with something a bit more reflective of the technology for the main unit, (which would be what's most commonly used and the name from which the ticker is derived). That would also be the name that's most visible, and would give a name that can be used in situations where saying 'MimbleWimble' is a bit too cringe-y.

In any event, I'd also suggest avoiding any 'letter' (Z-Cash, X-Cash, Y-Cash etc) or the use of the words 'coin' or 'cash', or 'bit', 'byte' as they're done to death at this stage.

On messaging and branding, Igno's list is a great start (and comprehensive, so I don't know what more can be added, will be interesting to see if anyone has other thoughts). It may also be helpful to think in terms of 'Mission Statement'... why is this technology being created, what problems does it solve, who is it for and what does it hope to change?

In this regard, I think it's very important to highlight MW's privacy aspects in a positive light "Confidential, Secure, Private". However, given the uncertainty around various government regulations and general skittishness of those in charge of monetary poilicy, I think it's vital to be very careful never to give out any message that the intent of the technology is to 'stick it to the man', or is political or activist in any way. I believe that both open and closed transaction ledgers have their places, and this goal of this technology is to enable true, irrevocable privacy for those who feel they need it, whoever they may be, without passing any judgement.

- YP

> On 6 Sep 2017, at 06:22, Ignotus Peverell <igno.peverell@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Hi all,
> We're getting closer and closer to a testnet [1] and it may be a good idea to start thinking of outward communication. We want to have enough time to prepare so when the time comes, we don't get confused with the thousands of other projects in this noisy space, and have a chance to voice our strengths and differences. Messaging can also take time to refine. Now, as I know words like "narratives" (yeastplume used it first, not me :P) can make some developers' eyes glaze over, I'll start with something more fun and friendly: naming [2].
> We need names for a few things:
> Our blockchain type. I'm happy to keep using MimbleWimble here. I know that technically, the Grin blockchain will have quite a bit more than just what's in the Jedusor white paper, but I think at a high level it's a good approximation. Some people are also already familiar with it and heard the name.
> Our implementation. I'm not unhappy with grin but I'm not opposed to renaming if too many folks are strongly against it.
> Our coin. We have nothing so far here so we need to find a name. My first inclination would be to accept propositions for names as replies to this email, and then run a poll online. Sounds good as a process? We likely need another name for smallest denominations too.
> To draw a parallel, in the Ethereum world 1) is Ethereum, 2) is Parity or geth, 3) is Ether/Wei. 
> Now for the messaging and narratives. In my experience (which is a lot more shallow in that domain), we want to outline our strengths and differences to formulate a value proposition. From there we can distill messages of various lengths, adapted to different support (one-liner title, one paragraph article intro, full website, etc). And ideally, we'd have opportunities to try these messages in various environments to see how they work and incrementally improve them.
> So I'll start with a mixed bag of strengths and differences in no particular order and maybe we can figure out a way to go from there. If some people have more experience in how to go about this and a good process to get there, by all means please chime in.
> Strong anonymity provided by obfuscating amounts, sources and destinations and removing data over time.
> Great scalability as most blockchain data gets removed, without compromising security (the magic part).
> A diverse community of developers and cryptographers (no control from a single entity).
> A brand new, clean (relatively) and modern blockchain implementation with few fundamental primitives.
> A Harry Potter theme that, while quirky, has personality (obviously, I may be biased).
> No ICO, pre-mine or funny business. We may still need to find a way to get funding but hopefully it'll be reasonable and in line with other funded open source projects/foundations.
> The person who started the project has a cool name and uses parentheses a little too much (it's a side effect of the cloak).
> For others involved in this project, I'd love to hear what it means to you as well.
> - Igno
> [1] I know it's taking some time but I decided to include the UTXO sum tree in that milestone, which created a bit more work than I expected.
> [2] Throwing a Wikipedia article your way: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/True_name#In_cryptography <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/True_name#In_cryptography>
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