The Monero MAGIC Fund first commenced in January of 2022, and over the past year has worked diligently not only on establishing ourselves, yet finding and funding grants. While we've needed to build out infrastructure, being a new organization, we have issued grants supporting research and development, are actively hosting fundraisers via our new website, and have donation incentives. With this newsletter, we aim to provide a summary of our work this past year and in the future, regularly keep the community updated.
Providing clarity in uncertain times
The main benefit of MAGIC is our ability to fiat-denominate. While the Monero community appreciates XMR, as do we, it remains a volatile asset. This can be a barrier for people who want to contribute, one which has caused multiple proposals funded through the CCS to unfortunately fall through. The MAGIC Monero Fund is able to ensure a USD-denominated grant, while simultaneously taking donations in a variety of currencies.
To start, we defined a process for accepting grants, focusing not only on developers yet also researchers. To cater to the latter, who previously have not been as supported as developers have been, we defined a process for applications with an additional pre-submission flow. Given how extensive research submissions can be, enabling researchers to verify their proposal aligns with our goals before full preparation/submission is greatly helpful. We've also pro-actively reached out to researchers, and have a list of contacts we want to continue with.
We also established an official list of topics we want to fund, expanding on the broad space of Monero. This is intended to help people realize actual tasks they may want to complete on behalf of Monero, rather than just the idea of tasks, and extends Monero's open research questions. We're further interested in security proofs, ensuring Monero's integrity, historic and present, and work on arithmetic-circuit based membership proofs. Arithmetic-circuit based membership proofs would remove ring signatures, and the statistical analysis possible on them, entirely, for complete privacy of which output you're spending.
And then in order to make donating to Monero trivial, we also got listed on Amazon Smile. While the intention was to enable funding Monero development at no additional cost to our community, unfortunately the Amazon Smile program will be shutting down in just under a month.
Reaching out to the community and continuing establishment
We had a presence at Monerotopia and Monerokon, handing out flyers at the former and giving a brief talk at the latter. From there, we built out own our site (https://monerofund.org/) and payment processing infrastructure, being able to automatically handle cryptocurrency and fiat donations for our active fundraisers.
"An Empirical Analysis of Monero's Ring Signature Resilience to Artificially Intelligent Attacks"
Our first grant, submitted by ACK-J, was working on analyzing the efficiency of machine learning against Monero. While there have been many analyses of Monero, ACK-J took this novel approach in order to understand if it is strong against Monero's usage of ring signatures. Statistical attacks on them are the weakest part of Monero's privacy.
ACK-J created an extensive dataset of hundreds of thousands of simulated Monero transactions. For each transaction, tens of data points are considered, from the amount of inputs they use to the fee paid. This data, fed into a variety of analytical models, helped determine if any are notable for breaking Monero's privacy at a scale greater than any human could handle.
The results, published as Lord of the Rings, found a 4.3% increase in likelihood of determining the actual output spent. While this is marginal, the original odds via random guessing were just 9%, making 4.3% more notable.
ETH-XMR Atomic Swap Development
We hosted a fundraiser for Ethereum-Monero Atomic Swaps, developed by elizabethereum. The community donated and we reached our goal, enabling further development of a trustless tool to exchange Monero with the second largest cryptocurrency. The additional work has been focused on ensuring the real world viability of the project, adding fault tolerance and usability features. It's hopefully planning to have a mainnet release within a couple of months, per their latest update.
As we continue into our new year, soon to be joined by newly elected members, we plan to continue reaching out to researchers and establishing what it means to work on these topics, not to mention Monero itself. We hope to provide security to Monero, both in its current work and with its privacy, and continue its development as we ever improve. If you are interested in helping support our cause, please review our active fundraisers as they appear, or consider donating to our general fund via https://monerofund.org/.