Douglas Tuman Working full-time on Monero Projects (6 months)
Hi Monero Fam, it is me, Douglas Tuman, best known as the host of the Monero Talk YouTube show, and passionate supporter of Free Speech Money! I am seeking funding from the community to bootstrap a leap from my 9-5 career to working on Monero related projects all day everyday! This is my first CCS proposal. It is long. I wanted to make sure I was being as transparent/informative as possible.
Foremost, Sunita aka Sunchakr (my biz/life partner) and I are truly thankful for all the support we have already received from:
- Our podcast sponsors (Cake Wallet, XMR.to, Sweetwater Digital Asset Consulting, and recently ChangeNow)
- Our gratuitas.org customers
- The community’s support of our projects (including my run for U.S. Congress), and
- The anonymous donations we received along the way.
We would never have gotten this far without you. You have given us the confidence to take our Monero projects to the next level!
Currently, we both work part-time on our Monero Projects. From streaming shows weekly and editing, to traveling to Guatemala to hook-up coffee workers with Monero wallets and selling coffee on the streets of NYC — everyday we eagerly work on Monero. We wake up early before work some days, we figure out how to put hours in during the day, and we dedicate endless hours on nights and weekends. We are motivated by a pursuit of obtaining unconfiscatable liberty and a genuine desire to positively disrupt the world with the mass adoption of true digital cash. We know if we can shift to making our Monero Projects our only job, we can greatly accelerate our progress and Monero’s too.
The plan is for Sunita to continue to work her day job and part-time on Monero, while I take the leap full-time. This will provide us the healthcare and basic security we need for our family (my 7 year old daughter included), while letting me take the risk of leaving my career of 18 years for working for payment in Monero on projects that are not guaranteed to pay our bills.
This would be a dream come true — to focus all my energy on helping Monero succeed and grow, without distractions. I am confident that if provided funding from the community for 6 months to a year, I can catapult a few Monero related projects to a level that will yield significant marketing gains and organic adoption for Monero. Additionally, it will allow Sunita and I to get a few projects to the stage of generating enough revenue to be self-sustaining, putting us in the position to BOTH work full-time on our Monero Projects and on growing Monero's global adoption.
Below you will find a description of who I am, a list of what Sunita and I have already accomplished, milestones of what we intend on achieving in 6 months, and a request for the funding I need to make the leap.
WHO I AM
Known as Chowbungaman from my more active Monero Reddit days, I am a digital cash maximalist who has been in crypto since early 2014 and involved in the Monero Project since 2017. I am driven by a pursuit of fighting for liberty and a desire to disrupt centralized power structures. Ultimately, I value the freedom to be an individual above all else, and I believe Monero is one of the best tools we have for preserving our individuality in the digital age.
So wait aren’t you super crypto rich? Not yet, but I do have a nest egg of Monero. In fact, in terms of investments, I am and have been 100% Monero for years now. I literally own no other asset. No property, no stocks, and sold my Jeep Renegade for cash for Monero. (I drive around in my parents old Volvo). For better or worse, I am happily all Monero. This may not be proof of financial intelligence, but it is proof of my dedication to the project. And yes, Sunita is ok with this, which is why I recently asked her to marry me ;) She said yes!!
Despite getting in on early prices, stacking was slow for me given that I never had much disposable income to invest. My salary always went to my family’s living expenses and my student loans (engineering undergrad and law school) etc. I also burnt a lot of my own funds on keeping our Monero Projects going, including running for Congress. So to be completely honest — Could I technically sell a chunk of my Monero and use it to live off of for a year? Yes, but I am not ready to do that in addition to sacrificing my steady career, plus I think we as a community should strive to collectively fund contributors and bootstrap Monero projects to distribute risk and keep people incentivized to work on Monero for payment in Monero.
I am currently the Commissioner of Engineering at the Town of Hempstead. I have worked in municipal government my entire career and have worked my way to the “top”. I recently ran for Congress as a pro-Monero candidate in 2020 while maintaining the day job and trying to keep Monero Talk going. Once again, Sunita was pivotal in all of this. After our run for Congress, we got back to regular scheduled Monero Talks, started MoneroTopia as a community oriented live show, and relaunched Gratuitas.org (described below). I am a NY registered attorney and Professional Engineer. I have no dev/tech/cryptography skills but I believe I understand systems well. I am not the most eloquent and I lack a British accent, but I like to think I’m good at asking pointed questions and revealing the truth. I am good at dreaming up creative ideas and lean-launching them. I hustle and because I’m motivated by creating an impact over all else, I’m not deterred when monetary rewards are delayed or don’t come at all. I am in it for the revolution. I have many shortcomings but thankfully Sunita makes up for most of them. For example, her abilities to keep us organized, focused, consistent, and likable! Below is a list of Monero related projects Sunita and I have worked on and what we have accomplished.
MONERO RELATED WORK TO-DATE
QwkMonero- started in December 2017 this was actually our first attempt at launching a Monero project. QwkMonero was intended to be a way to effectively purchase Monero with cash at your “corner store”. We designed and printed up QwkMonero gift cards (with scratch off codes) and launched a simple mvp website for redeeming Monero with the card codes. We gave cards away to friends and family. The goal was to distribute these cards in local NYC bodegas etc. Unfortunately, we balked at moving further ahead due to unclear regulations and a lack of resources to properly navigate the regulations. We may more seriously attempt this again (see below).
MoneroTalk- started in July 2018 we have consistently aired weekly interviews all related to Monero. In addition to our weekly shows we have attended a few conferences a year where we live interviewed countless guests in the Monero and Bitcoin space. We currently have 5.33k YouTube subscribers, 6k Twitter followers, and 214k podcast downloads. This promo video sums up our progress nicely.
Gratuitas.org- initially started in August 2019, Gratuitas sells products like coffee and allows the customers to send Monero tips to the people that produce the products. We tested the concept at Defcon 2019 with a coffee farm from Brazil. We remotely setup the workers with their own paper wallets with the help of the farm owner’s daughter who we spent time with in NYC teaching her about Monero. It wasn’t perfect but it allowed us to test the concept. The test was a success. We sold brewed coffees at Defcon 2019, continued to sell bags online for a few months, and the workers got tips. We ultimately stopped shipping coffees when running for U.S. Congress intervened. After the run we sparked it back up. We found a new farm in Guatemala with amazing coffee, through someone I met locally during my race. This time we did it right. We personally visited the farm to teach the workers about Monero and gave them their own paper wallets. We established a good relationship with the owner and some of the workers, allowing us to reliably receive shipments of fresh coffee direct from the farm and to check-in to make sure the workers are getting their tips and not mishandling their wallet seeds. You can view an update interview with one of the workers here. The coffee sales have been consistent and slowly growing. 2 bags are being shipped out per week to customers, a few people purchased monthly subscriptions, we have had success selling brewed coffee on the street in Brooklyn, at Porcfest, and Defcon 2021. To date the 18 workers at the farm that were provided Monero wallets have each been tipped approx. $30 worth of Monero. Here is our recently launched promo video, edited by our friend Untraceable.
US Congress- I ran for US Congress in New York’s 4th CD in 2020. While holding down our day jobs, Sunita and I worked on the campaign from March through November. For 8 months, 7 days a week, we went nonstop, during the Covid outbreak, with my daughter Frania along for the ride. We built up a team of local supporters, opened up a HQ, sent out thousands of letters, drove around with big signs on our cars with my phone number on it, texted directly with thousands of constituents, had fundraisers, ran a strong social media campaign, and even produced and aired a local TV ad. We ran a true grassroots campaign and we did better than any recent non incumbent in this district. The hope was to be the first vocally Pro-Monero rep in office and we got closer than anyone expected. The National Republican Congressional Committee now thinks it is a flippable seat. We believe it is because of what we achieved.
MoneroTopia- Started in January 2021, after the campaign, we sparked up a new show in addition to Monero Talk. MoneroTopia is a live show hosted by Sunita and I that airs weekly with well known community members and which encourages anyone from the community (from noob to expert) to join us live on stage to discuss anything Monero related. Our subscriber numbers are the same as for Monero Talk since it is on the same channel. Here is an episode of us live from Miami in June.
Conferences, Meetups, and Parties- Since 2018, Sunita and I have hosted meetups and attended various conferences as Monero Talk and in effect to represent Monero including:
- Started the NYC MONERO MEETUPs, 2018 - hosted various Meetups with Vik of Cake Wallet from 2018 on.
- NYC Consensus by Coindesk, 2018 - hosted the first NYC Monero Party with Vik.
- The Magical Crypto Conference in NYC, May 2019 - recorded interviews and live streamed, hosted the second Monero NYC party with Vik
- Monerokon in Denver, June 2019 - recorded interviews and live streamed, hosted a Monero airbnb house, hosted a Monero house party
- Defcon 2019 in Las Vegas, August 2019 - recorded interviews and live streamed, helped with the Village, provided a Gratuitas coffee stand
- 36C3 Hackers Conference in Leipzig, Germany, January 2020 - remotely recorded interviews
- Anarchapulco in Acapulco, Mexico, February 2020 - gave a presentation on Monero, recorded interviews
- Defcon 2020, September 2020 - remotely recorded interviews
- The Crypto Vigilante Summit, February 2021 - remotely gave a presentation on Monero
- BTC 2021 and Shitcoin Conference in Miami, June 2021 - assisted with representing Cake and Monero, recorded interviews & live streamed MoneroTopia
- Porcfest 2021 in New Hampshire, June 2021 - provided a Gratuitas coffee stand, recorded interviews, used Monero daily with vendors
- Defcon 2021 in Las Vegas, August 2021 - recorded interviews, helped with the Village, provided a Gratuitas coffee stand (sold hundreds of espressos), live streamed from the Monero Party
The following is a list of projects I would like to continue to focus on, new ones I may possibly start, milestones we aim to achieve within the first 6 months of my funding, and tasks I may pursue to reach these milestones. After 6 months I will issue a report updating the community on what was actually achieved. I will also be updating the community along the way during episodes of MoneroTopia. I may pivot as I go, so the tasks worked on may not reflect the ones listed exactly, but the general milestones I am aiming for should stay the same.
Monero Talk & MoneroTopia YouTube shows and podcasts
- Go from 5.3k to over 10k subscribers on YouTube
- Go from 2 regular sponsors to 4 and increase our monthly sponsorship revenue from $1500 to $3500
- Host people that are known beyond the Monero community in an effort to expand our audience.
- Be a guest on popcasts and radio/tv shows that have a large following outside of the Monero community.
- Start a new show that does daily Monero news updates or incorporate that into MoneroTopia and air it more frequently.
- Do more in-person interviews at our “studio/apartment” (as people pass through NYC) and on location interviews to catch big names (i.e. catch an elected outside their office).
- Continue to improve our studio and production quality
- Investing in landing big guests by traveling to them on location
- Attending conferences
- Hiring a consultant to help us book big names
- Investing in being a guest on podcasts and shows by hiring a publicist
- Investing in improving production quality by purchasing additional equipment and hiring consultants (i.e. to improve our editing).
- Go from regularly generating $200 per month to at least $2000 per month in revenue
- For coffee sales go from slightly above breakeven per month to generating a monthly profit of $1000 per month
- Add a new revenue stream (beyond coffee sales) by partnering with 2 existing brands. Partnering with existing brands will introduce new people to Monero. Imagine someone learning about Monero for the first time off of a Mezcal bottle, as a way to send a tip to the agave farmers.
- Get a local grocery store in the Guatemalan village near the farm to accept Monero so the workers have the option to spend their tips.
- Popularize the concept of providing change back to customers with Monero for in-person brewed Gratuitas coffee sales. Possibly develop a method that other shops can use to offer their customers change back in Monero. This could become an organic (kyc free) way to obtain some pocket change Monero through daily commerce in NYC.
- Make more online bag sales by growing social media, growing our shows (above) to increase the audience Gratuitas is advertised to, run YouTube ads, possibly hire a consultant to get us media attention, and possibly hire influencers to talk about the coffee and Gratuitas concept.
- Increase the profit made per bag sold from $3.50 to $5.50 by reducing costs of coffee (i.e. shipping up green beans in bulk that we roast locally ourselves), and reducing shipping costs by partnering with people from the Monero community that can ship out to their local countries (i.e. someone in Europe and Asia).
- Go from selling brewed coffee on the streets once or twice a month and at Monero events, to selling brewed coffee 5 times a week. Possibly teaming up with an established business like a popular barber shop, corner store, bakery etc. to set up a daily Gratuitas NYC coffee stand. Or establishing our own regular coffee selling spot. This is a lot of daily labor/time but it will greatly increase revenue and it will organically grow Monero adoption in NYC.
- Coordinate with the workers and the farm owner to get a local store in the village near the farm to accept Monero.
- Partner with 2 existing brands (i.e. a popular mezcal or an existing coffee brand) to get them to add Gratuitas tipping labels to their bottles and packaging.
- Visit the farms where their products are made (i.e. agave Mezcal farm in Mexico) to provide the service of reliably hooking their workers up with Monero wallets and guaranteeing that all tips sent go 100% to the workers.
- Produce and run YouTube ads
- Hire consultant to get media attention
- Hire influencers
- Continue fresh coffee importing from San Rafael Urias farm, shipping, packaging, and roasting
- Coffee equipment/setup for in person brewed coffee sales
- Possibly hire someone to work the coffee stand
- Design labels/literature for brands we partner with to provide to their customers
- Educational videos/literature for on-boarding new workers so they understand Monero and Gratuitas (ie. the importance of not losing their private key and what to do with their Monero).
- Travel expenses for partnering with brands and hooking up their workers with Monero wallets
- Attend 2 cryptocurrency conferences within the next 6 months to represent Monero and do onsite Monero Talk interviews. I do not know which ones yet. Possibly host a Monero party at one of the conferences we attend. We successfully did two of these in the past after CoinDesk’s Consensus in NYC. Consensus is not in NYC this year so we would possibly do it after another popular conference we attend.
- Present at atleast one conference
- Travel, stay, event tickets.
- Host 1-3 NYC Monero meetups (aiming for 1 every 2 months for the next 6 months).
Concept: Organize a “decentralized conference” in March in Puerto Rico. Theme being opting into a privacy preserving “MoneroTopia” — a village like experience where you can freely live in “paradise” as a Monero using individual among Monero friends. We have ideas for how to make the event a purely Monero one where attendees will be able to use Monero from travel and stay to cab rides and buying water/cervezas at the local bodega.
- Organize the first MoneroTopia Fest
- Have 50-100 people attend
- Get 10+ local businesses at the MoneroTopia location to accept Monero (i.e. apartment renters, restaurants, corner store, cab co.)
- Possibly partner with Travala to get all attendees to purchase flight and accommodations with Monero.
- Develop the concept further and some simple marketing and educational materials to have a clear pitch to the businesses.
- Work with a local to start getting businesses on board. Develop a model that will benefit them. (in PR we have connections to at least one apartment owner in the perfect “paradise village” location who can also help us onboard local businesses)
- Develop system/website to promote the event, sell tickets to MoneroTopia, provide attendees with the resources they need to acquire all travel and stay needs with Monero, and to get the most out of their MoneroTopia experience with fellow attendees.
- Promote the event among the Monero community and among the crypto community in PR.
- Develop an itinerary/map/guide for attendees that will provide attendees with options for how to spend their vaca using Monero and hang-out with fellow attendees. (i.e. restaurants/bars to visit, services to use, and meeting times/locations for daily Monero community meetups).
- Develop/procure unique swag items for attendees.
- Hiring a consultant to assist with website, marketing/info materials, swag design
- Event marketing
- Travel expenses for planning the event and during the event
Other ideas I may start pursuing during this 6 month time period
I will be working full-time on Monero so it is possible that I will be able to explore a few of these ideas in addition to focusing on the projects above. I am not setting any clear milestones/tasks for these. These are just additional fun projects I'm interested in exploring.
- Monero Secret Menu: Get NYC restaurants to offer special off-menu items that can only be purchased with Monero and compile the locations on a searchable map. (i.e. a special sandwich, desert, cocktail etc.) If successful this can expand to other cities worldwide.
- QwkMonero: Research relaunching QwkMonero, selling gift-cards in corner stores in NYC that are redeemable (possibly directly in CakeWallet) for Monero.
- Monero Diamonds: I recently proposed to Sunita with a Diamond that I laser engraved a microscopic Monero private key into. I am considering investing in acquiring one of these specialized diamond engraving machines and creating a “kiosk” where people can securely and privately engrave a private key into their own precious stone. Or perhaps teaming up with a vendor in the NYC diamond district that has the machine to securly offer this service.
- Monero NYC HQ: Opening up a HQ in the NYC area that would be a Gratuitas storefront, Monero Talk studio, and a place where Monero meetups can regularly be held. Obviously this would require investment but considering exploring the idea.
HOW MUCH AND PAYOUTS
I am seeking to receive funding from the community to cover my full-time devotion to these projects for 6 months. I will have no other source of income during this 6 month period other than any profits we manage to bring in from the projects. If successful and still necessary, I will seek funding for a second 6 month period. My hope is within 6 months to a year, some of these projects will be self-sustaining enough to allow Sunita and I to BOTH work on them full-time and live off of the proceeds. We are not seeking funding for Sunita’s continued part-time work (approx. 25hrs per week) or to cover any of the expenses listed above.
My current yearly salary is 155k before taxes and not including healthcare, benefits, and vacation/sick days paid etc. I currently work 40hrs per week at my day job, plus approx. 21hrs per week on Monero. I am seeking to leave my current job and earn 140k for a year of full-time work (approx. 50-60hrs per week) on Monero Projects allowing us to safely cover all our current living expenses.
PAYOUT- ~$70k (240XMR) paid out in 3 bi-monthly milestone installments
Remember, in addition to me working full-time, you get Sunita working harder than ever too. We are greatly humbled that you are even considering funding us. We know how vital it is that this open source project succeeds and how valuable each donation is. If we are successfully funded we promise we will work tirelessly to complete these milestones and are certain they will directly yield growth in positive Monero awareness and adoption.