Mr. Josh Cincinnati of Zcash Foundation has engaged in a power grab, using as the vehicle the debate regarding the Founder Rewards after Oct 2020. The motivation is very transparent, as Josh wants to continue his empire building, by grabbing half of the future “dev fee”, or as he says, ‘disbursed equally across recipient nonprofits’. There is an undeniable conflict of interest here, perhaps even blatant self-dealing, and I implore the Foundation Board and all the stakeholders to reign him in.
Per blog posts, the Foundation positioned itself as the arbiter for the range of topics to be decided and the rule maker for the format of the discussion. Meanwhile they (Josh) have immediately put down specific demands on ECC, and a short fuze schedule on the process, prior to gathering the promised “sentiment” or providing any Transparency or Accountability into how these were decided and set in Quikrete.
This underhanded campaign to discredit ECC mentions Transparency and Accountability, implying that Zooko has been lax in those areas. ECC did provide precise accounting quarterly, most recently on May 14th, including a 14 page PDF. Meanwhile the Foundation published a single post in January that does not even attempt to meet reasonable expectations for a financial disclosure. The Foundation did not even file the required IRS Form 990 for 2018, so we have no visibility into its audited finances during past 19 months, throughout Mr. Cincinnati’s tenure.
Josh crafted a blog post that declares “Where the Foundation stands”, without a proper vote from the Board. I hereby question his motivation and reject his authority to make such pronouncements and demand that the Board convene an extraordinary meeting within two weeks, to address this crisis in governance. In such a situation only an official Board vote on a specific proposal can have any weight, duly signed by Andrew Miller, Peter Van Valkenburgh, Matthew Green, Amber Baldet and Ian Miers.
Seems that we’ll need an independent rule making body that guides the process and consists of competent parties with no immediate financial incentive in the outcomes. Say, two ECC outside directors and two Foundation Board members, like Andrew and Amber. There is plenty of time to make the optimal decision, as the impact on the code of the dev fee percentage computation is tiny. All the fake urgency is simply Josh jostling for position, putting pressure on Zooko.
We can have the process established by November 1st, deliberate through Feb 1st and nail down the vote on April 1st, 2020. Given ‘dev fee’ expectations in the industry, 10-12% is not going to raise any objections, not among miners or investors or anyone with a clue. Of course, if Josh grabs half of that, the remainder will be somewhat lean for ECC and Founders. Can we simply assume that ECC gets 10% and focus the debate on whether the Foundation should get 2% or 3%?
Zooko, kindly grow some… backbone and continue delivering on the vision from four years ago. Take care of the founders and developers, investors and miners, and you’ll be fine. If you cannot help but be ‘nice’ to those committed to spending “other people’s money”, put in charge someone that Josh cannot bully.
Non-profits in crypto have been a constant failure to date, ranging from the Tezos disaster to Bitcoin and Ethereum ineffectiveness or partisanship. Perhaps there are structural reasons for this, as a commercial mindset is a better match for building payment systems, particularly ones that rely on financial incentives for their basic operation. Large tech foundations, like Linux or Apache, are run as corporate entities, funded in seven or eight figures by industry giants.
The idea of two non-profits is simply preposterous. Anyone convinced that ECC needs to be non-profit should then stick to their guns and insist that there only be one, under Zooko. And I bet those recent engineering hires would rather work with the core Zcash devs rather than for Josh.