Numerous proposals have emerged recently, aiming to bring a transformative shift in the “governance fabric” of the Zcash ecosystem (e.g. “en-masse” nominations for ZCAP, the sudden appearance of a “Zenate,” or a proposal on “weighted coin voting”). What adds intrigue to the situation is the peculiar timing - these proposals rushing to come out all at once, and all of them coinciding with the impending expiration of the dev fund in just over a year. Equally intriguing is the fact that most of these suggestions originate from individuals who have been profiting from the Zcash dev fund, and, in some cases, have openly shared their intentions to continue to do so.
For this, I’d like to put forth a suggestion to both the powers-that-be in Zcash as well as to the broader community: Let us approach this situation with the utmost ethical consideration. If we were to come up with a new governance structure that would have an impact on how it is decided whether to extend the dev fund or not, I believe the only truly ethical approach to it would be to either exclude anyone who has ever profited from the dev fund or founder’s reward from having voting/vetoing power under any “new regulations,” and if this is not digestible for the powers-that-be in Zcash (something tells me it won’t), then the community should definitely refrain from altering the rules prior to ZCAP voting on a potential dev fund extension for another cycle, as to prevent any potential “foul play”, or abuse of the “governance loopholes” in Zcash from anyone who would stand to profit from a dev fund extension.
Beyond the evident “power struggle” and the technical and adoption challenges Zcash is grappling with, the most pressing issue this project faces is its severely tarnished reputation among the crypto masses (it would not be too hard to argue that this massive negative perception of Zcash and its main players might be merited, by the way). This reputational crisis is not only shared by the broader public but also among many within the Zcash community - the regular zodlers who form its core.
In my humble opinion, it is imperative that addressing this reputational crisis becomes a priority for the community. Most approaches that would give way to changes in Zcash governance prior to the vote on whether to renew the dev fund would almost certainly be perceived as “suspicious” by both regular zodlers, as well as the crypto masses (who we desperately need to stop thinking of Zcash as a “scam/honeypot” coin), and even more so when the initiatives are being pushed by people who have either been profiting from the dev fund and/or who stand to lose in case it does not get renewed.
To summarise, I do believe a change in Zcash governance is urgent and that it would be ideal for it to take place prior to the decision on whether to renew the dev fund for another cycle, but only if this change is approached in a way that would prevent people who have conflicts of economic interests from having a say on whether they get even more money from zodlers or not. If this is not palatable for the people with conflicts of economic interests vis-a-vis this topic, or to the wider Zcash community, then the governance rules should definitely stay the same as to not further taint the reputation of Zcash in the eyes of zodlers and the crypto masses.
Zcash is in need for desperate change, but definitely not for a change that would mainly strengthen the hand of the same people who are in great part responsible for the multiple crisis the project is going through, or for a change that would tarnish its reputation even more.
At least in the eyes of this long-time zodler.