@aiyadt candidacy for ZOMG

@aiyadt candidacy for ZOMG

After spending 2 years in the Zcash community, and witnessing a lot of changes with numerous hiccups, all towards keeping Zcash decentralized & sustainable long-term, I believe Zcash has a huge potential to prove itself and attract top talent & users alike. With this belief, I have decided to stand for the MGRC seat and bring a technical angle to plan, evaluate and vote on grant applications.

I believe I am already doing my part in evaluating grants & commenting as a Zcash Forum member. And as a MGRC recipient for Nighthawk team, I would also bring in the viewpoints & challenges faced by recipients when planning, applying and executing a grant.

Additionally, my experience with alternative chains like

  1. helping analyze and providing feedback to Algorand Developer site https://developer.algorand.org which made it super easy for developers to get started coding with Algorand.

  2. following Cardano ecosystem growth from 2018, their transition to Proof-of-Stake in 2020, the incentivized testnet they put forth to create a vast community of supporters and this year’s on-chain Catalyst governance where set $ amounts of funds are allocated to top voted projects in multiple domains on a bi-monthly basis.

  3. following the Bitcoin experiment from 2012-2017 as a miner, trader & user, which ended up pushing me to Zcash as I believe in the core properties of ZEC being stronger than BTC.

Zcash has a self-funded mechanism that’s missing in BTC, while several other chains have demonstrated their Foundation/Grants to grow their ecosystem beyond internal tools, but to interface with rest of the crypto space.

What I plan to deliver within 20 hours minimum per month :

  • RFPs: Drafting specification for a multi-platform Zcash SDK toolchain and inviting developers to write libraries and samples apps showing Zcash utilities that are broken down in to well defined reqs. (Target vision: Overview - Algorand Developer Portal & Community Projects - Algorand Developer Portal)
  • Reviewing and discussing grants with the ZOMG members per schedule.
  • Making myself available for MGRC approved recipients for any concerns, questions and future planning.
  • Advocating builders and creatives to contribute to Zcash and get paid for the works.

What I support:

  • Keep ZOMG going for 2nd term without breaks in order to prove functional governance of MGRC treasury by Zcash community(assuming we have several candidates that stand to run for ZOMG till September 15th).
  • Fund grants in one of the two primary categories - 1) Building Zcash toolchain to increase ZEC utility, 2) Growing Zcash Awareness & Adoption through use cases & education.
  • Funding grants that help increase Zcash adoption, primarily to new crypto communities - this can be in the form of building ZEC bridges across chains, partner integrations, Shielded Address support, Zcash education and awareness of shielded nature of transactions and creative ideas like novels, video, podcast series.
  • Every grant needs to be described well and include a defined end goal. I will suggest edits and lengthening of the grant application word limit on ZFND platform.
  • Following a code of conduct for healthy discussions, maybe adopt http://safetyfirstpdx.org/training/code_of_conduct/Workshophandouts.pdf

I also support compensating ZOMG members for their ~20hrs work per month work. (this will need a ZIP-1014 amendment). I will abstain from voting on grants related to Nighthawk or individual grants by Nighthawk team members during my term.

Disclosures:

I am associated with @NighthawkWallet as a Project Manager & Developer and Nighthawk Capital as an advisor - a private crypto investment group, and have significant skin in the game(holding ZEC) to support decisions to make the most ROI on the MGRC funds.

Thank you for accepting my nomination. Vote @aiyadt :sun_with_face:

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Very pleased to see you throw your hat into the ring, @aiyadt! I have confidence in your skills and vision for Zcash.

Agreed with your SDK RFP, and the focus on building out novel content, education initiatives, podcasts and the like.

Do you believe the development of programmability, smart contracts, and shielded tokens on Zcash ought to be a priority? Thoughts on how to best effect these?

Regarding the code of conduct, would this be only for internal and external discussions by and with the MGRC?

Thanks!

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Thank you for your support.

Yes, Zcash needs to extend the utility beyond the shielded transactions & z2z use cases to attract the wider crypto developer community to interface with ZEC.
As for adding programmability, smart contracts and shielded tokens; I would like to review well defined specs/ZIPs, use cases and limits of scalability bottlenecks before jumping in the development of such endeavors. I think we can get started with basic contracts with stateless functionality via opcodes(while still on PoW), and we don’t need to aim for Turing complete initially at least(maybe with PoS transition where validator nodes can supply the additional processing power for stateful smart contracts).

A lot of work might also be needed on the advocacy front, to attract successful smart programming architects from other blockchains to Zcash. (e.g. The MIT interns who helped build the Algorand TEAL smart contracts The Smart Contract Language - Algorand Developer Portal) I am open to funding such individuals to come onboard and architect frameworks which can be reviewed by ECC/ZF to build out. Also, there are several initiatives in progress by various Zcash contributors and the building of each needs to be well planned out by ECC + ZF for setting up Zcash core for success in the next 2-4 years.

As a ZOMG member, I would attend Zcash Arborist calls to be in sync with the core team, and be aware of any challenges & upcoming items from the roadmap to understand what it would take to deliver rich utility on Shielded Zcash, and only then plan with the community to release funds to get stuff done.

Internal first and then based on ZOMG member feedback, applying it to external discussions - as a healthy dialog helps reaching shared goals of the broader community.

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@aiyadt, you have raised an issue on another candidate’s thread:

Since you are a candidate yourself, the voters deserve a clear answer from you on that issue. What is your position?

Specifically, if someone releases open source software for Zcash and then subsequently decides to tweak a few lines of code and a few graphics to release a Ycash version, does that somehow make them less desirable or less qualified of a candidate for ZOMG? If yes, why?

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Thanks for your questions @hloo

It has been over 2 years since Ycash took its own path, voluntarily forked and chose its own funding mechanism, without a community dev fund allocation. At one point I had more YEC than ZEC as I was mining Ycash since Day 1.

Since then, YEC has relied on Zcash for core technology and Zcash Dev funded projects for utility. And Zcash has continually made available bleeding edge cryptography via its funding mechanism. So, as a builder on zero knowledge technology, Zcash is the most suitable protocol to build upon. And I plan to fund projects working towards improving the ease of development on Zcash with the MGRC slice of funding.

I wouldn’t discount the efforts required to build, test and maintain quality software for a specific fork. I admire your efforts in keeping your promise and making YEC network available. YEC supporters are free to continue contributing to Ycash.

This is Zcash. And a lot of work needs to be done to make Zcash easy to use and easy to build upon. It is up to the Zcash community to decide what makes a qualified candidate for approving ZOMG funding.

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Hey,

  • How important is ZEC price appreciation for you ?
  • To the Zcash investors that buy and hold ZEC and who make the devfund possible, what can you tell them that you will do to make their investment turning into fruition ?
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Thank you for your question @joris

I believe Zcash price appreciation attracts investors and new holders as they educate themselves about Shielded transactions and Zero Knowledge technology.

And Zcash compared to the other privacy category or zk-SNARKs cryptography coins has not done very well on the markets which shows there is work to be done towards advocacy & easy of development to grow the use cases of ZEC.

Now there could be many reasons for the price not appreciating - like the high inflation and not enough demand VS constant supply. This is why I believe that Zcash holders should support efforts towards increasing adoption via use cases like DeFi, Shielded Messaging, Point of Sale for Payments, wrapped assets on chains beyond Ethereum(there’s Cardano, Solana, Avalanche, Algorand all with growing wrapped coin ecosystem), all these can take more ZEC away from supply and ultimately increase the demand for ZEC.

I want to work towards applying the lessons from successful coins and increase ZEC distribution across the cryptoverse.

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Thank you :slightly_smiling_face:

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Good luck @aiyadt !

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With a few talented grant award winners running for ZOMG, what’s your interpretation on if committee members can receive grants while serving on ZOMG?

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I’m not sure if the official rules prohibit it (they probably should if they do not already), but that would be a pretty clear conflict of interest. That’s self-dealing.

It would seem adequate for the person with the Coi to recuse themself from such particular votes (?)

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Doesn’t ZOMG have a 501(c)(3) character under the Zcash Foundation? If so, it would have to follow the rules. Some links:

FWIW I’m not a US Person.

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All those links pertain to private foundations. The Zcash Foundation is not a private foundation; it is a public charity.

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No. ZOMG is legally a technology advisory board for the Zcash Foundation.

“Self dealing” would apply if ZOMG tried to pay a Grant to the Zcash Foundation, which is strictly forbidden by ZIP 1014:

These funds MUST only be used to issue Major Grants to external parties that are independent of ZF. They MUST NOT be used by ZF for its internal operations and direct expenses. Additionally, BP, ECC, and ZF are ineligible to receive Major Grants.

If a member of ZOMG has a conflict of interest in a proposal then that member has an obligation to disclose this to the other members and recuse themselves from voting on a Grant that would cause the conflict.

Thereby, if @aiyadt is elected to ZOMG they would need to recuse themselves from voting on anything to do with projects they are financially involved in, including Nighthawk, Block Explorer, Thorchain, etc, etc…

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Thank you for clarifying.

EDIT: @hloo I am not sure that on a technical, legal level, there is a substantial difference between private foundation and a 501(c)(3). This here says:

Every organization that qualifies for tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) is classified as a private foundation unless it meets one of the exceptions listed in Section 509(a). Private foundations typically have a single major source of funding (usually gifts from one family or corporation rather than funding from many sources) and most have as their primary activity the making of grants to other charitable organizations and to individuals, rather than the direct operation of charitable programs.

Then Section 509(a) is explained here:

Edit 2: If I were the Zcash Foundation or a ZOMG member, I would want a memo from a qualified lawyer in-hand before I attempted approving grants to ZOMG members.

The ZFND meets the 509a3 qualifications because “A supporting organization (the ZFND) generally warrants public charity status because it has a relationship with its supported organization (the Zcash community) sufficient to ensure that the supported organization is effectively supervising or paying particular attention to the operations of the supporting organization.”

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Thank you @_eric for bringing up the question regarding ZOMG members receiving grants.

A few things first:

Comments related to section 509(a)3 organizations are not applicable to this discussion since that is an entirely different charitable designation that we are not classified under.

ZF is a 501(c)(3) public charity under section 170 (b) (1) (A) (vi) of IRS code, incorporated in the US state of Delaware. I won’t get into all of the qualifications that are required to gain and maintain this designation but they are substantial, as you can imagine. Those qualifications and requirements include annual reporting submitted to the IRS, how our board convenes, and many other small and large activities. It’s worth noting that ZF is in full compliance with IRS requirements.

As others have mentioned, ZOMG is a committee under the ZF organizational structure. It is not its own public or private charity, and its activities are governed by the IRS as if they were ZF’s activities. This isn’t as limiting as it might first sound since making grants is perfectly acceptable under ZF’s charitable purpose. It does however, require all of us to be aware of conflicts of interest or actions that could be perceived as conflicts of interest.

If anyone ever has any ZF governance or charitable status questions, feel free to tag me and I’ll respond as soon as I’m able. Some questions will require some investigation or outside expertise.

As @rucknium suggested (and I wholeheartedly agree), a lawyer’s opinion is required here to ensure no one within this structure unknowingly creates a situation that could be detrimental to the individuals and organizations involved. So, ZF has consulted a lawyer and this is what they said:

Existing grant recipients with open milestones can serve on ZOMG but they have to recuse themselves from votes related to those grants. A ZOMG committee member may not submit a grant proposal while sitting on ZOMG, under any circumstances.

Hopefully this clears up any lingering questions.

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This is news. @Alex_ZF please make an official post about this as it affects every ZOMG candidate.

As much as my plans to move Zcash forward via improving outreach, advocating new comers and building a functional funding framework would have come to fruition following me running and possibly serving ZOMG. I believe I can make a higher impact building services and tools that will be directly used by Zcashers.

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