Application for the Major Grants Review Committee

Hey Zebras, I would like to announce my candidacy for a seat on the Major Grants Review Committee.

Many of you know me as “Shawn” here on the forums (because I’m a moderator) but some may not know that I also go by “mineZcash” on Twitter, Discord, Keybase, and Reddit. Both pseudonyms are how I choose to interact with the community to keep my true identity off of the open internet because the internet is an unforgiving place when it comes to doxxing and such. I won’t go into exhausting details about my background regarding community involvement, but suffice to say I run the main Zcash Community website, am active on Discord, Reddit, Telegram, and Tweet as much Zcash news as I can dig up daily. I also volunteered on the Zcash Foundation Grants Review Committee for the first two rounds in 2017 and 2018 where we decided how to allocate $380,000 to various Zcash projects.

I feel that ZIP-1014 which creates the MGRC is the most important thing to happen to Zcash since the Sapling upgrade. The fact that the original Founders had the foresight to limit their own power over time by including a hard termination date of 4 years for the Founders Reward to end shows that they wished Zcash to become more decentralized from the beginning. The creation of the Zcash Foundation was a first step in that direction, and the Community voting to create a third checks-and-balances entity known as the MGRC is the next step towards achieving the ultimate goal of broad inclusion and decentralized governance for Zcash.

The community and other candidates have brought up many good questions about the MGRC itself and how it will operate. So where do I stand with regards to the MGRC itself and how it should operate? In my humble opinion:

  • The MGRC should be comprised of persons who have a deep understanding of Zcashs, its challenges, and where it needs to go in the future.
  • The MGRC should have one or two seats that are full-time compensated positions held by persons who will serve Zcashs best interests. The other seats should be community members who are willing and able to dedicate at least 10 hrs per week to doing MGRC “stuff” and those can be on a volunteer or greatly reduced compensation basis. This is to accommodate both kinds of talent, those that can and can not work full time on the MGRC. However, all members of the MGRC should have an equal of 5 “voice” with regards to the decision-making process to make voting on proposals fair.
  • The MGRC seats should be subject to a rule of majority vote meaning any member can be replaced at any time if the other 4 seats are unanimous about replacing a member who is not performing or has other issues affecting the MGRC.
  • MGRC members should only be elected for a one-year term as already defined by ZIP-1014.
  • Once seated the first days/weeks of the MGRC should be focused on defining and ratifying its own operational structure before it distributes a single grant. Only once the MGRC has its ducks in a row can it begin doing its mission.

As far as what the MGRC should be doing, ZIP-1014 specifies:

Major Grants SHOULD be restricted to furthering the Zcash cryptocurrency and its ecosystem (which is more specific than furthering financial privacy in general)”

I see the MGRC is an opportunity for the community to work on what I’m going to refer to as “the last mile” problem. The last mile refers to the fact that despite many core Zcash protocol improvements, Zcash users still have to slog through a confusing myriad of wallets, misleading or plain wrong information (often from competitors), lack of tooling like SDKs, APIs, Multi-sig for app developers, and general “new user” confusion with how to use Zcashs T and Z addresses effectively to protect their privacy. If we want Zcash to be the go-to for privacy then the end user has to be thought of first. Breaking down barriers will lead to adoption, adoption will lead to demand, demand will lead to value.

Some ideas about areas that the MGRC can focus on:

  • Hire developers specifically to build tooling SDKs and APIs: supporting Zcash shielded addresses should be as plug-and-play as Bitcoin. Webshopping companies like Shopify have partnered with Coinpayments to make bolt-on crypto acceptance, why don’t they and other internet portals that support Bitcoin also support Z-addresses? Why aren’t we asking them and supporting them?
  • New users hear of Zcash and do a quick search for “Zcash Wallet” why is “freewallet” (which doesn’t even support Z-addresses) the first Google Play result? When the zECC mobile wallet is released, we know the ECC or ZFND will not be putting it onto the app store. Why don’t we hire a team to do just that and troubleshoot, maintain, updates, etc…?
  • Where is the glossy Zcash YouTube presence? Explainer videos about how to transact safely? Explain the difference between T&Z addresses? The differences between Zcash and other privacy tech? Dash has Amanda Johnson making “everything you need to know about Dash” videos, where is our Zcash personality?
  • What areas of the core protocol do ECC or ZFND see as “low-hanging fruit” that the MGRC can hire teams to work on right away? How could MGRC augment the ECC and ZFND workflows to make Zcash better, faster, stronger?

Those are just a few off the top of my head, I’m sure the Community and other MGRC board members will have others.

It’s also important to note that ZIP-1014 has a clause stating:

At most one person with association with the ECC, and at most one person with association with the ZF, are allowed to sit on the Major Grant Review Committee. “Association” here means: having a financial interest, full-time employment, being an officer, being a director, or having an immediate family relationship with any of the above

So I want to clarify my relationship to the Zcash Foundation, I work as a sub-contractor to help maintain and Admin community infrastructure and am not a full-time employee but I understand that the community may not see it as much of a difference, it’s still an association. So to avoid any potential confusion or concern about conflict of interest, I spoke with Josh Cincinnati (who cleared it with Zcash Foundation board) that if I were to be elected to the MGRC I would have their endorsement to occupy the one seat allocated to the Zcash Foundation.

Thereby, if I were elected to the committee I would provide the insight of my years working with the Zcash Community, ECC, and ZFND towards the proposals brought forward to the MGRC , but as a Foundation representative I will additionally consult the Foundation on decisions and convey the Foundations perspective on any issues that come up.

I also want to be clear that I have a regular day-job to support my family that would prevent me from taking a full time 40hr a week position. I am willing to commit to 10hrs per week that I can be 100% MGRC, in addition to more hours occasionally as my work/family schedule allows. I apologize for such a long post but I wanted to be sure to give you the whole story so you know what you are getting if you were to vote for me.

Thank you for your consideration.

22 Likes

Nice video just released from Exodus, this is the kind of good content I’m talking about: https://youtu.be/WHnGg8L6Un4 the only issue is Exodus doesn’t support Z-addresses! :slightly_frowning_face: We need to find out what the major blockers are for these kinds of projects and get them using Zcashs Privacy.

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I enjoyed reading your post and I think you have some really good ideas. I would like to see you elected.

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Thank you for the encouragement @tm3k :slight_smile:

Enjoyed reading this application. I think the idea of having 1-2 members working full time as lead coordinator(s) and compensated accordingly, with the other 3-4 members providing part-time support, is interesting. @Shawn If this idea finds broad support, would you agree that MGRC members representing ECC and ZFND should always be excluded from the full-time position(s)?

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Yes, I would think that if a ZFND or ECC member were elected to the MGRC then it’s kind of implied that that person has preexisting commitments that would prevent them from commiting to MGRC full time. And, to avoid the perception that the MGRC is ran by the ECC or ZFND those seats should be ineligible to be a “lead coordinator” of the MGRC if such a role existed.

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Nice ideas, I really like them. I hadn’t really thought about it like that before.

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I really enjoy your twitter feed and I will very likely be supporting you. I really appreciate that you volunteered for the first wave of grants and that experience is something I believe that could earn you the only full time role off the go from what I have read submitted by other MGRC candidates. If you were to hold a full time role from the beginning I would expect cut throat precedent to be set in regards to mediation and arbitration, protecting the Grant money at all times from bad actors.

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