Brainstorm of potential grant concepts/ideas

Let’s brainstorm some ideas of potential grant applications that the community & MGRC candidates would like to see…

I’ll start us off:

-BTCpayserver “fork” for Zcash merchants/users

-a focus on Bolt Labs zkchannels

-a focus on Agoric smart contracts on Zcash

-a “fork” of Coinkite’s Coldcard for a Zcash only hardware wallet?
Should MGRC be open to HW grants in general?

-something like Unchained Capital’s open source multisig project

-Mixnet work, maybe something like @Mikerah’s work or integration with Nym?

-I think for larger grants for a team, I like the idea of Agoric or Thesis applying.

Just some random ideas, not comprehensive but I feel gives a good look into some of my thoughts…

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Correction: I don’t work with Nym. We are competing in the mixnet area but I personally don’t believe in the the whole “1 ACN to rule them all” narrative that I think Nym is going for.

I do think the the MGRC should fund competing approaches for mixnet integration though.

More generally, I think the MGRC is a great place to get competing teams in an area to work on something for Zcash. Even though the Zfnd publicly states that they are interested in financial privacy and whatnot, it seems like they block proposals that the development team personally doesn’t like. @harryhalpin mentioned on the livestream that he got his ZCAP invite revoked because @hdevalence didn’t like his network proposals (whatever those were. possibly Nym related).

Personally, I would love to write up a proper grant proposal for the MGRC and see @harryhalpin’s team at Nym do the same and see how we fare against a different set of people. If we both suck, then that’s that. If we are both good enough, then the MGRC should make bets on who will most likely be the most successful and show that through the sizes of the grants + mentorship they offer to each team.

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Thanks for the reply & I may not have made it clear enough but I meant your mixnet work or Nyms. Not that you work with Nym,as I am aware of hashcloak.

But I find your thoughts on funding competing teams working on a specific thing for Zcash interesting & something I hadn’t considered. This could absolutely be the best way to get something completed both efficiently & properly. Healthy competition.

I wonder if some would see funding two teams with the same goal as a not so great way of spending funds but in my opinion if the MGRC see something like mixnet work for example as very important, then it would make sense to allocate funds to both teams as a way to increase the chance of success.

This also makes me think about the potential collaboration of two “competing” teams? Not sure how that could work but…

I look forward to reading your grant proposal if elected.

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I woke up and noticed that I misread that. You clearly used “or”. But I don’t see why both can’t be funded, if that’s what the inaugural MGRC sees as useful.

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Interesting idea about funding competing, alternative projects! I love competition when it is collegial — you learn from each other, you bring out the best in each other, and you even help each other when doing so is going to lead to a win/win for everyone.

However, we should protect a strong norm in the Zcash community that if you’re slagging on others, insinuating that they are not competent or are not good people, then what you are doing is harmful to the community and to the mission and you need to learn to behave better or else you’ll be shunned.

The moderation style on this forum, as led by Shawn/mineZcash setting the tone, has been good about this.

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So when a staff member calls out people for concern trolling that’s acceptable but when the community (rightfully) questions competency, intent, or a developed plan that deserves being shunned? I’d like to be able to disagree with folks and not be labeled as malicious.

Edit: I just realized that none of this dialogue will change anything. I’m out.

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From my own experience, I think the best way to handle this is to provide evidence before suggesting any malevolence, and to shy away from cornering individuals in public. Otherwise, we create an unwelcoming, echoey atmosphere that is void of in-depth discussion.

I think zooko is just trying to say to not be D-bag when going about giving critical but insightful input.

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I like the call to integrate components from development partners, especially to flesh out useful apps for users. I’m still crazy about z-address directories for their potential to make zapps more friendly without the need to log-in to find contacts.

With all the hype surrounding MGRC, I like to wonder which grants are more appropriate from which devfunding entities? ECC, ZF and MGRC must all allocate devfunds…

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what are everyone’s thoughts on the bcoin team as a viable grant applicant?

they already have a suite of full node implementations for BTC, BCH & LTC

would having another team working on libraries &/or a full node implementation be seen as beneficial to the Zcash ecosystem?

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Bump for visibility

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It seems to me that a long-term plan for Zcash’s scalability will need something like a mixnet, so a huge +1 from me to that idea.

Looking toward novel use cases like we see in Zbay, where the memo field is primarily a communication tool, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if a Zcash mixnet became a primary source of value for the network and important piece of freedom tech for everyone, even people who don’t use ZEC. People might even come to use ZEC because of apps built on the mixnet, instead of the other way around. Because of mixnets’ stronger threat model, I see a potential to rival Tor in terms of use cases and “brand recognition”/sentiment in the privacy tech community.

Something that stands out to me is how different mixnet designs make mutually-exclusive trade-off decisions. Some try to achieve message-sender anonymity, some don’t, and that has drastic implications on the design, for example. So, we should make sure that we’re coordinating mixnet R&D with the scalable protocol design work going on at ECC. We don’t want to end up in a situation where the core cryptographic protocol provides certain privacy guarantees that we end up not being able to take advantage of because they conflict with mixnet trade-off choices we’ve already invested in (or vice-versa; we don’t want to introduce inefficiencies into the mixnet to have extra privacy properties that are precluded by the core protocol). It makes sense for that coordination to happen around a common threat model document.

(Check out Daira’s talk for thoughts on what a scalable core protocol might look like)

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Merchant support infrastructure. I think that it needs to be trivial for both online and brick-and-mortar merchants to be able to accept Zcash payments, taking advantage of Zcash’s unique capabilities that are made possible by viewing keys.

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Just a note here.

A few years ago, when I onboarded a few dozen of merchants to support Zcash in Greece, I asked them what was the main reason for not supporting crypto payments earlier. Their answer was that nobody wanted to spend crypto for buying stuff. This is not a chicken and egg problem. Users had and (now more than ever) have the ability to easily spend their crypto. But they won’t spend it because they would rather hold and sell when the price goes sky high. I’m not going to start a debate here about the merits of holding vs spending but if you ask any merchant, they will tell you the same thing. The biggest obstacle for adoption is the lack of users willing to spend, not merchants accepting crypto. For the merchants, the easiest part is to accept Zcash. They just download a wallet and that’s it. Or they can use a service like Coinpayments. The merchants don’t have any trouble accepting Zcash (and they don’t particularly care about shielded, but this is a separate discussion). 95% of the Greek merchants I spoke with, just used a mobile wallet and were not particularly interested in spending their crypto either at the time. They saw it as an alternative and extra income that they would rather invest (AKA hold) than convert to fiat. From the users’ POV, I can understand them too. For many jurisdictions, spending crypto triggers a taxable event. So why on earth would anybody want to spend their crypto on a regular basis and then have Uncle Sam up their ***. And it’s not just the taxable event but also the headache of accounting. So I would say the issue is a mix of regulation and collective consciousness on what crypto is and how it can be used.

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This is a great point!

To kind of add to it, the ZF funded the Anypay team to add Shielded Zcash to their POS system back in 2019 https://github.com/ZcashFoundation/GrantProposals-2018Q2/issues/28

And they followed through, unfortunately for less than a year. When asked about why they said there was a lack of demand/ amount of TX to justify continuing support.

I was personally quite disappointed by this turn of events and funding for anything like this in the future should also include a set time period to support it as a requirement.

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You have companies like BlockFi, Fold, Coinbase & more launching crypto debit cards, credit cards to spend & earn crypto in cash back. We need to make ZEC available to users on their platform.

@anon16456014 highlights the biggest problem as I see it for newbies.

That is another post tho, I just realised what has happened here.

There is no recourse for a slick sales pitch? I think the MGRC should be demanding Proof of Concept code specific to zcash integration in light of this.

Was customer demand for the feature part of the grant? if not, who cares. If you get a grant to build a bridge no one will ever use, you build the bridge

He states that this is for both T and Z addresses. This is their latest app I just downloaded.

Shameful. just shameful.

WTF? Grants are now donations? is there no legal recourse for this? @antonie this is their latest app I just downloaded - If I am missing something, please let me know. I would love to see the postmortem for this project.

[quote=AnyPay PDF]
Hundreds of merchants across America are already using Anypay to take private
payments of cryptocurrencies.

They want to know instantly if the customer paid, and they want to know that
their money is secure. We have done all that and more, and now we want to add Zcash to
Anypay’s list of supported coins.

Zero user education is needed to use it securely. This tool increases the availability and
decentralization of Zcash in the world by spreading it around to merchants and inspiring crypto
users to switch to a more private currency.

I feel conned.

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Me too, they don’t even support basic ZEC anymore… smh…

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As someone who used Anypay to pay for stuff with Zcash at actual stores, I can say their point of sale system was a pleasure to use. Those guys built a real crypto ecosystem in a small town on the seacoast of NH. I believe them that the usage volume wasn’t there, but after the tool was built, could a little marketing and persuasion driven usage? Hard to say. Not sure why they gave up so fast, other than now they seem to be pushing BSV only.

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I have been saying for at least two years that demand for zcash is falling among users and owners of zec, this manifests itself in the form of refusal to buy, own, and therefore spend, the number of active addresses falls, which means all projects with real use are doomed to failure, anypay is a simple example now. The main drawback is the lack of marketing, you need to give examples of when it is better to use zec and not another currency, when implementing somewhere, start developing a direction and this is not the task of the company that implements, but of the companies that develop and support the project!
The fund and the ECC are to blame for the current situation, not the buyers, sellers, companies that accepted the zec for settlements. What will happen next when financing large projects if demand does not change, I guarantee nothing good, you need to increase demand !!!
Someone can answer the question unequivocally - “why use zcash and not another currency if confidentiality is not a priority for the overwhelming number of users” and another question for the future “Why use a currency with very low demand” - this question is asked by companies that think about support zec.
It is necessary to develop projects and not just support them with money, otherwise there will be a “dead city”.