Hi Zcash Community,
I’d like to be considered to sit on the Zcash Major Grants Review Committee (MGRC) for its first term. Mario Laul, who many of you will recognize from the forums (@mlphresearch), has agreed to assist me in this endeavor. We would be processing information and making decisions together through rough consensus – 2 for the price of 1
At Placeholder we are constantly studying what’s around the corner for crypto, which involves contact with hundreds of teams every year. The portfolio of teams and networks we currently support can be found here, and of course, Zcash is one. We believe our breadth and depth of crypto experience and exposure will be helpful to an MGRC that is tasked with making constant funding decisions.
Why Zcash? As an enthusiast and professional in the crypto industry over the last six years, I’ve watched Zcash grow from a math innovation, to the most hyped launch of 2016, to a robust private-money-network now approaching its first halving. The cryptographic and cypherpunk roots of Zcash go deep, making this community one of the few in crypto that’s actually capable of engineering and sustaining the kind of effort that will be required to win global money status. Add privacy preservation, and this is an extremely important mission. But to be successful, Zcash needs a much more resilient and cyphernative governance system, and in my opinion, it’s partially the MGRC’s job to push that agenda.
Therefore, a core commitment of mine would be to encourage the MGRC to attract and deploy resources to decentralize and bolster the resilience of Zcash governance. Focusing on governance does not mean governance maximization, it means building a system resilient to capture, that is representative, scalable and adaptable.
While I’ve been conversational with key members of the ECC since a few months after their 2016 launch, and in the last year struck up conversations with the ZF through the governance debates, I have no vested interest in the ECC or ZF. As for Placeholder, we are pure ZEC coin holders, and have no plans to develop any other capital interest in, or surrounding, the network. If this were to change at any point (e.g., an investment in a business building on top of Zcash), we would disclose it to the community and withdraw our vote from any matter concerning that company.
When I think about what a balanced MGRC could look like, I think of the below perspectives.
- Protocol (implementation or research, likely ECC)
- Demand-side (ideally someone that builds for the demand-side, so a senior individual from a prominent wallet, web application, or other interface)
- Supply-side (miner, less active voice in Zcash so maybe irrelevant)
- Zcash Foundation
- Investor (long-term)
- Anonymous (pure ZEC coinholder rep, cannot be manipulated or pressured by meatspace identity)
There are six categories and only five board seats, so at least one of these will be excluded at any given time, and there may very well be redundancies in representation. This post is to make the case for the inclusion of myself as a long-term investor. For anyone that’s worried about having an investor onboard, know that Placeholder manages its cryptoassets through 10-year venture funds, which is different from the more short-term oriented hedge funds seen through much of crypto. We chose our fund structure to give us the best chance at helping teams scale successfully over decadal periods.
With Zcash, I think we need to have a vision on the 100-year time scale, but implement, test, and iterate quarterly. To get to global money status, areas where I would love Zcash to spend more time and capital include seamless user interfaces, iteration on applications (e.g., more experimentation on ZEC as a form of collateral), governance formalization and buildout, and education in emerging economies. I will defer to those I trust on technical needs and implementations, if and when they need to be funded through the MGRC.
While underappreciated in a space rife with speculation and loud boasts, one of the most important drivers of what will win at being cybermoney is the size of the economies that transact and account using its system. Financial rails and liquidity are critical, and here Zcash is already strong (though further integrations with the fiat world will inject more capital faster), but a more robust set of services that is drawing real demand needs to be basing themselves off of Zcash’s infrastructure. For what success looks like here, we need to look no further than Ethereum.
I’m not advocating for Zcash becoming a smart-contract platform, but I do think there is a lot of whitespace between what Bitcoin is and what Ethereum is, and Zcash has always sat comfortably in that space between. The community has a good window of opportunity to move more quickly than many of the other monies in strategic and targeted execution and awareness building.
Similar to DC, I have outstanding questions around D&O Insurance and compensation for those that sit on the MGRC. With regard to D&O Insurance, I would look for that coverage to come from MGRC funds, and until Zcash is fully decentralized in its governance that will likely remain the case (a good incentive to further decentralize!). As for compensation, while I would not personally take compensation (would either return to treasury or re-direct to other MGRC members), I do think it’s important that compensation is offered as is customary with most other prestigious decision-making positions.
Open to questions!