Community Sentiment Polling Results (NU4) and draft ZIP 1014

This cant be true.

Given these facts:

Your statement:

Actual Spend vs Budget
 	    Budgeted	    Actual
Total	$2.4mm	        $935k
Zcon0	$357k	        $363k
Grants	$250k	        $139k
Wages	$873k	        $312k
Other	$920k	        $121k

Wages: We really wanted to expand headcount, but hiring in the cryptocurrency industry is hard (particularly for a nonprofit that can’t offer early equity)…

ECC’s official explanation:

The company would not be able to use rights to future monthly Zcash coins as part of a package to attract and retain top talent.

Ironically, the sentence starts with “Honestly”

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I voted for a hardcap. I would have voted for no cap if the ECC in time would have agreed to fully convert to a non profit organisation.

Main reasons why i voted for a hardcap:

  • ECC’s accountability and transparency so far is no way satisfying and far from detailed.
  • ECC’s owners and shareholders are unknown, i do not want that any money flow is used other than for direct development.
  • I’am a believer that budget restrictions will lead to better and more focused work with limited funds than with unlimited funds as things have to be planned much better and more efficient.
  • ECC did not provide any detailed information/plans for what exactly excessive funds would be used.

As pointed out by @zooko, it is legally impossible for ECC to commit to becoming a non-profit unless and until all the owners approve it:


I’am aware of zooko’s statement, but it’s my reasoning for voting for a cap, even more the community does NOT know who the owners are.
IF the ECC really wanted to go this path there was more than enough time to elaborate this path and communicate with the owners meanwhile in the last months.

I have said and written it many months ago that the best move by the ECC would have been to transform somehow in time to a non profit. I’am still pretty sure that this would have made the community more generous towards the ECC. The ECC might of course still get what they want, but not that easyly and not with such high community support.

However, i just described/argumented why i personally voted for a cap.


I don’t think a cap is a good idea. To put it bluntly, if you want to get very good people to work long term on your project in a start up environment, you need to give them the possibility of very high pay off in the scenario the project does very well. (Sidenote: you could perhaps cap the company’s monthly budget in USD, while allowing employess to get FR-style predefined bonuses/dividends in ZEC, but that might be even more complicated to implement than just a cap).
Ironically, if you cap in USD and don’t allow for the possibility of large pay off in case of success, you might end up needing to pay much more to retain good people.


According to the proposal, the company still has the ability to get 100% of all the coins allocated for them, it’s just not done by default, but by additional request. Therefore, do not confuse the restriction with the limit.
In addition, why are you sure that ECC owners will support the project endlessly, they can also benefit and harm success, just like being 100% for the project. This limitation promotes transparency by default, because transparency reports are made by the company itself, and no one else can verify this (errors and secret games are possible anywhere)

So, forgive me for not knowing the details, but in this proposition, where does the ZEC initially go, and who do you make the request to?

Zec does not disappear, and the process of extracting from the reserve requires study separately, this is not a problem in my opinion. In the same way, you also do not know where the ECC itself will store its coins, and you cannot limit their spending either, and suddenly all the balances will be paid in the form of bonuses, and it will not be enough to continue. Many questions relate to control, it is not our business to look behind the scenes, but in fact only the public awareness mechanism is changing, for example, if an employee is hired then payments are made monthly for him, bonuses or projects are also announced, at least 2 parties will know about it. What is bad here? Now the process can be completely hidden, is that good in your opinion?
Let me remind you that for three and a half years the project did not find popularity, and spent the resource only on future successes that have not yet been achieved. If you think that the next four years should be spent in the same way, then I have nothing to object to, but to promise success and achieve it while receiving excellent wages in the market is not exactly what the masses are waiting for. Having a backup plan is important for holders (like me), but they hope that ECC did everything right and in 2020 it is waiting for full adoption (or in the near future), it’s just silly. Ask yourself the question, what if they made a mistake and the project is on the verge precisely because all these resources were spent in the wrong direction.

Zec does not disappear, and the process of extracting from the reserve requires study separately, this is not a problem in my opinion

The devil is in the details, you’re talking about setting up a new organization that has the legal and technical ability to store and distribute this zec, and is better than ECC in deciding how to spend ZEC by a large enough factor to justify its own cost. Perhaps this can be achieved, but just sayin it’s far from trivial.

Here’s a specific point I’m wondering about: say the ECC wants to give an employee a certain amount of ZEC per year. In this setup do they have to make that amount public?


Changes in wages can also take place within the company, this issue also affects the future, and again this information does not become public. These are all points for discussion, but what do you think will be managed by a company that will have all zcash? It is possible that shareholders and owners will receive good dividends and there will be no opportunity to hire employees, I remind you that this is not a classic company scheme with a turnover, it all depends on the price of a coin. You can spend everything and there will be no opportunity to make up for the loss and not pay motivation and dividends are not possible, because you need to keep the best. My idea is that there is no better approach, so what should work just the same, it’s just not what ECC wants for some reason
(I don’t agree with the arguments, because the minuses there are also obvious, paying the rest in zec is then there will be no money to go through the market decline, if people see the future they will work, otherwise why only buyers should see the future?)

You read my State of the Foundation! Glad you followed those links. I hope you don’t mind following a few more.

Since it’s my opinion, yes, it is true that I feel that way, and those statements are not contradictory. It’s hard for the Foundation to hire the right people without offering the equivalent of “early equity,” but as the past year has (finally) shown with four fantastic engineering hires on the Foundation side it’s not impossible.

Our hiring practices aside, I’m not against upside for ECC employees as I’ve said multiple times here and elsewhere:

Here’s where I still have an issue @mika. In the ECC’s official explanation they said:

However, the Electric Coin Company currently does not see a path to succeed at recruiting and retaining a world-class team, and aligning them around the Zcash mission long-term, if we are constrained by a fiat-denominated funding cap. Unless the Electric Coin Company could find a solution to that issue, we would not accept the funds.

Since ECC wrote “unless they could find a solution to this issue”, I believed it was imperative to brainstorm solutions that would still enable the ECC to accept funds if the community decided they wanted a cap. I encourage you to read my full reply regarding the ECC’s main points, but I’ll quote the germane portion here:

I provided an example of how this solution could work here, and reiterated that it’s possible for employees to still have upside with a cap in other replies.

I asked multiple times for explanations why this solution wouldn’t work, and didn’t get a direct answer until much later in this thread:

@joshs responded here:

I didn’t respond to this comment directly as I wanted the community to move on to focus on polling all available options, but my personal view is that all these issues are manageable within the confines of a cap. Since we’re here now, here’s how I would deal with these issues in the ECC’s shoes:

  1. Necessary upfront funding of a pool is indeed something that would constrict ECC spending, but it’s manageable by both raising the cap and making promises for existing employees require longer-term vesting while the ECC “saves up” the pool.
  2. The tipping point could be alleviated by proactively raising the cap, and fully funding the incentive pool is exactly what would need to happen with a cap here.

In other words, it’s harder and it constrains the ECC more — but in my opinion it is still possible to provide long-term ZEC alignment with employees in the presence of a cap. And thus I am still disappointed in their official explanation, particularly since I believed that if a viable solution could be found then the ECC would accept funding with a cap, even with all the constraints it would bring.

That said, the personal, unofficial explanations from @daira, @joshs, and others are much clearer and reasonable to me: they want flexibility not just for employee incentive alignment, but for spending on other initiatives. That makes much more sense to me — as a conscious accountability trade-off as I’ve written above — and is one of the reasons I’m voting for no cap despite my concerns around the official explanation. That is my honest, not-ironic, truth.

Some have privately told me they were surprised and disturbed to see me write about my disappointment about the official explanation. But what would you prefer? That I didn’t challenge the ECC, that I didn’t aim to hold them accountable? That the Foundation didn’t seek to preserve the legitimacy of this discussion and process? That we simply rubber stamped whatever seemed expedient?

Incidentally, do you know what I find more disturbing? After an extraordinarily difficult, protracted, and involved community discussion around dev fund proposals, we are finally reaching some degree of convergence. That convergence is at risk thanks to the calls to participate in a fundamentally flawed staked poll process to “share coinholder voice” about the latest poll because it’s “permissionless and no one can stop them.”

Just because it’s permisionless and on a blockchain doesn’t make it valuable. Even without borrowing ZEC, if the turnout is within an order of magnitude of the last poll, those “coinholder voices” can be easily drowned out by the cacophonous sonic booms of ZEC associated with the ECC or Foundation.

I don’t think either organization should view the results of that poll as anything more than a novelty until a staked-vote process can be constructed that resolves the issues brought up countless times before in the last thread. I fear that someone will aim to use the results of that easily manipulated poll to challenge the results of the Helios vote, which combined a broad swath of Zcash community members from this active forum and the community advisory panel, wherein only a minority of the participants are associated with the ECC or Zcash Foundation.

My opinion above is again borne out of a desire to keep us all accountable. As I replied to you above:

I believe that deeply, and I can understand (and appreciate) your desire to keep me accountable. It’s critical that we do so; one of the best parts of the Zcash community is our ability to have reasoned, civil debate. That’s what helped us get through the trademark dispute, what has motivated this dev fund debate, and what will steer us in future crises.

The responsibility can be frustrating and hard for me, and it routinely strains relationships that I value deeply, but when it comes down to it I value my duty to the Foundation and the Zcash community more — and it comes from the same belief that many at the ECC have expressed so eloquently about the long-term societal benefit for truly private, digital, uncensorable money, and a belief that no single entity (whether the Foundation, ECC, or anyone else) should have unilateral control over that future.

On that note, I was really encouraged to see @zooko’s thoughtful considerations around converting the ECC to a nonprofit; it was a great post that I feel was lost in a flurry of other activity, and I encourage everyone to read it.


(Moderator hat, although obviously I also have an opinion on the topic.) It’s very clear that the coin-weighted voting discussion is derailing the conversation about ZIP 1014, and should now be moved to its own thread.


Agree. I have moved coin-holder voting comments to the existing thread on a stake weighted voting system to keep this thread on conversation pertaining directly to ZIP 1014/Helios voting.

Please direct further comments about coin-holder voting to that thread when the move is complete.

EDIT: comments have been moved, thank you for understanding


Folks, the Coin-Holders Petition is not a threat to the credibility of the Community Governance Panel. Zcash’s governance process is not such a fragile flower that it needs to be protected from hearing the opinions of the coin-holders.

On the contrary, attempting to discourage the coin-holders from expressing their opinions undermines the legitimacy of the process by allowing onlookers to question if the coin-holders wanted to say something that we didn’t want to hear. That’s not the case. The Zcash governance process, which requires — among other things — the Zcash Foundation board and the Electric Coin Company to jointly sign off on the use of the trademark, is robust. The Foundation’s earlier call for others to gather different measurements of the community’s opinion was a good idea, and still is.

The risks of the Coin-Holders Petition being attacked are overblown. Everything can be attacked, including all of the other sentiment collection processes that we are using, and including every conceivable other process that anyone could invent. But that doesn’t mean they are illegitimate. Everything has trade-offs, but the benefits sometimes outweigh the drawbacks, and in my opinion the benefit of respecting and including the voices of the coin-holders far outweigh the drawbacks. If you’re curious why I think this, please see my earlier post, in which I set out that and three other reasons why it is good and right that we as a community listen to and respect the voices of the coin-holders.

Let’s please dial down the alarmism and the uncharitable misrepresentation of each other. Those are real threats to the legitimacy of the governance process. The simple act of encouraging coin-holders to speak, and of listening to them respectfully, is not.

P.S. If you disagree, and you think the drawbacks outweigh the benefits, that’s fine. Good and reasonable people often disagree with one another about such complex trade-offs. If you agree, and you think coin-holders petitioning is good, here are instructions to participate.

[Dear moderators: this is a post about governance not about the Coin-Holders Petition. :heart: —Zooko]


You were asked earlier if you’d take a firm position on whether and/or how you (as an individual or as the head of ECC) would interpret the results of this pollvoteprocess as part of the governance decision. Can you please do so here, specifically? I’m very tired of seeing a lot of back-and-forth on this.


I’m happy to see the ZFND achieving a significant reduction in conflation with the company. However, the ZFND is lacking at it’s current stage and in comparison to the ECC competence in some areas, which you agree on by stating

If the Company were to disappear today, that would be a tragedy for the ecosystem. It would set us back by years if not decades

in your last year’s State of the Foundation - especially given the time frames in your statement. The ZFND has it’s own strengths on the other hand.

Given this - and despite all the conflicting interpretations - the distribution of power including funding should be done in such a way which does not endanger the evolution of Zcash. I’m aware of the fact that the interpretations about what’s “good” and what’s “bad” will differ, nevertheless this is something that should always be kept in mind.

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I am puzzled, because I think it’s pretty obvious that @acityinohio contends that “The company would not be able to use rights to future monthly Zcash coins as part of a package to attract and retain top talent.” is not complete or sufficient because of what that sentence actually means.

Josh is saying, it’s not true that ECC wouldn’t be able to use rights to future monthly Zcash coins as part of compensation. He suggested a mechanism for doing just that.


Hi everyone.

I think the pitchforks are unnecessary. It seems that some view the legitimacy of sentiment gathering through the governance poll is being threatened by various community members requesting the option for coin holder sentiment, by @amiller providing a means for them to provide their perspective, and by @zooko elevating it. The legitimacy of the governance panel vote is orthogonal to the legitimacy of the voice of the coin holders.

Different community members have different perspectives on the coin holder voting and its risks. Those perspectives are valid.

Some coin holders want to express an opinion through coin holder voting. That’s valid too. Coin holders are valued members of the community. Is it anyone’s right to say that coin holders cannot express an opinion through this means? We shouldn’t censor them for wanting to express an opinion in this way. Whether you chose to listen to them is a different thing.

ECC’s position is the same as it’s been. We will assess sentiment, as will the Zcash Foundation. Hopefully we will agree on what the community wills (I have high confidence that this will occur). A decision on funding will be enforced through the 2-2 multisig trademark agreement and the ultimate ratification of the community’s decision will be made by the community through its support (or not) of NU4 upon activation.

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I don’t think anyone is seriously saying this, as has been pointed out previously.

This is what I asked about earlier. Unless I’m missing something, nothing in your comment or @zooko’s comments has addressed whether or how ECC will treat the results of this coin poll. When you say you will “address sentiment”, can you please be more specific? I truly don’t understand why this isn’t being stated openly.

(Edited for typo)


My honest and simple but perhaps unsatisfying answer to this is, “I don’t know.”

But that is independent of what I believe about what the coin holders have the right to do, and I don’t want to throw out all sorts of unlikely hypotheticals and edge cases that could lead to unnecessary debate and frustration. I think we are collectively on a good path.

I think you meant “assess sentiment.” If so, that means that we’ll look at the sentiment data that’s been gathered, form an opinion, hear the perspective of the Zcash Foundation, and then work with the Zcash Foundation to get agreement on the path ahead.