Note:This post is a follow-up to last week’s Dev Fund Town Hall discussion on governance. I recommend listening to the recorded event to better understand the context behind this proposal.
Under the Trademark Agreement, Zcash is a 2-of-2 multisig governance model between the Electric Coin Company (ECC) and the Zcash Foundation. The Agreement requires that both entities must sign off on any network upgrade before it can be implemented. According to Section 19.12 of the Agreement, neither party is permitted to take any action that violates the “clear consensus” of the Zcash community. However, what constitutes a clear consensus is not defined, and any disagreement is ultimately addressed by a dispute resolution process that involves mediation and arbitration.
I propose we form a Discussion Group to collaborate and define the criteria for establishing consensus for the Dev Fund. This Group will be dedicated to identifying and establishing a clear and fair process for determining consensus, including defining the specific mechanics and methods that will be employed. It is important to note that this initiative is not to establish a traditional committee or governance council. Rather, it offers Zcash’s leaders and the community an opportunity to work together in a public and transparent manner to define how consensus will be determined for the Dev Fund.
The Group will consider two primary issues:
ZCAP: Currently, the most reliable method of sentiment gathering is the Zcash Community Advisory Panel (ZCAP), which is administered by the Foundation. The Group will discuss potential changes to the structure of ZCAP aimed at increasing its independence. More specifically, the Group will consider creating a panel consisting of members from the Foundation, ECC, and the broader community. The panel could oversee the ZCAP process, establish a petition process for community members to raise issues, and make decisions on how and when ZCAP is polled, what questions are asked, and how the results are interpreted. Adopting a more collaborative approach has the potential to enhance the legitimacy and fairness of the current process.
Sub-Communities: As the Zcash community has grown, several distinct sub-communities have emerged, each with its own unique perspective and priorities. Examples include ZecHub, coinholders, Zcash Brazil, and other vibrant communities in countries like Venezuela and South Korea. The Group will explore methods to effectively incorporate the perspectives of these diverse sub-communities and develop a communication strategy to guide them in providing their input. In addition, the Group will consider how these inputs will be weighed against existing inputs, such as the ZCAP, to create a fair and transparent approach to determining the outcome of the Dev Fund.
In terms of coordinating these discussions, I will follow a process similar to the ZOMG-ZIP 1014 Independent Review Committee I organized in 2021 that resulted in an amendment to ZIP 1014. All discussions will be public, and community members are welcome to join to listen in, ask questions, and contribute ideas. I will schedule the first call no later than the first week of October, with the goal of implementing the recommendations of the Group, if any, by year end. I would like to invite @Dodger and @zooko to participate in these discussions on behalf of the Foundation and ECC. Community members who are interested in being part of the Group can respond to this thread or message me directly on the Forum or Twitter.
Hey, Jason! Thanks for inviting me. I’d be happy to participate in this discussion group. Your creation of it seems to me like a good way forward to get both better clarity and more decentralization at the same time.
i have a question that is not clear to me. First, I would consider Apple to have an highly open architecture. What that means to me. I can come up with virtually any idea for a mobile app and they will distribute it for me pretty much all over the world. I pay for the upfront app design and development costs and Apple provides me the tools to create the app for taking a share of the in app purchases. They take about 30% which is their “protocol or transaction fee”. I don’t have to ask them for permission. although they do have some not highly restrictive automated rules for what’s allowed.
Second, although i don’t understand it as well, ethereum seems to have a very similar model to apple. virtually anyone can build on top of ethereum and ethereum charges a L1 gas or transaction fee. No permission seems to be required.
Both of these systems are highly decentralized in that a) anyone can build and b) creators can charge their own prices as long as they pay the protocol fee or core system fee. In these systems the market decides the winners and losers and both Etheruem and Apple don’t try to pick the winners or losers. they are the “base layer” for the world.
So, my question is can anyone build on top of zcash blockchain in the same way as Apple or Etheruem or is zcash a closed architecture (highly centralized) project where zcash organizations are the “gatekeepers” that try to choose the winning (and losing) ideas for people?
My fear is blockrewards mindset makes it impossible to create a market driven open and decentralized community. The reason is “consensus” is a required permission and the ecosystem does not allow for third parties to charge their own prices while at same time paying the protocol fee directly. Block rewards is not customer driven like the apple and ethereum ecosystems. But I hope i’m just not understanding it. Please help me understand it if i’m missing something.
Apple is the complete opposite of open, they are the ultimate arbiters on what is allowed or not and can remove any apps for any reason if they wish to.
Ethereum fees do not go to apps, they go to block validators. Of course you can build some app on top of it that charges fees on its own. But Zcash can’t compare with that because it does not support programmability.
That being said anyone can already build things on top of Zcash (as long as supported by the protocol) without asking for any permission (with the caveat of the orchard annoying license, but it’s exempted for Zcash projects). But they won’t automatically earn anything because there is no provision in the protocol for something like that. They can ask for donations or even charge some fee (say, some wallets could charge a fee sent to the wallet developers, by adding an output to each transaction made by the wallet, but I have the impressions that users would avoid it and end up using a wallet without that fee)
That’s where it might help to educate people because zcash appears less materially less open and more centralized than Apple. It’s very clear how third parties like myself, can create apps, and charge fees for the respective apps in Apple. And in my case I fund all costs and don’t ask or receive money from Apple. I have never had a problem from apple.
So, From a creator perspective, Apple appears much more open and decentralized than zcash. If you believe zcash is open who is creating on top of zcash at their own expense without the dev fund? The dev fund is the definition of centralization isn’t it? i’m not understating how a “consensus” hurdle makes it decentralized. it still requires permission and centralized funding.
for to me that’s the real test of open or closed. Apple probably has many thousands of people creating things at their own expense to build the ecosystem. How many does zcash have? now i somewhat understand your point on programmability. but it might help to show the vision on how zcash plans to be more open than Apple for the people who are the creators of ecosystems where they don’t have to get funding from the dev fund. It’s when this happens that i would consider zcash decentralized.
I would love to see an ecosystem for zcash that would at least match etheruems and be more open and better than Apple. But until i can see the way third parties can make money without obtaining permission, can we say it’s truly decentralized and open?
so for example, if i wanted to fund a privacy based stsblecoin where i charge users a fee or take a share of the float yield, and charge users a small fee, can i do this on the zcash blockchain without permission from anyone? It’s basically privacy based tether. and if so, can zcash blockchain handle the volume?
Again, you can’t really compare Zcash with Ethereum unless programmability is added to it (which would be a major undertaking). Without it it’s simply technically impossible to do all the things that can be done on top of Ethereum. And maybe that’s your point, that we should add programmability to it, but IMO simply there aren’t resources for making that happen now while we are still addressing things like wallet performance. (Though ZF did recently fund a survey on the existing mechanisms to do that, but that’s just a first step towards it)
I suppose your answers help me to better understand it. Yes. that is my point. I would like to see Zcash become fully decentralized from a development and funding perspective. Although, I was not clear as to why it was not being done. And I believe I am more clear now. Thanks for clarifying.
I think its been proven over time across many industries, the winners are going to be the ones that build models like Apple/Ethereum. The core blockchain is somewhat centralized. Maybe not quite as much as an Apple; but enough so that the mission and quality of the core blockchain is maintained. And the edge is generally fully decentralized. Both Apple and Ethereum excel here. Its very difficult to be good at both or everything. The powerhouses have tended to focus on the core technology (in this case the blockchain) and outsourced or decentralized the edge. This is probably why Zcash is having such as hard time. Because its extremely difficult, if not impossible, to be the best at the core blockchain and the edge. It not only hard to manage, its impossible to fund it all. Even ATT and pretty much any major innovator outsources the edge in order to scale up the core asset whether its a blockchain or airwaves, almost everything. The world and uses cases are just too big and the cost and risks to high to try and do it all. Competition is only going to escalate. Somewhat off topic, but without programmability, can ZEC exist on a standalone basis or will it be forced to become an L2 on another chain in your opinion?
You just hit on why these companies like Apple, Google, Etheruem are so valuable. Who wants to fork? Its difficult, costly, and requires expertise most people dont have. By focusing on the difficult part and decentralizing such that anyone can build on top of the platform is what makes them great. Now I understand better Zcash just doesn’t have the programmability to do what I think is needed.
With that, if Apple told me, just copy the code if you want to build an app. I could not do that. But if they maintain the code and improvement and make it easy for me to build. Then I can create something for people at a reasonable cost and pay Apple or Etheruem for doing the heavy lifting on the platform. That is what makes an ecosystem.
Update: The first meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, October 5 at 9:00am PDT / noon EDT / 16:00 UTC. Zoom meeting details will be provided early next week. The meeting will be live streamed and recorded for later viewing. Community members are welcome to join to listen in, ask questions, and contribute ideas.
Great, I’m happy to hear you want to attend! Hopefully we can one day integrate something like the Whisper with Argos Translate app that @Autotunafish recently demoed into these meetings to open them up to a wider and more diverse audience.