Dev Fund Supplemental Proposal: Align Governing Council Incentives AKA the "Councilor's Block Fund" (CBF)

The inherent issue with the proposals that include a new Council is that we have no good voting mechanism for electing Councilors. We can’t even decide who’s supposed to vote, let alone how their eligibility and vote are verified. The closest we have are ideas for privacy-preserving wealth-weighted voting (which would anyway take more time to implement than we have for the Dev Fund decision), and the Community Governance Panel (which is too loose to be binding, and which is already used by the Zcash Foundation so what’s the point of cloning it).

This difficulty is not a coincidence. It is not a failure of motivation or of execution. This is trying to solve the general problem of global decentralized governance. It’s too hard! Bitcoin managed to solve a sliver of that problem, for the specific case of consensus on just listing records in a ledger, and this is being hailed as the breakthrough of the decade. Will the Zcash community miraculously conjure a global and completely decentralized (and yet effective and manipulation-resistant!) governance mechanism for deciding arbitrary questions?


Thanks for the thoughtful feedback!

I hadn’t considered the possibility of some parties being completely blocked from participation.

I hope, and indeed expect, that all Councilors would be “motivated primarily by principles and ideology”. I view the CBF, as a complement to those mechanisms.

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I completely agree with this sentiment @tromer and have tried to express this in multiple ways but this really just hit the nail on the head.

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I would hope this, but I would not build a system of governance around this. There should always be meaningful incentive-alignment keeping principles, ideology, and reality in check- and aligned.


It sounds like we’re in agreement!



I draw your attention to the proposal you linked

No need for a supplemental proposal – payment is already included in @avichal 's proposal.

Back to your original point though, this is a frustrating component of how the ZF and other non-profits work in the US – board members aren’t supposed to be paid :man_shrugging:

Thanks! Was that there all along?!

As far as I know! I only noticed because I ran into a similar concern with my proposal, but couldn’t find a workaround without a third entity.

FWIW, I view this as a feature not a bug. In fact in many nonprofits board members are expected to either a) donate or b) if they can’t donate, contribute to large-scale fundraising efforts, which is another way of having “skin in the game” for a mission-driven organization.

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That sounds nice but the reality is something different. Often nonprofit board members reap other benefits through the affiliation: connections, social status, political influence, etc. They get paid.


I know you do, and I love that!.. but as a crypto system designer I want to replace good intentions with bonding, vesting, and other weird incentive mechanisms :stuck_out_tongue:

This would be great for the ZF down the road, though it does rankle of “must have previous wealth to participate”.

I’ve seen this as well, but both of these visions are extreme. I hope the middle ground is most common.

That said, if being on the ZF board becomes that sort of influential non-profit board seat, I think we’ll have done something right :laughing:

EDIT: Too many emojis, sheesh.


I don’t think this is contradictory to a board member donating or contributing to large-scale fundraising efforts? And if they’re paid in status/affiliation (particularly since they won’t be actively involved in day-to-day operation of a nonprofit) then the point stands that they shouldn’t be given financial compensation.

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Yup I agree, which is why it’s not a requirement (informal or otherwise) for anyone on the board today. But donating their time to fundraising is a reasonable expectation IMHO.

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Well… I’m embarrassed I thought I read the original proposal closely with an eye towards the funding question.

A way which is only available to the elite.

This is a pay-to-play scheme.

You can only be a board member if you are independently wealthy, or time-rich?

AFAIK no one on the current Zcash Foundation board is independently wealthy. And if you are not “time-rich” then you absolutely should not be lending your non-existent time to guide an organization.

I find this statement a little strange given that your previous proposed solution to community governance issues is to literally let people pay for votes to unilaterally decide (not one signal among many) who sits on this and other governing bodies.

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In my humble opinion, being a “Member of a Strategic Governing Council” should not be a “side-gig”.

Is it the case that the issues facing the community are simple? Well-understood? Unimportant?

Why would the ultimate allocating authority have their role described as anything other than full-time?

It should be a Councilor’s occupation, and preoccupation.
Preferably it should be a passion.

Good point! I’ll have to think about this. Am I being inconsistent? That’s a real possibility.

I’ll “type outloud” while I’m trying to understand two topics:

  1. voting
  2. paying Strategic Councilors

(CAVEAT: I notice references to the ZF Board. I haven’t really thought about that Board, and I’m not sure anything I am saying here is relevant to it. I mean maybe it is, I have made some pretty general assertions, but… I wasn’t thinking about it when I inflamed… err… instigated… err… initiated this thread.)

On the one hand I’m talking about how that amorphous thing,
“The Zcash community” should be allowed to vote.

On the Voting Issue:
I don’t know that weighting in proportion to Zcash stake is the best mechanism. I am curious to hear about alternative schemes.

If there is a proposal that the significance, the weight, of a vote should not be proportional to the amount of Zcash held,
then I’d like to know what the proposed alternative mechanism is.

What should that weight be proportional to?
How should its significance be measured?

I think @gojomo has asserted that Stake-Weighting ought to be a factor. I’m going to advocate for the “pure” Stake-Weighting option.

I believe the following are two properties of Stake-Weighting (thanks to @gojomo for introducing me to the term):

  1. It’s easy to understand and (tongue withdrawn from cheek, relatively) easy to implement.
  2. All-Other-Considerations being set aside for the moment, I assert (and would be interested in examining this assertion for flaws!) that an agent’s interest in ZEC is proportional to its ability to stake.

Per The Issue of Paying Councilors:

I think there are two important reasons to pay Councilors:

  1. The position should be open to those who aren’t independently wealthy (I define independently wealthy relative to global income, which incidentally probably means that, all ZF Board members are independently wealthy.).
  2. Councilors interests should be explicitly, directly, and quantifiably aligned with the value of ZEC.

I think that the second point, that decisions should be aligned with the value of ZEC is the same both in the case of voting, and in the case of paying Councilors in ZEC. Soo… in my own opinion, I am consistent in these two positions. Which seems suspicious… but, there it is.

Oh… also, I think being “time-rich” is being “independently wealthy”. I subscribe to the Nassim Taleb defintion of wealth:

“Wealth is the ability to not think about money.”

An agent’s ability to stake is proportional to the agent’s interest in “number go up” with respect to ZEC, and even that is bounded to how long they are personally holding ZEC. It’s a liquid asset, after all — buy, vote, sell, why not? Great attack vector, tbh, and we know there are sufficiently rich people who have interests, economic and otherwise, counter to ZEC flourishing.

I think I was insufficiently specific.

I believe that inasmuch as an agent holds ZEC, it’s incentivized to maximize the value of the ZEC it holds.

I’m not making assertions about other incentives the agent will (in the case that the agent is human) certainly have.

Does this sound correct to you? Or am I missing something?

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