Establishing a Zcash Small Council and Zcash People's Parliament for Community-Driven Governance

Thank you everyone for your feedback regarding establishing a Zenate for Zcash. After many discussions over the past few months I’d have iterated on this idea and would like the community to instead consider a new proposal for the establishment of a Zcash Small Council (ZSC) and Zcash People’s Parliaments (ZPP) to enhance governance and decision-making. Please provide feedback or reach out to me directly.


This proposal introduces the Zcash Small Council (ZSC), an elected representative body designed to embody the ethos of decentralized governance within the Zcash community. Central to its function is the facilitation of gathering community consensus and opinion, achieved through establishing the Zcash People’s Parliament (ZPP), initially forked from ZCAP. The ZSC’s responsibilities are multi-faceted with roles such as measuring community consensus and sentiment, facilitating community engagement and education, and actively participating in ecosystem relationship building and outreach. The ZSC aims to translate community viewpoints into actionable insights, thereby guiding the strategic direction of Zcash with a transparent, inclusive, and democratic approach.

Motivation

The creation of the ZSC and ZPP marks move towards a more democratically driven governance model for the Zcash community. This initiative addresses the need for a decentralized decision-making process that accurately reflects the community’s voice. The roles of the ZSC is instrumental in this transformation:

  1. Measuring Community Consensus and Sentiment: The ZSC will employ the ZPP to gauge community opinions on key issues, ensuring that the strategic direction of Zcash aligns with the collective will.

  2. Voter Education and Information Liaison: Serving as a vital conduit between the electorate and the wealth of available information, this position is dedicated to the empowerment of voters through the consolidation and clarification of essential data needed for informed decision-making. The role entails the development of comprehensive yet accessible informational materials, and the use of the Zcash forums and other locations and tools for discussion and feedback. This approach is designed to ensure that voter concerns and queries are addressed effectively, fostering a well-informed voting community.

  3. Ecosystem Relationship Building and Outreach: The ZSC should focus on connecting with external ecosystems to gain insights and share experiences. This role involves actively reaching out to and engaging with organizations and communities outside the Zcash ecosystem. The goal is to facilitate knowledge exchange and explore potential collaborations. By understanding external perspectives and practices, the ZSC can help the Zcash community make more informed decisions. Discussions should also encompass brainstorming and proposing ways in which the Zcash ecosystem can form strategic partnerships with these external entities, aiming to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes for Zcash.

By establishing these roles, the Zcash community aims to create a more collaborative, transparent, and inclusive environment. This approach not only promotes active participation but also ensures that decisions are made in the best interest of the entire Zcash ecosystem.

Implementation Plan

The setup and execution of the Zcash Small Council (ZSC) and Zcash People’s Parliament (ZPP) will proceed in a structured manner. Initially, a temporary volunteer committee will be established to oversee the first election of the ZSC, potentially using the existing ZF’s Zcash Community Advisory Panel (ZCAP) election process as a model. Concurrently, the ZPP will be set up, adapting the framework of ZCAP to suit its specific needs.

The timeline for these activities is as follows:

  • Q1: The focus will be on forming the temporary committee and launching the election process for the ZSC. This quarter will witness the first meeting of the ZSC and the establishment of the ZPP. It will also involve setting up funding and compensation mechanisms for ZSC members.
  • Q2: The agenda for this quarter includes finalizing and publishing this ZIP and the election of the first ZPP elected members. Additionally, the ZSC will conduct its inaugural community poll, initiating a new era of community-driven governance in the Zcash ecosystem.

ZCE Governance

This governance structure is designed to cultivate an environment that is not only inclusive and transparent but also effective in steering the strategic direction of Zcash, aligning closely with the community’s diverse needs and aspirations. ZSC makes decisions with a majority voting system from ZSC members about significant decisions that impact the communication and polling of the ZPP.

Election Process for ZSC Members

The Zcash Small Council (ZSC) SHOULD consist of 5 or 7 active members, initially chosen via ZCAP. Members are expected to commit approximately one day weekly to ZSC tasks. Membership tenure is annual with opportunities for reelection.

ZSC elections shall be held when required, and SHOULD, when possible, occur before a member(s) vacates the ZSC. ZSC election shall utilise ZPP to conduct a majority vote for members of ZSC.

Role Measuring Community Consensus and Sentiment

The Zcash Small Council (ZSC) can assist in measuring community consensus for issues including, but not limited to, ZIPs, Zcash trademark, community sentiments and polling by utilising the ZPP. ZSC considers requests to conduct community consensus or sentiment gathering or can conduct on their own.

Procedure for ZPP Polling

ZSC will utilise privacy preserving voting technology (e.g. helios). All members of the ZPP MUST be eligible to vote and can do so using well defined and documented procedures. Eligible participants will be notified of their eligibility to vote via email and also through public messages relating to the vote.

Voter Education and Information Liaison

The Voter Education and Information Liaison role within the Zcash Small Council (ZSC) is pivotal in ensuring that the members of the Zcash People’s Parliament (ZPP) and the broader community are well-informed and educated about the issues, proposals, and decisions that they will be voting on. This role is dedicated to the dissemination of clear, unbiased, and comprehensive information, enabling voters to make informed decisions that reflect their understanding and interests in the Zcash ecosystem.

Key Responsibilities:

  1. Information Consolidation and Dissemination: Gather and distill complex information related to Zcash proposals, updates, and decisions. This involves creating easy-to-understand summaries, FAQs, and briefing documents that are accessible to all community members, regardless of their technical background.

  2. Communication Channels Management: Utilize and manage different communication channels such as the Zcash forums, social media, and community newsletters to ensure widespread distribution of information. Regular updates and interactive sessions should be conducted to engage with the community, answer their queries, and gather feedback.

  3. Feedback Loop Establishment: Create mechanisms for the community to ask questions, provide feedback, and suggest topics for further clarification. This may include regular Q&A sessions, community surveys, or an open suggestion box.

  4. Liaison with Zcash Development Teams: Work closely with Zcash development teams and other stakeholders to stay updated on upcoming changes, technical updates, and strategic directions. This ensures that the information provided to the community is accurate and up-to-date.

  5. Voter Preparedness Programs: Organize and execute voter preparedness programs before key votes. These programs are designed to ensure that voters understand the voting process, know how to access and use voting tools, and are aware of the timelines and requirements for each voting session.

Through these responsibilities, the Voter Education and Information Liaison aims to foster a well-informed electorate, capable of participating meaningfully in the governance of the Zcash ecosystem. This role is vital in bridging the gap between complex blockchain technology and the diverse Zcash community, ensuring a democratic and participative governance process.

Ecosystem Relationship Building and Outreach

The Ecosystem Relationship Building and Outreach role of the Zcash Small Council (ZSC) centers on engaging with and learning from diverse external ecosystems, thereby enriching the Zcash community’s knowledge and perspective. This role is crucial for staying informed about the evolving landscape of digital currencies and blockchain technology, and for adopting best practices from various sectors.

  1. Engaging with Diverse Ecosystems: The ZSC shall proactively reach out to various blockchain and digital currency ecosystems, as well as other relevant technology sectors. This engagement aims to understand their governance models, technological advancements, and community engagement strategies. Such interactions can offer valuable insights and alternative viewpoints that can inform Zcash’s future strategies.

  2. Learning and Knowledge Exchange Forums: Organizing and participating in forums discussions and online communities for knowledge exchange will be a key responsibility. These platforms will serve as avenues for the ZSC to share Zcash’s advancements and learnings, while simultaneously absorbing fresh ideas and innovations from other ecosystems.

  3. Regular Reporting and Community Sharing: To ensure that the Zcash community benefits from these external interactions, the ZSC will compile and share regular reports. These reports will detail the learnings, observations, and potential implications for Zcash. They will be made accessible through the Zcash forums and other community channels, fostering an environment of continuous learning and open dialogue.

  4. Feedback Integration and Strategy Adaptation: Based on the learnings from external ecosystems, the ZSC will work collaboratively with the Zcash community to discuss how these insights can be integrated into Zcash’s existing strategies. This may involve adapting policies, experimenting with new technologies, or modifying governance processes to incorporate successful practices from other communities.

  5. Ongoing Educational Initiatives: To ensure the Zcash community remains at the forefront of blockchain innovation, the ZSC will facilitate ongoing educational initiatives. This includes organizing workshops, webinars, and creating resource materials that highlight key learnings from other ecosystems. These initiatives aim to educate and empower the Zcash community, enabling informed decision-making and fostering a culture of continuous learning and adaptation.

This comprehensive approach to Ecosystem Relationship Building and Outreach underlines the ZSC’s commitment to a governance model that is dynamic, informed, and continually evolving in line with global technological advancements and community best practices.

13 Likes

What mechanisms are in place for ZSC and ZPP to be resistant against Sybil style attacks?

I.e.: How does the ZSC and ZPP plan to be resistant against capture by few persons creating many anonymous accounts to influence votes and direction?

6 Likes

Is there any way to include ZEC owners in this? I would prefer if one of the body or certain seats in them are voted mainly by zodlers.

6 Likes

:100: Consensus is more of the same. Do we really want to double or triple down on consensus driven decision making? ZEC holders are the community. We need ZEC holder voting. Everything else is speculation.

4 Likes

Yes here are 2 proposals for enabling ZEC holder voting:

  1. Weighted Coin Voting & Community Advisory Tokens 📜
  2. ZEC Hldrs Group - #4 by hanh

Or maybe it should be included in the founding documents?

2 Likes

Yes, I believe the necessity of ZEC holders input in the decision making on the future of Zcash should be explicitly stated in the founding document. I personally would like if some seat are “reserved” for holders’ candidates. Say, 21 seats where votes of 1 million $ZEC will guarantee a seat. This might result in some form of bribes and collusion but I believe this also happens a lot in the “real” world. We just need to recognize what kind of behavior is not acceptable.

1 Like

What would be the point of having “seats”, instead of say 1 ZEC = 1 voice? I strongly disagree with this approach. This would be a very blunt tool, where we need a wise council.

If anything, and as suggested before, we need delegation. Want 21 seats? Get those elected.

And by elected, I mean one can delegate to anyone they want and change their choice at any point they want. Look into Polkadot delegation and council for decent implementation.

Last but not least, today nobody has control over 1 million $BTC, far from it: https://www.techopedia.com/who-owns-the-most-bitcoin - selecting an appropriate number would be another community headache.

2 Likes

I think we can borrow from what works currently. I imagine the ZSC being similar to ZCG in that people must run for election. Then the ZPP could start as a fork of ZCAP and rules for inclusion for the ZPP would be guided by the ZSC. In the long run, ZEC-holding-based methods could be incorporated. Though, I don’t think we can do it quickly enough to meet the short term need for a community governance system.

I sort of imagine it like this to start. ZCAP election to elect inaugural ZSC members. ZSC members oversee forking of ZCAP to create ZPP. ZSC members propose ways to improve ZPP demographics/rules for inclusion/etc. This would be enough of a first step imo to give Zcash a democratic, community led and run governance system. Helios can be used until a better solution is found for ZPP votes.

4 Likes

A few things I’m not quite clear on @GGuy , hoping you can shed some light:

So is this “fork” somehow gathering the existing members of ZCAP for ZPP? How do ZCAP members feel about this?

Self appointed volunteers are going to elect the first 5-7 ZSC members, who will then choose the members of the ZPP, is that correct?

Who’s going to fund this? ZCG?

Earlier this was a group of volunteers selecting the 5-7, now it’s ZCAP selecting the 5-7? Which is correct?

I’m trying to follow the logical progression here:

  1. This ZIP is voted on by ZCAP to become process.
  2. ZSC is elected via ZCAP (or by random volunteers, not sure which)
  3. ZSC then adopts the existing ZCAP members and adds their own members to establish ZPP (via some unbiased, sybil resistant process)
  4. ZSC then declares ZPP is now the voice of the community and begins conducting polls with it’s members (a role that ZCAP is already performing) for future Zcash direction.

How is this a more efficient process than the one we have now? It seems to be doing duplicative work to ZCAP and establishing the ZSC as an entity on par with ZCG, ECC, and ZF for setting Zcashs direction/features.

More acronyms, more cooks in the kitchen.

8 Likes

we need to be going in the opposite direction. eliminate as many orgs as possible, simplify governance, and build around one vision/one mission. we already have too many cooks in the kitchen for allocating block rewards…and this looks like it’s just another way to control the block rewards and make it more difficult to implement and focus on zcash as a protocol. more orgs just means the very real risk of wasteful spending.

2 Likes

Key question here. Why not improve on the ZCAP and make it more inclusive and use it for more that ZCG elections?

1 Like

That’s something we should indeed keep in mind. We are not a layer 0 blockchain, we are layer 1. This is important because it implies that we need the project to be extremely predictable in its decisions. Which in itself is important if we ever want to be attractive to states, for them to mint their currency onto our blockchain.

With that being said, we do absolutely need ZEC holders on top of the project. Truly, truly, look at how Polkadot is doing such a smooth but energetic transition from org control to token holders control. I want some of that for Zcash!

2 Likes

I struggle understanding this argument.

Are you saying that the members of ZCAP don’t hold ZEC?

Are you saying that becoming a member of ZCAP should be as easy as getting ZEC?

Are you saying that rich people with lots of ZEC should be the ones in control of the direction of the community?

1 Like

I know you don’t intend this question for me, but I’ll give an answer because I find the question interesting anyway.

Zcash should be fully decentralized. ZEC holders should therefore indeed have the final say on the direction of the project. However, as I have mentioned before, for general governance, I am not for direct tokenocracy. Delegation is an extremely powerful tool. I have ZEC but I am not smart enough to answer any and all questions. I’d gladly delegate those many things to @joshs, @hanh and many others.

2 Likes

I agree. I feel like this is the part of governance that is missed. What makes governance effective is that the people that you mention accumulate influence through their work and dedication to the community, not just because they hold huge bags of ZEC.

I think the focus of the governance discussion is not a technical one, but a social one. ZCAP could do much more than what it does now, we don’t need a “fork” of it, we just need to mobilize it.

it’s a terrible argument. we need the smartest people to control the direction. people with real vision. ethere is run by a very wealthy person who owns a lot of eth, i would love to have someone like that leading the way (and our orgs sell zec to buy eth! so you are supporting communities run by the wealthy)…i don’t care if they are rich or poor. based on grants, performance of grantees, zec price, wallet performance, transactions per block, transaction fees, sync times, hash rate, and the list goes on. we need to stop worrying about rich vs poor and start worrying about us all just simply becoming poor ourselves.

1 Like

To me the main value of this system is to have a community-run consensus-gathering process.

Right now, ZCAP is a ZF-controlled voting body and they run it as they see fit. Yes, they can take community feedback, but at the end of the day, they are in control. What questions get asked, how they are worded, and when they get asked are important parts of the governance process. There’s already been important incidents where wording and timing of proposals were subpar. Also, ZCAP members can be added or subtracted at will by ZF.

But, even if ZCAP was run 100% perfectly with no complaints, I would still advocate to improve governance with something like ZSC/ZPP.

-It increases both the actual and perceived decentralization of the project.
-A major beneficiary of the Dev Fund wouldn’t be in charge of the main way we determine what to do with the Dev Fund (actual and perceived prevention of self-dealing).
-Zcash community members would have more opportunity to meaningful contribute.
-More accountability of governance leadership (don’t like how it’s run, directly vote out the people in charge)
-Provides an additional signaling tool for sentiment gathering. (Let’s say a ZCAP or ZPP poll has a really controversial result, it’s useful to be able to compare results across more than one system).

I may differ in my opinion from @GGuy of the scope of the ZSC/ZPP system - I personally see the role of the ZSC/ZPP to do one thing - create a fair and democratic governance process for big picture Zcash questions. Should the Dev Fund continue? In what form? Should we keep, modify, or kill the trademark agreement? Beyond bootstrapping and overseeing the ZPP, other responsibilities for ZSC could be added later, but I’d say let’s try to create a community-led governance system first.

Also, community-led governance is not a radical idea. It was mandated in ZIP-1014.

———

Future Community Governance

Decentralized community governance is used in this proposal via the Community Panel as input into the Major Grant Review Committee which governs the MG slice (Major Grants).

It is highly desirable to develop robust means of decentralized community voting and governance –either by expanding the Community Advisory Panel or a successor mechanism– and to integrate them into this process by the end of 2021. BP, ECC, and ZF SHOULD place high priority on such development and its deployment, in their activities and grant selection.

———

Edit: Also, I don’t think the ZSC/ZPP system necessarily needs to be codified as a ZIP before it is implemented. Let’s try and build it and if we like it, we could implement it as a ZIP or something. The system should gain authenticity because it works and is perceived as fair, legitimate, well-run, etc. before we “codify” it with power.

4 Likes

I can’t say I disagree with your points here, but why is everyone acting like ZF is unable or unwilling to change this process?

I spoke with @Dodger awhile ago when I worked for ZF and IIRC at one point ZF had asked ECC to be a part of the ZCAP management process but ECC didn’t take them up on it. I don’t know where it sits now that @joshs is in charge at ECC.

This.

In my opinion ZCAP is imperfect but at least a good start, and based on this proposal using ZCAP as it’s starting point, others agree with that perspective. So why do we need to create yet another entity to improve upon it? Adding more layers of bureaucracy is the last thing we need at this point.

We are at a critical junction for Zcash, we need to be nimble, to attract more users, create more use cases, and get those changes faster to market before we get left behind.

4 Likes

In my opinion ZCAP is imperfect but at least a good start, and based on this proposal using ZCAP as it’s starting point, others agree with that perspective. So why do we need to create yet another entity to improve upon it? Adding more layers of bureaucracy is the last thing we need at this point.

:100:

@GGuy for as passionate as you seem to be for the Zcash cause, I notice a concerning pattern of bureaucratic obfuscation that would be much better positioned as an argument to have LESS overall structure (aka CeNTraLiZaTiOn).

All these silly little side committees will spiral into the need/want for more committees to oversee them. Turtles all the way down.

1 Like

for some reason i see a strange similarity to the way we approach wallets. instead of making one great wallet we settle for many very below average wallets that don’t really work and the maintenance costs skyrocket making it hard to move forward. and the cost of one great wallet would likely have been 1/2 the cost or less. let’s try to have one great Org everyone can get behind vs many that don’t really function all that well individually or as part of a cohesive strategy.