Future of Zcash dev funding — megathread / everything in one place

Hey folks, I’ve heard some positive comments about the Zcash community decision process recently:

  • “Lots of people are sleeping on the ZcashFoundation ElectricCoinCo DevFund debates. This is the most sophisticated debate/discussion on post-launch dev funding for a blockchain project in history…” — https://twitter.com/lex_node/status/1195718760616865796, plus see also the rest of the attached thread.

  • “I couldn’t agree more with this thread The amount of quality discussion that has been taking place is amazing! I’m bullish on the ElectricCoinCo & ZcashFoundation as well as the community to settle on the best decision for the Zcash protocol & the ZEC community as a whole…” — https://twitter.com/decentralistdan/status/1195776252336115712

  • “Catching up on mhluongo’s governance proposal for ZCash foundation & dev funding. Outside the circumstance itself, the discussion thread is an excellent case study for anyone that wants to learn more about decentralized protocol governance.”—https://twitter.com/Goltra/status/1196870691259219968

  • I personally sat at a table with some of the leaders of multiple other well-funded, prominent crypto projects a few days ago, and I was surprised to learn that they all have substantial structural problems in their governance, such as having a for-profit company and a non-profit foundation, but the boards and management of the two are actually the same people — or mostly the same people — so that the two organizations don’t have real independence. One of them said to me “I’m amazed at how strong the Zcash governance structure is. I’m envious. I so much wish we could have that.” (which story I previously recounted in reddit)

I agree with these people! The Zcash community is awesome. Throughout some extremely difficult circumstances, you’ve demonstrated how to act as a values-oriented, constructive, thoughtful community. I’m super proud to be a part of it.

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Oh yeah, and see this article about the Zcash community by Leigh Cuen in Coindesk if you haven’t already: https://www.coindesk.com/zcash-trademark-talks-were-about-more-than-a-logo

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Another one:

By the way, I didn’t point this out in my previous comment, but none of these people who are praising the quality of the discussion — none of them are randos that I’ve never heard of before. They’re all people who have positive track records in the industry or at least they’re people that I started following and paying attention to long ago because they seemed to be thoughtful and interesting.

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@zooko, thanks for this perspective. Likewise to @acityinohio who expressed similar sentiments elsewhere. I’d like to chime in!

We all have gripes and critiques, but taking a step back? I too haven’t seen any decentralized governance process deciding things on this scale of importance, complexity and contentiousness, and doing it anywhere this well. The depth of discussion and the constructive spirit here are outstanding.

We will be churning through this for a while still, and we will do some things better next time, but also: the Zcash community will emerge from this stronger, more informed and better bonded.

Down the road, when people ask, “so how did you make decentralized financial privacy happen, earlier this century?”, we’ll get to honestly give them this impossible answer: a bunch of us showed up on the Internet, and we debated until we figured it out.

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Amen. I am not unwaveringly optimistic, but I feel pretty good about how we’re all doing so far. (“We” being the Zcash community at large.) Our half-designed half-emergent governance is flawed, and it’s painful to bite the bullet on tradeoffs. Certainly, grappling with more of those is imminent. Yet I still think that we’re muddling our way toward a good-faith outcome that will support Zcash and its purposes. Its telos, even!

The challenge is to balance utopian dreams against pragmatic constraints :stuck_out_tongue: I find it comforting to remember that any person or group who wants to change the world will face that challenge. The only way out is through!

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Hey folks, for people who (like me) aren’t realistically going to sit through two hours of video, we made a summary of our recent livestream, which includes the state of the project from our perspective, the Electric Coin Company’s operations and plans, and our stance on the dev fund.

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ZEC/USD and ZEC/BTC all time low incoming…
Let’s see what the price will be after the dev fund debate is over. Probably $10 or even less. With a burn rate of $750k/month the ECC has a pretty grim future. Are you still sure that you do not want to lower your burn rate drastically or do you wanna wait till ZEC really hits single digits @zooko ?

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Looks like there are increasingly more community members who think that ECC should lower its burn rate taking the current price development into account.

Are ECC and ZF just going to stop operations and their work on Zcash in case the price hits $10 and stays there till the halving?
I guess they would need to downsize massively and lay off a majority of the team.

What is the plan in case the Zcash price is going to experience another hard year in 2020?

Is ECC just waiting for a miracle to happen or don’t they wanna prepare to secure their solvency?

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This is exactly what they said, they will work as long as there is money, they won’t change anything. Running out of money will switch to other projects. The mission will be on the fund, how much money will be so much and there will be work on the project.
In addition, the reduction means that plans for 2020 will not be realized, so the strategy will be to see this is the last chance. Everything could be done differently, but we have it.

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Voted… felt good…

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I still think the proposal of @Blocktown and @JamesTodaroMD is the best when it comes to an extension of a miners tax. I am generally against it but if ECC wants to receive another part of the block rewards after the halving it needs to send positive signals to the market.

Are they seriously not recognizing that a majority of the crypto community members and leaders see it as a bad signal if the dev fund continues to amount 20% of the block rewards?

ECC is claiming that they are all-in on Zcash? Lowering the percentage in miners tax would give ECC an incentive to act in harmony with investors interests. If not ECC will go bankrupt in a few months. No matter if they will receive 10% or 20%, they need a sharp increase in the price of Zcash in order to survive.

In case ECC manages to regain trust from the community I can see the price recovering to three digits again. This would ensure that funding is secured.

Is seriously nobody of the ECC and ZF seeing it this way?
Most of you have a way broader knowledge in math than me and know that 10% of $200 is more than 20% of $10.

The last three years were pretty depressing for the Zcash price. Nobody knows why, but I am suspecting that the price will stay depressed if ECC will not change their strategy and stance on a possible dev fund. I advise ECC to start to listen to the market and what investors have to tell them or 2020 will be the last year of their operations, plus 30 people will lose their job and reputation!

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Totally agree with this. I abandoned my own proposals in favour of the Blocktown proposals which is in my opinion as well the best one.

I have my doubts this would/could happen the next 5 years with the inflation rate for this period and the more than low demand.

I wonder that my own. The low price hurts the ECC and ZF most and i think i mentioned it allready 1001 times for the time being here. It’s amazing how even a change in the inflation rate isn’t considered earlier and BTC is/has been taken for the issuance. It’s indeed amazing and i fully agree with your statement in the quotes.

It’s not rocket science. It’s the inflation vs. low demand, easy and simple as that. And as a bonus unfortunatly we (including me) distributed with the change to Asics to even less demand. As said, no rocket science that if there is more supply than demand price goes down. At least i’am 100% sure it’s the main factor beside some other factors.

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I do not think the emission schedule should be changed. This would be another mistake like letting ASICs overtake.

The demand for Zcash needs to rise massively. Under the current conditions and with the current strategy this is not going to happen and nobody at ECC wants to see this.

@Zooko says that ECC will probably not apply for the role of the principal developer in case they will not receive the amount and form of funding they want.

Another mistake he makes there and another bad signal for the market. This is definitely not “all-in on Zcash” in my opinion. I do not know if I should see this as influencing the dev fund debate or as extortion of the community that they should vote for the proposal which gives 20% of future block rewards to the ECC and ZF.

I could not imagine what else ECC should do and how else they wanna earn money apart from Zcash. Sure, @Zooko has some nice advisor roles like at Tezos. At least things are going well over there. Maybe the $25k he got worth of XTZ will be soon worth more than the FR he received. I would be relaxed as well if I would be in his spot. This is the case for not only Zooko but also some other founding members who had a decent allocation of the FR. Employees who have been working for a salary without directly profiting from the FR and are not that well connected in the space will be the losers, alongside with everyone who ever put money into Zcash.

ECC and especially employees who received a good percentage of the FR should take a step back and think about people who lost a lot of money due to Zcash. Their balances diminished while your balances increased. Do you think this is how “empowering everyone with economic freedom” looks like? A few founders become rich while everyone else loses their money and jobs?

This is how it looks like for lots of people out there. The critiques of the FR and dev fund would become less if you would accept a lower allocation of the block rewards and would bring economic success to people who have been supporting you financially since 2016. As you can see your seed investors, who are by the way the only investors who profited from Zcash, are not going to help you out of this situation.

Why you still do not want to take responsibility for this situation that you put yourself in and accept that you need to downsize? ECC is not in the spot to cherry-pick anymore. You need to deal with a very difficult situation now. The current management is delusional. Maybe this happens if you block/mute most of your critiques and just surround yourself with people who are always enthusiastic about your ideas and agree with everything you are saying. There seems to be no debate about this within the ECC.

Again, there is not much time left and you guys should act now!

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As we witnessed that increasing demand and adoption is mission impossible the last years for Zcash i went for the more doable option in decreasing inflation/issuance. If plan A (increasing demand) doesn’t work than only plan B (decreasing supply/issuance) is left. With decreasing inflation/issuance i have in mind in changing the supply curve and not the 21M total issuance.

In my opinion it’s both. But that’s just how i feelt it.

Actually there are other options but nobody was/is interested in these as the miner dev fund is the most easiest one to receive funds. Even a combination of different funding options was nothing considered, strange enough.

One of the reasons i do not feel comfortable with having founders on the ZF board and/or advisor postitions.

Absolutly agree with this one. Critiques like me towards Zcash taboos have been put into a silenced corner by openly admitting to ignore and not reading/responding to such posts/questions. Such echo chamber approach works temporary of course, but it doesn’t change the result many of us saw and the problems coming long time ago.

There maybe was a debate about 1 year ago which resulted in Simon Lee, one of the lead devs, leaving the ECC and being compensated in an agreement an unknown amount after a law suit was filled. Someone can only guess how many millions have been paid and if it’s being paid from the ECC reserves?!

Sadly, they won’t …

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I see where you are coming from, but decreasing the issuance would be another critical intervention which might lead to an outcome where even less people will trust in Zcash and the ECC.

This would be another broken promise in the track record of ECC and I generally have the conviction that code is law and that it might harm the project if they don’t stick to previously made promises, although I was proven wrong in the past as I have thought ETH will never recover from the blockchain role-back after the DAO disaster.

Anyways, comparing ZEC to ETH is not appropriate either as ETH has brought economic success to investors beforehand and was in a completely different spot than Zcash is.

I totally agree with this. Maybe it is the pride of the ECC management that they do not want to beg for other sources of funding…

True. I also do not understand why there are so many ECC and ZF members and folks who profit from the FR on the community advisory panel. Sure, they are part of the community but at the same time they are claiming that they do not want to influence the dev fund debate. This sounds like a contradiction to me.

Anyways, there is not much of the community left. The engagement on this forum and especially on the polls for dev fund ZIPs strengthen this theory. With 60-70 votes per proposal the ECC and ZF could already gather more than 50% of the total votes. Most of the Zcash holders do not even bother to vote on the future of Zcash funding anymore. This is an evidence that the community is dying. Imagine a similar situation in a sovereign state where politicians present 50% of the total votes. This is not only centralized but also not democratic. It is just a show.

Most people do not have any hope anymore. I do have a broad network of people who are invested in different altcoin projects with serious size. Nobody of them seems to care about Zcash anymore and even if they hold some, they are just waiting to recover their losses. They see their Zcash investment as sunk-cost.

I would really like to know the background of this lawsuit and how they have settled but I am sure nobody is going to disclose this. Not really transparent in my opinion.

At this point I wanna say thank you for still being active in here @boxalex ! Without you there wouldn’t be lots of critiques left on this forum.
Most of them left for a good reason and I might be one of the next one. I was always passive when it comes to discussion because I did not want to distract the team and I also trusted them. They seemed competent all along.

Now this perception is crumbling for me and I will just wait what the outcome of the dev fund debate will be. If the “community” votes for another 20% extension of the miners tax I will just dump all my ZEC and move it to pirate chain or something similar.

ECC is scaring away the last investors of this project with their current strategy and I am so upset about this. It is irrational to me and I wish there would be more people calling this out in public.

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Thanks for speaking out Hool. You’re not alone.

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Thanks for letting me know @zorg5 :slight_smile:
I will probably not stop until a decision is made regarding the dev fund…

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You all got good points! My bags are full for now and will also wait for dev fund decision. If this is not sorted out “smart” then you will be able to buy under 20$. Im still all in and lets see what 2020 has to offer.

Hm, reading this makes me realize that this proposal (@acityinohio’s) actually does require the construction of a third entity. However, it is a third entity with a relatively narrow scope of responsibilities.

And thinking about that makes me think of a potential issue in our voting system. Which is: “How shall we evaluate the votes for clusters of similar proposals?”

For example, you know how there are three different proposals that (although they have different rationales and different ideas for how to fund development) would result in no dev fund from the block reward: 1, 2, 3

Imagine if the voting were to come in something like 20% in favor if each of these three, 25% in favor of something completely different, and then the remaining 15% split among all the others? One interpretation is that the one with 25% is the winner, another is that more of the community (60%) wants have to have no block-reward-dev-fund.

This would be a harder judgement call if there were more differences between the proposals in the cluster. For example Aristarchus’s proposal and Gordon Mohr’s specify the same block rewards to the same recipients (10% to ECC, 10% to Zfnd), but one of them includes a mandate. What if Aristarchus’s got 25%, Gordon Mohr’s got 26%, and none of the other proposals got more than 15%? Then we would think that the dev fund split had about 51% support but Aristarchus’s mandate to invent on-chain voting had about only 25% support. :thinking:

And then it gets really tricky when you look at the cluster of “governing body” proposals: Blocktown Development Fund Proposal: 10% to a 2-of-3 multisig with community involved Third Entity, Dev Fund Proposal: 5-Entity Strategic Council Approach, A Grand Compromise/Synthesis ZIP Proposal, Decentralizing the Dev Fee, Dev Fund Proposal: Dev Fund to ECC + Zfnd + Major Grants

There are five of them, they have had by far the most vigorous discussion, they have the most detail, and there are a variety of specific differences between them about the specific amounts of the funding, the number and composition and legal structure and scope-of-responsibility of the entities, and various mandates and policies that the entities are required to abide by.

Considering that there are five of them and they’ve had so much energy, I wouldn’t be surprised if we get voting results which indicate something like 12% for each of these five proposals, 20% for something entirely different, and small percentages for the rest. That would indicate that the community collectively (60%) prefers some kind of governing body construction, but they are split about the details. And of course some people will feel that the one that got 20% should be the real winner.

I kind of feel like—considering how vigorous the discussion was—that if we’d had a few more weeks before voting that the proponents of these proposals might have compromised on their differences and converged on one unified proposal. I think Arianna/Jacob/Autonomous, Antoinette Marie, and Chris/Mario/Placeholder already retracted their own ideas in order to support someone else’s proposal in this cluster (which means there were originally eight!), and I remember Josh Cincinnati writing that he preferred Matt Luongo’s over his own.

I don’t have a suggestion for how to handle this, but I was just realizing what an interesting setup we’ve got here with clusters. Here’s how I see the clusters. Curious if y’all see it the same way or differently.

No Dev fund: Final: ZIP proposal Keep the block distribution as initaly defined. 90% to miners, FINAL: ZIP Proposal - Genuine Protocol opt-in/out donation feature updated 02/sept, ZIP proposal: ZCFS (Zcash Community Funding System)

10%/10%: Dev Fund Proposal: 20% split between the ECC and the Foundation, ZIP: "Keep It Simple, Zcashers (KISZ): 10% to ECC, 10% to ZFnd"

Governing body(ies): Blocktown Development Fund Proposal: 10% to a 2-of-3 multisig with community involved Third Entity, Dev Fund Proposal: 5-Entity Strategic Council Approach, A Grand Compromise/Synthesis ZIP Proposal, Decentralizing the Dev Fee, Dev Fund Proposal: Dev Fund to ECC + Zfnd + Major Grants

Miner-directed: Dev fund proposal: Miner Directed Dev Fund (was: 20% to any combination of ECC, Zfnd, Parity, or "burn")

Kek the can: Kek’s proposal: fund ECC for 2 more years

(Not counting the supplemental legal charter proposal, which is sort of an add-on rather than an independent proposal.)

I guess my main conclusion is that this really shows the wisdom in The Foundation’s plan that they’re going to deliberate and decide what they think is best instead of just being bound to the results of popular voting. And also the wisdom in having the votes be “Support/Accept/Reject” so that community members can signal they would accept proposals that aren’t their favorite.

Dear @acityinohio, @amiller, or other Zfnd decision-makers, how do you think about this issue of clusters?

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Your evaluation is plain wrong in my opinion.
It would be true IF a voter had only 1 choice, but in this case the voter can vote on EVERY proposal with YES, NO and Abstain.
Or as an example a 20% dev fund support can support all dev fund proposals that have 20% and hence expressing his wish not only on 1 proposal but on every he likes.
Hence at the end there should be a clear winner without but and or.

This is could be really a dangerous move. I have asked in the past IF the foundation will accept the result but didn’t get an answer. This wording is a huge concern and might be like dynamite IF the ZF does not accept and bound to the community voting/signalling.
The ZF is seen more than the ECC as a community representer and not following the community wish for a given proposal will for sure hurt the Foundations community image. I even have no doubt here.
I mean IF the foundation doesn’t accept the result why at all have community proposals, signalling, voting, whatever? It would be just a bad show and farce at the end.

And by the way, with so many ECC/ZF near/affilated voters in the advisory panel and forum i would wonder if there is another outcome than the ECC/ZF wished/desired one. IF for example one of the non fund proposals would make it the top voted one, means that nearly the whole unbiased and unaffilated community is supporting it.