I am 100% in favor of running one or more smallish Quadratic Funding (QF) experiments for the Zcash community and learning / scaling up!
Punchline: let’s round up funds for a few pilot Gitcoin QF iterations from anywhere we can and do it! I will personally donate if others come to the table.
My Perspective on Zcash Funding Institutions:
So far in Zcash’s lifespan there have been primarily three fairly independent institutions stewarding the protocol, community, and development: ECC, Zfnd, and community contributors, some of whom are outright pillars of support for Zcash. (For example @Shawn who’s set up and operated a lot of community infrastructure and you see welcoming you back with a friendly face.)
Of these, ECC + Zfnd are well funded via a portion the Founders Reward, whereas the community at large has no such funding. ECC and Zfnd have then deployed those funds in a mostly top-down fashion, with ECC doing mostly in-house stuff and commercial or strategic partnerships. Zfnd has done similar plus also set up ZF Grants as one opportunity for funding projects through their selection process.
With the institution of a new Major Grants as a recipient of the new Dev Fund, there will now be a fourth institution which will also be allocating ZEC mostly independently from ECC & Zfnd. A notable difference from Zfnd grants is that Major Grants (as a whole) is slated to allocate much larger amounts of funding.
A Primary Strategic Strength:
I consider having three independent organizations allocating development funds as they are issued from the blockchain to be a primary strategic strength of Zcash. This is a tangible and effective form of decentralization.
In fact, I personally consider this bigger than zeroknowledge proof tech or world-class teams, even though those are right up there on Zcash strengths.
Why Gitcoin QF is an improvement:
However, Zcash can do better, and that’s why I’m very excited for Gitcoin-driven Quadratic Funding to add to the mix.
I think about it like this: suppose you want to get paid to improve Zcash. What are your options?
- Get hired by, or strike a partnership with, a company / org that would pay you a salary to do so, ex: ECC, Zfnd, companies with Zcash-integrated products / services, …
- Apply to ZF Grants for small to mid-sized projects that align with Zfnd’s mandate and vision.
- Apply to Major Grants for mid-to-large projects that align with Major Grant’s mandate and vision.
- (If Gitcoin QF ramps up:) Apply for QF funding for small-to-mid-sized (?) projects that align with broad community vision.
The key strength here, IMO, is that there will be multiple visions with funding mechanisms that work well for different project organizations, with no central control over visions or funding. (This is already true without Gitcoin QF but is improved by it.)
For me, the Gitcoin QF is an important qualitative improvement to the landscape because the other funding options are all mostly top-down, although it remains to be seen how MG will decide on allocations. A different reason I consider Gitcoin QF to be highly valuable is that it may bring along with it a distinct community, and I’d love to grow both the diversity and size of the Zcash community by engaging in collaboration around communities of shared values.
For this reason I definitely support doing at least 3 or so Gitcoin QF iterations to see if it gains traction, using funding we can scrape together from any sources, be they grants or private donations. What would be a realistic projection of the total of matching pools for three iterations? (IMO, it’s not worth an experiment without committing to at least >1 iteration to see developmental changes.)
Personal Skin in the Game:
I believe so much that running this experiment is good for Zcash that I am willing to donate personally towards matching pools (separate from ECC or any official grants). I’d be most motivated if a half dozen or more folks showed up to donate to matching pools.
ps: I have multiple concerns about Quadratic Funding! But I see them all as something that we can address or improve on through iteration, and also any funding approach has different trade-offs.