How I Voted in the Zcash Foundation Governance Election

my ballot fingerprint

These were not easy decisions at all but for the board candidates I chose:

Amber Baldet, Howard Loo and Arianna Simpson

My decision was based on the candidates’ merits and also on the fact that none of them have had any prior affiliation with the company or foundation
Although none of these candidates may themselves possess intimate knowledge of the zcash protocol, I believe they (and existing members) possess enough technical knowledge (and the capability to learn) that any substantial amount of information presented to them by a technical advisory commitee would be well received
I think the importance of having a board member(s) with vast intimate, technical knowledge of Zcash would possibly be more important in the future when Zcash Company is dissolved and if no technical advisory commitee existed

For the ballot if the Zcash community wishes to preserve ASIC resistance, discouraging the use of ASIC mining equipment in favor of GPU mining equipment, I chose disagree

I don’t believe the zcash foundation should discourage mining zcash at all
This is based on evidence that entirely GPU driven networks are more vulnerable to 51% and double-spend attacks than ones that are driven by Asics and complete lack of evidence to support the opposite

I believe a measure of Asic resistance, at its core, is immoral and essentially is an act of vengeance primarily supported by those who will be affected monetarily and not by those who understand the foundations value of cognizance
The idea that bitmain is a monopoly and will take over and centralize zcash really doesn’t hold much water
They’re not a monopoly as there are other equihash Asic manufacturers that do exist, they are currently the largest Asic manufacturer but the idea that they will always be number one doesn’t hold much water either because that’s based only on the past 7 years and theres good reason to think that the value of bitmain is inflated alongside the value of bitcoin with the tether scam
Asic manufacturer profits are almost entirely dependent on the secure functionality of the network’s their machines are supposed to mine on, so the idea of them conducting a 51% attack is completely illogical
You can buy one of them from bitmain (or from the other suppliers) just like you can buy gpus so it is, as much decentralized
Oh and also it turns out they do have more function after mining their coins’ algorithms, you can use them for scientific computations as well, some computational work is designed specifically to be run on old Asic miners

Concerning the ballot to migrate the mining protocol to a new algorithm I chose disagree

This, again, is due entirely to a lack of data supporting whether or not this is the best decision

For the ballot concerning efforts directed towards chains of zcash I chose disagree

My reasoning for this was hashed out on the community chat or forum as it was made evidently clear the primary function of the zcash foundation is promoting privacy as a human right even if it meant forsaking Zcash

For the ballot concerning whether the foundation should be open to discussing changing the monetary policy I chose disagree

I actually kind of had a problem with the way this one was worded
I feel that the foundation should be and probably is open to pretty much any discussion but I also feel that the monetary policy is currently something that probably shouldn’t be changed
I also feel that a requirement to it being changed would supersede any bylaws enacted especially if it were of legal precedence

For the ballot concerning transitioning ownership of the zcash trademark from the company to the foundation I chose agree

I think it is important that people correctly associate the Zcash trademark with the entity that will be truly representative of it in a few short years as most of these rollouts are happening or will happen on a monthly and yearly basis

And for the mascot I chose axolotl
1 He’s got a funny face
2 Its just for fun!


Who am I?

I see the ZCash Foundation as a coordinator and sponsor of longer-horizon advocacy, education, and research/development around financial privacy rights and technologies – especially but not just ZCash/ZEC. I’d like the Foundation to virtually represent not just current ZCash-using constituencies, but the much larger and more diverse potential future constituencies.

The Board

There were plenty of strong candidates. If the process were true approval-voting - where any number of candidates could receive an ‘approve’ vote – I’d have approved more than 3. I hope candidates who don’t join the board can be tapped for other formally Foundation-affiliated roles, perhaps as project/interest-area leads, or performing other forms of advocacy. The board is necessarily small, and legally important, but other roles will be just as important for the Foundation’s success.

I chose candidates who seemed to best bring a broad long-term view, relevant industry/organizational experience, independence, and skill at public communications. For me, those were Lawson Baker, Amber Baldet, and Arianna Simpson.

The Ballot Questions

In contrast to the board candidates, I didn’t find the ballot questions meaningful. They seemed to ask me to judge still-murky conjectures, or set premature overly-specific limits on what the Foundation might do.

It’s still very early for crypto-currency, for ZCash, and for the Foundation. While it’s great to be experimenting with a process for wider input, every crudely-polled determination should be considered tentative, and open to change with further information.

So all my votes were in the direction of putting fewer constraints on the Foundation’s future activities. And, I’d have abstained on some questions if that had been an option of the ballot.

I’d rather trust the board & staff, and the inherent motivations bound up in the organization’s founding, name, stated/legal mission, and holdings, rather than any proto-election-tally.

Specifically (with added emphases mine):

Re: (2) “The Zcash community wishes to preserve ASIC resistance, discouraging the use of ASIC mining equipment in favor of GPU mining equipment. The Zcash Foundation should therefore adopt this as a priority.”

I can’t yet affirm with confidence what the “Zcash community” (or potential community) wants. Whether long-term ASIC-resistance is technically possible, and whether ASICs help or harm the consistent provision of non-cartelized Proof-of-Work, seem like still-open questions. So I don’t agree with this, but I don’t quite disagree, either. I’d have abstained or chosen “none-of-the-above” if it was possible. But I simply voted “Disagree”, to preserve options and encourage more research and discussion. (It feels almost like a trap question, designed to make prudent uncertainty seem like a rejection of ASIC-resistance… which it isn’t.)

Re: (3) “The Foundation should commit to a plan for migrating the Zcash protocol to a new proof of work algorithm with a hard-fork planned between September 30, 2020 and December 31, 2020, with the following tasks: 1) Selecting a thermodynamically efficient (not ASIC-resistant!), currently unused proof-of-work algorithm 2) Hosting and building an open hardware specification for the selected PoW algorithm 3) Assembling a consortium of hardware companies to build hardware against this open specification, while encouraging upstream contributions 4) Building an open source, cross-platform, user-friendly, p2pool-esque piece of mining software for use with this hardware 5) Manage the hard fork upgrade process across users, wallets, exchanges”

"Disagree", as the plan seems very specific and ambitious without matching confidence that such a Proof-of-Work algorithm exists, can provide the necessary security properties, and is amenable to an equal-standing consortium hardware implementation. It might be a good plan! But it’s not so clearly a good plan the young Foundation should commit to all its steps right away.

Re: (4) “The Foundation should be open to discussing changes to monetary policy and/or supply schedule.”

Everything should be “open to discussing”, for a Foundation with a long-term view, in a rapidly-changing industry, despite its roots in a system (ZCash/ZEC) with a particular fixed supply schedule. So, I voted “Agree”. But again this seems like a trap question, with an “Agree” result being prone-to-misinterpretation as some endorsement of changing the ZCash monetary policy, which it’s not. (What would it mean to not be “open to discussing changes in monetary policy”, anyway? If someone affiliated with the Foundation tweeted, “crypto X makes an interesting case for permanent inflation” or “academic Y has a good paper on alternative supply mechanics”, have they violated the taboo, and thus become subject to some sort of Foundation discipline? The ballot question is poorly formulated.)

Re: (5) “Any significant effort by the Foundation to develop or promote a cryptocurrency shall be directed at either the (1) Zcash blockchain; or (2) chain forks (chain splits) of the Zcash blockchain that approximately carry forward the percentage stakes of Zcash holders immediately before the fork (split) to the money supply in circulation immediately after the fork (split).”

I want to agree! It sounds roughly right! But again it’s specific and restrictive at this early stage. The Q&A detailing its interpretation says it would preclude the Foundation from doing certain far-off, unlikely things that might, someday, be justified. Evolution in this space is rapid, I’d never say never, and would rather trust the board and intrinsic Foundation incentives to protect ZEC utility/value. So I voted “Disagree”.

Re: (6) “The Foundation should prioritize transitioning ownership of the Zcash trademark from the Zcash Company to the Foundation.”

The board can decide how important this is – if formal ownership is urgent – so I voted “Disagree”.

Re: (7) “And just for fun: The Foundation should endeavor to establish the official Zcash mascot as one of the following choices. You may pick up to two:”

I know it’s just for fun, and I kinda like the Zeal-of-Zebras motif. But if you’ve read this far, it shouldn’t surprise you that I think a ballot-based choice here would be a premature encumbrance. Mascots are memes. Great memes don’t come from a poll of short textual options, but from enthusiastic remix and transmission. (“Meme-Audience Fit”?) For ZCash as a whole, mascots may emerge organically from bottom-up experiments and promotion – and then perhaps an organization could bless one or more leading candidates . Or perhaps, the Foundation could choose a Foundation-specific mascot, for its own project/branding purposes. But I’d expect that to start with a more open-ended call/bid/contest for promising imagery - not just a list of 5 animals. I cast no vote here, let a thousand mascots bloom!

The ballot tracker code I was provided after submitting my votes: ITlOe3A9HDTv3oY37rMdlob5Ozm+efu6z0waz/2Gb/s