With ZIP 1014, the Zcash community made a unique and remarkable decision.
To make Zcash even more useful and valuable to its stakeholders, it decided to allocate a portion of each coinbase reward to a democratically-elected committee that would fund grants to Zcash projects all over the world.
Today, the grant process created by ZIP 1014 is officially open for business and accepting grant applications.
It’s called Zcash Open Major Grants, or ZOMG for short.
In September, the five committee members (us!) were elected by the Zcash community. Since then, we’ve had to get to know each other, sync up the visions we came with, and bring the ZOMG into existence.
Thanks to the existing Zcash Foundation (ZF) grant program, there is infrastructure to build on, and ZF has been generous with logistical support. But everything else, from what to fund, to how to organize ourselves and make decisions, to basic decisions about what we should be and how we should exist online was a blank slate.
It’s hard to overstate how unique an effort this is! We five strangers have been elected, by an online community, to allocate a large, steady funding stream to projects that benefit the community. There’s almost nothing like this—so simple and democratic—in either the startup world or the conventional grantmaking world of nonprofit foundations. The closest analogy might be the government of a brand-new small town, except that instead of thinking about schools, fire departments and roads, we’re thinking about network layer privacy, wallet usability, security audits, stablecoins, and a lot more.
Each of us has a “day job,” from which we bring unique experience and perspectives…
- Chris is a partner at Placeholder, a venture firm that invests in blockchain networks and Web3 services, and is co-author of the bestseller, Cryptoassets.
- Sarah is the executive director of Open Privacy, which exists to build a world where systems operate with the consent of their users, and which is building the Tor-based, metadata-resistant messaging app Cwtch.
- Holmes is a former co-director of the US-based activism organization Fight for the Future, and currently works on the Zcash-based messaging app and marketplace Zbay.
- Shawn is a long-time Zcash community member and community manager for the Zcash community forum.
- Hudson Jameson is a blockchain enthusiast and developer liaison working at the Ethereum Foundation.
…so this organizing has to fit into our busy work lives, and we’ve had to think about how to build systems simple and minimal enough to fit into our lives and those of our (probably) no less busy successors.
Staying minimal and nimble seems important to our effort’s democratic nature. The community has entrusted us with its valuable resources for grantmaking, not overhead! And if only people without busy day jobs can afford to run for the committee, the result won’t be very democratic.
So it seemed fitting that rather than putting our announcement on a glitzy website, we’d put it right here—where this whole process started—in the Zcash Community Forum. Our intention is to keep as much ZOMG activity and energy as possible right here in the forum.
For updates, you can also follow us on Twitter.
We have a website too, just not a glitzy one , for explaining the process and soliciting grants:
(If there’s anything on the site you think could be better expressed or more clear, or if you see any mistakes, post it in the website feedback thread, create an issue, or fork it and submit a PR.)
Please note that ZOMG is technically a technology advisory board acting as a committee under the Zcash Foundation, not a fully independent organization