I am excited to re-run as a candidate for the Zcash Community Grants Committee. Although this year has been challenging, I am proud of what we have accomplished, and I hope to have the opportunity to serve the community again in 2023.
Overall, I think this year has been a success. We received a number of high-quality grant proposals, launched the Global Ambassador Program, and published and filled the majority of our RFP initiatives. We’ve also matured as an organization. If you recall, the inaugural ZOMG committee brought up concerns they had regarding the support the Zcash Foundation provides. That has not been an issue for us. The Foundation does an excellent job supporting ZCG, and we have a strong rapport with them. We also now have a discretionary budget to use, which gives us the autonomy to contract out administrative or operational support when needed or attend conferences to promote the ZCG program.
A few of my favorite grants ZCG approved this year:
- YWallet: This was the first retroactive grant the committee considered, and I believe no applicant was more deserving of retroactive funding than Hanh. YWallet proved itself as an asset to the Zcash community as the fastest-syncing wallet at a time when the majority of wallets were experiencing significant syncing issues. Hanh also did an excellent job helping the community troubleshoot issues and get onboarded to YWallet.
- Qedit: ZSAs are an important use case for Zcash (particularly private stablecoins and private BTC), which I believe will lead to the development of other interesting applications. Qedit is a well-respected company that has a strong relationship with the engineers at ECC and ZF. I appreciate the progress they’ve made on this project and the transparency they’ve provided on the forum and Arborist calls.
- Zcash Media: I really appreciate 37 Laines’ efforts to produce high-quality educational content. Many community members feel this is something that historically has not been prioritized by ECC and ZF, so it’s great that ZCG can help here. I’ve shown the videos to friends and family who were blown away by the quality and walked away with a better understanding of Zcash. I believe Zcash Media will one day be to Zcash what Bankless is to Ethereum.
- Ecosystem Security Lead: Having Taylor Hornby as an independent engineer assessing the security of projects developed by non-ECC/ZF engineers is not only much needed, but it helps further decentralize the Zcash ecosystem. Additionally, what I appreciate most about this grant is (given the flexibility we’ve afforded Taylor in determining what projects he focuses on) this grant is the closest we’ve come to “investing in people, not projects,” which is something I hope to see more of in the future.
- Free2Z: Private peer-to-peer giving is another interesting use case for Zcash, and Free2Z has received significant support from the community. I love that they applied for a grant after already having developed a proof of concept. I also love some of the things that have been funded: one gentleman from the Venezuelan community was able to raise money to help pay for his mother’s cancer treatment.
A few things I hope to accomplish in 2023:
- Make decisions more efficiently: The average turnaround time from proposal submission to decision is approximately four to six weeks. Larger grants generally take more time to assess because there’s a lot more work that goes into making an informed decision. A couple grants this year took more than two months for the committee to make a decision. I would like to work with the committee to make the grant decision process quicker and more efficient for large-sized grants.
- Focus more on Major Grants: The primary reason ZCG was established is to bring new teams into the ecosystem to perform long-term projects. The teams and projects I listed above embody that spirit. ZCG should do more to ensure these teams have the funding needed to stick around for the long term. I’d also like ZCG to consider “investing in people, not projects” for teams or developers that have a proven track record and deserve more autonomy. Ultimately, the goal should be for these teams to apply for long-term funding under the Direct Grant Option, which will help further decentralize the development fund.
- Develop guidelines around communication with grantees: There has been too much negativity on the forum this year, and some of it has been directed towards current and prospective grantees. I would like to make it a priority to develop guidelines for communicating with grantees in effort to encourage more constructive feedback from community members. Gauging community sentiment is an important part of the grant review process, and I’d like to help create an environment where more community members participate.
- Increase outreach and recruiting: I firmly believe ZCG should be more than a passive review committee. Committee members should be attending conferences and actively recruiting new teams to help build out the Zcash ecosystem. Adi and I had the opportunity to attend conferences this year, and I’d like to see ZCG do more of that in 2023. I also think ZCG should consider hiring a consultant to help with developer outreach, increase outreach to universities, and do more marketing of the grants program (e.g. sponsor podcasts and events).
- Global Ambassador Program: The Global Ambassador Program has been a great way to increase international grassroots marketing efforts and community building. I’d like ZCG to continue to iterate on the program and expand it to more locations with vibrant cryptocurrency communities.
Thank you to everyone who supported my candidacy. I’m very optimistic on Zcash’s future and eager to work hard and contribute to the Zcash ecosystem. I would be honored to be selected as a ZCG committee member in 2023.