Major Grants committee

I agree, however zooko and yourself have both said you trust the zfnd’s judgment. Why don’t you trust them to interpret the coin-weighted-vote-but-not-a-vote? This was what I was say it seemed at odds. It was zookos stance that the zfnd must put weight on that mechanism. That doesn’t sound like trust. (note: it was specifically about zookos comment)

So the ECC will apply for major grants no matter what happens with the oversight?

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A split vote means there’s no preference.

Lets go for the simplest option & commit to reviewing it after a year?

We could take the coinholder input to mean ‘we should all pay close attention to how this works out & make changes if needed.’

It’d be nice to finally have this thing done.


This statement is confusing, I thought one of the ways for ECC to meet it’s funding goal of 1M or so per month (if the base ZEC price/allotment wasn’t enough to cover) was to apply for a grant to make up the difference?


With all due respect this is a serious question. If the resolution it is botched then we the consequences over the balance of power will be pernicious, hard to detect, and permanent. Whomever is in charge of the MG spending will wield enormous power over the future shape of the ecosystem.


Yeah, not applying for Major Grants would risk underfunding ECC in the year 2021 and having to cut back on our planned initiatives, unless the price of ZEC goes up by then. On the other hand, having ECC dipping into the same stream risks crowding-out other contributors, it allows ill-informed detractors to continue their ancient chorus that Zcash is centrally controlled by me, and it allows spurious insinuations that I’m acting in bad faith when I offer my opinion on how the Major Grants should be handled. So I’m currently leaning against it. But I don’t know what the right answer is.

[Edited to add: … or unless we at ECC could find additional revenue streams that are consistent with our mission and allow us to remain focused on ZEC]


Let me add that I’m talking from experience. I participate in a community with a very wealthy foundation. I have seen first hand the following dynamics take form:

  • people are skittish about criticizing the official party line because they want funding for their project
  • sycophants shut down dissent because they hope it will win them the favors of the power that be.

The worst thing is that the foundation in question is not even falling for these things or acting maliciously but nonetheless they happen because human nature. It didn’t ruin the community but created toxic dynamics. It’s especially important we work not to replicate these because we have a 2-2 and for that relationship to stay productive it needs to be a relation of equals.


Yes, absolutely! A perspective here – I voted in the Helios poll having read ZIP 1014 whose plain language – “The funds SHALL be received and administered by ZF” – is unequivocal. The polled question – “Do you believe the Foundation should have independent authority in determining Major Grants, or should there be a new Major Grant Review Committee as prescribed in this ZIP?” is predicated of following the ZIP as far as the reception and administration is concerned and is completely independent of which answer one picks. The only question is whether there should be MG committee determining the recipients, but the funds would first arrive at ZF is inherent in both answers.

So the reading appears to be clear, that either:

  • ZF should receive the MG funding slice on behalf of MG committee, and have the committee have independence to direct the MG funds of which ZF is a temporary custodian (if option 3A won);
  • ZF should receive the MG funding slice and have independence in directing them as it wishes (if option 3B won).

(It also appears that no option won decisively (many of us did not vote in t-address poll as it was explicitly deemed experimental and also widely controversial) but it does appear that ZF is fine with 3A, and so is majority of Helios votes. But whichever option “wins” doesn’t change the considerations about the receipt.)


I don’t think it’s really a question of to whether or not it should be done, it’s completely in line with the motivation of the zip, Zcash Foundations values and mission statement
As to how it should be done is very interesting, please continue :blush:

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I was getting ready to lean in here… then realized the conflict issue :sweat_smile:. Maybe there’s a mechanism for potential recipients (us included!) to give feedback on the process on a call, or against a more structured questionnaire? I don’t want to lobby here, but I do think candidate recipients should be able to share requirements to work on the chain, whether a process might be too burdensome, etc.


Since the purpose of the Major Grants is to attract and engage new contributors like you, your input would be very valuable. There’s no reason to think that this notion of a “conflict of interest” should prevent you from helping the community with this information.


I believe it mitigates the potential conflict of interest because it’s one thing to say the community decided to allocate these funds to a 501C3 but it’s another to say that they continue to have input on where the funds are allocated to

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My understanding when I voted was the same as @madars

The ZIP is clear “The funds SHALL be received and administered by ZF”.

End of story.


I’m sorry if what I wrote in this thread is contributing to the confusion. I didn’t intend to suggest doing anything different from ZIP 1014. I am only advocating that we as the community should choose 3B instead of 3A from the poll, for decentralisation and inclusivity.


I have a few things it would be really helpful if you (@zooko) or @joshs could clear up for me.

I have the sniffles at the moment, drank a bit too much sleepy cough mixture and smoked a little too much last night.

I asked above, directly if the ECC considers the MG committee resolution a showstopper. The answer was no. this seems to contradict what you have said below.

If the ECC does not apply for Major Grants then you would not have the funding to provide a future for zcash even if the price goes up 4x (I can grab quotes for this, but the post is long enough already). Even then, if the price goes up, then dips to these lows again you wont have the money either - (this was the reasoning behind caps. I voted against them because I wanted to keep the ECC, I think the caps were/are a good idea.)

The community is currently offering the ECC 75% of the devfund on the condition that they can justify the extra 40% of it. Part of this justification is to onramp other teams. 35% as has been shown by previous statements is roughly enough to keep the lights on. (just) How is the ECC going to be able to have the resources to teach others within that 35%? (please see the end for an idea)

When NU4 rolls around, we will have 40% of the devfund going to teams that are not up to speed and no funds going to get these teams up to speed. So what would the ECC’s plans for the 35% be in the case they don’t apply for MG’s. How is this not a showstopper?

I don’t think you should be basing you actions upon what the uninformed think. Unfortunately people think bill gates is responsible for everything at Microsoft (even after he left), Bezos amazon, etc. You will never get away from it - just keep acting in good faith.

People making character judgements are always frustrating and upsetting. You are subject to a higher level scrutiny though, this goes with the territory. Your opinion does carry more weight. For example, it doesn’t matter to people if I am acting in bad faith, people can just ignore me and move on - so they wont question me or try to call me out if they think I am. It is different when there is a possibility that you might be acting in bad faith because your decisions have a direct impact on zcash, so people will scream from the rafters.

The extra community scrutiny of your words is not completely without basis, there is some history for it. Some actions by the ECC have caused a loss of faith and loss of large parts of the community (be that rightly or wrongly. I am not making judgments in this post). This is not directly your fault but it does lead people within the community to scrutinise your words more.

Please don’t let the optics stop you from posting - maybe start by caveating posts like @daira does and reemphasising that @joshs is the “official” spokesperson.

Whilst we are waiting for a statement from the foundation as to how they will interpret the results, I have had a idea as to how this might be solvable. (“don’t just bring me problems steve, bring solutions too.”) I am not sure of the viability of this, the legal implications nor if it is too much red tape, but it is a shot in the dark.

this is not a statement on if i think the committee should or shouldn’t happen, it is in reaction to 35% for the ECC and where to get money if not from MG’s - which might be a non issue depending on what the foundation says. I don’t want to get caught in the “decentralise everything” trap and end up with a 787 dreamliner - a project slaughtered by outsourcing.

You could move the ECC funding burden to the MG recipients. One of these additional revenue streams be training.

So say @mhluongo @JamesTodaroMD @mlphresearch @hloo or anyone else (@'ing them because I would like their feedback on this question in their capacity as potential MG recipients/applicants) puts forward for a proposal for a MG and part of that proposals funding is allocated to recompense the ECC for their on ramping of the team, rather than it coming directly from the devfund.

This might be a financial legal quagmire, or not a sustainable vertical. I don’t really know about these things Id love to hear thoughts though.


What was the general reception of the grant review committee method used in 2017 and 2018 by the community? My understanding is that the Foundation board could have made different decisions on recipient choices than selected by the committee, but that it was expected not to.

2017: GitHub - ZcashFoundation/GrantProposals-2017Q4: Submission site for Zcash Foundation grant proposals
2018: GitHub - ZcashFoundation/GrantProposals-2018Q2: Submission site for 2018Q2 Zcash Foundation grant proposals.

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Does Major Grants committee have a directive? Is it primarly for decentralizing the code development, or can it be for other things like pushing demand with partnerships, adoption, wallets, etc.
This might affect who should be on the committee. For example a wallet developer might be useful for deciding if a wallet grant has promise.

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What was the general reception of the grant review committee method used in 2017 and 2018 by the community?

As someone who happened to be a member and chair of those two committees, I noticed three main issues:

  1. The decision process was heavyweight and slow. We analyzed proposals in detail, and some entailed long interactions and debates. Our highly qualified committee members tended to also have busy schedules and other obligations, and it was difficult to get their input and gather them for interactive discussions.

This is less of an issue for the Major Grants. Presumably there will be just a handful of those (unlike the dozens of mostly-small grants that the previous committees handled). Also, major funding merits deep analysis of the proposals.

  1. Some proposers were unresponsive, which also contributed to delays and burden on the committee’s work.

Given the high bar on Major Grants, this also should be less of an issue. An unresponsive proposer ought to be rejected.

  1. The GitHub-based application and discussion system was inconvenient to many users.

Already addressed by ZF’s new grant system website and its ongoing improvements.

My understanding is that the Foundation board could have made different decisions on recipient choices than selected by the committee, but that it was expected not to.

That’s correct. The ZF board set the overall budget, then gave the committee autonomy and ratified the recommendations.


I think you’re on to something here. As long as a major grant recipient is a new team, there will need to be ramp-up time on the existing protocol and code bases. I was starting to plan and thought a very competent Rust dev with some C++ literacy and passing familiarity with the space would likely need 2 months before they could reach velocity, for example. I’d have no problem paying handsomely for the ECC’s time to help ramp up new devs if it means that time could be cut down, and we could better serve the community, increasing the likelihood of continued work.

I understand this isn’t a long-term revenue stream @zooko but I’m really intrigued. It’d also be a great way to kickstart a more open dev process – it’s easier for everyone to get along on calls, etc and build working relationships when they’ve spent dedicated time together.

Disclosure: We would like to be a founding Major Grant recipient.


If the decision is made to keep legal/financial control over Major Grants funding with the Foundation, what are some procedures or policies that could be used to honor the wishes of those who supported an independent committee and avoid undue Foundation influence?


I didn’t vote in the official poll, but I would certainly have voted for B, with a caveat:

Any member of such a committee (the MGC) MUST be compensated in zcash futures.

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