Major Grants committee

I was referring to my own proposals.

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Ahh, gotcha! Fwiw that wasn’t apparent (to me, anyway).

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In response to Watkins’ piece: “ The only outstanding item the community needs to agree upon is whether the ZEF should have independent authority to verify grants or if a new grant review committee should.
I believe it is crucial for a new grant committee to oversee the verification of grant. I refer to this new group as ZCash Angels

5 reasons why ZCash Angels should lead investment decisions:

  1. At least initially, we want a small group of experienced crypto thought-leaders to make investment decisions on behalf of the entire ZCash community. I will not mention names yet - but I have my list (and you’ve heard of these names). A small group of crypto thought-leaders (with skin-in-the-game) will efficiently evaluate top engineering teams that can bring real value to the ZCash ecosystem.
  2. Although there will be many forms of public blockchain governance in the future, at this moment in time ZCash has the advantage of seeing what hasn’t been working… community voting (1coin/1vote kind of thing) has not been working and has proven to mis-allocate resources… terribly inefficient. We want a small, nimble group at the helm that can run a tight ship and allocate resources into the most talented teams and engineers.
  3. Most of the ZCash Angels will be people who already lead cutting edge blockchain companies and crypto investment firms. We want these people to be integral parts of the ZCash community because they have strong networks and ties to both traditional finance and academia. They can help with not only enhancing technological advancement, but also institutional and retail adoption.
  4. We need a small, lean group of people who have experience structuring term sheets and operating agreements with new companies. The companies that are funded by ZCash block rewards need to be contractually bound to building leading tech products/services for the betterment of the ZCash protocol. It is crucial that terms are structured correctly before making an investment (aka wasting block rewards).
  5. The ZEF and ZCash community at large does not know what is best to invest in at this early stage in crypto – just like you would depend on a doctor’s advice if you were sick, we should depend on the advice and experience of ZCash Angels to make investment decisions on behlaf of the ZCash protocol and community.

I will wait to see if there is positive response to this post before putting forth my list of people for ZCash Angels . I have 10 names in mind.

Thanks for the welcome @Autotunafish!

What is exotic about having a third entity? When it comes to protocol funding, isn’t any design exotic since there is not that much precedence?

Apologies for being late to the governance party here :slight_smile: Is there a clear reference as far as the distinguishing moment when the possibility of a third entity was thrown out? As a newcomer, I’d love to learn about the previous pros & cons that the community discussed.

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Thank you for the welcome, @zooko.

To answer your question: it is the unnamed foundation; I have no experience working with the Zcash Foundation.

I side with @lex_node here.

I understand how it can be frustrating to have people who are new to the community or who were on hiatus to come in and revive some decisions that may be past their debate period, but I’d find the current pushback more understandable if a clear decision-making trail and reasoning was provided.

Now, there seems to be some kind of alarmism about “blowing up the problem space” and how having this discussion now will stand in the way of “keeping ECC’s employees paid”, which both seem like unnecessary hyperbole that seem to deflect from presenting an actual cost-benefit analysis.

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Hi,

As someone pretty heavily involved in the process I empathise with the difficulty following what is/was going on. It is spread over quite a few threads and probably thousands of posts. Some really good summaries are in the hangouts.

As zooko stated above there is a large amount of fatiuge in the community over this subject, but decisions should still be talked over. Please understand though it is too late for major (or any at all really) changes.

A good place to catch up on the discussion and decision making would be here:
(it is not 7 hrs long, it is about 3hrs, but the hangout didnt end properly)

Here is the second hangout:

I timestamped the second hangout in this post.

and the most recent one:

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this is wildly inaccurate.

no thanks.

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Beside the aforementioned summary calls, the bulk of the debate happened within the forum threads of the individual proposals (including withdrawn ones) listed in Future of Zcash dev funding — megathread / everything in one place , followed by the two polling rounds.

Sorry, but these are many thousands of discussion comments, and to see all the nuances discussed (and why people are fatigued) you’d have to read those…

The bottom line is that among the many proposals and ideas considered, there were quite a few involving new legal entities and reserved board positions of various sorts. Both in formal draft ZIPs, and informally suggested in discussion comments. Some of these were withdrawn or abandoned by their authors due to unresolved major issues. Some made it to the first poll and did not garner support. None passed both filters.

So you see, it’s not that we aren’t taking the idea seriously. It’s that we already took it seriously, and discussed it during most of the past year. You’re looking at the endgame. Which is not to say we can’t continue the discussion that you and @lex_node are calling for, but please see my suggestion for how to proceed above.

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This sounds very much like the Major Grants committee of ZIP 1014.

With the important disambiguation that these are not “investments” meant to turn up profit for investors, but rather resources allocated to achieve the ecosystem’s broad goals and values. For example, improving Zcash’s privacy tech, or strengthening decentralization by creating an independent node implementation, may not have capturable monetary value. Such public goods may be terrible “investments” in the sense of making money. And yet, they would be high on the priority list. Zcash Foundation’s mission and values statements are good inspiration here.

Most of the ZCash Angels will be people who already lead cutting edge blockchain companies and crypto investment firms

ZIP 1014, and ZF’s proposed amendments thereto, call for election of the Major Grants committee by the community. I indeed hope to see candidates who have pertinent market and tech background, and in particular the ability to judge and guide successful execution!

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My humble opinion is that the Major Grants Committee should consist of established community members who are not ECC or ZF employees or shareholders (for ECC), nor potential Major Grants proposers, in order to avoid collusion and bias.

Also, I advocate for not paying Committee members, in order to avoid any financial interest but attract just those who really want to contribute, as long as there is no significant workload required.

The enumeration matter should highly depend on the work hours required. If it’s like a full time (or even part time) job, then of course some significant salary should be offered since members would have to devote serious time and commitment in order to fulfill their duties and take time off their regular jobs.

I’m sure many community members will disagree with my views and that’s perfectly fine. Take it for what it is. My humble opinion as a community member like you :slight_smile:

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What if we offered performance incentives to the MG committee, where they get to “invest” individually by allocating a portion of their MG Slice portfolio, and where their portfolio gets evaluated for impact after the fact?

I’ve been watching some Dragon’s Den recently, and thinking about how good a Crypto Dragon’s Den would be. It’s fun to watch a panel of knowledgeable and public speaking experts break down the startup pitches and get to the important parts. Maybe something like this would work here. At the least it may be a way to attract a different set of folks (like VCs and thought leaders) to participate effectively.

Who’d do the evaluation? This does just add an other layer of indirection, since now the trust bottleneck is on after the fact performance evaluation. But, this sort of post hoc evaluation is arguably better suited to a committee, while the initial choice of “investments” may be better suited to individuals. So using advisory panel for this could be effective.

What incentives? If the MG Dragons are compensated for their time, then this amount could scale a bit with the post hoc evaluation as a bonus. The reputation effect of being able to take credit for their individual portfolios also acts like an additional incentive.

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@amiller, this is a fascinating idea! But is it suitable for Major Grants, of which we expect to be very few ongoing ones (initially: probably fewer than the number of MG committee members)?

Also, I think it will be very difficult to do the evaluation of success. Some parts do become easier, like checking whether concrete milestones were delivered. But how would people judge in retrospect whether a successfully-built website, or a successfully-organized workshop, or an improvement to a cryptographic protocol, were really “worthwhile”? The passage of time doesn’t necessarily make it easier, and it does involve the whims of changing public taste which are not the committee’s member “fault”. After all, we don’t have objective measures (dollar PnL and valuations) to go by.

Also:

the initial choice of “investments” may be better suited to individuals

Why? I’m concerned it would reduce the quality of the evaluation. In particular, it will make personal interests much more of an issue. Especially in our heavily interlinked ecosystem, and given that funding of MG recipients would be far greater than an MG committee’s retroactive-evaluation stake.

Lastly, as usual: if this is going to be a long discussion, let’s open a dedicated thread. :slight_smile:

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Thinking about what the MG Committee will actually have to do…

Applications for funding will be public so they’ll be discussed by all… ie: ZFND, ECC, fans, trolls, experts & idiots… just like everything else is around here.

Presumably the MG Committee just acts as a jury, extracting signal from loud & public noise to reach a conclusion. They won’t have to be experts in every field.

I quite like this - it’ll be easy for all to contribute and it doesn’t matter who they work for (ie: ECC/ZFND).

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Who is we?
Given what information do you think it will be the case?

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I think it’s unlikely to play out this way. Evaluating large grants requires a lot of effort: understanding the proposal, researching context (e.g., are there alternatives? how risky are the dependencies?), discussion time, evaluating revisions, etc. Few people are inclined to put in such effort voluntarily.

To give some examples from within our own ecosystem:

  • In ZF’s previous grant program, I think the majority of GitHub comments were by the members of the grant review committees (or the proposers replying to them).
  • ECC’s ECC R&D and Engineering Flight Plan did not get any feedback, other than mine.
  • ZF’s Engineering Roadmap 2020 also got little feedback (the most substantial of which was by rex4539, who I guess was continuing the momentum from his role on the grant review committee :smiley:) .

So my expectation is that the MG committee members will need enough expertise to take the lead on analyzing proposals. Of course they’ll draw on the community, and reach out for advice (as the old grant committee did), but even doing that effectively requites sufficient understanding.

Notably, this isn’t just about technical expertise. Knowledge in finances, marketing, regulation, etc. may also be called for, and ideally the committee will have some of these too. (Again, by example: ZF is lucky to count @valkenburgh among its board members, and ECC is fortunate to have Andrew McLaughlin on its board.)

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First, math. At the current coin price, if we had 5 equal-sized MG recipients, and kept say 25% of the MG slice as a reserve against volatility, then each recipient would get less than $1M/year. That seems far less than people had in mind, in the discussions of the Major Grant system and how it would create major new players undertaking roles on the scale of ECC. (And recall that ZF’s existing grant system will continue to serve smaller grants.)

Second, so far I haven’t seen indications that many teams of the requisite size and interests exist; I know of just 2.

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I think that’s an important point.

Expertise (in multiple areas) is definitely needed to avoid inefficiencies, especially given the relative size of the MG slice.

We can take ZFND’s Zebra project as an example.
I think that one reason for its inefficiency (the need for a rewrite) was the lack of expertise.

Nice - agree with a lot of that :slight_smile:

I still think committee members will rely on ‘the community’ when a subject moves away from their area of expertise. At least, that’s what I would hope… if I had a tough cryptography problem, I would ask!

We’re certainly going to need bright, capable & experienced folks - but ‘general specialists’ dont exist.

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The above straw poll about MG committee compensation shows an overwhelming majority for the “for their reasonable time and expenses” option, currently with approval by 77% of the voters. The runner up option (which would also allow ZF to provide that compensation) got approval by 26% of the voters. Just 7.7% (two voters) did not approve of either option.

My https://github.com/tromer/zips/commits/no-cap-with-comp git branch now implements this. Along with the removal of USD cap, some cleanups, and implementing ZF’s proposed MG changes. (The latter are the last commit, so easy to remove or modify).

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