Greetings Zcashers. Big thanks to @amiller and @antonie for doing such a great job organizing the MGRC call yesterday. I feel like we, as a community, have come a long way in a relatively short time. I took notes during the call yesterday which I’ve shared here.
I realize that at this point it feels like perhaps we have more questions than answers, but I wanted to highlight a few key observations I have at this point in the journey.
- The quality of the people we select is of paramount importance. Also of primary importance is the ability for the elected candidates to work together.
- We should be very careful to frame MGRC in such a way that there is very little overhead. The vast majority of the funds in the MGRC slice of the dev fund (8% of issuance) should be allocated to directly benefit the Zcash project, community and ecosystem.
- ZIP-1014 isn’t perfect, but it’s what we have for now. We should stand up MGRC as planned, and deal with amending ZIP-1014 down the track in order to resolve ambiguities and ensure that MGRC is delivering maximal value to the Zcash community. Issues that I believe we can address later include:
a) Whether MGRC members are compensated, and if so, to what extent (amount/frequency/etc).
b) Whether MGRC members should all stand for re-election simultaneously
c) Whether MGRC can “only write grants”, or whether it can also provide funding in exchange for equity and/or tokens, the proceeds of which could be used to provide ongoing funding for the project beyond the 4 years of the dev fund.
I realize that it’s somewhat awkward to ask people to step up and serve a role for which the compensation is not yet determined. Given the ambiguity in ZIP-1014 around this issue, I think it’s appropriate to punt on this question for now and allow the chosen MGRC members to hash this issue out w/ the ZF and the community shortly after being elected.
On the topic of “investments”, which has created quite a stir in the community, I want to echo @Tromer’s sentiment that this suggestion should not at all detract from MGRC’s responsibility to fund projects which are public goods, and which have no expectation of generating a return. The ZF’s grants to Zbay, Zecwallet, Tor, zBoard, and donation to OpenPrivacy fit squarely into this category. To put it simply, MGRC should keep up the ZF’s tradition of funding public goods.
However, it may well be the case that MGRC has the opportunity to fund something interesting that is created by a venture backed, for-profit entity. Examples of these include projects like tBTC/tZEC, which is supported by Thesis and the KEEP network. Notably, KEEP is backed by a16z, Polychain, Paradigm, Fenbushi and others. So if MGRC were to provide funding to the KEEP team to build tZEC for example, the ZF (as the legal entity that runs the MGRC) should receive KEEP tokens and participate in the upside if tBTC/tZEC and KEEP really takes off. The difference is, if KEEP moons, a16z et al will necessarily pay profits to their limited partners, but the MGRC/ZF profits would instead be used to provide ongoing funding for Zcash.
Another example of a promising innovation that is spearheaded by a for-profit venture backed company is Bolt Labs, whose investors include Dekrypt Capital and Xpring. Clearly the development of a private L2 (zkChannels) is something that would be of interest to Zcash users. But if MGRC were to decide to fund Bolt Labs, it’s reasonable that the ZF (via MGRC) would receive equity or similar, the proceeds of which could be used to keep MGRC running beyond the life of the dev fund.
Of course, investing is risky. Statistically speaking, most startups fail. But if MGRC is going to be funding companies, teams and organizations that improve the robustness, utility and reach of the Zcash project, it should be able to share not only in the risk, but also in the upside. This upside could amount to nothing, but just one home run could provide funding for ongoing development for decades to come.
So, in summary, we as a community made great strides with ZIP-1014. Let’s stand up MGRC as planned, in accordance with 1014. If we need to make changes to 1014 to resolve ambiguity, let’s do that when the time is right, but not now. It’s of primary importance that we select high quality people that can work together, and that we work hard to maximize efficiency while minimizing overhead. Lots of open questions, but we can tackle those in stride.