Major Grants Review Committee Candidates MEGATHREAD

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

DC

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Dear fellow Zcashers:

I think we should be focusing not so much on the plans or policies of the MGRC candidates as much as on getting the best people on board. Remember, any one committee member is going to have to get the rest of the committee (or at least a majority of it) to support their ideas, so any one policy idea is not going anywhere by itself. Once we have a team of five excellent people seated and working together, they’ll listen to the community’s input going forward anyway.

So here are my thoughts on — not what MGRC should do — but on what kind of people we should look for.

First of all I want to say that it is a great idea to elect the two candidates who are affiliated with Zcash Foundation and Electric Coin Co. Not only because they can help coordinate between the orgs, and can provide continuity while bootstrapping the new committee during the first year, and not only because they can provide effective oversight of the MGRC’s operations, but also because they are both fantastic candidates who have excellent track records of contributions to Zcash. (That’s Shawn “mineZcash” and David “alchemydc” Campbell.)

Now more generally, here are my thoughts about the qualities we should be looking for in every candidate:

  1. Integrity. This is obviously the most important. We can’t see into someone’s heart directly, but one thing we can look at is if someone has a long track record we can look at how they’ve behaved in the past.

  2. Constructiveness. This is the second-most-important quality. We need people who excel at understanding the perspectives of others, treating others with respect, and finding win-wins. People who bring out the best in others.

  3. Leadership. By this I mean a willingness to think big, to think outside the box, to make unpopular decisions, and to bring others along on the journey. I was inspired by this quote I read from Jeff Bezos the other day: “When we’re criticized for our choices, we listen and look at ourselves in the mirror. When we think our critics are right, we change. When we make mistakes, we apologize. But when you look in the mirror, assess the criticism, and still believe you’re doing the right thing, no force in the world should be able to move you.” Leadership is being able to simultaneously listen to others and to decide for yourself what you believe is right.

  4. Diversity. Not to satisfy any artificial notion of “quotas”, but because one of the most valuable assets that people bring to the table is their own unique experiences and perspective, and the ability to draw in their network and tie it into the Zcash ecosystem. If we add someone to the MGRC who has had completely different life experiences, and a vast social and professional network from a different country, a different industry, a different culture, different online subcultures, different language, etc., that adds more than adding another person who has a lot of overlap with the rest of the MGRC team.

Those are all my thoughts. I think we as the Zcash community are now in the enviable position of having to pick five people when there are way more than five top-quality candidates in the running, so I’m very optimistic about the future of the MGRC! :slight_smile:

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I’m interested in how the candidates interact with each other, we focus on the tech detail etc but the human element is important. Hoped to see more of that on todays call as there’s only so much you can infer from posts.

Five identical uber-nerds would not play well, neither would five dominant leaders. There needs to be a range of skills & experience, a mix of personalities. Magic happens when you get the right people teamed up.

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+100

Especially love the points you made on integrity + leadership.

On constructive-ness: anyone can throw a spanner in the works. It’s the people who can extract the spanner and get the machine humming that we as a community want to entrust with the MGRC responsibility.

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“Perfect is the enemy of good.” I agree that the admin matters can be left to a later decision point. One possible solution to the uncertainty is to start with a 3-month interim board, and adjust membership based on each individual’s contribution and desire to continue. There are pros and cons to this, but it is one option.

Great examples of funding profit-seeking enterprises. The World Bank/IFC and other public-benefit organizations fund and/or engage with for-profit enterprises (even banks) without compromising on their mission.

I started a new thread on this very topic: MGRC candidates teamwork questions

It’s hard to choose when you can only go off online info that the candidates have given themselves. Considering that there are some high profile people voting, we should try our best to avoid the Halo effect.

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I love this. I couldn’t join the call but this is what I would have expected to happen.

Folks… I just learned about:

https://rustconf.com/speakers/jane-lusby

The Rust community is the Zcash community, and vice versa. This is a good time to hear what they’re all about! Heh… or… is it:
“What we’re all about!”

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This community is in desperate lead of real leadership, courage, and concrete goals that I hope can be… encouraged by the MGRC’s existence. I’m tired of seeing decisions and ideas be presented that are awesome on paper but do nothing to actually move us forward. There is a (negative) compounding opportunity cost to fumbling the ball this much and the more it happens the worse the situation gets.

It’s not a popular opinion around here but ZEC is not competitive in regards to marketing, developer share, ease of use, and so forth. I certainly hope there are candidates that are aware of this and are open to dropping the pretense that everything is fine.

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Well articulated and very much in line what what I’m thinking. There’s no reason to use ZEC if an innovation is well-funded and at an inflated valuation. Not advocating for a full-blown VC-arm here.

However, if there are companies/networks/protocols that are relevant to Zcash and being overlooked/underfunded, and the committee feels it’s an idea with promise, then helping to fund it into life and receiving a small % of the company/network/protocol to further fund Zcash development seems like a prudent choice.

The other option is a grant, which will also work in some scenarios, but if there’s the option of having a holding of the “thing” that money is given to, and it’s operationally in-place to happen, then it would be a lost opportunity for Zcash to forego that capital imo.

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Here is a summary (with video) of the August 18 community call: https://www.zfnd.org/blog/mgrc-community-call-august-2020/

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Hot off the presses, the Zcash Foundation hangout Livestream regarding the structure of the MGRC:

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Hey! Check this out!

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Hi @MGRC-Candidates

This is going to be my last word on the subject (hopefully).

If being able to modify 1014 is in anyway a deal breaker for you serving on the MGRC then I would urge you to watch this podcast with Josh Cincinnati. He very eloquently sums up the foundations stance and his own personal stance. The foundations stance is the communities stance, this is what I keep referencing when I reference the community. (not this specific podcast I only listened to that today)

It is a great primer on the history of the foundation and general zcash lore.

I would then urge you to read all of the news letters released regarding this. Read them in the correct order to get a feel for how the discussion progressed. Start at “July 18, 2019”

If you still think your modification would be a good and welcome modification please submit a pr request before the vote. Being on the MGRC gives you no extra power over 1014, or any zips, than a normal community member. Submitting the PR now will give you an idea to if it is likely merged and put to the CAP. The standard procedure would be to post it to the forum first for community feedback. None of this stuff is ambiguous. I am willing to help you write the pull request.

This includes things like:

  • changing the terms, within the first year.
  • changing how the zfnd “funds” the MGRC
  • any modification of “all of the MG slice goes to MG’s”
  • wanting the MGRC to receive an MG to fund its operations.
  • any form of fiat, at all, with the MG slice.

It would be very bad for zcash if you were elected to the MGRC just to step down because the community will not pass you amendments to 1014.

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+1 @mistfpga

I truly apologize for having to cancel with such short notice. We are preparing for the storm this morning and helping relatives evacuate ahead of the hurricane. I’ve had poor connection or dropped all my calls this morning and I do not want to distract from others contribution. I will not be able to attend the call.

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Best wishes for the safety of you and yours! Hopefully you can get your answers in front of the voters somehow once you’re all safe.

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curious if any @MGRC-Candidates advocated for, or were excited about a technology that zcash should’ve deployed, but didn’t. also curious if candidates feel they are confident they’re capable of accurately estimating potential market value of different technologies that zcash might deploy.

i’ll start - was really excited about XCAT

zcash was on the forefront of interoperability research/development in 2017, but didn’t deploy XCAT.

i feel like we lost around $1 billion in market cap to other projects by not deploying XCAT.

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I think XCAT was a missed opportunity.

But @jasondavies was supposed to be working on it again? If not then I could see something like the MGRC putting out a bounty/request to complete it.

Also relevant: Cross-Chain Atomic Transactions / Project Alchemy / Stellar

But let’s start a separate thread if we want to deep-dive into XCAT ideas @kek

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@MGRC-Candidates :eyes:

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