Major Grants Review Committee Candidates MEGATHREAD

Bribes are illegal, while we are on this topic I see 2 problems.

  1. Bribes can be made anon
  2. Z addresses can make that easier to achieve

This type of activity will defame this entire organization and goes against “The Mission” we set out to do here when we adopted Zcash ethics into our lives. Taking bribes could be detrimental to the image of this cryptocurrency.

For instance if Trump started using Z addresses for his campaign manager Jared Kushner, who is his Son-in-Law and attends Bilderberg meetings in Switzerland how do you think the uninformed public would respond to that?

All this considered, I agree that we should approach this in a way that doesn’t encourage bribery, but just simply paying them wont accomplish anything and the bribe is still a bonus on top of every paycheck.

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imo (not an expert), would be easier to bribe volunteers than paid employees. honestly doubt bribery will be an issue. just something that could possibly happen.

what’s your opinion on the compensation issue?

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I havent gone much past where I left this thought on this comment. Waiting for more community input so everyone gets a chance to contribute in this early stage of this committee being formed.

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interesting …you think ZCAP should “sign the paychecks” since MGRC is basically ZCAP’s chosen representatives?

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Something like that - ZCAP controling amounts (could be zero) & ZFnd moves funds would be better.

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The main issue I see with ZCAP controlling funds or other such decisions is that the ZCAP is an arbitrary group of people decided by the Zcash foundation based on how loud they are on social media (zcash forum, twitter, etc) or based on prior connections to the Zcash foundation. In other words, there isn’t a formal way to become a ZCAP member. There’s a lot of room for bias due to the composition of the ZCAP.

Further, another issue I see is a lot of the suggestions are committees deciding upon other committees upon other committees. This is just going to lead to unnecessary bureaucracy and include subtle ways in which members can be influenced. A way around this would be to use more “DAO”-like tools in conjunction with some needed bureaucracy.

Disclaimer: I am a ZCAP member.

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The importance of ZCAP is becoming increasingly clear, and I think it’s great that such a body exists. For the time being, it seems to be the most broadly accepted (and thus legitimate) venue to settle defining issues in Zcash governance. This is valuable and should be built upon. Perhaps the desired relative autonomy of the MGRC can be balanced with a low-overhead role for ZCAP? This can be combined with clarifying and broadening ZCAP membership which is something the ZF has committed to push for anyway.

For some, having all these different bodies may seem like bureaucratic excess. But a more positive framing would view it as a good system of checks and balances in the making. Representative groups with the necessary expertise should be empowered to handle the day-to-day work required to deliver on a shared vision, while the broader community - to the degree it’s possible given existing arrangements and technology - can provide decisive input on the most fundamental questions. As long as there is no practical alternative (coin-weighted, decentralized identity-based, or otherwise), ZCAP Helios votes combined with forum polls and coin holder signalling is what can serve as the latter.

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I have shared my input on these questions and added them to my application thread.

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I agree, the community advisory panel could certainly add more participants. And perhaps ask all currently on the panel to affirm their interest in continuing participation.

There are several Zcash supporters that are newer to the ecosystem (since the creation of ZCAP that is) that would be good to have aboard: @dontpanicburns @decentralistdan @tm3k @holmesworcester @_eric to name a few.

CC @acityinohio
(I’m not 100% on usernames here vs names on ZCAP, so sorry if I @ you by mistake)

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Personally I would be very open to expanding the membership — indeed I was hoping we could at least use the combination of the forum users + ZCAP that we had for the final dev fund Helios poll as a basis for MGRC selection. However in the final stages of negotiating ZIP-1014 the ECC requested the Foundation use a specific GitHub hash to represent the Community Advisory Panel: https://github.com/ZcashFoundation/zfnd/blob/bdd3ec9434e90f436acc9655ece70f634cb47681/governance/community-advisory-panel.md

I suppose the specific wording of ZIP-1014 says “or successor process” which suggests we could craft that now, but my understanding based on the Future Community Governance section of 2021 was that such an evolution would be targeted “by end of 2021” which implies a longer timeline. And while it may not be as expansive, the current panel did yield results that were substantially similar to the forum polls for the first round of dev fund polling, which suggests it’s a group that represents community will reasonably well.

Anyway, all of that to say: if we want to expand again for this run, I think that’s a great idea, particularly if it’s in a way that’s easily verifiable/less dependent on Foundation arbitration (e.g. “forum accounts 3 months or older, active Zcash community Discord users, etc”). But I wouldn’t want to do anything more radical than that (since the current iteration of the ZCAP seems to be performing well!) and I’d want to make sure the ECC would be fine with the expansion (since they requested that specific hash in ZIP-1014 originally). And if there isn’t the community/ECC buy-in to do so, I’m comforted that the current panel has performed well in the past IMHO.

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I believe folks are over-analyzing the role of the MGRC.

Their job would be to:

  1. Read each proposal.
  2. Assess whether the proposal is positive for the Zcash ecosystem.
  3. Perform due diligence on the proposer’s ability to deliver.
  4. Assess whether the amount being asked is fair for the work to be performed.
  5. Attend a few virtual meetings to discuss the above and vote.
  6. Announce the approvals/disapprovals of each proposal.

I really don’t understand any discussions about forming some kind of entity, having secretaries, paid positions for full-time employees etc.

The funds are being disbursed by the Foundation, so, essentially, the only thing the MGRC needs to do is tell the Foundation where to send those funds.

Please don’t try to make it sound that the MGRC is something else or, even worse, force it to become something else in hopes of financial gain, power grab or other agendas.

The MGRC should be dead simple. Some folks are elected by the ZCAP each year for a 1-year term. They spend some time doing the 6 things I mentioned above (that being part-time or full-time is something we will find out as a community and adjust accordingly). At the end of their 1-year term, the ZCAP elects a new MGRC. Rinse and repeat.

I understand that the money to be disbursed is a lot (and potentially A LOT MORE) but this doesn’t change the simplicity of the MGRC or its goal.

Please keep it real and don’t ruin this wonderful idea and opportunity of having a MGRC.

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In this model, the MGRC would not be able to develop and execute a strategic vision. It would have no real power relative to the ECC and the Zcash Foundation, and would depend on the ECC and Zcash Foundation to maintain a multiyear strategy over 4 years with 4 different sets of rotating committee members.

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From any point of view, the committee cannot be independent, if only because it does not have the right to a trademark, and as you imagine its independent work, the company and the fund work in one direction and the committee gives out grants that theoretically can be generally incompatible with the network, or should the fund and company keep the committee members up to date? Therefore, I believe that the function of the committee may be at the voting level, and the rest of the work is carried out by the fund and the company by virtue of their competence.

We need complete coordination of actions, and we don’t need to reduce it all to decentralization, the committee does not implement it in any case (trademark)

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We seem to be overlooking some key aspects of ZIP-1014 that define how the MGRC will operate. I’ll paste some here relevant to the discussion:

Major Grants awards are subject to approval by a five-seat Major Grant Review Committee. The Major Grant Review Committee SHALL be selected by the ZF’s Community Panel 10

The ZCAP is supposed to elect the MGRC members

Major Grant Review Committee members SHALL have a one-year term and MAY sit for reelection.

Every year.

The Major Grant Review Committee’s funding decisions will be final, requiring no approval from the ZF Board, but are subject to veto if the Foundation judges them to violate U.S. law or the ZF’s reporting requirements and other (current or future) obligations under U.S. IRS 501©(3).

I believe this section indicates that the MGRC is subject to the same 501©(3) restrictions/obligations as the Zcash Foundation.

ZF SHALL strive to define target metrics and key performance indicators, and the Major Grant Review Committee SHOULD utilize these in its funding decisions.

The Zcash Foundation will need to define “key performance indicators” that the MGRC should use.

For grant recipients, these conditions SHOULD be included in their contract with ZF, such that substantial violation, not promptly remedied, will cause forfeiture of their grant funds and their return to ZF.

Once the MGRC chooses who to award Grants to, the Grant Recipients must sign thier contract with the Zcash Foundation, not the MGRC.

So, with some pretty specific terms regarding MGRC in ZIP-1014 already ratified by the community voting process, the question becomes is there room to change them? If so, then who gets to decide which parts of ZIP-1014 the MGRC follows and which parts they get to ignore? Will we have to go through another community polling process with several different versions of ZIP-1014?

In my opinion ZIP-1014 is well defined and thoughtfully laid out and we should strive to make the MGRC as effective as possible within those constraints.

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There are some items that need to be figured out by the first MGRC in addition to the 6 above, but that list is what I would expect.

Namely, to ensure grantees comply with the “Ongoing public reporting requirements”

ECC, ZF, and Major Grant recipients (during and leading to their award period) SHALL all accept the obligations in this section.
Ongoing public reporting requirements:

  • Quarterly reports, detailing future plans, execution on previous plans, and finances (balances, and spending broken down by major categories).
  • Monthly developer calls, or a brief report, on recent and forthcoming tasks. (Developer calls may be shared.)
  • Annual detailed review of the organization performance and future plans.
  • Annual financial report (IRS Form 990, or substantially similar information).

I have participated in the ZCAP since its inception, however it is not what I would imagine should be used as the voice of the community. ZIP1014 has detailed that it should be replaced.

It is highly desirable to develop robust means of decentralized community voting and governance –either by expanding the Community Panel or a successor mechanism– and to integrate them into this process by the end of 2021. ECC and ZF SHOULD place high priority on such development and its deployment, in their activities and grant selection.

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I second this. Current ZCAP members should be asked if they are still interested in participating. I think this should be done prior to the MGRC application deadline. I also think more people should be allowed to join(but when, before or after the election?), and if that is decided, I would like to join ZCAP. Thanks for considering me as a potential member @Shawn

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This is a well thought out post. The 6 responsibilities you listed for the MGRC align with what I think a lot of people expect the job to sum up to.

Heres my 2 sats.

The job is simple, you’re right. Decide how to spend the funds.
In order to come up with an answer, many hours will need to be spent by each member on each proposal doing due diligence. This requires the members of the MGRC to have enough time to do the research and why I theorize why it will end up being a full time position.

Imagine getting 5 grant proposals per week, which I think is a fair number once things speed up a bit.
This is all speculation from here.

  1. Reading the proposal - 10-20 minutes
  2. Assess whether the proposal is positive for the Zcash ecosystem. - 10-20 minutes
  3. Perform due diligence on the proposer’s ability to deliver. - 1-3 hours, (looking at github/linkedin/previous websites/projects/work experience/ checking references thoroughly) I think its important for someone who is an advanced programmer to be on the MGRC to help with this.
  4. Assess whether the amount being asked is fair for the work to be performed. 30-60 minutes
  5. Attend a few virtual meetings to discuss the above and vote. 1-3 hours
  6. Announce the approval/disapproval of each proposal. 10 minutes

Emphasizing that this is all speculation, that brings us to an estimated time devotion of 2 to 7.8 hours per member per grant application. Multiplied by the number of applications per week and that becomes 10 to 39 hours per week per member.

The job being part time or full time is entirely dependent on how many grants are applied for.
What happens if there are too many part time members on the MGRC and it gets swamped with grant applications?

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I think that would be a fantastic problem to have :slightly_smiling_face:. For now we can look at the past calls for Grant applications (2017/2018) and the current status of the Zcash Foundation Grant platform website to give us some guesstamations.

2017 had 26 proposals of which 10 were accepted.

2018 had 41 intial proposals submitted (21 asked for a full proposal) and 13 were accepted. This was a multi-month process and the average rate of accepted vs submitted was less than 50%.

The current Zcash Foundation Grant Platform: https://grants.zfnd.org is probably a better measure of what MGRC would see because it’s “always open” for people for people to submit, unlike the older process where it had a hard deadline. A rough estimate looking at the site seems to be around 4-6 per month?

But as you said, it’s anyone’s guess how many the MGRC will see. I would say it’s likely that initially (as the word gets out) there will be a rush/spike of proposals which will taper off over time.

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Further to your point I think that breakdown of work is a pretty naive and incomplete take on the work of an accountable and robust review committee.

As I’ve experienced serving on a few from academia to industry to civil society; many great ideas will arrive in mediocre applications with fuzzy goals, stretched timelines and inadequate checkpoints.

Ideally it would be the role of the committee to shepherd through such applications which, depending on the scope of the work this can take weeks to months of dedicated meetings with applicants, followed by reviewing check-ins and deliverables as they occur once the project is underway. The work doesn’t stop once the grant is approved, arguably that is when the real work of the committee begins.

For example, we must also consider the work required when things don’t go to plan. Schedules fall behind, accidents happen, budgets are overrun, and worldwide pandemics undo weeks of work. Different grant applicants run into duplication of effort or conflicts of interest. Committee members need to be available to respond to requests for changes in scope, budget reallocations, project cancellations and a potential stream of requests for input and oversight.

All that work is multiplied by each project. That oversight takes time and work to do properly. It may be the case that the community prefers to leave such effort to the wider community but that, in my view, would be a mistake and one of the firm reasons I think the committee needs full time effort in some form.

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Might actually vote for @sarahjamielewis - well put, its when things go wrong that the hard work starts.

I’d expect applications to find an MGRC champion, ie: a project that really meshes with what that person wants to happen. They’ll spend a lot of time helping that project succeed, perhaps even be formally responsible for it.

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