Major Grants Review Committee Candidates MEGATHREAD

Good questions, I will have to defer to @acityinohio on most of those.

As for the Community Governance Panel question, I would assume that if a person who is running for a seat on the MGC is also on the CGP then that person will have to abstain from voting for candidates.

4 Likes

Thanks for the h/t @Shawn.

@mistfpga using the advisory board election for the Foundation (in 2018) as a basis, background checks were not something that occurred nor were they necessary. While the initial group of MGRC members will be tasked with setting up their own processes and procedures, if malfeasance is discovered I suspect they’ll operate the way the Foundation’s board would operate; namely, that they’d kick that person off with a majority vote and vote for someone to replace their seat. (perhaps for the remainder of their term?)

I don’t think we should ask for people to abstain on their community governance votes — we didn’t for the dev fund ZIP process, nor did we do so for the advisory input into the 2018 board election. Given that it would just be one vote among dozens — and that we’d want their feedback for other participants, since there are 4 other seats to choose — I personally don’t think it’s problematic. We could ask them to abstain (and the Helios poll could demonstrate that they didn’t vote) but I think their valuable input into the selection of the other candidates isn’t worth the trade-off to remove one known vote in their favor.

4 Likes

I agree with this and it does seem logical, however it does seem gameable too. To prevent that I suggest that rules and procedures are put into place that outline what constitutes a conflict of interest, malfeasance, etc are defined as. And what process and procedure is needed to remove that person from the MGRC and how a replacement would be selected, or what action can/should be taken.

Pretty much like the grievance procedures you get when you start a new job. I know this is not a job and probably cannot be seen as such? (i really don’t know) but I really feel if possible this should be put in place before the votes so people know what they are getting into. Whilst i am very hopeful, i dont expect it to be all sunshine and lollipops so this would be handy to have.

1 Like

I wasnt involved in the 2018 election, but the dev fund process was run as 1 person 1 vote. So (sorry to keep using you as an example @kek) if kek voted for himself then it would be pointless with 1 person 1 vote - if he votes.

If he votes for someone else then the numbers dont add up properly for kek. he has had to put a vote in against himself. (effectively by voting for someone else he has removed weight from the votes for him)

You could do 1 person 5 votes, check box style. (which forces the candidate to vote for themselves) maybe that is how you did the initial input thingy. but it was my understanding that this vote is binding and not advisory. I know I have been out of the loop on this for a while and sorry if that had already been shown somewhere, but if I am going to be voting I need to get back up to speed pretty quick.

I agree! But it’s also up to the MGRC to define these procedures…and I’d hope that candidates make exactly these concerns central to their platform.

Yes that is how the vote will work; each community advisory panel member will get 5 votes and choose 5 candidates off a single checklist of candidates. Members can choose to vote for themselves, but then they’d have 4 other votes for other candidates.

2 Likes

Hello friends! Here are ECC’s current thoughts on the process of setting up the MGRC.

The TL;DR is that Major Grants represents such a large share of the dev fund that we think it is necessary to take more time to get the right candidates.

Due to the 2-of-2 governance structure (thanks to the trademark agreement), ECC needs to sign off on any new code that implements consensus rules that direct funds to the MGRC. We have a responsibility to protect that money that the Zcash community is donating to MGRC, and to ensure that it is used in a way that honors the community’s intent.

This is a big deal! It is worth 8% of all of the Zcash issuance for the next four years (more than the amount of Zcash that the community has allocated to ECC or the Zfnd). At the current price of approximately $50/ZEC, that would be $20M worth of coins over those four years. And, of course, if the price of ZEC goes up to $500, then it would be $200M, if the price of ZEC goes up to $5000, then it would be $2B, and so forth. So it is potentially a huge amount of money at stake.

Also, it is a huge strategic move for the Zcash community. Since MGRC will manage more coins than either ECC or Zfnd, and since it has been tasked by the community with bringing in new entities into the Zcash ecosystem, it could potentially have a greater impact on the trajectory of Zcash than even ECC will have over the next four years. If it is led well this could be a tremendous positive impact on our mission. If it is led poorly this could be a tremendous waste and missed opportunity. And there’s even a small risk that it could have a negative impact if things went really badly.

So, we at ECC have been thinking a lot about how we can support the construction of a super high-integrity, super effective organization. We’ve also been engaging — as we always do — with Zcash-loving companies, investors, and other Zcash supporters of all kinds and asking them how they want to see Zcash evolve over the next few years, both in general and with regard to MGRC.

Questions that good candidates are likely to have.

We, the Zcash community, want the best and brightest to serve on MGRC. It’s a huge responsibility and a huge opportunity to boost Zcash far beyond anything we’ve seen before.

In order to attract those kinds of people to take on this responsibility, we need to answer some questions that they will have:

  • What are the responsibilities and the time commitment of the role?

For the most highly-qualified, most sought-after people, their time is the one thing that they don’t have enough of, and we need to give them some details about the expectations and the process so that they can think about what kind of time commitment it would be to do a good job of it. People always say “Oh, it’s actually not that much of a time commitment…” but that always turns out to be untrue of something like this, especially during its first year when there will probably be a lot of extra work that needs to be done to get it up to cruising altitude.

  • What is the compensation going to be?

There are probably a lot of people who can’t commit to taking on the responsibility without knowing what the compensation will be. But who is going to decide that? And when? One person that I talked to suggested that a solution to this sort of puzzle is that everyone agrees to hire a service like “Diversa Partners” or “Hedrick & Struggle” and pay the committee members whatever amount Diversa Partners says a person in that sort of role should be paid. But who is going to do that and hire Diversa Partners? And when?

  • Who else will they be serving alongside?

One person I talked to — who is the CEO of one of the largest companies in the crypto industry, with probably tens of millions of active customers — said “To serve on something like this, only two things matter to me: the mission and who I would be working with.” But how can he know who else he would be working with?

I guess he could wait to see who else publicly throws their hat into the ring and seems likely to win the Community Advisory Panel’s approval. There’s kind of a bootstrapping issue there — maybe they’re waiting to see if he’s going to run! Or is there some other solution to this puzzle?

Maybe we just need a longer cycle time for potential candidates to think it through, talk to others in their circles, and commit to doing it, and then still have time for others to see what high-quality people are committing to it and so they decide they want to go out for it as well.

  • Five simultaneous one-year terms?

ZIP 1014 specifies that all five members are subject to re-election every year. This means that by the time they gel with each other and start getting real work done, they’ll have to start thinking about the possibility that they or their colleagues will be voluntarily or involuntarily leaving within a few months.

This is an especially acute problem in this case because of the mandate for the MGRC to support long-term engagement from serious third parties. They can’t effectively exercise curation and oversight of third parties if they’ve inherited the third party from their predecessors, or if they are not sure they’ll still be around to take responsibility for the fruits of their labors once it comes to fruition.

A better and more typical pattern for an organization like this would be that every year one or two out of the five seats comes up for renewal so that each seat has a three-year term and in any given year no more than two seats change.

We think some good, qualified people might hesitate to take this role under the current re-election schedule, since it could prevent them from succeeding at the MGRC’s mandate, and they definitely would only be willing to invest their precious time if they believed that they could achieve good results from the investment of their time.

Could the Community Advisory Panel consider amending ZIP 1014 to change the re-election schedule?

Okay those are some of the questions that we think good candidates will have. Let’s start coming up with some answers together. Please weigh in!

What sort of people should we try to attract to serve on MGRC?

We’ve been asking people who have experience at this sort of thing — serving on Boards of Directors of large organizations, allocating large amounts of capital, etc. — what sort of people would be best to have on the MGRC. They all have different answers, of course, but one common theme is diversity: they all say that you want people with different, complementary skillsets and backgrounds and networks. And of course they have to work well together.

So what sorts of backgrounds and skillsets do you think are most important to have on the MGRC?

Should we have people with experience from different industries — one from financial services/financial markets, one from consumer products, one from the non-profit/grant-making sector, one from regulatory/government, etc.? Should we have people on MGRC from both New York and Silicon Valley? From Asia? Europe? Africa? Latam? Should we have people whose expertise is in business operations, and one from law, and trading/markets, and venture capital, and product/technology? Should we have people from diverse cultures and backgrounds and seniorities and life experiences? Should we have people who are representatives of the ZEC coin holders? How about a pseudonymous community member whose only qualification is that they’ve been a voice for Zcash all along? All of these could be important, but we can’t get maximum diversity on all of these dimensions at once. What’s most important to us?

Above all, in our opinion, they need to be leaders — people of utmost integrity, who will do the right thing for the Zcash mission despite any attacks and challenges. People who are willing and able to make difficult choices under pressure, to skillfully execute toward a shared vision, to work well with others, and to communicate their choices and vision persuasively.

Next steps

Please respond here with your answers to these questions and your ideas about the process for setting up MGRC, and also feel free to reach out to me privately if you prefer. I’ve cleared away some of my other responsibilities for the time being to prioritise this because we think it is one of the most strategic developments for the whole Zcash movement.

Our overall feeling right now is that we mustn’t rush this. We can’t have a good election until we have a really solid slate of candidates lined up to choose among, and we don’t think we can get some of the best candidates to even start throwing their hats in the ring until we’ve made progress on these questions.

So, we propose that we add 90 days of additional time to the election schedule. Given the magnitude of the funds involved, and the potential impact that Major Grants will have on the project, we believe the quality of the Committee is more important than the speed with which it comes together.

Note that the hard deadline imposed by the Halvening in November doesn’t require that we have the MGRC constituted and up and running by then! That would be good, of course, but the only hard requirement is that we all agree what Zcash address the 8% of the donations go to, who controls the keys, and under what mandate the org is receiving that money.

I’d like to thank the Zcash Foundation for getting the ball rolling on this important and urgent work we’re doing together.

19 Likes

“What are the responsibilities and the time commitment of the role?”

responsibilities (from what i understand):

  1. analyzing proposals from outside entities.
  2. following through with grant winners to ensure project’s success.
  3. 1st committee would have extra task of organizing MGRC into a functional entity.

personally view MGRC as the venture capital arm of the zcash ecosystem

time commitment:

don’t think we’ll know this answer until MGRC’s deployed. perhaps a way to attempt to answer this one is to figure how much time ZF currently spends analyzing grants. when MGRC is deployed maybe prepare for double the amount of time. can only guess at the time commitment question.

“What is the compensation going to be?”

in other threads noticed sonya made $80K, and joshincincinnati makes $168K (both posted this info themselves). imo, $168K is too extravagant, but perhaps these could possibly be considered floor/ceiling. depending of proposal volume; there’s a chance MGRC only works maybe 5-10 hours a week, or less.

“Who else will they be serving alongside?”

won’t know until people announce, and reach out to the community. it’s a leap of faith, so your heart really needs to be in it.

“Five simultaneous one-year terms?”

personally, like 1 year terms. gives the community the ability to easily make changes when necessary.

“What sort of people should we try to attract to serve on MGRC?”

people on this committee really need to be capable of analyzing proposals. need to understand the difference between scams, pipe dreams, science projects, and splash plays that’ll bring immediate value to the ecosystem. honesty/transparency is also very important to me.

“So what sorts of backgrounds and skillsets do you think are most important to have on the MGRC?”

most important to me is years spent in the industry.

“process for setting up MGRC” -

what part of the process?

believe the election process will work fine, just need more candidates. kinda spooky i’m the only one running ; P

process for setting up MGRC as a legal entity?

interested in peoples’ opinion on this one.

processes when MGRC is functional?

was going to share my ideas on the livestream on july 5th, but unsure that’s still a go. would be a waste of time if i was the only candidate, and election cycle was pushed back.

at this point, it’s fairly obvious to me elections need to be postponed

…describes me quite well.

I’m as committed as ever & willing to help, but MGRC wouldn’t work out for me.

3 Likes

The Foundation set the timeline for the Major Grant Review Committee based on the assumption that the community wanted grants funded as soon as the dev fund activates. ZIP-1014 doesn’t specify a date when the MGRC need be set up, but it seemed a reasonable goal for the benefit of the community to set it up in time for funds to be distributed immediately after NU4 activates. There are folks out there — like Zcash Developer Alliance-member company Thesis, who already submitted a proposal months before the MGRC timeline was even set — that are excited and motivated to do work on Zcash, and we thought it best to prioritize getting the committee set up and funds disbursed.

Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good; or more eloquently stated by you @zooko:

We could spend years debating the risks and designing improvements, but our “Perfectionism and Worry (PAW)” emotions will never be assuaged no matter how much we do that. We learn more in one month of trying something imperfect and risky than we would learn in years of debate and design.

However, if the ECC desires that in order to achieve a more perfect committee we ought to delay the timeline — and will veto any NU4 upgrade to Zcash that doesn’t include that delay — the Foundation will comply and adjust the timeline.

On two of your questions:

  • What are the responsibilities and time commitments of the role?
  • What is the compensation going to be?

These are great questions Zooko, and ones that the Foundation would also love to see answered in candidates’ platforms, as we stated in the original blog post announcing the timeline. Some may not have seen that post, which the Foundation made a month ago, but I’ll copy some of our recommendations here:

…we recommend that the MGRC iron out their process for initial grant selection by late August, in order to accept and evaluate applications in September/October prior to NU4 activation in November. How will this process look, what requirements will be made of prospective grantees, and how will the MGRC be evaluating and reporting on grant progress? We think it would be valuable for the MGRC to establish answers to all these questions, ideally in an informational or supplementary ZIP before they begin evaluating applications.

There remains an open question as to whether MGRC members should be compensated. As per other elements of the MGRC’s operation, we believe the initial MGRC can and should self-determine fair, market-based compensation taken from their share of the dev fund. They should understand that they will need to be very transparent about their decision publicly, or they will likely face pressure from the Foundation, ECC, and the broader community. Whatever they compensate themselves will not be available to the third-party developers from their slice, so they should consider their views on compensation carefully — ideally during the candidacy period. We’d also suggest that any ECC or ZF representatives that happen to serve on the committee voluntarily refuse such compensation in the interest of fairness.

On this question:

  • Who else will they be serving alongside?

This is a democratically elected committee from the Community Advisory Panel, not an invite-only group chosen by a single body. Any candidate that chooses to put their hat in the ring should understand that given the restrictions imposed on them by ZIP-1014 they won’t be able to directly choose their other members. We don’t always get to choose our counterparties, and that’s a trade-off candidates should understand when running.

On your final question on one-year terms; if candidates work well together, their output will demonstrate it, and they should be re-elected. If they don’t, the Community Advisory Panel (or successor mechanism) would ostensibly replace them. Let’s not drown ourselves in Perfectionism and Worry; we shouldn’t try to create a perfect committee today. ZIP-1014 provides a checkpoint to evaluate and consider the MGRC’s performance on a yearly cadence, and it’s a wise decision by the community.

To be more explicit, this is a hard requirement of ZIP-1014 and the Foundation would not support modifying it, and we’d veto any attempt to change the 1-year term election requirement as part of our side of the 2-of-2 trademark agreement. The community decided on these terms after a long process and we intend to honor them.

Ultimately the ECC and ZF want the same thing — an independent, robust MGRC as crafted in ZIP-1014. @zooko’s view here:

(ICYMI, the ECC’s position is that the MG governance being independent is important for decentralization of power and for the stated purpose of drawing in new third-party developers to support Zcash, but that we’ll use our trademark rights and our zcashd source code to support a ZF-controlled third party if that is the community’s decision.)

Matches the Foundation’s perspective here:

How the MGRC will work…
…is up to the MGRC! It will be an independent body, able to set its own terms, except for the limitations and reporting requirements that were explicitly stated in ZIP-1014. We do have a few recommendations and open questions for the MGRC and the Zcash community to consider prior to their selection.

We look forward to running this election and will update the timeline post with the new timeline requested by the ECC.

8 Likes

@zooko asked Could the Community Advisory Panel consider amending ZIP 1014 to change the re-election schedule?

Perhaps ZCAP reps could vote the weakest link(s) off the MGRC in the same election time frame. It would encourage similar ethics to the “shorter time = work harder to accomplish more” standard, the logic being “your time is limited if the quality of your work is limited”.

We could go one step further and make a reality TV show out of this, putting the MGRC reps on camera to encourage the highest level of transparency, as well as give these “high profile CEO’s” some limited press time in the cryptocurrency demographic. I have enjoyed most of the media from the Zcash Foundation and it would seem appropriate to host a live event when MGRC reps are elected or in this example potentially fired by the community in a reality show style gimmick.

1 Like

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

1 Like

“If you are pseudonymous and want to serve on the MGRC, you may be a candidate, but you will have to reveal your identity to the Foundation and to fellow MGRC members .”

3 Likes

True. Although it indicates the general interest of applying for the MGRC. I think if there were an organic interest, we would have seen more applications show up from other community members.

Also true, I do not have any evidence. It is just speculation. However, I would like to cite James Prestwich’s thoughts on a dev fund [quote=“boxalex, post:1, topic:34714”]

I first heard plans for a new development fund last October. I heard about it again at Stanford Blockchain Conference in February of this year. Most recently, at Zcon1, an ECC executive asked me to write down my thoughts on a Dev Fund, and post them publicly. I have a tremendous amount of respect for this commitment to and solicitation of public discourse, but it makes me wonder how many public opinions were organic vs prompted…

[/quote]

There is a history of ECC employees trying to influence processes that they have claimed should be mostly out of their reach before. I am sorry if I accused @zooko as I had no basis to do so. However, I still believe that there is the risk that ECC employees encourage potential candidates to apply, and concerning the meager number of applicants, they will probably have a massive influence on the outcome of the election.

I personally just find it sad that there is not more interest in a board that seems to be essential, and the Zcash community is basically diminishing.

3 Likes

i’ll only consider voting for people that have at least 3 current forum posts/comments.

really is a huge decision to run for the committee. there’s a lot of unknowns. MGRC could be a full time job, or only a few hours a week (as-of-now committee members would be volunteers). people that don’t trade for a living would possibly need to take time off from their current job/project/business in a bad economy, and they’re only guaranteed a year of work. huge risk.

6 Likes

I might just toss my hat in the ring after all, will think on it for a while.

7 Likes

I’ve announced my candidacy. I’m excited to be participating in the process!

12 Likes

@Souptacular I have added a link your thread in the top post, Good Luck!

2 Likes

I also would like to announce my candidacy. I have been a long time zcash lover and am more than happy to take my participation to a more formal level.

Post Link

9 Likes

Here’s an idea.

Why not also flip the candidacy selection the other way around?

Instead of having to choose from candidates that are strictly members of this community and forum, why not throw around some ideas for whom you would like to see in the MGRC?

If several folks agree on some names, perhaps we should invite them to post their candidacy.

Just a different way to think about the issue.

9 Likes

2 members that are in ethereum positions apply for the Zcash MGRC seats?

Me personally has some problems with people from other crypto currency projects applying for this position and seats, but that’s just me.

6 Likes