ML for MGRC

25 August 2020 update

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(Here’s the full video with @mistfpga and @Vish, and with Fredrik Harrysson of Parity moderating: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CVDdKot54A)

Candidacy TL;DR

Hi! I am ML and I’m running for MGRC. I have a business core with a strong tech bent. I am bi-cultural (Asian and Western). I travel between Singapore, Hong Kong and San Francisco. I’m heavily involved in fintech, investing, and crypto.

Some notes on my background, which I hope will be complementary to the rest of the MGRC:

  • I worked in banking and investments across the Asia Pacific region. I specialized in the Financial Services industry, doing deals with banks, insurers and asset managers
  • I spent the last 5 years working with venture-backed startups in product and sales roles. Most recently I was an early employee at Anchorage, a crypto asset custodian in San Francisco, where I helped to craft our strategy pre- and post-launch. As Head of Business Development, I helped to bring assets under custody to our first billion
  • I have degrees in Economics and Finance from the University of Pennsylvania / The Wharton School. (Personally, I don’t believe in school logos; the smartest people I’ve worked with didn’t go to fancy schools. Some didn’t even go to school.)
  • I went through a 4-month full stack web dev coding bootcamp, because I wanted to graduate beyond “the business person that shows up with infeasible tech requests" :wink:
  • While I love crunching numbers and writing code, I have a strong bent for the creative arts; writing and theater are my choice of poison. While this seems completely irrelevant, I believe that what we are doing is fundamentally a creative endeavor - we are actively creating a world we want to see

As a result of my experiences, I have an extensive network, skills in managing intractable situations with multiple stakeholders, an ability to translate between business and tech, and experience with bridging cultures. I’d like to bring these to bear in helping to steer the MGRC.

For a separate note on what i’m up to now, refer to a subsequent post.

Where are We?

The success of Bitcoin took the world by surprise. To succeed, Bitcoin had to contain a message that resonated with its early adopters, affording it the resilience to survive several winters. In the meantime, it had to reach adoption rates that gave it credibility across widely spread groups of people, so that once the cat was out of the bag, there was no putting it back. Once both conditions were fulfilled, Bitcoin achieved escape velocity, growing into the dominant digital asset it is now.

Today, Zcash has a loyal base of believers in self-sovereignty and privacy. While the group is variegated, the momentum we have gathered behind technical excellence and principle-based privacy is undeniable.

A major impediment to reaching escape velocity is our current adoption rates. As many other potential candidates have pointed out, an obvious key priority is to support projects that allow usership to expand as widely as possible. Candidates DC and Eric advocate funding projects that make the front end more user friendly, which I agree with. However, in the face of a volatile relationship between the crypto community and the regulators, I believe that a more nuanced approach is also required.

Go Big and Go Small

We need to encourage adoption of shielded transactions by the actors responsible for the lion’s share of digital asset activity today: major investors (Fidelity for example), exchanges, OTC desks, and other large players. Today, shielded transactions are too hairy to warrant their support. The lawyers and auditors working for these companies are disincentivized from giving their blessing for transactions that render them blind.

I was Head of Business Development at Anchorage, where we worked with large investors to safely custody their digital assets in a highly technical solution. In this role, I also worked with layer one teams as we made decisions on which assets to support. I spent time with teams building solutions at the higher layers such as DeFi apps, OTC desks, miners, and other service providers. This gave me insight into the operational, regulatory, audit, and other concerns that the ecosystem faces when digital asset innovation grows quicker than the “real world” can accommodate.

How do we move past this roadblock, where our interests appear to be diametrically opposed from those of incumbent institutions? A two-pronged approach is likely to prove most effective: we go big, and we go small. In other words, we work with incumbents by funding projects that feed into the mainstream, and we work around them by funding projects that dance on the edges.

Winning by Statecraft

In choosing projects that dance on the edges, I don’t know exactly where the line should be drawn, yet. I do believe that the burden is on us, as a community, to expand our reach in a mature way that does not activate the “fight or flight” response from major stakeholders. We want to win; we don’t want to shoot an own goal. And to do so, we have to be transparent, deliberate, and patient. We have to practice a version of skilled statecraft.

In a previous life, I was an investor in the private markets in Asia, working on deals across the region. In that capacity, we managed a publicly listed board, negotiated complex termsheets, and placed senior executives. We also worked extensively with regulators, law firms, and lobbyists. The most valuable lesson I learned from that period is that outcomes are set before the parties are even seated at the negotiation table - and I believe that’s how Zcash and the projects we support will win in the wider world.

Priorities

My first priorities would be:

  1. Governance: Set up the bylaws of the MGRC. This will include provisions on financial reporting, community updates, election guidelines, voting rules, and a description of special committees (such as a compensation committee, which is a question raised by the community)
  2. Allocation of funds: The MGRC should develop a framework by which we will evaluate projects. What profile of returns are we solving for (how big, when)? How do we spread our bets across different sections of the value chain? How do we support a Go Big and Go Small strategy (see above)? How do we size each bet? How do we update our investment thesis as developments occur in other ecosystems, e.g. mixing applications for Bitcoin, and zero-knowledge systems on other chains? The community should be polled for input, so we don’t miss unique insights

Vision

My vision for Zcash is that we become the mainstream alternative to Bitcoin. I want options for the digital asset community - and one day, for the global community. In doing so, we serve the world by enabling self-sovereignty through privacy.

Whatever shape the MGRC takes, we must seize the opportunity to catalyze the next phase of Zcash’s development. We are at a critical inflection point. I hope there will come a time in the future, long after the MGRC ceases to exist, where we look back and see that this is when the Zcash community stepped into a golden era of growth and development.

Disclosure

  • ZEC comprises less than 10% of my crypto portfolio. A variety of other digital assets comprise the rest; no one asset constitutes more than 15% of the overall portfolio
  • My time at Anchorage led me to own a small amount of stock options in the company
  • As both the above stakes are negligible in the grand scheme of things, they are unlikely to lead to a conflict of interest
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Hello @ml_sudo welcome to the forums! :slightly_smiling_face:

I have added your thread to the top post in the MGRC Megathread, Good Luck!

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Thanks Shawn!

Supplementing my main post with what I’m up to now:

I’m working with real world applications of crypto that have each achieved significant traction. These are cryptocurrency-agnostic applications that provide an application-specific view into what works and what doesn’t work for the different protocols, if they want to make it into mainstream usage.

I do Asia market entry work for the largest crypto payment processor, based in the US. This involves working with clients who want to accept crypto from clients, without having to ensnare themselves in the myriad issues related to operational security, accounting/audit, and regulatory uncertainty.

I also work with a custody and trade settlement company based in the UK, mapping out the landscape of crypto investors in Asia. This involves understanding the nuanced mentality of investors spanning different investment styles in Asia, which results in differential popularity of certain digital assets vs other markets.

Finally, I advise a Philippines-based financial services conglomerate on their digital transformation process. Part of their transformation involves using crypto to expand their remittance businesses, and blockchain to upgrade their insurance claims process; I work with both teams to ensure that crypto and blockchain are pragmatic applications with veritable impact, rather than vanity applications.

I’ve always like to blend theory with practice. The experiences above help me balance out an intellectual belief in the promise of decentralized applications, with the reality of legacy (but valuable) business models. I believe this will help me better serve the MGRC goal of helping to find product-market fit for Zcash.

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Hi,

I will have quite a few questions for you, because you are so new to the community. I am another candidate, and I am also on the Community Governace Panel - so I have a vote in the election too.

I am not into doing zcash purity tests, but I do need to know more about who I am going to be voting for. I am not going to ask you to give up your anon status, but you dont have a forum history for me to look through.

I am very impressed with what you say you can bring to the table and relevant experience. Specifically in your latest post you mention connections with exchanges, financial advice services and even stuff in the UK.

Can you please go in to more detail on this? They are really strong selling points for me to vote for you, but I need you to alleviate my fears of a conflict of interest. Could you go into a bit more disclosure, of this? Im not asking you to dox yourself.

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Hey Mistfpga, thanks for your comment, it was well-warranted. I hope I do it justice with my response below.

With regards to the “the new to community question,” I’m only semi-anon. You can look me up if you google the info I provided. I’m on Twitter at 88crypt. I’ve also interacted with a number of folks at ECC and Zfnd, whom I imagine you have access to.

In terms of your request to elaborate on the work I’m doing and how it may result in conflict, here are a few thoughts.

My work (past and present) involves having conversations with ecosystem players who are currency-agnostic. I try to figure out what problems they have with respect to crypto, and where the pockets of demand are. Some examples:

  1. Does a merchant want to accept crypto from customers but are having a hard time getting past the compliance and operations teams? Here is a payments solution. Are there certain industries where the value proposition of crypto payments is strong, creating a path of least resistance and a clear go-to-market? Let’s target these industries first.

  2. Do exchanges face a ceiling on trading volumes because fund customers are averse to leaving more than a fraction of their assets on-exchange, leading to lost opportunities for both exchanges and funds? Do investment funds face difficulties in fundraising because they can’t convince investors that they won’t run away with the money? Let’s solve these problems with intermediated custody.
    (At a meta-level, these problems also limit the growth and development of crypto generally, since we need velocity and volume in order to effectively try new things - DeFI is a good example of this.)

  3. When an old-world enterprise attempts to work with crypto/blockchain projects, what are the problems they face? How do we make this work for both parties? A great example would be Bakkt/ICE and Fidelity trying to figure out custody.

I think the potential conflict lies on two levels:

A) On the first level, will I be biased against Zcash?

This is an easy “No,” because the businesses I work (and generally have a preference for) are currency-agnostic. They just want to work with whichever digital asset works best for them, whether from a liquidity, regulatory, or operations perspective.

From this angle, I will be able to help the MGRC investees figure out how best to achieve legitimacy and adoption.

B) On the second level, will I be conflicted with potential investees?

The value of the market knowledge I acquire from my work far exceeds the potential cost of conflict, for these reasons:

  • Payments and custody are only 2 of the many categories of innovation happening within crypto. There is a lot more innovation happening outside of these industries than within. Check out this market map shared by Chris Burniske on Twitter, where Payments and Trading/DEX account for about ~5-7% of the surface area: https://twitter.com/cburniske/status/919726894903447558

  • In addition, the companies I work with have raised tens of millions in funding, and have global offices. It’s unlikely that we will compete directly. If, however, a direct conflict emerges, like any good board member I should recuse myself as a matter of standard protocol (this rule should also be written into the MGRC bylaws)

  • I believe that for MGRC members that are highly involved in the community, an occasional conflict is unavoidable. This can definitely be said for MGRC members who are institutional investors or active angel investors. However, the insights gained from being actively involved in live projects are invaluable, and can rarely be achieved other than by working with these projects

Did I properly resolve your questions? Feel free to follow up with more :slight_smile:

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Thanks for answering with such a detailed post, I agree with your points. Sorry to make you spell it out, but I think it helps “us” (the CAP) get to know you a bit better.

I do have some follow up questions now though. - I will check out some of the stuff you have done on twitter too and ask questions here if that is okay. (twitter is read-only for me. and id like to try to keep the discussion in one place).

Does your involvement with any current project/company (an exchange for example off the top of my head) have any implications for a competing project/company that might want to apply for a MG? - This is the only outstanding concern that you have not already addressed and is probably the least concerning of them and pretty difficulty to answer, to be fair im just expecting a no to this, but I would like to make sure you have considered the question.

As a general point about your skills:

If you dont get a seat on the MGRC, would you consider still adding your skills to the community. Maybe via a formal relationship with the ECC (idk, @joshs has done a lot of work in this area.) or through a ZFND grant? You seem to have a lot of skills that could really help this project and crypto in general - we all think we know the issues with exchanges and i guess on a superficial level we do. You and Josh I think actually have relevant real world experience and that could make real changes.

oh you can call me steve if you want. im fine with either. :slight_smile:

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Hey Steve, thanks again.

It can help and it can hurt. In the last bit of my previous answer I brought up the point that it’s inevitable that there are overlaps in the things that we look at when we are active in the field.

That’s one reason why integrity matters a lot in making the choice of MGRC members - you can only plan for so much going in; the rest is up to the integrity of the individual. Kind of like with any exec role in the corporate world.

On a potential relationship with the ECC or ZFND, that’s a possibility. Though I would have a stronger preference for the MGRC position, as it would involve the kind of work that I enjoy most - allocating funds to the most promising business ideas (investing of sorts, albeit with intangible returns since we are granting, rather than investing).

PS - Josh S and I know each other (well, i hope he didn’t forget… haha)! Josh C as well, to some extent (we had some work conversations about a year+ ago).

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Suppose you are on the MGRC.

A fellow MGRC member has a prominent (public/obvious etc.) interest in a project, e.g. they are the head of a software consultancy applying for a grant, and they recuse themselves from the vote to comply with ZIP1014, how would you proceed?

Hi,

Few remarks :

  • Zcash is less than 10% of your investments : that number seems low and in the same time we have no way to confirm if this is true or not. What’s in it for you ?
  • You talk a lot about stuff, but you don’t really give example of concrete “applications” you work with. Why are you shy like that ?
  • You never mention Zcash a single time per https://twitter.com/search?q=zcash%20(from%3A88crypt)&src=typed_query
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Hey zancas, thanks for the question. I think your question is about process, so I’ll answer accordingly.

If they recuse themself from the vote,

  1. the remaining votes will be an even number. In case of a tie, there should be a chairman (of each meeting) that will be a double vote (a “tie breaker”). This is as usual in regular board governance. For transparency and good governance, the meeting minutes should also reflect that the board member had recused himself.

  2. there should also be a determination to be made if further information regarding the project should be divulged to the conflict MGRC member. This is the protect the interests of the projects that submit applications in good faith. However, in order for the MGRC to function well, this sort of decision should be the exception rather than the rule.

If your question is about something other than process, please do re-state your question and I’ll try my best.

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Hi Joris, thanks for your questions.

  • I believe in more than touting the value of each coin. I believe in building systems that respect privacy, security, and freedom. This is worth more to me than a large portfolio of zcash. Also, I think it was Ed Snow den that said at a Blockstack conference, “the first rule of (holding) crypto is to not talk about (holding) crypto.”
  • I’ve worked on custody and payments. What else are you looking for?
  • I don’t tweet specifically about Zcash. How many times do I tweet about security, privacy, and freedom (and crypto in general)?
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That answer is great! Thanks.

More questions:

  1. How do you feel about 1 year terms? Would a different length be better?
  2. My understanding of your perspective is that it has an (excitingly) different focus from some other Candidates. What do you make of this development:

? Does it suggest any MGRC-relevant proposals or commitments to you?

Hey zancas, thanks for the questions :slight_smile:

== MGRC member term length ==

Common practice in normal boards is to have three year terms, after which directors stand for re-election. In countries with good corporate governance, there is often a ceiling for independent directors to sit for only three terms, to avoid longstanding relationships getting in the way of independence (this is not the case in the US, though there are calls for change).

Three years is enough for major projects and strategies to pan out (or at least to start bearing fruit). In crypto, however, I’d argue the pace of change in the industry, and hence the relevance of directors, is faster. Three years feels too long from the perspective of evaluating whether things are working out.

At the same time, one year feels too short. That’s rarely enough time for a project to get off the ground. When you throw in the administrative costs of elections, the forced short-term lens of MGRC members, and the opportunity costs (as you mention in another post, individuals may be giving up opportunities to take up their MGRC positions), one year seems to guarantee sub-optimal outcomes.

I think ultimately the conflicting needs are:

  1. we want people to be incentivized for the long term (=> bias to long terms)
  2. we want people to be contributing constructively (=> bias to short terms)
  3. we want good people to stay, and less good people to pass on the mantle (=> not time dependent)

I think a solution that meets all these needs could be:
a) two-year terms; with
b) bi-annual evaluations where MGRC members rate each other on various factors, and if someone falls below a threshold, the ZF can choose to find a replacement. There is likely to be resistance to retiring someone early except in the case of egregious conduct, so perhaps these evaluations can be made privately (which does go against the ethos of transparency, but makes up for it in the social ease with which we can continually optimize the quality of the MGRC); and
3) no limit on number of terms. So that we keep the best people!

== Rust ==

Losing a key ingredient for some of our “critical bits” (DC) and some leading projects is bad news.

It does seem that the community is fighting (and winning) to keep it alive via a foundation in partnership with Mozilla. An obvious priority would be to see how we can contribute to these efforts, especially in close collaboration with the ECC and related Zcash apps that rely on Rust.

However, from a strategic perspective, it would be sensible to contribute to diversifying the community away from Rust, in case the foundation doesn’t pan out in the way we expect it to. We could support projects that support migration to languages that are expected to have greater longevity. As efforts to continue building Rust pan out (or fail), we can decide to reduce (or increase) funding for these efforts - in this way, we can manage our risks across a range of scenarios.

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I love this response! It has a pragmatism that I think speaks well for your decision making, and negotiating stances.

But I think I have misrepresented my understanding of the Rust ecosystem. I’m not worried about Rust’s longevity at all. In fact, I don’t think risk-aversion characterizes my thinking at all. I’m really excited about Rust’s future, and directions. I’m just hopeful that we’ll have some say in what that direction is.

I think it’s a community that shares the core values of the privacy community.

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Ah, got it. I’m guessing if we can present our case to the Rust foundation (not just in funding but also in strategic partnership value), they won’t say not to that. The onus is on us to make the sell.

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I’m putting down my answers to the Open Questions below.

If you prefer to see a video version, here’s the Q&A livestream from last week, edited to show only my answers: https://youtu.be/I1pMHofACG0.

  1. ZIP Ambiguity: ​The ​ZIP-1014 language​ has some ambiguities. Where would you stand on how to interpret and implement operational activities when there is no explicit language to guide you? How should the MGRC consider community will/preference?

At this point, the decisions that are yet to be made include: whether we will be “investing” (returns expected) vs “granting” (no returns expected); whether MGRC members will be full time or part time; and whether members will be compensated.

TL;DR answer: Apply lots of common sense, and put yourself in each stakeholder’s shoes.

(I think the word “uncertainties” is more accurate and less loaded than “ambiguities,” so I will use “uncertainties.”)

Elaborating further,

  • Applying “common sense” involves considering each major concern and ensuring that the solution solves, or hedges against, each one. In the push-pull of conflicting options, the underlying concerns usually provide valid and valuable signals. In weighing those signals, we should look to optimize rather than compromise. Zooko makes a point about leadership and withstanding criticism in a recent post
  • The four groups of stakeholders to take into consideration when we make decisions on these uncertainties are: (a) the organized groups ECC and ZF (we should be coordinated in action if not identical in mandate), (b) the Zcash community, (c ) the crypto community, and (d) the non-crypto community. Facebook failed to take into account (d) when they first launched Libra, a global kerfuffle ensued, and it led to a year-long restructuring of their efforts

For the record, I think it’s good that there are some uncertainties before the MGRC is fully formed. Otherwise, there would be little scope for independence of thought and action between the MGRC and the ECC/ZF - and I believe that independence is what we are looking for, to some extent.

  1. MGRC Role: ​Should MGRC be a “driving actor” or provide sourcing, oversight and review? Should MGRC be more of a bureaucracy (with hierarchy, continuity, defined rules, and expertise) or can it be an adhocracy (decentralized and flexible)?

Definitely a driving actor. We’re at war. There is no guarantee that we’ll be around in 3 years. We have to fight for our survival and our mission. The MGRC should measure itself against KPIs linked to productive outputs, e.g. traction of z transactions, market share within retail transactions.

However, i don’t think one needs to be full time in order to be a “driving actor.” With a team of motivated, competent and high-integrity folks, much can be achieved without having to perform a full-time role. I also believe that not being full-time leads to greater independence, where each member is making objective arguments that are divorced from concern about losing a major source of income.

I am leaning towards adhocratic in actions (I think made that word up, heh), but hierarchical in accountability. That means we should be nimble when we do things, but open about what we are doing (no cowboy flights of fancy).

  1. Teamwork: ​Have you had previous experiences of being put together rather arbitrarily in a team before? If so, how did you manage? How will you go about managing disagreements between 1) yourself and another MGRC member and 2) other MGRC members with each other?

Managing disagreements is one of my day jobs. I work with a brick-and-mortar financial services company going through digital transformation, and there are frequent serious disagreements between the business and IT teams. My job is to serve as referee and problem solver, and most of that depends on being able to bridge the divide between opposing agendas.

At the end of the day, I find that what resolves most disagreements are:

  1. Letting each party know their concerns are valid. Knowing that you respect where someone is coming from, even if you don’t agree with them, often elevates the conversation from “I am right, you are wrong,” to “how do we solve this.” People say respect is like air: you don’t notice it until it’s gone. Holmes Wilson, another MGRC candidate, makes a similar point in his Q&A

  2. Understanding the more core reason for them taking a particular stance, and making sure that the solution treats that, or at least doesn’t trigger it. For example, if an integration with a partner isn’t working out, the business guy may be worried about failing to deliver his revenue targets, while the IT guy may be worried about looking outdated. In delivering a solution and an explanation for why things failed the first time round, both fears need to be treated. Telling the IT guy that he’s 10 years outdated or the business guy that he picked the wrong partner may be factually accurate, but a recipe for fireworks

  1. Processes: ​If you were elected to the MGRC, what processes and frameworks would you attempt to set in place in order to allow frictionless collaboration between the members of the MGRC? Is it a conflict of interest for a member of another cryptocurrency project to be on the MGRC?

I’ll leave the specific question on processes for collaboration to general agreement and iteration.

I think the more important thing to get done in the first couple of weeks are three specific deliverables:

1. A set of principles for the MGRC

This will set out how we behave vis-a-vis all our stakeholders, and with each other. It should spell out how we manage conflict, what the expectations are for the committee and each individual, values we hold tight, and things we will not do. This will underpin the next two documents

2. A playbook for the MGRC

This is the canonical reference for the MGRC’s objectives, resources, success metrics, blueprint for development, and anything else that would serve as a guide for what we will do, when we will do it, and how we will operate. It should be a living document that grows with us. Here’s an example: https://thoughtbot.com/playbook

3. MGRC Constitution

Like the articles of association of a company, this document lays out, in a conservative fashion, how votes will be counted, how conflicts of interest should be handled, the things that the MGRC will and will not do, etc. This is a shorter, more rigid document that should only be updated with formal agreement from the ZF

I don’t think a member of another crypto project should be automatically conflicted out of our ecosystem. Firstly, if they can provide value by virtue of helping see beyond our shores, it would be strongly positive. Secondly, locking someone out because they have legitimate interests in other projects that further values we share, like freedom and privacy, would not be consistent with being mission-pure.

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Hello @ml_sudo For my vote, please answer my questions frankly:

  1. Are you pro BTC? If yes, Why? If not, Why?
  2. What is the largest account size you’ve handled in USD? How many end users did it impact?
  3. MGRC will control 8640 ZEC per month or 25920 per quarter, how will this be roughly spent? (provide napkin calculation).
  4. MGRC announcement attracts 100s of applicants from all over the world with all random ideas, all matching your goals, how would you evaluate them?
  5. KPIs aren’t entirely possible on a privacy preserving payments protocol project’s level, it’s all z2z, how will you evaluate funded team’s impact?
  6. DeFi fever made ETH run 2x compared to every cryptocurrency this year, thoughts?
  7. What locals, regions, languages, ethnicities, educational backgrounds of people have you worked with? What are your preferences of assembling teams that deliver?
  8. We live in a remote world now, how do you evaluate applicants for grants?
  9. Projects in Zcash are going to go through a huge change beyond the handful, driven teams funded via Zcash Foundation, thoughts?
  10. Zcash is a protocol at its core, ZEC price is volatile. How will you handle a single digit ZEC? ($9 x 8640/month = $77,760) How will you handle a 5 digit ZEC? ($21,000 x 8640/month = $181.44MM) Thoughts…

Hey @aiyadt, thanks for asking, they are good questions. Here are my answers.

** I am pro people having freedom and choice. If BTC facilitates that, and continues to do so, I am pro BTC. If, with all the extra scrutiny it gets and miner concentration issues, it stops facilitating freedom and choice (or even worse, turns into a subverted tool of the powers that be), then I won’t be*
** But, from a “let’s get the world to accept crypto” perspective, BTC is the most useful tool in the toolbox, so it definitely should be put into use while it remains effective *

(Also, I really like Hudson’s response to this question:)

I’m not entirely sure what the underlying question is, but here are some stabs at it. Let me know if i’m off the mark.

  • I managed a $700 million investment into a listed bank in Asia. In terms of end users I suppose you could count the tens of thousands of customers the bank had? *
  • On the other end of the spectrum, I directly managed a product campaign for a health tech startup worth $3 mn and serving 30,000 policyholders *

This could be sensible: 75% grants, 20% research (to optimize grant making), 5% admin.

  • In nonprofit allocation for example you don’t want overheads to be more than 20-30% of funds spent. At the same time you don’t want people to operate an overly shoestring budget because you’ll get shoes instead of results. *

This is my hierarchical framework. The top level is the big picture, the lower levels are higher and higher resolutions:

xx What do we want to achieve? aka what would success look like?

xxxx What are the value chains involved to reach success? Within each value chain, which stages suffer the narrowest bottlenecks? Let’s allocate time and funds to each stage according to this prioritization framework

e.g. people assume “privacy is guilt” --> people realize “privacy is freedom” --> people understand role of crypto --> people decide zcash is best tool
e.g. govts hate privacy coins --> ZEC’s “legit privacy coin” reputation grows --> govts understand not all privacy coins are created equal --> govts take ZEC off blacklist --> wallets and exchanges add/re-add ZEC

xxxxxx Within each stage, invest based on a 70/20/10% allocation rule of thumb, which is a guideline in innovation investing. You spend 70% of resources on high potential solutions, 20% on out of the box solutions, and 10% on wacky proposals that may just be wacky enough to cut through the Gordian knot.

Also, be ruthless about not reviewing everything if it does reach 100s of applications. We don’t want to subject ourselves to an inverse relationship between number of applications and quality of our review.

To the extent we are funding organized groups of people, there must be some way of getting metadata (at any number of levels of abstraction/anonymization). I don’t think agreeing on reportable KPIs will be challenging.

Some candidates have suggested alternative means of measuring traction like social media posts and wallet downloads. I think more importantly we should establish an informal network of people who can provide qualitative input, since tweeting about z transactions is philosophically inconsistent…

Here’s my view: DeFi is crazy (not my cup of tea), but DeFi can be constructive iteration. It may be a bubble, but it is unquestionably a bubble that reveals new possibilities. Full thread: https://twitter.com/88crypt/status/1293227816817844230

TL;DR, attributable to Steve Becker (MakerDAO) and Lex Sokolin/Future of Fintech on the latter’s podcast: Yes, you’re going to maybe put together a monstrosity… but ultimately you’re going to come up with a combination that resonates with the world. And it’s only through the capability to be iterative that you’re going to discover the real value in blockchain and DeFi (sic).

I’ve lived and worked in three countries and four cities. Done deals in ~10 countries, which involved working closely with the locals. Worked with people from all over the world.

Educational backgrounds: having worked in/with professional services + tech + nonprofits + corporates + theater, I’ve worked with a wide range of folks including people who have your “standard” Ivy league double degrees and people who dropped out of school (not the Peter Thiel fellowship type, the got kicked out type).

My equation for team picking is: competence + integrity - immaturity. The sky is the limit for people who hit the mark.

Same way everyone else is (virtual comms), plus clearer communication and expectations for transparency. E.g. in the past you could meet someone and say “i get an honest vibe from that person, and my channel checks via coffees with people worked out good.” Today you’d say “hey you seem cool, but because virtual makes things a bit less tangible, we need you to commit to these funding steps/reporting that appear like we don’t trust you. But actually we are just trying to be accountable to everyone we are accountable to.”

Some people are going to be offended. That would be signal in itself.

I’d consider that a sign of maturity of the ecosystem.

High price: steady the ship and stash some away for a rainy day. At this point we’ll see a non-linear increase in applications: we will need a new framework to handle the deluge of applications, and find a balance between capturing momentum and spiraling into chaos. There will also be economic gaming by people trying to maximize what they can skim off from the action; we’ll need to figure out how to maximize impact and minimize risks.

Low price: we continue as-is (investing), but limit our bets to the ones that can create a step change difference, rather than incremental differences.

We will probably also need to help projects out with treasury management so that they aren’t suddenly out of funds, or end up with a windfall that is de-motivating.

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