Nighthawk Apps Q1 2023 Report

Hello Zcashers :wave:

We are thrilled to announce the release of the first-ever quarterly report by Nighthawk Apps, a Zcash focussed company dedicated to delivering high-quality, easy-to-use, privacy-preserving applications, as well as highly-available infrastructure for the Zcash network. Our primary goals have always revolved around providing users with cutting-edge solutions that prioritize their privacy and security. Over the years, Nighthawk Apps has accomplished remarkable milestones, ranging from shipping the first Shielded-by-Default wallet to maintaining a Zcash-focused block explorer and reliable light wallet service since 2020.

We take great pride in our collaborative approach, actively seeking feedback from a diverse range of privacy-focused user groups to shape the end-user experience of our products. With the release of our inaugural quarterly report, we aim to transparently showcase our progress, achievements, and ongoing commitment to revolutionizing the world of ZEC-centric applications.

We deeply appreciate the contributions, feedback, and encouragement we have received from individuals, organizations, and privacy advocates who recognize the significance of our work. Your support has been instrumental in driving us forward and enabling us to deliver innovative solutions that empower users to protect their privacy in the digital realm. Together, we are shaping a future where Zcash is not only accessible for all but also indispensable.

Nighthawk Apps Q1 2023 Report.pdf (160.8 KB)


God’s work. Keep it coming.


Hi @NighthawkApps team,

Thank you for the quarterly report satisfying your accountability obligations under ZIP-1014, and for the transparency around your hardware expenditures. We appreciate you taking the time to provide such a clear and concise report.

Based on pages 7 and 8 (screenshot below), it looks as if you are reallocating $93K (25%) of the $375K we approved for 2023 wallet development to retroactive funding. We believe those funds should be used for future, not retroactive, development initiatives. As noted on page 7, we only approved $28K for retroactive funding. Can you please provide some additional clarity on this change?

ZCG thanks you for your transparency and we’re excited to see NightHawk Apps deliver on its 2023 roadmap!

Best Regards,
Zcash Community Grants Committee


My reading of it (please correct me if I’m wrong, @NighthawkApps) is that these funds were used to pay salaries already owed to employees, and that they’re committing to all the same deliverables with the remaining funds (by taking pay cuts). If that’s what’s happening, it sounds totally reasonable to me, because employees would be wronged otherwise; what would make it unreasonable would be if the promised deliverables were also cut back.


The restructuring of funding was a necessary step to maintain the motivation of our close-knit team, ensuring that we can deliver on all goals within our scope. Regardless of internal disbursements of funds, we continue on track to deliver on the roadmap, fully. And in this report, we are working to be as reflective and transparent as possible regarding how we consider the already approved team disbursements. In order to retain the talent that is necessary to deliver the scope under the grant, we have had to compensate those team members in ways that respect their prior work with the team. As such, this is more of an internal HR consideration necessary for the ongoing work from our team, rather than a reallocation which otherwise leaves committed milestones underfunded. The same milestones will be delivered under the grant.

Our product suite encompasses multiple platforms, requiring a broad domain experience in deploying public-facing applications. We recognize the importance of retaining talented individuals and valuing their contributions. To demonstrate the dedication of our contributors, we have previously shared proof of work and code commits from the critical NU5 upgrade process, along with our grant application.


This is a misallocation of the approved funding. Full stop.

Nighthawk app alone defined the deliverables in thier grant. The initial grant was rejected because the cost and allocations were not acceptable. The team had the option to adjust the scope of deliverables, composition of the team, or time frame for the grant and resubmit. My assumption was that this activity happened and the lower price reflected this. If the team could be operated at a lower cost with the same scope, the grant MUST reflect this.

Explicitly from the approved grant you typed and submitted, ** Compensation for developing improvements and feature additions in Zcash Block Explorer and running lightwalletd infrastructure is not approved due to budgetary constraints of the ZCG.**

Nighthawk’s core product, a wallet app, is not an ecosystem necessity in the way ecc and or zf are. It is an application without a path to self sustainability. Direct funding from the block reward of an application that is used by only some users is not the intent of the treasury. The ZCG is funding many wallet teams who also need to consider their long term road map and how to fund operations in the bear market. The recent ECC layoffs reflect their internal understanding of this and the future of zcash development is smaller more decentralized teams.

If you or any other grant recipents are using grant funds in a way not explicitly approved by the ZCG, you are jepordizaing future funding.


I fear that this is setting a dangerous precedent that ZCG is interested in managing the way a private business makes use of its funds. My understanding has been that ZCG approves a price for meeting certain deliverables, and that it is the responsibility of the individual or business to best direct those funds towards meeting the deliverables without going over budget.

I understand the argument that Nighhawk’s grant application could have stated this use up front, given that there was already a defined category for retroactive pay, but I feel that this statement muddies the waters for other grant recipients. For example, is a consultancy allowed to use part of the funds to re-invest in other areas of their business, or is an individual allowed to buy stock with some of their funds, given that they are meeting the deliverables at the agreed-upon price?

Could grant recipients please have more clarity on what kinds of fund use need to be explicitly approved? Thank you!


I’d like to add my thoughts before my urge slips away. I strongly support the views expressed by ZCG members in this thread, and at the same time, I can empathize with:

Although this is merely a conjecture, it’s undeniable that grant recipients may become inclined to refrain from reporting their finances and provide more transparency to the community (which is not mandatory?).


Yes, good stewardship of the funds by ZCG is incredibly important. I think a clear set of rules that get applied consistently to all grant recipients would assuage any fears, and would let any prospective grant applicants explicitly point out any rules that make them more hesitant to apply or become less transparent.


I actually really appreciate nighthawks transparency around this.

These funds are not private and their use is required to be publicly auditable by the community (who is paying the bill). The grant team managers distrubute the funds to their teams and define scope and goal, sure. I appreciate that they have their hand on the tiller, steady eye on the horizon. They are building applications that the community will use for years to come.

This funding experiment is more valuable than any one project to me.

I care deeply about these development teams. I want to know that they are not making personal sacrifices to meet goals. I want to know they feel they are engaged in meaningful fulfilling work.I want the developers who are part these teams to feel they are earning market wages and the community is thankful for their contributions. I want everyone on any of the funded teams to be growing in their careers and not simple be banging out milestones that satisfy some task. The developers on the teams this year will be the project managers submitting grants to launch great ideas next year. They need to know this is possible. Not only just possible, it needs to be sustainable.

Technical delivery can be put at risk if a team is unengaged, working sidejobs to cover bills, worried about financial insecurity. If a grant came in with team members working 100 hour weeks or $10/hr devs (not saying that is the case here) that would be as much a concern as if the team didn’t have the right hard skills.

Open source software development is often a thankless labor of love. Zcash is changing that. For the first time i can remember developers are being funded to do work they love on a project they beleive in without having to dance for VCs or mega corps. Its amazing l. If a team is struggling to make it can be an open discussion zcg on how we restructure the deliverables, not a shell game to make it to the next milestone payment.

I respect Adi and the nighthawk teams work, products and vision so this has been difficult. This is not a personal commentary on anything they are delivering or their team specifically. If another project anounced they changed how they allocate funding I would expect the community to show up in force demanding answers.


In my opinion, the issue comes from the agreement between the investors (represented by the ZCG) and the grantee. If it contains a specific use for the funds, the grantee must respect the agreement. I’m not a lawyer but I believe that’s how contacts work.

It can be renegotiated but having one party change the terms unilaterally doesn’t seem right.


+1 to @earthrise’s post.

The “Grant” model requires those who request grants invest a lot of resources totally “at their own risk”. If the grant is not a contestant anwering an pre-baked “RFP” (for example, the Uni-FFI RFP that many community members carefully wrote up) then it has double the cost. First, the grant applicant needs to research the work it want to request the grant for, draft a well thought proposal, do a pre-scout of the human resources (that are scarse and in high-demand), then defend the proposal and prevail as grantee. It’s obvious that all that work is included in the grant final price.

If stating retroactive costs would cost applicants their applications, two paths yield ahead for applicants: One being ceasing to apply and move to another project, swizzle costs by inflating other items and hide them from public.

I don’t think that transparency should be punished. It sets a dangerous precedent.

Thinking out loud, what ZCG could do is to require a report of pre-existing expenses for grant preparations that could be part of the application itself.

I honestly don’t think it will help much. Applicant could just invent those stategically as well.


As a grant recipient, I have to respectfully but wholeheartedly disagree with @pacu.

  1. It is not double the cost. You indeed need to do some evaluation at your discretion but this is not the same as building the entire thing. Also, IMO the price of the grant should not include the infrastructure that was put in place. The latter is an investment in yourself and your ability to win future project bids.
  2. The ZCG asked for the transparency report. NH didn’t provide one of their own will. If this happened to the ECC or the ZF, I feel that the reaction would be very different.

I don’t think we disagree I’m referring to other matters I might have not explained myself properly. I will elaborate better later

thanks for your respectful insight Hahn!
As promised, let me explain myself better. I don’t think we disagree! I believe we are referring to different things.

To fulfill a grant application with the high standards of ZCG and be able to also take it to conclusion when granted, requires a lot of preparation and resources that are assumed as part of the “grant game rules”. That doesn’t mean that the effort and resources pre-allocated don’t exist.

That’s specifically what I’m referring to with “double the cost”.

I don’t believe that including such costs in grant applications is bad per se. It’s an intrinsic part of “the grants model”, applicants carry with a risk cost of the application itself that it’s “mitigated” by getting the grant. Otherwise Grants would be forever deficitary and therefore unappealing.

ps: In fact might have the impression that retroactive allocation of labor costs has been done before. (But I might be wrong).

  1. The ZCG asked for the transparency report. NH didn’t provide one of their own will. If this happened to the ECC or the ZF, I feel that the reaction would be very different.

I don’t quite get this. but I don’t think is relevant to the discussion either since it seems contrafactual.

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Hi all. I spoke with Adi on the phone last week, because I wanted to express a couple of things in person and get on the same page before posting here.

First and fundamentally, ZCG has confidence in the Nighthawk team to deliver on the milestones they agreed to deliver, and that they are acting in good faith and in support of the overarching values we share for the Zcash ecosystem.

ZCG does not intend to take on the job of deciding how Major Grant recipients manage their teams and funds. Once a grant is awarded, we have thereby already decided to extend trust in the team or individual to complete the milestones in the way they best see fit–they are not obligated to follow the predicted budget if it does not turn out to be the best path forward. Their obligation is only to complete the agreed-upon milestones to the satisfaction of ZCG.

We appreciate Nighhawk’s commitment to transparency, but felt obligated to question the reallocation of funds. Adi and I agreed that the source of contention in this case is the word “retro” describing payments to developers for the work that allowed the team to stay active and committed during a gap in funding. It was contentious because it collides with the name “retroactive funding”, which was a source of scrutiny while ZCG was trying to find ways to compromise on the grant, and where we specifically had expressed unwillingness to fund. There may be a better way to describe this expenditure, but regardless of terminology, and regardless of prior approval, we acknowledge that it is Nighthawk’s decision how best to allocate funds such that the team can fulfill the grant.

I hope we can move forward focusing on the results and the positive impact on Zcash that the Nighthawk team is providing.


Thank you for your support and understanding, Amber. We are all doing our best to make Zcash easy to use and push forward on adoption. We appreciate ZCG’s confidence in our team and our ability to deliver on the milestones we agreed to. We also value the trust that ZCG has extended to us to manage our funds and team in the way we think is best for the project. We apologize for any confusion or contention caused by the term “retro” payments. We used it to describe the compensation we provided to our developers for their work during the funding gap, which was essential for keeping the team active and committed. We did not intend to imply that we were seeking retroactive funding from ZCG, which we understand was not an option. We will try to find a better way to communicate our budget allocation in the future. We hope to move forward with a positive and collaborative relationship with ZCG and the Zcash ecosystem.


Whats the biggest blocker on the thorchain integration project?