Nighthawk Apps Zcash Development Fund 2023

Greetings Zcashers,

The Nighthawk Apps team aims to be a long-term participant focussed on Zcash, upcoming ZSA development, and partnering with ECC mobile engineering team to harden Zcash SDKs for a better experience for all wallet apps using the Zcash Mobile SDK.

We have optimized efforts in this proposal to achieve more with a small team. Reducing the costs by reusing the team for servicing the 4 projects: Nighthawk Wallet native app on Android, Nighthawk Wallet native app on iOS, Zcash Block Explorer, and a distributed public lightwalletd infrastructure.

We invite you to review our plans for this year: Nighthawk Apps Overview 2023.pdf (308.1 KB)

Outstanding issues:

  • Syncing issue: Based on our evaluation of various syncing algorithms, we plan to follow progress with DAGSync development, build out the new designs in the updated apps, and add DAGsync capabilities as and when they are available.

  • ZIP-317: Coordinate with ecosystem partners to update the fee mechanism to make large transactions cost proportional to their size

  • Ongoing grant: Thorchain integration Milestone 3 progress and its continued status now that the core Thorchain framework has stabilized, we are more determined than ever to add ZEC to Thorchain.

17 Likes

This looks great! I’m really interested in the UX designs that will come out of this. I think an under-explored area in wallet UX is design that communicates privacy levels / info leaks to users, especially around autoshielding, pool migration, and sending to t-addrs. Maybe that’s something Nighthawk can explore.

I’m looking forward to working with your team on security/privacy and eventually auditing the results!

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The doc say “retroactive” pay for 2022 a few times.

Wasn’t Adi on ZOMG during that period?

I’m also trying to wrap my head around the value-add here. Nearly $1 million?

Does the app work? Does it sync yet? I’m not being snarky; honestly asking here. Will geo distribution + DAG sync even work well enough to meet user expectations?

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Hi Nighthawk Wallet,
Looks like you have assembled a strong team. The application to ZCG is a large amount, can you share some analytics of Nighthawk Wallet Apps unique visits to the sites included in the application, downloads of ios, android and fdroid applications to get an understanding of your past years performance?
Thanks, Good Luck!

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A mil is a lot of money especially now that ECC is coming with its own wallet.

And from what i understand the maintenance should be still ongoing right now for nighthawk from the previous ongoing grant. Why is it having a sync issue?

If this grant is passed, nighthawk should take up maintenance for 5 years minimum.

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Among the projects for 2023, it lists:

  • Zcashblock explorer: The project received a grant and was completed last year. This is only maintenance and opex now.
  • Lightwalletd: Same. maintenance and opex.
  • Thorchain: You received a grant for more than 200k. It’s funded already.
  • Nighthawk wallet. It’s the change of fees and integration of dagsync that the ECC built.

According to the monthly updates, both the wallet and the Thorchain integration were on standby.

Could you explain how you got a 1 million usd cost?

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Generally speaking, I think the zcash dev funds work better when grants are given for specific projects like they do now.
It is more transparent and trackable than funding a large chunk like a VC.
The ECC and the ZF are the organizations that are based on the traditional corporate model. I don’t think we need to add another one.
The NH devs could join the ECC or the ZF if they prefer the stability of a regular paycheck but for me, that is not what the major grants intended model.

Just my 2 zats.

PS: I am also not sure why the proposal does not take into consideration the previous funding that was received by the team.

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That’s an interesting view. I’ve always thought one of the initial impetuses for the grants fund was to providing funding to allow funding of individuals and teams with the hope that they might eventually grow in their size and contributions and hopefully/eventually be added to the dev fund in their own right.

Maybe I miss understood but I always thought that was @zooko’s vision. While I understand it’s no longer his decision to make I’ve never seen anyone explicitly call out that we don’t want to follow the vision… :person_shrugging:

1 Like

Fair enough, maybe it is what they wanted to do. In any case, I think times have changed. 1 million usd is not a small amount. I’d like to see the funding breakdown by project.

@ZcashGrants hello team. I’d like to see ZCG think about how we begin handing large “all encompassing” grants like this. I am of the view that we want to encourage teams to grow and expanded and as such encourage any teams that want to submit grant proposals that fund many project to do so.

This is inline with my view that we should begin thinking about direct funding and helping teams position themselves to be at least in the conversation when discussion dev fund breakdown. But, as such, if teams are moving in that direction I’d like to see them breakdown their spend and outcomes in the same way ZF and ECC do with their transparency reports. ZCG and the community need to be assured that that previous funds granted have been spent (or if not what they are allocated for). To me that looks like a transparency report. We probably don’t need them to be large, and we probably don’t need them to be quarterly, but the sooner we see these things the more confident I think ZCG and the community can be that the fund in the past have been well allocated and give us all more confidence to throw large sums of money at grants like this.

@NighthawkWallet I’d also be interested to hear what you think about producing a transparency report as part of your duties for such a large sum of funding. Also to alleviate community concern could that also be done retrospectively for the previous grants as it seems unclear which of those funds have/haven’t been spent.

Edit: I understand most this previous grants info can be gathered by searching all the previous grants and forum posts but I think the idea that we are being asking to fund 4 different projects under a single grant (which I’m okay with) shouldn’t require community members to spend over an hour going through multiple forum and grant proposals to make sure the previous funds allocated were spent and well used which many do not have time to do. So yes, I’m asking if nighthawk can publish a transparency report before we make a decision whether to fund this or not.

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My 2 Zats

I believe there should be separate grants for:

The three project are separate as far as I can tell. While the wallets depend on the public lightwalletd, all three projects can be standalone. (I believe wallet devs should give the options for users to choose their lightwalletd server anyway).

Also, as this grant specifically asks for:

7 months of retroactive developer pay for maintaining wallet in 2022

Have there been any development of Nighthawk Wallet since the increase of Zcash load in June 2022?

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Considering the experience that this team is bringing, they should already have their own equipment in hand - iphone, mac, android devices etc for development and testing. This 24k should not be paid from grants

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Thank you for providing feedback and raising concerns, before I go ahead addressing them, I would like to introduce our 7th team member, Cryptography Intern candidate, Rahul Satish. Rahul is a student at Bar-Ilan University. He will be working with our team to evaluate & ideate use cases for ZSAs and write test code & documentation for anybody to create assets on test-net. Rahul has previously interned with Ethereum Foundation & QEDIT and is based in Tel Aviv. Internships like these will help us all understand the core technologies and unlock the potential of new use cases that can be built by developers in the Zcash ecosystem.

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When I look at the cryptocurrency self-custody wallet solutions offered by some of the projects I follow: Algorand Wallet was spun out to Pera Wallet, Avalanche recently launched their Core Wallet, Cardano’s Yoroi wallet team is part of Emurgo, which is one of the three core entities of their ecosystem, all these three projects have dedicated, well-funded teams working on decentralizing native wallet development, innovating use cases and providing support. This made me realize, where is my favorite coin’s wallet team? Is there a consistent funding model for them?

I appreciate all the comments, especially considering my team’s unique approach to the funding model, which actually meets the definition as specified in the ZIP-1014 – to decentralize the work and funding, by supporting new teams dedicated to Zcash. This is the 4th year of Nighthawk team members working with Zcash, which originally started with me, @BostonZcash & @vamsi in 2020 as a passion project and has now garnered immense support and high expectations from communities beyond the Zcash ecosystem.

Nighthawk Apps is not here to push turn-key technologies in the form of a time-restricted development and charge up to ~$30k/developer/month, a pathway adopted by some large grant applicants. Instead, we came up with a better approach to meet the expectations of the developers with consistent pay for dedication to Zcash development, making our application conservative considering the team of 7. We believe this approach to be much needed at this stage as critical technical and protocol level decisions are being made that hold significance towards the future of Zcash - we have NU6 and 2nd halving coming up, transition to Proof of Stake, transaction fees design, and deployment of ZSAs, all these efforts require the active participation of multiple stakeholders in the ecosystem.

Decentralization of developers is another criterion for the success of an L1 cryptocurrency. Now Nighthawk Apps is not a Zcash core developer, nor are we innovating on the core cryptography level today, instead, we bring usability improvements and demands from real, in-person ZEC users that expect day-to-day ZEC transactional experience that matches or exceeds their experiences with other cryptocurrencies. We work closely with partners within Zcash (ECC) and with external service integration partners. We look forward to the release of ECC’s end-user wallet and the experiences it brings to push forward Zcash adoption. Nighthawk Wallet, an active wallet in production, aims to fork all the necessary libraries, dependencies, SDKs, and reference wallets to deliver our design & vision of a privacy-preserving Zcash experience.

Our team has a proven track record in managing and running public goods for Zcash, the infrastructure since 2020, an accurate, Zcash focussed block explorer since 2021, at a time when some Zcash mobile wallets still point to unmaintained block explorer that displays incorrect transaction information (hardcoding Zcash fee, inaccurate VS accurate info).

As for existing works, the 2021 grant period was from April to December 2021 which resulted in immense adoption and progress for the Nighthawk Wallet, our wallet proved to be a necessary alternative wallet to ZecWallet for Zcash users during the period. Our designer @egg worked hard to accommodate all the changes our team requested and delivered a revamped user experience for Nighthawk. (See attachment below).

From 2021-2022, we learned that 3 two to three-month sprints won’t deliver all our ideas towards ambitious user expectations, especially considering the changing underlying protocol developments, the introduction of new shielded pools, and address types.

In 2022, for the first 7 months before the blockchain spam took down light clients that used linear syncing algorithms, we maintained our Android & iOS wallets with a low crash rating, our Android client saw active development with work done to completely refactor the wallet with the new designs and user experience, supporting the NU5 upgrade(also aiding users with the Cypherpunk whitelist campaign) and involvement from the users and community with 1000s of downloads on Apple App Store, Google Play Store, and F-Droid Store, all documented on the forum Search results for 'Nighthawk update' - Zcash Community Forum . The block explorer saw major work done to accommodate V5 transaction changes, Orchard pool upgrades with NU5 support, server upgrades with an increase in load, and other features like viewing RAW transaction data. The increase in blockchain activity followed up with additional lightwalletd costs. These efforts are the subject of our conservative retroactive pay request included within the ~$955k total funding for a period of 12 months for a team of 7, which turns out to be $238,600 funding for the 2023 year per project: Nighthawk Wallet native app on Android, Nighthawk Wallet native app on iOS, Zcash Block Explorer and public lightwalletd infrastructure.

Key points:

  • The Nighthawk Android wallet was under active development, had a UX review and implementation of the new user workflow and Nighthawk iOS was under maintenance throughout 2022.

  • The ongoing Thorchain work is mentioned in the name of transparency, the 2023 fund does not include funding Thorchain development as the last 2 approved milestones are pending integration and payouts. Milestone 3 is on the last leg with Python integration work pending, the Golang portion took longer than expected to complete, which was the key factor in the delay.

  • All the transparency requirements of the Zcash Grants platform are met at the level of the grant expense breakdown detail and monthly expenditure, a further breakdown may be applicable to a non-profit, but we are not set up to become one at this stage. For now, we plan to deliver monthly development updates and a quarterly user information request report instead of a warrant canary. We can certainly publish splashy transparency reports similar to ECC and ZF(which are much larger funded organizations). Would the community prefer such reports at this stage? If yes, that need to be factored into the time accounted for in the proposal.

  • New hardware is required to build, test, and deliver our vision, the hardware costs are included as a separate budget item, we could add them back to the hourly rate bucket like other grant applications if that is preferred by the grants committee.

We understand there are more eyes and expectations from Nighthawk Apps, especially when we are working closely with the user base and leading cross-community collaborations. We hope that our track record of producing public goods and delivering quality native Zcash apps for the community speaks for itself. We look forward to further feedback and questions regarding our proposal and eventually producing the premier Zcash wallet experience for mobile.


Nighthawk Wallet design attachment:

4 Likes

like dis new design - wud love to see it bigger or in action already
does it also have Face ID or Touch ID security added?

more Zcash wallets - better

understand sum negativity against it cause after summer this wallet was slow to sync just like zecwallet lite also. but now its almost fixed or? that is only concern iwo.
if in future any other kinda problem comes up hope it wud be fixed a bit faster.
otherwise trust team and think dem can contribute much.

Thorchain integration and ZSAs can be great also if team can deliver it all.

just noticed wallet 2.0 will release q1 2024 - does it really take full year for development?
not expert so if most wallets take dat much tiem is ok.

1 Like

-no quantitative metrics for success
-deliverables are monthly letters to a small group of insiders not tangible products/features
-no marketing plan
-no dependence on user adoption
-expecting credit and revenue from republishing ECC’s work.
-Nighthawk doesn’t work, bad reviews

does anyone else find this funny Adi declined to vote (twice) for funding Ywallet, a wallet that actually works with fewer dependencies than Nighthawk, but is now asking for 1 year funding for his team plus retroactive? double what Ywallet received…not to mention the $600,000 Nighthawk received through other grants. After the scrutiny Adi has applied to smaller asks (Ywallet, Zemo), it’s only fair he holds himself to a higher standard when asking for $950,000, which would make Nighthawk the biggest grant recipient yet… the funding as is will lead to community chaining with nice words but little user adoption as seen for years

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I think QEdit would be the largest grant recipient, however, the retroactive funding tacked on is quite dubious.

Agree.

The total amount may be better negotiated down and/or broken into component grants unlocked by some more concrete deliverables.

But we need wallets! And we need a wallet that can buy ZEC on Thorswap, store into a default shielded U address, and that I can use with Flexa to spend!

Well folks, it looks like we’ve got a bit of a conundrum here. This team received a grant for Thorchain and Flexa, last year and two years ago, respectively. But, as we can see, they’ve failed to deliver. It’s always a shame to see a team fall short. It’s important to analyze the situation, understand the strategy and tactics that led to this outcome and learn from it for future projects. I’m sure we’re all looking forward to hearing the team’s explanation on this one.

add the current grant to the previous grants, then largest beneficiary.

but, frankly, I don’t care about the price alone. we’d be happy to pay someone $10,000,000 if it led to 10,000,000 users, retroactive or not. it’s not about price, it’s about value. a fast wallet, with trading, POS integration, ZSA, etc. is certainly great value…but does the team’s track record make you believe they can do it? try something concrete, like getting Nighthawk and Thorchain to work first. then you have something you can measure and trust…

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