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.
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: