Pseudonymous Grant Proposals

Eleventh-hour question about the Zcash Foundation’s current call for grant proposals: Would submissions under a dedicated pseudonym be reasonably considered?

I think here to pull a Satoshi Nakamoto: Click the “New Identity” button, and create a project under a dedicated pseudonym. I would plan to stick around for longer than Nakamoto did. But I wish to devote one persona to one project, without any connection to my other past or present work (let alone my “real-life” identity).

There is something powerful about the Nakamoto model of creation. It wraps the birth of a project in myth and mystery. But paradoxically, it also makes the project more rational by force-focusing attention on the project in and of itself—with no personal context for irrelevant value-judgments, and no “the guy who previously did X” bias in advance expectations (whether positive or negative). Every founder of a new idea leaves a personal imprint on the idea. But Satoshi Nakamoto is Bitcoin; about Nakamoto, we know nothing else.

I have a vision—something I want to see made real; something which would make the world a better place. It pertains to the Zcash ecosystem, or more precisely, it would create a new ecosystem for a cryptocurrency with strong privacy protections. But unlike Nakamoto’s creation of Bitcoin, my idea is not something I could easily monetize for myself; and my personal circumstance does not permit me to devote the requisite months of full-time effort to such an endeavor.

In other words, my idea seems an exact fit for the current round of grants. I do reasonably think that within the timeline of a grant, I could lay the technical and social foundation for what would eventually become a community-supported project.

Both in its principles and its practical possibilities, Zcash seems perfect for such a strictly pseudonymous project. “Funds will be disbursed to approved projects in ZEC currency, in a lump sum.” ACK. But then implicitly rises the reasonable and obvious question: How do we know you will do what you say?

Team background and qualifications

Summarize pertinent background of the team member(s). Optionally, attach CVs.

I ask: If otherwise meritorious, will a proposal be seriously considered if not accompanied by such things?

If not, I would prefer to keep my idea to myself for now. Maybe I will find another way to do it—someday. Maybe not.

If yes, then I will have an informal description of my idea in the issue tracker by sundown.

Thank you for your time.

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I don’t personally see that not providing your identity would be a barrier to entry for a submission.

But as you mentioned, convincing the Board that you do have the ability to follow through with the proposal may be difficult if they don’t know your background. I suppose it depends on how technically challenging it is too.

You never know unless you ask.


I have no problem with submitting a pseudonymous proposal.
However, the Zcash Foundation is a squeaky-clean play-by-the-rules 501©(3) (pending IRS approval) charitable non-profit in the US, so we probably cannot transmit a grant award without collecting tax information about the recipient though.


Thank you for your responses, @Shawn and @amiller.

I understand the Foundation’s position, Dr. Miller. I should emphasize, the object I wish to create with Zcash is a new digital communications market which is itself “squeaky-clean” (but decentralized, privacy-protecting, and censorship-resistant—where all participants can be strictly anonymous or pseudonymous, as each may desire).

My question is sufficiently answered. I hope that the grant round will be productive for promoting use of Zcash as a currency!