Staked Poll on Zcash Dev Fund Debate

A lot of the discussion is also predicated on the idea that the way that it’s happening is the way that it has to be and I know the arguments above, it’s a tough nut to crack huh? But something like this that works has no precedent so maybe the problem lies in assuming it’s going to resemble anything that we already know at all


Thank you for being open-minded by supporting the idea of «Coin-Holders Petition».
I would love to vote as a coin holder if I hadn’t to give up my privacy by putting my coins on a t-address.

I hope that, one day, we (the crypto community, but by preference Zcash) will find a way to develop this feature :wink:


Here we go. Just mentioned this in another topic that this is a burden many are not willing to accept.


I’m replying to a few comments in the other thread, so as not to continue cluttering up that thread with discussion about stake polling

These threads have been long, but I don’t think any of the criticisms have been dismissed, instead they’ve all been acknowledged as valid criticism. If there is really something that hasn’t been responded to yet, I promise I’ll answer. The answer may be “I don’t know”.

I’ve tried to be careful not to say this has been an experiment, because it hasn’t been designed as such. I consider it a personal project and proof of concept, and at this point also a kind of permissionlessness activism.

For what it’s worth, the discussion that has had the most resonance with me is that we should not present bar charts that include the weighted stake from this petition directly alongside the indicators like community advisory panel vote that have been more carefully designed.

So, I would be happy to join in calling for ECC not to present the output of this current stake poll mechanism as strong evidence of community sentiment.

I presented about this idea in June and the thread describing its current form is from August. I don’t understand the claims that this is sudden.


There’s a lot unanswered, but here’s a thought. Instead of this high-latency back and forth, how about allocating time for an interactive discussion among the interested community members, on the community chat or by video call?

Agenda: design, implementation and use of coin-weighted voting in future Zcash governance.

Desired outcome: requirements and implementation approach for an improved mechanism.

Out of scope: gripes about how the current mechanism is advocated for.


Please mark some of the following (your username will be public) to indicate you’d like to join the above discussion on design, implementation and use of coin-weighted voting in future Zcash governance via…

  • Conference call
  • Dedicated community chat channel (starting at an announced time)
  • Dedicated forum topic

0 voters

I’am well aware that the tool/mechanism/idea is from June and that’s not what i had in mind with a sudden.

Trying to eleaborate why i call it now a sudden and out of nothing.

  • Since end of the 1st dev fund polling nobody mentioned it will be used again in the 2nd dev fund round.
  • Since end of the 1st dev fund polling nobody made it public that i will be used for signalling/polling in the 2nd dev fund polling until a “sudden” zooko announed it in a solo run as it seems.
  • It’s introduced a “sudden” in the middle of an ongoing voting process, without any preparation, without coin holders being aware (expect some insiders), any improvement, any anything.
  • ECC until today (3 days left for polling) doesn’t even have/made an official/public announcement that such polling excists. That’s why i call it “out of nowhere”.

Maybe i miss something, but in my book that’s exactly a “sudden” and “out of nowhere”… In case the points above are wrong or i missed something i excuse myself for my wording…


Fwiw I agree with @boxalex, I had actually forgotten that I even proposed the idea because I wrote it off after early commenters hammered home the downsides.

I don’t think this is worth much. To use an absurd and extreme example, if I tell you that I want to drive my motorcycle over a cliff, and you say, “But you’ll die,” and I say, “I acknowledge that your criticism is valid,” and then still drive over the cliff, have we accomplished anything? Maybe something, but it wasn’t very useful.

Likewise, if I said, “No I won’t, because I’ll sprout wings!” — well, the mere fact of having offered an explanation doesn’t make it convincing. It feels like being gaslit to push back and have the counterparty act puzzled. “But I told you that I’m going to sprout wings!” Yeah, tell me that however many times you want, I’m not gonna believe it simply because you said so.

Explain a mechanism that makes sense. Provide your reasoning. There is no substitute for convincingly demonstrating good judgment. Like, there just isn’t. Persuasion is really important, and how attempts at persuasion are conducted tells you a lot.

I’m not even against using coinholder voting as a signal (perhaps obvious from OP in this thread). My position on the staked poll at this point in time is “it’s your damn motorcycle, go ahead if you insist” but I hate being brushed off by people who pretend they aren’t brushing you off.

How many times did @sarang ask a direct, straightforward question and get vague non-answers? He had to ask how many times, with others echoing the question, before getting a straight answer?


I may have triggered it :sweat_smile:


I’m really skeptical about participating in any such call if the presumption is that coin-weighted voting is desirable at all. The problems with it aren’t limited to the current implementation.


I agree that the first order of business is to define requirements from the voting scheme that make it plausibly desirable and possible (implementation details aside). @zooko seems to have strong ideas about this, but so far has not explained them in a form that anyone can understand. So I’m hoping he would join an interactive discussion.

If no one joins who thinks that coin-weighted voting is desirable and possible, then I agree there’s no use having such a call…


It’s fundamentally impossible to solve the voting trilemma (or maybe it’s not, y’all are the cryptographers).

Let’s stipulate one-person-one-vote because we don’t like plutocracy. You can have anonymity with respect to who voted what and maintain sybil-resistance, but you can’t have anonymity with respect to who voted at all and maintain sybil-resistance. Right? Otherwise you have to give up one-person-on-vote.

As I understand it, that’s the point of a staked vote, right? By design, it’s sybil-proof in all but appearance. (E.g., you get the same number of votes if you split ZEC, but you may want to appear to be more individuals than you are.) And that’s the tradeoff in exchange for plutocracy / governance by financial skin in the game.

Well, @secparam changed my mind by pointing out that if the staked result isn’t binding, why are you accepting that tradeoff at all, you’re just asking for sybil attacks of the “appearing to be many” sort. If what you want is additional information rather than a deciding result, doing a staked poll is a gift to those who wish to deceive you.

Open to pushback here, I assume @zooko has a different perspective for example. And I still believe what I commented several days ago.

Edit: For transparency… maybe I’ve changed my mind about the quote below? Still muddling through…


Decred voting system is largely thought to be the best on-chain system (PoS) out there. Perhaps there is a way to add some of this functionality to Zcash?


Here are a couple reasons why stakeholder voting can be important. Agree with @daira and others that this is a premise that should be justified, not assumed. I’m writing a post with just this scope in hopes that this leads to some agreement on at least the very high level guidelines for a better process.

Let’s define for this post that someone who is “long ZEC” is someone who has a timelocked balance, like they will definitely receive XX units of ZEC in 6 months, but will come back to this.

  1. Fair representation. A long ZEC holder is exposed to the exchange rate risk. Good decisions (on protocol changes, or on how to allocate dev funds, etc.) may make the price go up, while catastrophically bad decisions could make them lose a lot. So it makes sense to give them representation. This is an ethical/fairness argument, that those who are affected by a decision should have input on the decision.

  2. Skin in the game leads to good decisions. Long ZEC holders have incentives that are at least partially aligned with other users of the network too. In general, we think that if the network is more useful and sees adoption, then the price will go up. So, long ZEC holders have an incentive to make the network successful.

Some remarks… This 1. Fair Representation argument doesn’t mean that long ZEC holders are the only interests that matter. Personally I think that long ZEC holders are not even the most important users of the Zcash network. Folks can get privacy benefits by using Zcash as a medium of exchange, even if they keep at most a small working balance in ZEC to replenish when they need. Zcash can function as a medium of exchange regardless of its price. So the incentive alignment alluded to in 2 has limits. Two examples of misalignment I’m worried about are:

  • activities like market pumping that may boost the price in 6 months but don’t otherwise help anyone, or
  • that “sell out” the privacy features in favor of some kind of discount… this is becoming a contrived scenario but say for example an exchange would offer to list Zcash but only if shielded transactions are discouraged through extra fees or something. Could boost the price but would clearly go against the Zcash mission.

So to summarize, these are two broad arguments for including long ZEC holders’ voice in governance. Basing governance exclusively on holders may be plutocratic, so IMO it is good that we have already been practicing multi-pronged governance involving holders, miners, devs, and others.

The most compelling concern to me so far about stakeholder voting in this thread is that you can buy/borrow ZEC today and sell it back tomorrow after voting. Even if you intend to be long ZEC, if your coins aren’t timelocked and you have access to an exchange, your stake is liquid and you have the capability to exit your position in minutes. If you’re liquid, you’re not necessarily affected by long term change in value. So, I think that the arguments above only apply to timelocked coins, and it’s likely that requirements for future stake polling we work towards will include timelock of some kind as a necessary condition for voting.


I wonder if a reason this discussion has been tense, is that the essence of the question isn’t limited to stakeholder polling, but really about committing to all the possible inputs to the sentiment collection process in general. Zfnd has been fairly specific about what it will include. ECC has, via the answer linked above and others, mostly reserved its judgment on what counts. I guess ECC could decide tomorrow to use a twitter poll as evidence of community sentiment.

I’m not worried about this for many reasons, including that both orgs have shared influence over trademark, and that all of these are subject to public scrutiny. But I can understand where folks are coming from in asking ECC and Zfnd for clarity in advance of what will or won’t be considered reliable signals of community sentiment.

Even if both orgs do this, we can’t control what everyone else / the public will decide counts as community sentiment. So I’ve felt a bit defensive at some of these questions, which I’ve interpreted as being about the right to present stakeholder polls to the public at all, whereas now I think it may really be more about ECC and Zfnd, and not just about stakeholder polls.


Voting systems, permissionless or otherwise, require enforceable consequences and if the accountability lies in a pile(s) of money than the consequence has to be an overarching equal ability to jeopardize it based on suspicion because this is all you have to work with :man_shrugging:

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Yes, of course the problem is with the meaning and interpretation assigned to the poll, not the mere fact that it exists or that people can technically use it.

The meaning that ECC and ZF assign to the poll is crucial, because

  1. it affects their subsequent actions,
  2. it affects the perceived legitimacy of these actions; and thereby
  3. it determines what people need to do to (e.g., risk their funds or privacy) in order to affect the action and legitimacy

Hence the angst about ECC/@zooko advocating for the poll while refusing to explain the interpretation and meaning.

Moreover, without being explicit about those, we can’t work towards an improved implementation! Thank you for getting the discussing going in your other post above; will reply shortly.


Hey friends! I’m definitely looking forward to talking with folks about possible goals and methods for future stake-holder petitioning or voting, after the current petition has run its course and we’ve learned from it.

(This kind of learning is one of the reasons I gave why I was glad that the community had initiated this petition. But it wasn’t the most important reason. The most important reason to me is that coinholders are a necessary and valuable part of our community and for the sake of Zcash we need to sincerely signal to them that their input matters to us.)

Now on the topic of learning from the experience, I’ve talked with a few people who were considering petitioning or trying to petition, and one thing that is abundantly clear is that the current instructions and tooling are extremely confusing and difficult for most of them. More than one of them gave up after trying to read the instructions.

I was just looking at the current results, and I see a lot of petitions with a 0 in the amount-staked column. I’ll bet a lot of those are due to the surprising behavior that when you send your transaction with your memo to the petition z-address, that your wallet automatically moves all your ZEC out of your intended t-address into a different t-address of yours. If you don’t notice and move your stake back into your voting t-address, then you’ll end up with a 0 in the stake column.

Bottom-line: if you petitioned using your coins, please go look at the current results and see if you accidentally have a 0 for your stake when you intended to show (some of) your coins.

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And onwords to discussing the desired functionality!

That’s a great analysis of pros and lingering issues with coin-holding-time weighting (as opposed to the current implementation, which is weighted only by coin holding at a single moment in time).

This is related to @vbuterin’s analysis On Collusion, and Placeholder’s analysis of How Much Does A Crypto-Vote Cost? (h/t @mlphresearch @cburniske). Both make the point that given efficient lending markets, the weight of the vote is proportional to the amount of coins times the “lockup” time.

Unfortunately, by their analysis, the concept of “stake” and “skin in the game” (which is essential to your rationale) is untenable. Given efficient lending markets, the cost of a vote is exactly the interest the voter paid to borrow, or (equivalently), the opportunity cost that the lender paid by not lending. There is no inherent “stake” in the form incentive-aligning exposure to coin price changes.

Separately, there are questions on how to define the holding/lockup period for coin-holding-time weighting. Especially if efficient lending markets are not accessible to all users, there are major limitations/costs in the functionality of the “locked” funds.

There are also circumvention issues raised by @Matthewdgreen.

So… What’s the desired weighting rule, given all of these?

Last but not least, there’s the question of what should be reported vs. kept private. Because if we take a weighting rule seriously, and optimize privacy subject to that, then we should only expose the final tally. But if we try to follow @zooko’s “coin holders, large and small” rallying cry, then… I have no idea what that even means but it would probably imply revealing more than a final weighted tally.


Fair representation is a valid argument in my opinion and here some thoughts:

  • wouldn’t it be easier if long/large ZEC holders could apply for a seat/voice in the community advisory panel? For example at least blocktown and placeholder which are large ZEC holders have done so, wouldn’t it be easier that other large ZEC holders follow this example?

  • IF it’s about fair representation, long + large ZEC holders should leave the community advisory panel as giving them a voice on 2 mechanisms would be over-represented in my opinion.

  • To some extent someone could argument that coin holders allready express some kind of vote by buying and holding or in contrast selling and unloading their ZEC by whether they support or not support a path, idea, direction Zcash is heading. This is a weak argument of course.

  • About fair representation. The same way there should be a voting mechanism for miners than. This is the group that is nowhere represented currently. Maybe a temporary mining pool maintained by the foundation that gets activated only during voting processes or any other tool that let’s submit miners’ opinion through hashpower.

  • This is not entirely a must or true. There are enough examples where groups of large coin holders want the price to be low for some kind of period for accumaltion of more holdings. Let’s be honest, the intention of most big coinholders/whales is to buy as cheap as possible and to sell as expensive as possible to generate an as big as possible profit, easy and simple as that.
    This said i agree that long and large Zec holders have an incentive to make the network successful some day, but not necessary all of the time.

  • A bit philosophical question: Does a large, big and liquid ZEC holder who holds let’s say 50.000 ZEC which applies to 1% of his possesion/property has more skin in the game than a ZEC holder that sold his house/car and holds 1.000 ZEC which applies to 95% of his possesion/property?

  • Another philosophical question: Should people that invest huge parts of their time they invest into ZEC as well get a time-weighted mechanism?

For example currently a forum member eligable to vote that has spent 1 hour on the forum and made 1 post hasn’t spent much time compared to someone who has for example 10.000 hours and 1.000 posts. Should the active guy/girl with 10.000 (working) hours get 10.000x more weight in his vote?

I would go as far as saying that people that invest time have more skin in the game as a money loss might not be final while a time loss is final and not recoverable.

While i see the reasoning for timelocking which makes absolutly sense i as well think this raises other risks and concerns:

  • The more coins are time locked for a given period the more the price is affected artificially as you take away supply and change the supply & demand ratio for this period. This could be an incentive for other coin holders to moneytize their holdings in this period and not time lock funds for voting/polling.

  • I’am not sure if timelocking would/could fix the borrow/loan case as in generally it’s not really needed that the ZEC amount involved in the vote is physically transfered to a given wallet. Instead it’s only needed that a message with x amount is sent and this could be done by the borrow/loan giver.

Nothing surprising. As long as this tool isn’t made easy to use for the average joe it will be only a tool for very technically advanced users/holders. I have said it in the past that such difficult for the average joe tool is more a burden than a helpfull tool and once more favours only a given circle of people instead giving the broader holder community a chance to vote.