Staked Poll on Zcash Dev Fund Debate

I’d love to see some kind of on-chain voting incorporated as an extra signal. I even included it in my proposal as something to be developed. However, this needs to be done properly. The details need to be worked out, the risks addressed, the parameters nailed down, and the instructions properly announced. Maybe even requisite technology developed to solve problems.

This isn’t the case here yet, so I strongly advise against giving any weight to this on-chain polling as a signal, for now. The results will be completely dominated by whether potential participants even hear of this just-now-suggested vote, their risk tolerance for the privacy risks, and their access to their wallets on the yet-to-be-determined-but-probably-short schedule.

Put otherwise: the results may be easily dominated by one or two ZEC holders, who happen to read this thread, and don’t appreciate the risks to funds or privacy. In my estimate this is fairly likely to happen, and even in hindsight we won’t even be able to tell whether this was the case.

Worse yet, any attempt to judge the validity of the poll after it concludes may be seen as picking and choosing signals to support an agenda. So it’s important for Zfnd to pre-commit to what polling signals are valid before their results are known.

Indeed, this thread has been open for 3 months. Thanks, @amiller, for proactively raising the possibility of coin-weighted voting! Unfortunately, the details have not been finalized in time (e.g., the voting format was suggested just today, and no one knows the dates when the staking balance needs to be maintained). Also and crucially, it’s not on the Zcash Dev Fund Community Sentiment Collection Poll announcement.


Why all this? Who will be and most importantly how to deal with the calculation of mood if through the different voting systems one and the same people can vote. It seems that any vote has no effect on the final decision. It was much simpler just to accept what you want yourself, without pseudo-democratic voting, especially since 100 people who voted can not be called a community in any case.

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This stakeholder poll was not announced, not confirmed, not worked out, not anything. I had concerns allready with miner signalling that someone can rent hashpower just for voting but with a staked poll i have way more concerns including that someone can just buy/loan temporary ZEC and vote.

This is another concern. On the advisory panel and forum we have named voting, everybody stands with his name behind his vote which ensures even avoiding double voting. For both, advisory panel and forum members, there have been several restrictions, but for a stake holder poll there are literally none. No registration, no name, no anything needed.

This alone should be a concern but it’s of course not the biggest one.

Totally agree with this. It will raise a shitstorm and i admit i’am a bit shocked that this idea which sounds allready like a finished fact comes from a ZF board member.

Again, totally agree, there a 5-6 days left only for signalling and the staked polling was NOT announced so far. It would take even some days to announce it additionally leaving it just with 2-3 days for signalling and it would still mean that stake holders may not be aware of it until the end of voting. Having a different time or end line for signalling should be another No-Go anyway as this could easyly be seen as a try to manipulate the outcome of the other poll options in my opinion.

I would even add that the reputation of the ZF is in danger and could be questioned if the staked polling a sudden is added out of nothing.

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Nice, Zooko and the ECC allready animate their followers to stake vote on twitter, he is not wasting any time, lol.

You guys are really good in taking away the last faith someone can have into Zcash governance, transparency, community participation and fairness, amazing.

Edit: amiller and Sonya as well spreading it for the ZF as it seems, nice:

This voting mechanism seems like a very unsafe idea with many of the same problems and risks that the earlier transparent migration process had. Hoping that users understand the risks associated with interacting with the transparent pool, and correctly apply mitigations appropriate to them, is not a good idea. It wasn’t a good idea during the transparent migration (when safe standardized tools were not made widely available), and it seems an equally not-good idea now.


As I mentioned in the other thread where this is being discussed, this was never an official Foundation poll. As stated in our guidance post back in August other sentiment collection from the period can be potentially considered by the board when they present their recommendations.

As I said in the other thread, I think all the criticism brought up here is valid and as such the short-comings should be considered by the board when they evaluate the results, as much as I appreciate @amiller’s intent and enthusiasm for this approach.


I appreciate this statement that the ZF distances themself from this staked holder polling that came up a sudden from nowhere.

Actually there are 0 benefits with such staked poll done that way as i can’t see that if fullyfies any of the requirements to be included for review by the board:

  • …collected by other parties during the same two-week period (this is not the case as it will last only some days)

  • We will include such data in our summary if it is valuable … (it won’t have any value with only a handfull insiders able to submit their vote. It isn’t even nearly representing. There isn’t even a guideline for it, for example can someone vote and move his ZEC to another wallet and vote again? Can people double vote from another adress generated within their wallet? I guess yes, hence, it has absolutly no value and shouldn’t even be considered.

  • … and was collected in good faith (While i really have sympaties for amiller and believe in his overall good faith in giving this poll a boost the possibility how this mechanism which has no guidelines, no restrictions, no anything can be abused for manipulation by people with bad faith. Hence, a mechanism that allows such great exposure to bad faith influence, manipuplation and abuse can’t be called in good faith at this stage. Maybe in future, but not for this community polling.

  • And last but not least. It’s absolute unfair versus forum members that have registered after 1st March 2019 and are not able to vote. Or better said, their vote won’t count and it’s clearly mentioned that their vote won’t count, won’t be considered, won’t anything. Or the simple question: Why not including these forum votes as well and give them maybe a bit less weight?

However, once polling is closed any accounts that placed a vote that don’t meet the voting criteria (ie new accounts) will have thier votes discarded.

Dude, I tagged you in the first post in this thread. Don’t act like this is some big surprise you had no way of knowing about. Quote:

I am against plutocracy, so I think staked votes are generally a terrible way to make binding decisions. But they’re a great source of information. As far as I know, nobody else plans to hold a staked poll. I might as well do it, and @boxalex volunteered to help!

The poll will be open to anyone with ZEC.

ZF’s guidance noted that the Foundation “is happy to consider other forms of community feedback collected by other parties” between September 3 and September 17. (See the section “How the Foundation will select a particular proposal.”) So I’m going to use the same time period for this poll.

For clarity:


The last 3 months nobody talked/mentioned/considered/announced/fine tuned/fixed the staked poll since than. So yes, i’am totally surpised that none of the problematic issues has been fixed, none of the concerns fine tuned, no regulations and/or conditions are set.

And yes, i’am surprised that this staked polling netherless get pushed a sudden out of nowhere on twitter by foundation members, by zooko and the ECC.

But the clarity call you posted here and on twitter is a good one, at least these people are now aware that they are not participating in an official vote and that it has not any impact.

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The current poll is a nice PoC and a great converstation starter. We now know a lot more about the risks and constraints.

At our leisure, let’s have a technical discussion of how to do the best staked/coinholder we can!

In fact, there are two different discussions to be had:

  1. What’s the best short term polling system that can be improvised using existing (or straightforward) software in a few weeks/months’ timescale?
  2. What’s the best long-term polling system we can build by pulling out all stops, including doing a network upgrade if needed? To serve us, say, a couple of years from now?

Is there a need for 1, or should be jump straight to 2?

What are the requirements from the polling system?

For a general discussion of blockchain-based voting, see the “Blockchains” section (p. 103-105) of the Securing the Vote study. See also this discussion of a grant proposal for a Zcash-based voting system.


I personally think the staked poll is a very good addition to other polling mechanisms once tweaked.

Maybe bevor going tech only it makes some sense to render the conditions and/or requirements in detail and than go to the pure tech?

My reasoning for this appraoch is that some things should be known, just some examples:

  • should the staking poll be a stand alone mechanism or should it be combined with other poll results?
  • should there be restrictions on who, how, when with what can participate?
  • should it as well eliminate double voting, in case other poll mechanisms are used as well?
  • should ECC and ZF (or other?) stakes be included or excluded from voting?
  • should it be a pure stake weight polling mechanism or something more softened with a hardcap for example to limit the influence from big stake holders?
  • should the stake polling be used for all kind of voting and polling or only higher important ones?
  • would it be an option to combine stake holder polling with a switch to some choosen POS design? In such a case i could imagine that an implentation could be easier and more promising.
  • what other known conditions should/must/could a staked polling have to make it a promising and valid option?

Just some thoughts …


I really hope people play with this way of polling (note the careful use of words, polling not voting) - its an important signal & although the method needs improvement its going to be interesting whatever happens.

Just accept it for what it is - an indication, not an absolute measurement - with a completely fungible thing that’s all you can really achieve.


I’m against the concept of the amount of money you have equaling the amount of say you have but I believe that a trustless polling measure (that’s how we would all like) is possible however difficult it may seem


Yeah, me too - but it’ll be possible to see the number of votes and the weight each vote carries. Opinions of ‘whales versus minnows’, that kinda thing, each part of the ecosystem will have its own bias - although not expecting miners to do anything, we’ll see.

Ultimately, the project is for the benefit of those that use Zcash which to me includes those that hold it - really don’t care for the opinions of those with nothing more than a loud voice & criticism.


Some of the above calls for the impossible, so let’s recognize inherent constraints.

Your voting/polling scheme can be coin-weighted, permissionless, or whale-resistant: choose two.

(Here, “whale” means someone who holds a very large amounts of coins, or assets they are willing to covert to coins. “Coin-weighted” may be by coin holding at a given time, or over a given duration, weighted by amount and holding period. “Permissionless” means participation is not subject to someone’s approval. The trilemma doesn’t seem to depend on the nuances.)

  • You can’t achieve all three, because if it’s coin-weighted and permissionless, then it cannot be whale-resistant, i.e., whales’ voting power cannot be capped to any less than their proportional coin weight. This is due to possibility of Sybil attacks: whatever is supposed to be done by a thousand small coin holders, a whale with the same total amount of coins can technically do the same thing by splitting its coins across a thousand wallets. The observable effects are indistinguishable.

But you can achieve any two:

  • Whale-resistant (but not permissionless): do a permissioned poll tied to people’s persistent identities, such as legal names or reputable forum accounts. Then you can make it one-person-one-vote, or coin-weighted-but-capped (in which case you need to use a proper cryptographic scheme to avoid linking weights to identities).

  • Coin-weighted and permissionless (but not whale-resistant): can be achieved in a privacy-preserving way by simple variants of the Zerocash or Zcash protocols (may require a network upgrade). Also, approximated by the protocol in this thread, with some privacy caveats.

  • Anonymous and whale-resistant (but not coin-weighted): do a permissionless straw-poll where anyone can cast unlimited votes.

So please find a loophole, or choose two.

(See also my general objections to coin-holding-time-weighted voting.)


There’s an even broader dilemma here: any governance mechanism that is identity-free (ie. only relies on anonymous things like PoW or coin holdings to assign weight to participants and avoid sybils) is invariably vulnerable to bribes and plutocracy.

I go into this in details here:

Personally I am increasingly thinking the cypherpunk movement should bite the bullet and start working on reasonable non-centralized identity systems (“reasonable” including stuff like privacy, lack of dependence on specific issuers, ability to have multiple pseudonyms at some cost, lack of easy backdoorability by state actors…). They don’t need to be baked into base-layer blockchain protocols but can exist on top and inform occasional governance decisions.

The approach in is one place to start; is another, etc etc. I know there are many people working on this.


[Don’t see the edit button so making a follow-up post]

Obviously throw in censorship resistance, as in the ability to get an ID despite being disfavored by centralized authorities or even the majority of a community, as a desideratum.


Welcome to the forum!
Yeah I didn’t say it was coming anytime soon, I’ve thought about it a lot and haven’t drawn much but blanks

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If you are who we think you are the mods will prob bump your account to allow edits :slight_smile:


Pre-emptive answer to security question: I most recently saw Zooko at a dinner in SF (Presidio) at the end of October, and there was a slightly awkward moment where he popped by beside me at exactly the time I was finishing the sentence (roughly) “meals with zero vegetable content literally make my stomach sick”. We were later all asked for a book that had an influence on us, and I replied The Elephant In The Brain.