Staked Poll on Zcash Dev Fund Debate

To be irritatingly and pedantically clear, this does not imply that there is not any other information not on the blockchain available to any third party about the source of those funds. (This is a subtle but crucial point regarding this type of pollprocessvote).


I’m guessing they have a lot more than that and just unshielded that number for fun but also for privacy about their total zec holdings.

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I still think staked polls are useful as a community organizing tool, even if there are reasons to not treat such polls as dispositive.

Before deciding whether to launch Ycash as a chain fork, it would have been very useful as an organizing tool to have some information about whether ZEC holders (weighted by amount of ZEC, as of the summer of 2019) supported a fork that would change the Equihash parameters and honor the 10% cap on coins not allocated via the mining process.

If such a hypothetical poll had shown adequate support from ZEC coin holders, it would have helped in recruiting more people to help with the chain fork.

If such a hypothetical poll did NOT show much support from ZEC coin holders, that too would have been useful. It would have suggested perhaps that ZEC users who care about such things either never existed in the first place OR left the community (and sold their ZEC) in 2018 in response to the ECC not changing the Equihash parameters. It may have led to Ycash being launched as a code fork with its own genesis block (not a chain fork of Zcash).

Finally, the debate here reminds me of attorneys arguing that certain evidence should be excluded on the basis that it is so prejudicial that the jury should never see it. I believe community members here are wise enough to review the results of staked polls and decide for themselves individually how much weight the results should be accorded.

Thank you @amiller for providing this poll.


I think the debate more closely represents whether or not the means by which the evidence is collected is acceptable and there’s broad consensus here that the particular method is broken


+1 and i see even more problems like:

  • nobody isn’t even aware of it yet. Such late introduction could be seen as an attempt to influence the result with a new sudden way of polling/voting.

  • Why wasn’t it mentioned earlier? There have been months since the first voting round. but again just a sudden out of nowhere coin-weight holding is introduced without any preparation. This doesn’t sound good, fair, and normal in a such important voting process.

  • Within the first coin-weighted vote, which was even prepared way better than this one, the result clearly showed and proofed that a handfull voters used this voting mechanism. As a result just 2 or 3 “whales” dictated the outcome. I personally would go as far as saying that in current state this mechanism is far from being a fair playfield without broader adoption. Someone easly could argue that the ECC, it’s employees, shareholders which are more or less insiders in current state of coin-weighted voting could use their holdings/knowledge in own favour.

  • It should be an absolute no-go to add whatever mechanism after the voting has started anyway. Even less if it’s introduced by the ECC who is literally fighting on several points of the proposal.

Edit: just readed this, so it seems coin-weighted voting won’t work anyway and is way to risky at the moment:

[Edit by @daira: this method does still work with the full-node ZecWallet.]


@zooko: Why are you insisting on this so late in the game? Theoretically coin weighted voting is a bad idea for reasons others have touched on: 1) it runs major privacy risks 2) it’s not compatible with cold storage and therefore suffers from low turnout and 3) it’s easy to manipulate.

We also know this empirically from the last failed experiment at coin voting. As you know, there was an unofficial coin weighted vote run during the last sentiment collection. Less than 2% of the coin supply voted. Turn out was so low, in fact, that you could borrow all the ZEC that participated for $600. Note, thats not the cost of borrowing enough to change the vote, it’s borrowing enough to eclipse it completely. It cost $600 to buy every vote cast in the last coin vote.

Placeholder’s analysis of the ZRX vote shows similar issues. This isn’t just a Zcash problem. As Vitalik once said, “PoS isn’t a voting system; stakers are military, not government. Stakers shouldn’t decide policy.”

Why should we risk the future of Zcash, something we all care deeply about, on such manipulation? Lets say the Helios vote is in favor of removing the cap, but the coin weighted vote goes against it. How would we know some well resourced company didn’t manipulate the coin vote to get a larger share for major grants? Or worse, say it goes the other way with the coin vote removeing the cap. How are you going to answer the accusations that you or ECC manipulated it? I’d know you’d never do such a thing, but the accusation is powerful and hard to disprove. It’s the kind of thing that erodes credibility in the community.

It seems the only thing a coin vote can do is allow manipulation, sow dissension and confuse people about the legitimacy of the Helios vote. Surely you don’t want that, so why risk it?


Hi, Ian. Thanks for your comments. In answer to your question, I wrote above why I think it is important to continue iterating on permissionless Coin-Holders Petitioning. In short, it is because coin-holders are a vital part of our community and they are essential for the future of Zcash, so I think it is important to show them that we value them and we listen to them.


You mean the voices we know can be bought for $600? And don’t bother to turn out. Idealism is all fine and good, but we have cold hard reality to contend with.


I don’t think that $600 number is a cold, hard reality, I think it is a speculation, coming from “Perfectionism and Worry (PAW)”. I think that in practice, coin-holders who sincerely believe in the future of Zcash are willing and able to speak with a much louder voice than saboteurs are. If I’m wrong, let’s prove it with cold, hard reality, on the blockchain.


As you well realize, the only way to make the real adversaries come out and actually conduct attacks is to make it worth their while, i.e., suffer the consequences. That’s why we cryptographers and security engineers (by which I include you, @zooko) try to understand what an adversary can do and is incentivized to do, proactively, and prevent that. “Secure until demonstrated otherwise” is a very weird attitude for you to take.

Added: Especially when domain experts are already arguing to the contrary (e.g., Vitalik and Placeholder). More here.


Also the only way to make real users and coin-holders come out and exercise their voice. Which is what I believe happened last time and what I expect will happen this time. If I’m wrong and instead a wild adversary appears who risks losing millions of dollars of their money just to interfere in the Zcash governance process or in order to prove a point, that would be a fascinating event to learn from! But even if there is such an attack, I think that the sincere Zcash coin-holders are much, much more numerous both in terms of number of individuals and in terms of total stake. As I’ve said, honoring those people and empowering them in Zcash governance is why I believe that this is important to continue pushing forward on, despite the problems and the risks.


(Speaking for myself.)

These seem like weak arguments:

  • Is now, given the importance of polling on ZIP 1014 to Zcash’s future, a good point at which to be doing unproven experiments?
  • Even if sincere coin-holders collectively own much more ZEC than an attacker, this doesn’t address Ian’s argument that the amount of ZEC that actually turned out last time is too low for any semblance of security (and its holders would not know, until the coin-weighted poll is over, that they needed to turn out in order to counteract an attack).

For the record, I think @secparam’ and @boxalex’s arguments against a coin-weighted poll are compelling, as are @tromer’s arguments stated here, and I will not be participating.


This is simply not true. The reason you can ‘borrow’ that much on binance for a low rate is because they don’t let you withdraw it, only trade with it, so it can’t be used for voting. Obviously in the real world no one is going to lend you bearer assets worth millions for only $600. Vote buying may be a real concern but you are pointing to invalid data.


If you were borrowing the ZEC, you’d have to put up collateral, obviously. That doesn’t change the cost of borrowing the ZEC.

That said, you might find someone willing to execute the transaction on your behalf. Then they only risk they’d be taking is the operational exposure from putting money in a hot wallet. People transfer 5 million in BTC fairly frequently, so I don’t see this being a major issue either. Provided you pay someone to deal with the bother.

And again, that was $600 to buy the entire vote outright, not just change the result. I’m guessing ECC, ZFND, and Zooko personally have enough ZEC on hand to shift the result if it’s even reasonably close.


I think we agree that vote buying is possible, but we don’t know the actual amount a ‘whale’ would ask to vote on your behalf. To do a tx involving millions in zec, I suspect the whale would ask for a lot more than $600, but probably not too much to make vote buying infeasible. Again, I agree its a problem but we really don’t have hard data on the actual costs of an attack.

Those 3 are all legitimate voters :).

No, it does change the cost because the cost of ‘borrowing’ zec from someone who lets you trade with it but keeps the keys is necessarily different from the cost of actually borrowing the zec and putting up collateral.


What happens if someone with a large number of zec vote in the cut with the main vote? It doesn’t work out that ECC takes this position because the CEO is in favor of this method? Despite all the risks and opportunities to lead a hidden game when voting coin holders? As the third round of voting is brewing for me.

Nobody knows, there are enough possible scenarios where whales could simply get together and use the amount of ZEC for price manipulation through voting.
We have witnessed enough groups in crypto space that get together just with the intention of manipulation.

Seriously? I have a different opinion why these would not be legitimate voters:

  • IF the ECC uses it’s ZEC reserves for voting i personally wouldn’t see it as legitimate as the reserve or any ECC holdings so far are allocated to the ECC for different reasons, not for voting.

  • IF the ECC, Zooko or anybody else involved use there ZEC holdings for voting they have a clear advantage, even more if such voting is introduced a sudden soon bevor the voting closes. This is a clear expose of advantage and insider knowledge if these people use their ZEC to influence a vote where nobody else is even aware about.

  • In theory i could see even a problem if the ZF would use it’s funds for voting for similar reasons + in my opinion the ZF should stay neutral in voting, that’s of course just my personal view.

  • Another problem i see is double voting. I personally allready have a problem that the community advisory board is filled over 1/2 with ECC/ZF/close to ECC people. Now if the ECC or ECC employees that allraedy vote on the advisory board are going to use their ZEC holdings another time with coin weighted voting for me it’s no different than double voting, with the difference it’s not just a double voting but a x voting (up to the amount they hold).

  • Last but not least i see some kind of conflict of interest. I have again problems if a party which is fighting for slices/funds gets that much voting power on voting/elections/petitons/whatever that affect their own funding. How would it be seen if in the next US elections Donald Trump gets 50.000.000 votes he can use additionally for himself just because he holds several billions US$?

Does it really matter if it’s $600, $1000 or $5.000 ?There are so many possible scenarios how ZEC could be borrowed or just used for free by exchanges, venture capital companies. Additonally a whale and holder of another crypto currency could easyly exchange temporary his holdings into ZEC, vote and exchange back to his original currency which even could result in a temporary price increasement and profit for this whale.


I realized I didn’t answer your specific question, which was “Why now?”. The answer is because community members asked for it (Community Sentiment Polling Results (NU4) and draft ZIP 1014) and Andrew Miller said he’d be the scorekeeper.

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@Zooko you keep falling back on the same rhetorical trick of appealing to hope without addressing the valid points everyone is making.

You: " I think that the sincere Zcash coin-holders are much, much more numerous both in terms of number of individuals and in terms of total stake." We should be inclusive and hear their voices.

Everyone else: But thats not the case. The voices we heard last time we did this were tiny and could purchased in their entirety for $600 in interest plus temporary collateral.

You: But the honest voices would outnumber the attack and we need to hear them. And we should stay positive. No one would do this just to make a point.

Everyone: It would have cost $600 dollars to buy those voices last time, nothing stops someone from buying them this time. We have no way of knowing they are honest and many reasons to think they won’t be. And the attack wouldn’t be to make a point, it would be to manipulation the vote and get more money from removing or keeping the cap. The attacker is very well motivated.

You: But that’s just a theoretical attack. No one actually did it. We should be optimistic.

Everyone: Yeah, that’s not how security works: you look at what an attacker could do. And we know they could have bought the vote for $600. Things aren’t secure based on optimism.

You: " I think that the sincere Zcash coin-holders are much, much more numerous both in terms of number of individuals and in terms of total stake."


I absolutely agree with you, to call for risky actions is completely reckless, the more useful the data is more than doubtful. I would also understand voting by type: a photo of a monitor with an open wallet where the number of coins is visible, and a written address on a piece of paper, this is completely safe for the holder, even if it temporarily removes from anonymity. Especially in the post they talk about unofficial voting, just collecting opinions and not accepting their votes along with the official voting.
And this is only one person asked, I am alone and ask to cancel the vote of the coin holders until there is an acceptable mechanism, or is my voice less important than the other person?

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