Structure for the MGRC

@MGRC-Candidates

Hi All,

I think it would help a great deal to define the structure of how we see the the MGRC looking.

As a voter I am struggling to see what the group would look like, as a candidate I am struggling to see where I would best fit in.

I think @Shawn has proposed the best structure outline so far.

I would like to see it amended. to be more like
2 MGRC “Admins/Managers” Full time positions
3 MGRC “Specialist” Part time positions.

Everyone receives the same compensation, however the specialists have half the time burden of the admins. This will hopefully allow them to keep working within their current positions. and fulfil any current contractual obligations to their current “employer”. (the admin positions are specialist positions too, but they will involve more admin work - the other half of the full time position.- call them managers if you don’t like the term admin.)

It would also allow candidates to get a reasonable idea of who they will be working with and what is expected of them. For example if this was to be like this I would probably want to do one of the admin positions, I have more time I can commit, I like the community aspect and can do milestone appraisals, etc. With this differential I can highlight the skills I think are most marketable for the position.

What do the other candidates think of this? if we can in principle agree a structure between us then it should help the voters ask appropriate questions and candidates to pitch a bit more to their strengths and what they can bring to the table.

I have a pretty in depth view of what I see each position requiring. with the the admins more handling the community side, working out what projects might need help. Milestone deliverables, etc. with the Specialist bringing a more specific skillset be it finance, in depth knowledge of zcash development, etc.

This wont be this clear cut and there will be significant overlap. it is just a starting point.

It would be great to get applicants feedback on this sooner rather than later.

Steve.

5 Likes

I really like this idea as I am very excited to potentially be an MGRC member but will not be able to commit to full time work. I would love to be considered for a position as an MGRC “specialist” part time role. I can absolutely commit to 10-15 hours per week & feel that would allow me to be a valuable contributor to the committee while being able to keep my regular day job as well.

3 Likes

Thanks for starting this conversation. I agree that there is work that needs to be done by members of the committee that likely requires full time effort - but not so much effort that it makes sense for all members to be appointed to full time positions. However, I have two main concerns about the current proposed structure:

This 2-3 split concentrates power in the hands of the 2 admins - Due to the full time nature of the position they will have more influence over what applications are presented to the committee, and where they spend time in shaping applications.

On the flip side, that compensation split is also unbalanced - it makes very little sense to pay all members the same is 3 are slated to do less work - especially without a defined list of specialisms to fill those roles.

The zcash community are voting for those who will best reflect their interests as a community. Any imbalance within the structure of the committee itself risks undermining those decisions.

As such, in order to balance these power differentials with the needs of the community, I propose an slightly alternative structure (which is very similar in spirit, with a few specific technicalities which I think are important to preserve the integrity of the committee):

  • All committee members are paid a base compensation that covers reviewing, discussing and voting on proposals.
  • 2 committee members, voted on by all 5 elected members, are elected to co-chair the committee and are responsible for managing the day-to-day business of the committee including, but not limited to:
    • Community Outreach
    • Operations
    • Communication with applicants and grantees (answering questions, maintaining FAQs) - but any material change in contract must be approved by the committee.
    • Organizing committee business
    • Transparency Reports
  • Co-chairs are compensated for the additional time they will spend on committee business. I imagine this will initially be full time work.
  • Co-chair positions are subject to ongoing review by the committee, and can be replaced by a committee vote.
  • If particular applications (or other community business) require additional review (and/or work), and the committee believes that it possesses the skills to conduct the review internally, then compensated sub-committees can be created subject to a vote of the committee. (These would be analogous too the “Specialists” in the initial proposal, but more specifically defined and time limited).
  • If the committee fails to structure a sub-committee of expertise for any particular proposal, then it has the option of reviewing external applications for such expertise.
7 Likes

Hello everyone,

Thanks for bringing this up. This is an important discussion that I have a few thoughts about as well. Being that this is the first MGRC I think there will be a few extra duties that will need to be fulfilled by the 5 member committee.

ECC, Zfnd, and MGRC will form a triangle for current Zcash development, therefore I think the first 5 member committee will have to come together to decide on the following “launch” ideas:

  • Deciding on the MGRC legal entity?
  • MGRC branding
  • Creation of a separate website, a new page on the main Zcash/Zfnd website, or both for people to read about who we are, what we do, and how to apply and submit proposals.
  • Creation of social media profiles
  • Decide to use existing grant applications or modify
  • Creating project template/contract for winning applicants (timelines, milestones, payments, marketing all steps of the process)

Additionally, I think it is important for the 5 member committee to become familiar with each other and to work to establish a MGRC value system. Our MGRC value system is something that we will create together, like a mission statement or map. It will answers things like:

  • What goal would be like to achieve in order to improve the Zcash ecosystem?
  • What are we looking for in a project or team?
  • What would be best for the Zcash ecosystem today?
  • Will this “addition” survive 100 years?
  • Is this addition regulatory friendly?

This system will be a way for getting the 5 members “on the same page” and help to prevent problems such as:

  • Do we have a collective committee goal we would like to accomplish when choosing projects or will we go on individual beliefs and values?
  • Are we simply waiting to see what comes in and go with the coolest idea?

For example: Maybe the goal of the first MGRC is to support the developing interoperability function with certain chains. Maybe the goal is to build tokens on Zcash? Or maybe the goal is to develop a robust ongoing marketing campaign for Zcash?

I think creating a MGRC that all 5 team members create collectively will help solve the problem of a 2-3 split concentration of power (full time vs part time positions) as each application will go through our MGRC value system that the committee created together.

Compensation and committee member ratio:

I think this may need to come to a community vote along with a vote to decide term limits. I think base compensation is required in order to get the sustained effort needed to accomplish all tasks at a high level. I think a 2/3 (full/part OR part/full) ratio makes sense and it is important for all applicants to state their intention before the vote. Full time members should have a higher base compensation than part time members.

FOR EXAMPLE: Full time members (2). Base compensation: $80,000 each
Part time members (3). Base compensation: $40,000 each
Total MGRC payroll: $280,000

Part time duties include: (SAMPLE)

  • Being an active participant in the initial “launch” ideas
  • Being an active participant in generation the MGRC value system
  • Being active on forums and social media pages
  • Reviewing and input on ALL application submissions and voting.
  • Any other interests or talents they think will provide value to the MGRC.

Full time duties include: (SAMPLE)

  • All of the part time duties plus
  • Treasury: Storing, handling and distributing funds and taxes
  • Communications: setting up meetings with applicant teams, MGRC committee, ECC, Zfnd
  • Secretary: Transparent reports of meetings, funds, winning project progress and accountability
  • Technical consultant: assessing the technical details of a prospective project. Does it mesh with the current Zcash system

My MGRC intention:

Part time. I also have strong interest in working to develop the MGRC brand package, setting up the MGRC web page, and social media accounts. I will also be participating in all communication meetings and reviewing, discussing and voting on proposals.

SUMMARY:

Complexities aside I think the pure intent of the MGRC is simple: Choosing and hiring projects/teams that align with the MGRC values in order to positively grow the Zcash ecosystem.

Thank you!

2 Likes

personally want to see 5 MGRC members working full time to increase zcash’s user base. maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have 2 auxiliary members to vote in place of MGRC members with conflict of interest issues.

imho - until MGRC’s fully operational; every member of MGRC should expect full time work at first. can always re-evaluate full/part time afterwards.

also, i was under the impression ZF would be handling this part

The MGRC’s expenses should be community funded and everything else left allocated for grants, assuming people understand how absolutely critical this is to the future of the project then I don’t think it’ll be a problem (plus I’m confident that the right candidates will be committed regardless)

I agree 100% the MGRC will hold a lot of power and will be critical to the future of Zcash.
As @kek brought up, if the Zcash Foundation is indeed in charge of handling the finances, taxes, and is the “infrastructure” that the MGRC will operate out of then that will free up A LOT of time/duties for the MGRC. This would allow the MGRC to focus solely on searching for, collecting, analyzing, discussing, and voting on proposed projects. In this scenario (which I favor), I agree that this duty could be performed on a volunteer or community funded bases.
However, if the MGRC will be responsible for the above (former) duties then some sort of base compensation would be required as they would be “building and operating the business” of the MGRC from the ground up and on-going.
So, I imagine this is written somewhere, Does anyone know what exact role the Zcash Foundation will play in regards to the MGRC? Is the MGRC simply a branch of the Zcash Foundation?

Additionally:

I know this has been brought up, but I think it is very important that 1 member of the ECC and 1 member of the Zcash foundation hold a seat on the MGRC OR hold an advisor position.

Thanks

Agree with this.

The resources MGRC control will be large enough to generate friction and stress the working relationship between ZF/ECC/MGRC.

Involving ZF/ECC in a minority way makes sure their voices are heard and they are involved -they are also experts in this tech & environment so would make a valuable contribution.

2 Likes

currently leaning towards voting against existing ECC/ZF candidates. reasons being, the community already enjoys their services. want to see new blood / new ideas. also, heard a few convincing arguments 2 out of 5 seats going to ECC/ZF would be decentralization theater.

another thing, and know i’m repeating myself - until MGRC’s fully operational; MGRC will hopefully be full time work (imagine community wants MGRC fully deployed quickly). might be some part time work afterwards, but as MGRC hits the ground believe part time work could quickly become full time work. would ECC/ZF employees be capable of working 2 full time jobs?

thing i’m actually curious about:
currently under the impression ZF handles the money - is this correct?

1 Like

Thanks for quoting my post @mistfpga, I will try answer a few of of the questions brought up so far in this thread.

I disagree with this point, a position that has more day-to-day responsibility should be compensated more than a position that has less responsibility. But, as I mentioned in my application, the only way to have a fair majority vote for MGRC panel of 5 is for all positions to have an equal “voice” or else it risks capture.

@JKnapp many of your question about the structure of the MGRC have been addressed in ZIP-1014, I suggest reviewing it closely.

In particular

The MGRC will not be a separate legal entity. The MGRC is more of a autonomous extension of the Zcash Foundations funding, where the Foundation has funds set aside for the MGRC to use for Zcash development project/grants.

The Major Grant Review Committee’s funding decisions will be final, requiring no approval from the ZF Board, but are subject to veto if the Foundation judges them to violate U.S. law or the ZF’s reporting requirements and other (current or future) obligations under U.S. IRS 501©(3).

ZF SHALL recognize the MG slice of the Dev Fund as a Restricted Fund donation under the above constraints (suitably formalized), and keep separate accounting of its balance and usage under its Transparency and Accountability obligations defined below.

I can see the MGRC needing to create a template for applicants to use however since the Zcash Foundation has IRS 501© reporting responsibility I would expect that direct legal contracts written will be between entities the MGRC approves for Grants and the Zcash Foundation.

Note that under the Obligations section:

Obligations
ECC, ZF, and Major Grant recipients (during and leading to their award period) SHALL all accept the obligations in this section.

Ongoing public reporting requirements:

  • Quarterly reports, detailing future plans, execution on previous plans, and finances (balances, and spending broken down by major categories).
  • Monthly developer calls, or a brief report, on recent and forthcoming tasks. (Developer calls may be shared.)
  • Annual detailed review of the organization performance and future plans.
  • Annual financial report (IRS Form 990, or substantially similar information).

Only ECC, ZF, and Major Grant recipients are required to file IRS paperwork/forms, not the MGRC itself.

As it sits right now the MGRC has a set allotment of the block reward and will need to set up any overhead (ie: compensation, infrastructure, etc…) to be a portion of thier allotment. I don’t think there is a way to make community funded mechanism in addition to the existing allocation.

This is also directly addressed in ZIP-1014:

At most one person with association with the ECC, and at most one person with association with the ZF, are allowed to sit on the Major Grant Review Committee. “Association” here means: having a financial interest, full-time employment, being an officer, being a director, or having an immediate family relationship with any of the above.

I personally think @sarahjamielewis outline/structure to maintain integrity of the Committee listed above is spot on.

Initially I think there will be a lot of brain-sweat and meetings that will need to take place to establish the by-laws and operational structure of the MGRC. Once this intial push is complete I think the structure of 2 full time, 3 part time positions will serve the community well. If the MGRC becomes much more work than this structure can handle then I would rather have the option for those that are part time to either 1. Switch to a full time position to meet the MGRCs needs. Or 2. Step down and allow for a new Community Advisory panel vote for a full-time replacement for that seat.

4 Likes

I think a proper legal position on the matter from the ZFND (when its available) would help here, furthering my speculation here would probably just turn argumentative, Im not a lawyer but I sense problems

To which matter are you referring?

Basic MGRC structure

After reviewing ZIP-1014 and previous comments it is clear that the ZF will have the primary role in the general operation of the MG process (which is a good thing).

Very simply put, it appears the MGRC is designed to have 2 roles:

  1. Come together to review and vote for applicants that the committee feels will provide the greatest ongoing benefit to the Zcash ecosystem.

  2. Generate transparency documents of each meeting. Sharing their review and voting process with the community.

Therefore, the most important role of each MGRC candidate is:
1.have 100% pure intention for the best interest of the Zcash ecosystem
2.have absolutely no financial interest on any voting proposals
3.Good communication skills with other committee members, applicants, EFF, ZF, and Z community in the review process.
4.Have a fresh unbiased perspective outside of the current (ECC/ZF) ecosystem. This is the reason the community voted to have a new committee, rather than to leave the vote to the ECC or ZF.

Full-time or Part-time

Based on this information it appears that most of the time spent will be directly determined by the number and frequency of applications coming in for review and discussion. This cannot be predicted initially, so all interested candidates should be prepared for Full-Time work.

However, it could be wise for the committee to be pro-active in outreach to the general crypto community in search of future applicants. This would add to the time commitment, but would only truly be necessary if interest in MG funding is lacking (which I highly doubt will be an issue).

Other thoughts?

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ZF will control general disbursement of funds, but that in no way implies that ZF will have a primary role over MGRC operations - which I would take to include: constructing and evaluating policies (ethical, security, funding, conflict of interest etc.), ongoing grant management and communication with applicants, sourcing new applicants, and day to day scheduling of meetings (both of the committee, prospective applicants, and funded projects).

2.have absolutely no financial interest on any voting proposals

Taken to a logical conclusion, this position would preclude any MGRC members from holding zcash. It’s a very naive policy and one that ignores the standards of practice inherent in modern committee structures. The committee needs a robust conflict of interest policy that will require members to declare all interests (and potential / perceived interests) up front and outlines the expected behavior of committee members when it comes to reporting these interests - see the links I have posted in another thread on MGRC ethics for examples.

On incentives:

have 100% pure intention for the best interest of the Zcash ecosystem

No one ever has 100% pure intentions. People are complex phenomena with many different relationships and interests. That is why it is vital that the committee have strong policies around reporting conflicts of interest, and that committee members are compensated such that their incentives are aligned with the ecosystem.

Full-time or Part-time

As stated above, I think it would be prudent for the committee to vote to establish 2 full time, compensated, co-chairs to carry out most of the day to day work.

It may be that as the MRGC grows that there is a need for the committee to expand the number of full time members or redefine these positions to better scale the work load. Depending on the severity of the change, then that might (as @shawn outlined above) require members to step down and trigger a vote.

On to the point of ECC/ZF representation and the impacts on committee structure:

  1. Have a fresh unbiased perspective outside of the current (ECC/ZF) ecosystem. This is the reason the community voted to have a new committee, rather than to leave the vote to the ECC or ZF.

ZIP-1014 already lays out a max on number of members from the ECC or ZF. There are pros and cons of using those allotments that the voters will have to decide on.

Both voters and the eventual committee should understand that there is an inherent power dynamic present there, that will affect the committee structure. It would be a bad look for the MRGC and the overall decentralization progress of the zcash ecosystem if the co-chairs (or whatever full time roles are eventually determined) were held by ZF or ECC representatives.

Given the make up of the voting pool and, it would seem that such representation should be expected and designed for: This means that having ECC and ZF representation among the 5 elected committee members reduces the number of those members that could conceivably hold such positions. As such if this 2-3 split is a favored operational structures, then voters should take this into account when deciding who to vote for.

2 Likes

i’m fairly convinced the 1st elected team will be mostly dealing with a full time workload. process of setting MGRC up will definitely be full time work, and probable 2021 bull market will create extra interest/excitement that wasn’t there during the bear market. MGRC will probably see a major uptick in new proposals as markets heat-up. imo all MGRC members should at least be prepared for full time work. (no disrespect meant here. i love and adore all candidates for taking the huge risk running for MGRC)

it’s already starting, and we haven’t seen anything yet - expect to see increased excitement in 2021.

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The problem (me thinks) is the relationship between the two entities, the MGRC IS a completely seperate entity if the members aren’t held to the same requirements as the ZFND (otherwise why not just employ them? The framework for salaries and grant selections all already exist) and thats fine but now its a gray issue about whether or not funding substantive quantities to a seperate entity to decide to fund (something the ZFND already does right now), but not actually do or fulfill, major grants.
Non substantive quantities is kind of a different story but if the reporting requirements for fulfilling the grant are the same as the ZFND (which I believe is the case) then it just circles back to why just not employ them.
The legal veto implies that they aren’t held legally responsible for improperly reporting but (assuming an attempt in good faith) would fall on the existing ZFND grant comittee and then it circles back to funding substantive quantities to a seperate entity to do a job they aren’t held responsible for doing right.
This is why I suggest community funding because then they are completely seperate entities and bypasses all (or most) these potentials, probably raises new ones but ones that probably won’t threaten the ZFNDs 501c3 status.
I’m not a lawyer but this is an experimental tangent off of an experiment and the ZFND is what Im worrying about
The ZFND 2018 returns were audited, its reasonable to assume it’ll happen again because, like Zooko said theres a firehose of money coming and most of it will be pointed (a lot already is) at the ZFND and the IRS is already pretty interested
This will all work as long as we don’t misunderstand the rules already in place, the rules the ZFND already adheres to but prove that we do understand

1 Like

Hello everyone,

Thanks again for all the input. It’s helping to clear up the obligations and purpose of the committee for everyone.

Purpose of MGRC?

I think one of the last complexities I am running into is the designed purpose of the MGRC vs the assumed purpose. I think once this difference is ironed out it will help the community define compensation and time commitment for this position as well as help people decide if they would like to be a candidate.

A good started point is found in the Title of this position: “Major Grant Review Committee”. Going literal, that means the purpose of the committee is to review major grant applicants, and that is it.

However, according to ZIP-1014 there is another purpose of the MGRC position: “Major Grants awards are subject to approval by a 5-seat MGRC…The MGRC funding decisions will be final (but are subject to veto by ZF if in violation of any laws). That is the MGRC will not only review major grant applicants, but also vote on awards.

This is the extent of the purpose for the MGRC according to ZIP-1014

ZF vs. MGRC

According to ZIP-1014, ZF will have an important role in the MGRC. Here are some examples:

“The Funds shall be received and administered by ZF.”

“The ZF shall continue to operate the community panel and should work toward making it more representative and independent.”

“ZF shall keep separate (MG funds) accounting of its balance and usage.”

“ZF shall strive to define target metrics and key performance indicators, and the MGRC should utilize these in its funding decisions.” This is telling me that the ZF will create the criteria that major grant applicants should follow and the MGRC should be familiar with these criteria when reviewing applicants.

Transparency and Accountability
Obligations in ZIP-1014

This section includes the obligations for ECC, ZF, and Major Grant recipients, but does not include obligations for the MGRC. The only obligation of the MGRC I find in ZIP-1014 is to vote and award major grants (as described above).
Obviously the MGRC obligations described above will take a lot of time (potentially Full-Time in itself) through research, communication and discussion within the committee, applicants, specialists, ECC, ZF, and the community. But I do not see any other obligations for the MGRC?

Other MGRC Obligations

If the MGRC was designed to have obligations such as: seek out applicants, keep quarterly, monthly, and annual, reports then wouldn’t it be outlined in the ZIP? In addition, It would seem more accurate to rename the position: MGC “Major Grant Committee” as the members will be obliged to do more than “review” applicants as a trusted 3rd party committee.
That said, I am certainly not discouraging additional obligations (including obligations I may be missing from sources other than ZIP-1014?) should the MGRC members choose to do so once elected. In fact, I think it should be encouraged.

SUMMARY

It is not my intention to be the judge of the intended purpose of the MGRC. And I am certainly not trying to disregard the great ideas presented by current MGRC applicants. I am simply trying to “clear the water” in hashing out the designed purpose of this role for any and all interested candidates.

Thanks!

3 Likes

@sarahjamielewis

Thanks for the detailed response. I disagree somewhat with the division of labour - but that is something that will be fleshed out after. your thinking seems to be inline with what shawn was suggesting.

One small point tho, I dont think having “chair” in the title helps. It directly implies authority. secretary might be a more fitting title - and a lot more inline with the job role.

@JKnapp

You might be waiting a bit to get a resolution on the scope of the MGRC. I think the short answer is “no one knows” it wasnt really discussed before (to my failing memory) but I was under the impression that the ZF and ECC were to act as counter balance for the first few years. (4 at least) . It should have its own autonomy and be held to the same standards as the zfnd.

So I think the answer will lay in how the CAP votes and who they vote for.

I will get round to going over my notes from the streams to see if I can find some clarity - but i strongly suspect it isnt there.

1 Like

All:

When I announced my candidacy for the MGRC after my review of ZIP-1014, as a recovering lawyer, I viewed the committee akin to a Bar Association. To me, MGRC seeks to represents a democratizing valve that lessens the potential imprimatur of the Foundation to solve all collective action problems that are hard choices. Consider that these MGRC members can be held democratically accountable for mistakes without single handedly destroying the project entirely, when the Foundation could stumble in making a blunder in a hard choice. At very least, the democratic nature of the MGRC will maintain faith in potential change, rather than merely seeing Zcash as another cryptographic corporate monetary unit with rigid interests as stakeholders. Accordingly, when reviewing large grants, I believe it is not only critical a member have technical capability to review the proposals brought before it, but essential that an MGRC member represents the long term interests of present and future community members, and not the Foundation, and not just exchange number go up.

As for me specifically, since leaving school, I have always been independent in my work, and can devote myself full time, and will always be available for this community. However, I do not think it was intended that the review committee be a full time or compensated position. Again, I see the MGRC as a democratic check on the Foundation to make sure it just doesn’t turn into a top-down ordered affair. I currently devote the large majority of my time to self-directed study of monetary theory as it relates to maintaining legal and police institutions. It would be a delight to focus my thoughts that are largely my own private thoughts, and put them to use on behalf of Zcash.

sincerely,

lawzec

p.s.
some preferences from me not found in ZIP 1014:
all grants and their exhaustion should utilize t-addr until the Foundation (or MGRC) approves.
prefer the stylization of Zcash as zCash. meh!

2 Likes

This was my thought after reviewing ZIP-1014 as well. The MG portion of the Dev Fund is massive (40%), compared to ECC (35%) and Zfnd (25%). It seems strange that the decisions of the MGRC (as a volunteer position) would be responsible for that amount of money, unless it was as a democratic check on the work of the Foundation.

What we don’t know:

  • The quantity and quality of MG applicants once the MG process is open.

  • Where applicants will come from: Targeted, random, or both? I think one of the first things the new committee members need to do is sit down (together and again with the ECC and Zfnd) and discuss what they would like to achieve during their term. That will help answer this unknown.

  • What will be the Zfnd involvement (if any?) in the “MG work”?

What we do know:

  • MGRC will be responsible for working together as a team on the very important final vote (which will require ongoing review and discussions with multiple parties) to award funds to applicant(s).

Thanks

1 Like