The Global Ambassador Program

Global Ambassador Program - Year One Retrospective

One year ago, we launched the Global Ambassador Program (GAP) as an experimental program designed to identify high-quality community members and empower them to lead activities to help grow the Zcash community and drive user adoption. The grant committee discussed their perspective of the GAP at the end of 2022. We have identified impacts, challenges, and lessons learned of the program. This post is intended to communicate these findings and serve as a retrospective for the first year of operating the program.

Program Impact

Building a strong and sustainable community is seen as a key goal of the Global Ambassador Program. A strong community can provide support and resources for the Zcash Community, increase awareness and adoption of Zcash, and help foster a culture of collaboration and growth. A sustainable community is one that is able to persist and continue to grow over time, even as individual members come and go.

The Global Ambassador Program helps grow and engage a grassroots global community of Zcash users and advocates. It has encouraged local meetups at small venues and conferences enabling ambassadors to engage with their local communities. It also provides a sense of belonging and connection among community members through shared experiences and events. It enables Zcash curious individuals to experience and learn about Zcash via community engagement activities such as z2z onboarding, virtual meetups, and local language translations.

Program Highlights

Early on, @yoditar agreed to become the head ambassador of the program. Yoditar has been an important partner in the success of the program. Yoditar assists the committee with administrative tasks and provides valuable feedback on ambassador efforts that, combined with the monthly ambassador Proof of Work submissions, enable the committee to evaluate ambassador performance. Yoditar excels at community building and generating new ideas for the other ambassadors. We are very grateful for Yoditar’s leadership in the program!

Another highlight that cannot be overlooked is the explosive initiative of the Zcash Brazil team, led by @Michae2xl. This team hit the ground running by leveraging additional funding options to create promotional Zcash merchandise to be given away at multiple conferences in Brazil. Their efforts garnered so much interest that they applied for and received independent ZCG funding to support their team and are now hosting the first regional Zcon event, Zcon Voices, in Brazil this March. This event will host a variety of speakers from the Zcash community and ecosystem and will be delivered entirely in Portuguese.

Below are some additional ambassador highlights from the first year of the program:

  • @AidenZ grew the Korean community on KaKaoTalk, created the Zcash Korean Community Blog, and translated a number of articles and other information into Korean to share with the community.
  • @artkor produced Russian-language dubs of the Zcash Media documentaries, Arborist calls, ZecHub podcast episodes, and a number of other videos on YouTube. He also maintained an active presence on Twitter and continued to build out
  • @_eric organized physical meetups in Charlotte, NC, maintained the paywithzcash website, created the zecmap merchant locator, and produced videos using the SPEDN app by Flexa to pay for things with Zcash.
  • @lisa001 (aka Chidi) managed the ZcashNigeria Twitter account, hosted local in-person meetups, and helped grow Zcash adoption in Nigeria. ZcashNigeria also sponsored a local football team with a Zcash jersey that states “Privacy is Normal.”
  • @madisonedge hosted regular in-person meetups at Edge Wallet’s headquarters in San Diego. The Zcash Media team attended one meetup and showed their two documentaries.
  • @readaboutme1991 used the SPEDN app by Flexa to pay for a countless number of things with Zcash, produced videos to document his purchases with ZEC, hosted in-person meetups, and tried to convince a number of businesses to accept Zcash for payment. The Ampera Foundation gave him a shout out in a recent blog post for his efforts to use and promote the Flexa app.
  • @zoz organized z2z onboarding events for the Arabic community and maintained the active ZECArabic Twitter account.

Measuring Impact and Evaluating Performance

The process for evaluating ambassador performance is challenging due to the creative freedom we enable the ambassadors with. The broad range of ambassador skill sets and activities translates into a spectrum of work to evaluate. We could further define the goals, expectations, and Proof of Work deliverables or custom tailor these to individual ambassadors. However, we may do so at the expense of creative flexibility. Another idea could be to adjust the stipend in different ways that incentivize ambassador performance based on priority weighted PoW deliverables.

Regardless, ambassadors need to have a clear understanding of what is expected of them and how their contributions will be evaluated. They also need to receive more periodic feedback from the committee and head ambassador on their performance in order to encourage or discourage different activities. There are a variety of impactful ambassador activities that we would like to see more of, and there are also areas of improvement:

Ongoing Impactful Activities:

  • Shielded onboarding events - These events provide a more impactful onboarding experience for new Zcash users, particularly given the recent deployment of Unified Addresses and the ongoing rollout of improved wallet experiences. These events offer an excellent opportunity not only to introduce users to shielded ZEC transactions but also to gather valuable feedback for wallet developers. With the ability to receive shielded ZEC and view transactions in a block explorer, new Zcashers can gain a deeper understanding of the benefits of the privacy features that Zcash provides.
  • Local conference attendance and networking opportunities - We encourage ambassadors to attend local conferences and take advantage of networking opportunities to promote the Zcash ecosystem. To support these efforts, we have an open offer to provide additional funding to ambassadors, upon request, to create promotional materials that can be distributed at these events. However, to date, only Michael2xl has taken advantage of this opportunity.
  • Internal and external collaboration - Collaborating with Zcash grant recipients such as Free2Z and other crypto projects is essential for the success and growth of the Zcash ecosystem. Such collaborations create opportunities for shared resources, cross-promotion, and increased visibility for the Zcash network. Ambassadors can play a critical role in identifying and nurturing these relationships.
  • Timeless activities - Building websites, writing blogs, translating Zcash educational materials and media into local languages, and contributing to ecosystem initiatives such as ZecHub and the Zcash Foundation Audio Visual Club help create a sustainable ecosystem.

Areas of Improvement:

  • The committee may explore implementing term limits for ambassadors to encourage fresh perspectives and innovative ideas.
  • Consistently maintaining a social media presence is crucial, but using astroturfing as the only method for Proof of Work is not recommended because it may have limited impact and growth.
  • Giving unclear Proof of Work for offline events where Zcash is not a prominent topic is not advisable.
  • To boost attendance and involve speakers who cannot attend in person, small-scale physical gatherings can incorporate a virtual component.
  • It would be fantastic to see a hackathon initiative arise from the GAP.

Conclusion and Next Steps

In conclusion, we believe that the Global Ambassador Program has been a success in its first year, thanks to the dedication and hard work of the ambassadors. We are excited about the program’s future and its potential for growth and improvement, especially as we explore new ways to incentivize and support ambassador activities. As we continue to evolve the program, we want to hear from the community: What have you liked so far? What would you like to see in the future? And how do you think the program could be improved? We value your feedback here or via DM @ZcashGrants and look forward to working together to build a strong, sustainable Zcash community.

Zcash Community Grants Committee