Voting on proposals and board candidates!

@Autotunafish,

Decentralization - This is a hard question to answer in short-form text. In short, we must first measure decentralization, then plan and implement measures to trends towards more decentralization. To measure decentralization, you must first acknowledge centralization is not binary and it is actually a multi-dimensional map of a spectrum of decentralization. I believe centralization dimensions are both technical / functional and social.

Technical Centralization - Jackson Palmer put together an open-sourced project (https://arewedecentralizedyet.com/) that attempts to quantify elements of decentralization which interestingly does not have Zcash listed (Side Note: We should contribute Zcash stats to it here - https://github.com/ummjackson/awdy. I started the conversation here - https://twitter.com/lwsnbaker/status/1008407781680996352). The cryptocurrency community seems to be obsessed with centralization of miners but I think this is generally (a) over-hyped and misunderstood due to incorrect measurement mechanisms; and (b) ignores other very important technical and social dimensions of centralization.

Balaji Srinivasan wrote a great piece on quantifying decentralization (https://news.earn.com/quantifying-decentralization-e39db233c28e) in five dimensions: mining, client, developer, exchange, node, and owner subsystems. By measuring these five dimensions for Zcash, we can plot what Balaji calls the “Nakamoto Coefficient” with the end goal of seeking minimization in the Zcash network. Having not measured each of these myself, I think we can all agree that the current developer community and number of clients are key centralization constraints which need to be addressed.

If elected, I will push for implementing measuring Zcash’s Nakamoto Coefficient and set defined goals to trend towards decentralization.

Social Centralization - While many of the fields noted are not purely “technical,” I believe there are a number of other elements of centralization which are the building blocks of these elements. For example, the Foundation and the Zerocoin Electric Coin Company, and their executives and beneficial owners can also lead to centralization of planning and, as a result, network features. I am very sensitive to this idea and will work to minimize by diversification and other mechanisms.

With all this being said, centralization only measures control. I think it is very important to not forget about actual usage. Personally, I think Zcash, like many cryptocurrencies, is severely deficient in usage. I will push the board to define how we will measure usage and set goals to trend towards more usage.

@secparam,
Re: Opportunistic nominees + Lack of Experience -
This is a valid concern which frankly I share. I don’t know you and you do not know me. Ditto most of the rest of the community. I have been critical to the Foundation’s approach to nominations and discussion here - https://twitter.com/lwsnbaker/status/1006580838568300546. Generally, this all comes down to access and distribution of information. I believe the best approach is to have recorded AMA video chat sessions or some similar mechanism to let people ask questions and actually get to know candidates.

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I know it was a hard question(s), I was thinking about putting “if you have anything” in the queries!
But thank you, Im gonna need some to read that

Edit- btw, i have read (and am still re-reading) all the initiative proposals and candidate profiles, if there’s anything you (candidates) would like to add (which in effect you are doing by answering questions, though aren’t not limited to), please do so

Concerning this mascot ballad, two counter proposals
A- black hole, existence is scientifically verifiable but can never be seen
B- electricity, thats all Zcash really is isn’t it?

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My wife likes the idea of ZEC being like Squirrel Nuts being hidden away for the future. I can get behind that.

Also, happy father’s day to those of you it applies to (whether you know it or not).

For fun, here’s what twitter thought.

I agree with Virgil, a Z-animal would be lovely. But not a collection of zebras. That’s an artistic nightmare (and also more closely approximates the Monero privacy model). What’s wrong with a single zebra (selective disclosure)? :slight_smile:

Tardigrades are cute but they’re the perpetual in-joke of nerds. Sorry not sorry.

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I don’t think we need to go teach every person on the planet what zero-knowledge systems are any more than we need to teach them how TCP/IP works. The time to meditate on one’s privacy and rights is a luxury many do not have, and we shouldn’t require others to care in order to benefit from our work.

We need to build usable tools that make people’s lives better AND be working with the people who have local presence in those communities to help them build what they know they need rather than what we think they need. Working internationally across academic institutions is a good idea, but one thing that concerns me with the idea of FOSS dumped in people’s laps globally as a kind of technical colonialism. It has to be done thoughtfully and in a dialogue with people rather than via crypto missionaries.

  • “Train the trainers” helps - better scholarships to get builders from those communities out to cons/classes/etc
  • Understand local operating conditions and requirements up front rather than as a retrofit
  • Intense focus on usability and antifragility
  • Pay for translation of literature & documentation
  • Think of diversity on our side as inclusive of geographic and economic vectors
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Regarding https://github.com/ZcashFoundation/Elections/blob/master/2018-Q2/General-Measures/embrace_simple_asics.md, this point:

“- Building an open source, cross-platform, user-friendly, p2pool-esque piece of mining software for use with this hardware”

I wonder if Matt “BlueMatt” Corallo’s https://github.com/TheBlueMatt/bips/blob/betterhash/bip-XXXX.mediawiki would at least partially satisfy.

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Regarding https://github.com/ZcashFoundation/Elections/blob/master/2018-Q2/General-Measures/embrace_simple_asics.md, this point:

“- Selecting a thermodynamically efficient (not ASIC-resistant!), currently unused proof-of-work algorithm”

I think the desiderata for the new PoW should be spelled out and then candidate algorithms should be evaluated against those criteria. This is not only to get the best candidate, and it is not only to ensure a “fair” process, but it is also to serve as documentation and rationale after the fact.

I also think that “currently unused” should not be a requirement. Equihash-200,9 should be a candidate, and a strong one since we already know a bunch of facts about what it does and doesn’t do in practice, and since multiple ASIC manufacturers have already studied it and at least have already implemented it.

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Oh, by the way I didn’t intend my comments about https://github.com/ZcashFoundation/Elections/blob/master/2018-Q2/General-Measures/embrace_simple_asics.md to mean that I’m in favor of that initiative! I’m not on the community governance panel and I’m trying not to influence the voting too much, but on some of the topics I have knowledge — or maybe just strong opinions — that I think might be worth sharing. So on this one in particular, I had two comments about that initiative (and in particular I feel strongly that “currently unused” should not be a requirement), but whether that initiative should be voted up or down in the voting, I’m neutral on.

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Okay, I’ve read all of the ballot initiatives and candidate self-descriptions, plus everything that I could find that was written to this forum about those two things. Here are my thoughts:

The ballot initiatives are interesting, and seeing the results from them will be informative, but they are somewhat “random”, in the sense that they just touch on a couple of specific issues and they can’t (no matter how the voting goes) form a coherent strategy.

The ballot initiatives instruct the Foundation to do or to not do one thing or another, whether a specific thing (e.g. the Zcash Trademark), or a general thing (e.g. the Monetary Policy), but there are a lot of the biggest issues that will face the Foundation in the coming year that aren’t mentioned by any of these ballot initiatives: shall the Foundation spend more or save more? Spend by hiring, spend by granting, giveaways, marketing?

Most importantly who should it hire or partner with and who should it not!

Should the Foundation develop its own codebase? GUI Wallet? Mobile support?

Should the Foundation adopt a policy of deferring to the Zcash Company on consensus rules questions? Or the opposite — assuming superior legitimacy on those questions and trying to push the Company to defer to the Foundation? Should the Foundation prepare to enact and support a chain fork? Or should it not do that?

What changes (if any) to the consensus rules should the Foundation support, oppose, or force (at the risk of causing a chain fork)? The PoW mining issues are touched on by two of the ballot initiatives. What about new features? Defer to the Company on new features?

See also three things you need to exercise your freedom in a decentralized cryptocurrency. (One of the three is touched on in the ballot initiatives.)

All of these issues and probably a lot more need to be addressed in a “coherent” and strategic manner by the new board if the Foundation is to execute well.

I think the largest risk for the Zcash Foundation is simply lack of execution, due to passivity or incoherence of purpose. Note: this is absolutely not me saying that the individuals who currently make up the Foundation are passive or incoherent! I love those people. But an organization made up of active and motivated people can be an inactive and incoherent organization, and indeed I think organizations tend to entropically trend that way. The current Foundation has done a good job of booting up, getting its legs under it, running a good grant program, and starting consistent public communications. In order to accomplish more in the coming year, the next iteration of the Foundation will have to scale up without losing momentum or focus.

The outcomes of the voting on the ballot initiatives will provide little or none of that coherent purpose and strategy, and definitely none of the execution, so the choice of board members will be much more important than the decision on the ballot initiatives.

Okay, turning to the slate of board candidates, I’m very pleased! Many of the candidates seem promising to me, since they seem to combine vision and fervor. I hope those qualities will translate into execution. My positive opinion of most of these candidates is based partly on my prior knowledge of them (I knew, or at least knew about, more than half of the candidates before this process).

I’m also really pleased by the number of people putting themselves forward for the board who I didn’t know of before — who are not members of my circles. That’s a positive sign that Zcash is spreading in exposure and importance far beyond my circles, and as long as Zcash is continuing to grow this should happen more and more.

Okay, those are all my comments. Reading down the list of names on the Community Governance Panel, I feel very grateful to those people, almost all of whom I know to be deeply thoughtful and committed members of our cause.

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Will the election of new board members come before or after the other ballot votes? Restated; Is the new or the old foundation doing the voting…?

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twitter is filled with boomers, and normies. their opinions aren’t valid…

I read all candidates views by links, and only one candidate mention “ASIC resistance” directly - Pavel Sokolov.
So looks like for all other candidates the question that bother most of community is not important at all.

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Thanks for reading all that through, really appreciate.
I suppose I’m the only one to address mining centralization because I’m already a part of the community and wish the best to the network.
I believe that ASIC resistance updates carried on can bring more decentralization and help us avoid network instability, forks etc.

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With all due respect but I don’t think any candidate should shoutout loud: “YOU SHOULD WORK MORE”. It just doesn’t work this way.
The efficiency is a standalone question that is in the field of general management of the foundation that is, imho, not controlled by the board. Even if it is, I cannot evaluate the amount of work done by the Foundation without inside information on preparing collaborations, unveiled projects, etc.

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Yes, I also noticed that Pavel Sokolov is the only candidate who directly mentioned the hop topic of ASIC resistance.

Note that candidate Rob Viglione has recently blogged about changing the Equihash parameters for Zencash. https://blog.zencash.com/zencash-statement-on-potential-equihash-algorithm-change/

So where do other candidates stand on this important issue?

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I don’t think it bothers most of the community. It bothers a loud few in the community. In my opinion, most of the community is still figuring out if ASICs can make Zcash more secure and if ASIC resistance is actually possible.

It’s actually a big red flag for me that a candidate is for or against something like ASIC resistance without having any working knowledge or research of the impact it could have. The Zcash foundation should be above politics and do what is right for Zcash rather than just following a vocally popular trend.

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Hey!

I really want to touch on the subject if ASIC resistance, as it is counter intuitive.

ASIC resistance is very important to me, but this is an incredibly challenging subject to approach from a technical level. It is one of the main failures of Bitcoin, as I mentioned earlier. For some background, my “classical” training is in Silicon fab/design (specifically digital design). I started FPGA mining Bitcoin back when it was effective.

The silicon world is constantly, iteratively and rapidly changing; With the current node trajectories, Fab consolidation, possible transition to carbon, it is not intuitive what “ASIC resistance” even means in 2020, let alone 2025. While certain hashes may be challenging to compute on todays technology, that is not to day they won’t be easier with tomorrows.

This subject is going to need a lot of academic research, as well as a roadmap. I think key questions that need to be clearly defined are:

  • What does an “ideal” mining ecosystem look like? (100% GPU? SoC-embedded FPGAs? Proof of space?)
  • What are the probabilities that different Silicon/Fab technologies will become commonplace in 5, 10, 20 years, and what impact will those technologies have on different mining approaches
  • Is there a planned schedule to update ASIC resistance as technologies evolve

Frankly, given my training in ASIC design, my gut is telling me that “true” ASIC resistance is likely impossible based on economics. If it becomes worth it to design an ASIC, people will fund it. Digital design engineers are incredibly good at what they do, and if you give them hard problems, they have a remarkable history of solving them.

Proper strategic planning, likely form a game-theory/economic standpoint is required here. The Silicon industry is on the verge of total transformation after we hit 3-5nm nodes. Planning anything past that is going to be challenging.

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"… The cryptocurrency ZCash integrated Equihash in April 2016, for reasons such as security, privacy, and ASIC miner resistance. … "
So, surely you can try to do empty talks to change subject about “let’s see what asic is” but a lot of people allready know what asic is and joined zec because of asic resistance.

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