My pre-ZOMG grant from the Zcash Foundation for work on Zbay is coming to a conclusion, and while I know this topic is mostly for ZOMG-related grants I thought it would be nice to post an update here just so there would be a public record of how the grant concluded.
First, here’s some background and links to the proposal:
- The grant application: ZF Grants - Zbay: messaging, community, and marketplaces over Zcash
- The initial feedback urging us to do user research and threat modeling: Zbay applied for a ZF grant! Any feedback on our proposal?
- Results of user research and threat modeling, with request for feedback: "Zbay" threat model, request for feedback!
A big part of the grant was for user research into the privacy and anonymity needs of journalists and their sources, to inform our threat model. A big lesson from this research meant that Zcash wouldn’t work as a messaging stack: people were saying they needed a secure alternative to Slack, and to build a messaging app fast and reliable enough to replace Slack you need a stack optimized for that, not a stack built for private money.
To reduce the number of features we were carrying and accelerate development on the ones that mattered most, we decided to remove the Zcash features from the app. I’d like to add them back someday, but it seemed essential if we were going to tackle peer-to-peer team chat (which is itself a huge undertaking) to focus as much as possible on the biggest challenges we were facing.
The fourth milestone for our Zcash Foundation grant would have funded 8 weeks of work on the app to implement lessons learned from user research, but it felt a bit off to request Zcash Foundation funding for this milestone, since this work wouldn’t include work on Zcash, and the end result might not support Zcash.
So to keep things simple I decided to not request payout for the final milestone, and asked Zcash Foundation to conclude the grant, which they are okay with and will do.
I don’t want to speak for them, but from everything they’ve said they seem happy with the execution of the other milestones, and understanding of the fact that user research can change the direction of a project in unexpected ways.
If anyone has any questions I’d be happy to answer them here!
(And I can’t wait until what we’ve been working on is ready to demo to all of you!!)