Zcash Community Grants Meeting Minutes 1/8/2024

Below please find the latest ZCG meeting minutes and Public Dashboard link.


  • Amber
  • Brian
  • Gguy
  • Jason
  • Michael
  • Alex (ZF resource)
  • Dan (ZF resource)
  • Deidra M (notetaker)

Key Takeaways:

  • Open Grant Proposals
  • Brainstorm Session Follow-Ups
    • Budget - Due to market conditions, ZCG will have to make conservative decisions on approving new grants and also consider canceling non-performing current grant milestones.
    • Priorities - ZCG will need to shift priorities for future grant funding.
    • Global Ambassador Program - The program will be on hold indefinitely.
    • Beth - ZCG will not renew the outreach coordinator role.
    • Ecosystem Security Lead - The committee made no decision but still supports this role.
    • Free2z Legal Fees - Free2Z requires extra funding to pay retroactive legal fees.

Open Grant Proposals

  • Nym: Network Privacy for Zcash- Jason summarized this proposal. This grant is from Nym, who is applying together with the NightHawk and Zingo teams (as passthrough grants) to integrate the Nym mixnet into Zcash wallets to provide Zcash network-level privacy. The current ask is for $670,000, but ZCG has been in touch with Harry and he is willing to make concessions to reduce the cost.
    • The committee has a call with the Nym team on Friday morning to discuss the grant further.
  • Zcash SDK Implementation [JS/TS] - Jason gave background for this grant. This proposal is from Chainsafe. They’re asking for $300,000 to implement and maintain a TypeScript SDK to enable more Zcash capabilities in-browser. They say that this project should provide groundwork and serve as a feasibility test for the development of a Zcash MetaMask Snap as well as a Web wallet that would utilize the Metamask Snap as a secure enclave for user keys. Their end goal is to give the millions of MetaMask users access to Zcash, which will help grow adoption and usability.
    • ZCG decided during their brainstorm meeting to hold off voting on this grant so that they can set up a call with the Chainsafe team and better understand their long-term plans, the timing of this larger “MetaMask Snap” project, and what future proposals might look like.
  • Hybrid GRPC & Tor Network Connectivity for Light Wallets- Jason summarized this grant. Hanh is asking for $150,000 to improve network privacy by enabling wallets to connect to lightwallet servers via TOR. The issue this solves is Light wallets currently connect to servers using GRPC, which gather information about their users, like IP addresses and TXIDs.
    • This grant was discussed at the ZCG brainstorm session. Amber said that if both Nym and Hanh’s grants solve the same problem, i.e., network-level privacy, ZCG should determine which solution seems best because funding both grants is not a real option. Michael agreed and added that the better solution is the one that the community will use, so if Ywallet has this functionality by default, it will more than likely be used. Brian agreed with Michael that this grant might be used more. Still, he is cautious about funding another separate effort in the ecosystem because ECC will continue to use lightwalletd. Amber also said she is nervous about having one team implement many security levels.
    • Jason asked about ECC’s recent comments about lightwalletd. Recent forum posts were referenced for clarity
    • Amber said that she is hesitant to make big-money decisions until after Zeboot, as any ZCG strategy would be impacted by the results of that conference and what ECC is thinking. Jason then asked who could represent ZCG at Zeboot, an ecosystem event. Jason and Amber might split responsibility/attendance, but they will discuss this in detail at a later date. Dan will be attending on behalf of ZF.

Brainstorm Session Follow-Ups

  • Budget
    • Jason said the committee is not in a position to approve non-essential grants or programs until the market recovers and stabilizes. He also said that the committee should start thinking about programs that could be canceled and the types of grants that would/should be approved at this point forward.
    • Jason asked for feedback from the committee on putting the ZCG Grants program on hold and taking a more ultra-conservative approach. He said that ZCG will still have a presence and continue reviewing grants but put specific grant applications on hold rather than reject all applications.
    • Amber suggested that if ZCG starts holding grants, the committee should set a definite date to reconsider rather than an indefinite date. In a previous grant, when a hold happened, the grant never really rose to priority after being on hold for so long. ZCG agreed.
    • During their brainstorm session, the committee voted to put the Global Ambassador Program on hold indefinitely. It was also decided not to renew Beth’s contract, as outreach to potential grantees at this point is counterproductive. Both decisions were based on the price of ZEC and not individual performance.
    • ZCG discussed the possibility of canceling current grants and/or milestones that are currently not needed. Knowing that the committee already hedged on a different price, Amber voiced her hesitancy to cancel milestones.
    • The committee also discussed during the brainstorm meeting that if and when the grants program is paused, and the workload is minimal, ZCG may also pause/cancel their stipend as well. Michael mentioned that, in this case, Jack’s past suggestion of ZCG members logging their hours would work best. Jason agreed.
  • Priorities
    • Because of the current budget, ZCG is shifting priorities on how and who gets funding. Gguy said that during the brainstorm session, ZCG discussed whether the committee could afford to fund three wallets or not. He said that, ultimately, they would need to go through the process of which wallet benefits the community most and which doesn’t.
    • Michael said that fairness is a mind-killer and that the committee has realities they have to deal with that may not be considered fair. This may be one of those times. And although it does stink, hard decisions need to be made.
    • Brian said that deciding to stop funding organizations under contract could set a dangerous precedent for sentiment toward anyone wanting to get funding from ZCG if they renege on commitments. Amber agreed and added that she is reluctant about canceling grants that the committee already made promises with, especially if they cancel some but not all grants. She said she doesn’t want to make an arbitrary decision to cancel certain grants because it would then feel like favoritism. ZCG agreed.
    • Jason asked Alex if the grant terms and conditions allow ZCG to cancel grants or milestones. Alex confirmed that canceling is possible and that multiple grants have been canceled in the last two years. Jason said the committee should start with current non-performing grants and determine the amount of funding that would be saved if those grants/milestones were canceled. Alex said his team is ready to support this effort with data and other assistance.
    • Jason said that ZCG currently has around 93,000 ZEC, which is sizable in terms of ZEC, so he suggested that the committee try to cut costs with open and future grants/programs to save money. Brian said that doing nothing sometimes is the hardest thing to do. Gguy noted that although he agrees that future grant funding should be on pause, he is against hoarding Zec and thinks the committee should think about how to make said Zec work for Zcash.
  • Global Ambassador Program
    • This week, ZCG will work on the phrasing of putting this program on hold indefinitely and letting the ambassadors know.
    • Jason communicated that the program would be put on hold directly to the ambassadors and posted on the forum.
  • Beth
    • Jason will inform Beth this week that ZCG will not renew her agreement due to ZCG suspending all non-essential programs.
      • This action was done on 1/9/2024. Beth responded that she would like to continue her role on a volunteer basis and maintain her ZCG email address.
  • Ecosystem Security Lead
    • Although there are some competitive prospects, ZCG went through the past few months without a security auditor and has been okay. Jason asked if ZCG would like to hire project-based auditors instead. Brian said that he believes this position is at the top of the list for funding but cost is a major concern right now. Gguy seconded and added that the committee should retrospectively look at the lower-cost proposals previously cut. Brian said a 3-month trial might also be a good idea to give the committee time to evaluate it. Michael said ZCG should ensure that whoever gets this role should be auditing high-impact grants/programs at the appropriate time.
    • Amber said ZCG should start thinking of security in terms of an additional cost when funding grants. Gguy agreed and added that with wallets, security seems like a necessary cost for ZCG. Dan said that going forward, if security is essential to the grant and ZCG and the grantee agrees, the audit could be a separate milestone. Dan also mentioned something Alex suggested to ZCG in the past about creating a roster of resources (including auditors) that ZCG can contract with on an as-needed basis.
    • The committee made no decision but still supports this role at some level and will continue to discuss this topic and how to proceed with the current respondents.
  • Free2z Legal Fees
    • Free2Z is asking for ZCG to pay their legal fees. There are two options for ZCG to pay these fees:
        1. Edit their current grant, Free2z: Preparing the Garden for Spring, and add a milestone for the $20,000 legal but remove that amount from another milestone so that in the end, the total budget amount is the same as their original, approved total. Some members of ZCG and Dan discussed this option with Skylar & Jonathan.
        1. Submit a new grant that is specific to legal fees. It should be the highest amount the legal cost could be and then be submitted as startup funding. Once the invoice is submitted, the actual amount will be paid out.
    • Brian said although Jonathan is not excited about the first option, in this current environment where ZCG will have to make cuts, this is a viable way of receiving funding for this part of their grant. ZCG agreed. Michael will relay this decision to Jonathan and Skylar.

A comment about TOR/Nym functionality: a condition of this grant should be that any libraries developed should not be coupled to any specific wallet implementation, but should have a modular and reusable interface that can be used by any and all wallets being developed by the community. It doesn’t make sense for this functionality to end up in a silo in Nighthawk, Zingo, or YWallet and require extra work from someone wanting to reuse the functionality.

Edit: Separately, is there any public information about the legal challenges that Free2z is facing?


@skyl @birdify

1 Like

Heya! We’re doing fine. We’re still working on our foundational comprehensive legal documents. We have an ambitious goal this year to send $1,000,000 worth of shielded Zcash to people all over the world and we have drafted documents ourselves that we believe will put us on a strong legal and compliant path towards doing so. But, we need thorough review by real lawyers. The request is proactive rather than reactive. But, we are blocked until the legal documents are reviewed, revised and OK’d.

Originally, ZF was going to set aside the legal funds.