Zcash Community Grants Meeting Minutes 3/18/2024

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

Attendance:

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

Key Takeaways:

  • Open Grant Proposals
  • Brainstorm Session Follow-Ups
    • Ecosystem Security Lead - The committee made a decision to have Least Authority take the Ecosystem Security Lead (ESL) position.
    • ZSAs and Legal Risk - In response to JW’s comments on the forum last week, ZCG asked for direction on how to navigate potential legal risks with ZSAs.
    • Community Notetaker - Squirrel will continue his role as the community notetaker.

Open Grant Proposals

  • ZF FROST Wallet Integration - Jason summarized this grant. Blockchain Commons proposes a $157,600 grant for “ZF FROST Wallet Integration” to integrate the ZF FROST libraries, starting with Feldman’s Verifiable Secret Sharing (VSS), into third-party wallets. The team plans to expand their reference libraries to include VSS and Trusted Dealer Generation from ZF FROST, making it accessible to wallet developers.
    • ZCG received feedback on this grant, and despite the title, it has less to do with FROST and more to do with VSS, which is a small part of the overall FROST codebase. Blockchain Commons isn’t looking to integrate FROST into Zcash wallets or give Zcash users the ability to issue Zcash transactions using FROST. It makes Feldman’s VSS more usable for other ecosystems.
    • The committee gave their opinions on this proposal. Amber said that although she finds this research and development fun and interesting, its stage of development is too far away to have user impact. Brian and Gguy agreed and felt there would need to be more interest from the community before funding this project. Mike said that because FROST provides open-sourced code, ZF/ZCG is sometimes being too nice by agreeing to fund wallet projects just to implement FROST, but ultimately agreed with the committee.
    • Although ZCG voted to reject this proposal, they would like to encourage the applicant to become more involved in the community.
  • Zcash Campus Invasion- Jason outlined this proposal. Benjamin Baani proposes a $48,800 grant to raise awareness of Zcash among students in Ghana. The project plans to conduct campus seminars, meetups, and conferences to educate students about Zcash and other blockchain opportunities. The deliverable aims to establish a vibrant Zcash community in Ghanaian schools through clubs.
    • ZCG discussed this proposal at their brainstorm and voted to reject it. This grant is outside the scope of what ZCG would like to fund right now, along with other education-based proposals.
    • Jason noted that there has also been some community outreach in Ghana, thanks to former Nigerian GAP ambassador Chidi and his colleagues, which the committee is happy about.
  • QEDIT: Stablecoins For ZSAs - Jason gave background for this proposal. QEDIT’s 2024 proposal focuses on enhancing Shielded Assets (ZSAs) with stablecoin compatibility, user control, and exchange compatibility. Key initiatives include developing enhanced viewing keys for stablecoin issuers using verifiable encryption, enabling transaction approval by recipients, and analyzing identity for fine-grained disclosure. Their goal is to improve regulatory compliance while maintaining user privacy. The cost would be $215,000 a month for a year.
    • The committee will set up a call with QEDIT in the next week or two, which may be problematic with the varying time zones, but Dan will help on this front. The meeting will be focused on gathering more details on this proposal as well as getting a status check on their current open grant on asset swaps.
  • Zcash Festival Brazil - Jason outlined this grant. The Zcash Festival Brazil is planned for March 29, 2024, in Florianópolis, with a goal to introduce Zcash to the crypto community in Latin America. Organizers are requesting $6,000 to cover the event, featuring workshops, discussions, and interactive activities in multiple languages. The festival is expected to draw 500 physical attendees and reach 50,000 people online. Zcash’s support will be recognized in all event materials, with the intent to boost Zcash’s presence in Latin America.
    • This grant is too early to vote on, so the committee will hold a mobile vote when appropriate. Similar to other sponsorship/education-type grants, ZCG is leaning toward rejecting this proposal as it is out of budget scope. The committee also noted that they are more than satisfied with the current Zcash representation in Brazil.
  • Tales: Empowering Interactive Narratives - Jason summarized this grant proposal. This project is proposed by Samiam3D, who requests $600,000 to transform digital storytelling using AI and blockchain, creating interactive narratives influenced by audience choices. The project will Incorporate Zcash for secure, private transactions, which they say will drive growth and innovation within the Zcash ecosystem. Their technical strategy includes AI tools and infrastructure to support content creation, ownership through tokenization, and active community participation.
    • It is too early for the committee to vote on this, but they are leaning towards rejecting this proposal. This grant is out of scope for proposals ZCG is ready to fund, and not evident how this could benefit Zcash. ZCG will conduct a mobile vote when appropriate.

Brainstorm Session Follow-Ups

  • Ecosystem Security Lead
    • The committee made its decision and approved Least Authority for this role. Least Authority will start with a 3-month trial as an Independent Contractor. The funds will be taken out of the grant budget. It will be categorized as a “Dedicated Resource,” and the reporting frequency will be monthly. The approval process will start with ZCG reviewing and approving the invoice before sending it to Danika so ZF can pay it out.
    • ZCG went around explaining their reasoning for voting for Least Authority over Hacken.io. Amber recused herself from voting as she was previously on the Least Authority board. Brian said that this was a hard decision to make as both were great candidates. He said he was impressed with Hacken.io’s level of organization, detail, and the platform they used; however, Least Authority has a long-standing alignment, expertise, and background in cryptography and engineering that aligns well with the Zcash community overall. He said that Liz and the rest of the Least Authority team were well aware of Taylor Horby’s prior experience and stated their interest in fulfilling the audit-level requirement as well as the meta guidance and expertise that is needed. Gguy emphasized Least Authority’s suitability for ZF’s budget constraints and the potential for a strong partnership. Despite the decision, he expressed openness to considering other organizations. Michael said that although he felt unqualified to make a choice about a security professional, he went with the majority in this vote. He said that he saw Least Authority’s history with ZF as working against them because he feels that ZCG’s job is to onboard new contributors to the Zcash ecosystem, and Least Authority is already intertwined with Zcash. That being said, he knows that Least Authority is more than competent and will more than likely result in a favorable partnership. Jason voted for Least Authority and echoed Brian’s sentiments. He said Least Authority has a proven track record in the Zcash ecosystem and felt it would take longer to onboard Hacken.io to the ecosystem. Jason noted that it was an incredibly tough decision for the committee due to the high qualifications of organizations that applied.
    • Jason will email notifications to both the Hacken.io and Least Authority teams, and Deidra M will post the approval on the forum. Alex will contact Liz to discuss and execute the contract.
  • ZSAs and Legal Risk - Jason said JW Verret highlighted some regulatory concerns on the forum last week and then recommended that ZCG speak with Mike Moiser.
    • Last week, ZCG met with Mike Moiser, who expressed interest in applying for a grant to research compliant ZSA operations. He mentioned needing to reach out to ECC to clarify if working with both ECC and ZCG would pose a conflict of interest.
    • In light of recent aggressive positions taken by US regulatory and prosecutorial authorities like the Department of Justice, there may be a potential legal risk around issuing assets such as stablecoins as ZSAs and the money transmitter and money laundering conspiracy laws. Because of these risks, ZCG wanted to better understand the impetus behind JW’s message and ZF’s view.
      • Jack emphasized the distinction between merely providing technology and actively engaging in or funding activities that could be interpreted as facilitating money laundering or operating as an unlicensed money transmitter. He said he felt JW’s warning suggests that individuals and organizations should be cautious and seek legal advice to understand the risks and how to mitigate them. Jack highlighted JW’s advice, which is to get a public written legal opinion from a professional like Mike Mosier, which would be useful for the Zcash ecosystem. He also emphasized a distinction between developing a technology, and building a service purposed to transmit money.
    • Jason asked about the best course of action to move forward. Should the committee issue a grant to Mike Moiser for an opinion or meet with ECC to see if they will handle this?
      • Jack highlighted the benefits of an explicit “legal opinion,” which is a written opinion by a lawyer expressing a view on how the law would be applied in a specific situation. This is a tough ask in some cases where there is insufficient precedent, but if attained, it can be very valuable. That being said, Jack suggested that there needs to be clarity about what the opinion is about - e.g., figuring out where the line is drawn between providing and/or funding the development of technology as a software developer versus funding or facilitating the operation of a service.
    • ZCG will reach out to Mike Moiser to see if there is any update about the potential conflict of interest.
  • Community Notetaker
    • ZCG wanted to praise Squirrel for his involvement as a leader with ZecHub and for conducting the Arborist calls before stating the continuation of this grant.
    • Squirrel will continue his role as the community notetaker as an IC, taking notes on X (formerly known as Twitter) and posting them to GitHub for the biweekly Arborist calls.
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