Zcash Community Grants Meeting Minutes 5/1/23

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

Attendance:

  • Amber
  • Brian
  • Burns
  • Jason
  • Michael
  • Alex Bornstein (ZF resource)
  • Deidra M acting as notetaker

Key Takeaways:

Notes:

Open Grant Proposals

  • Birdcalls
    • Jason recapped the grant and summarized the actions in place. Bird Calls bills itself as an internet phone booth. It’s a fork of Jitsi that allows peer-to-peer, full-encrypted video calls similar to Zoom.
    • The previous update was the grantee requested $6,000 be paid out for the work they’ve completed, and the remainder will be paid out upon completion of the exploratory phase. This amount has been paid.
    • A Bird Calls engineer sent Hanh an email and has not yet heard back. Sunny reached out to Jason to follow up. The Bird Calls team needs this piece of information to complete the exploratory phase. Jason messaged Hanh and is waiting to hear back.
  • Zcash Elastic Subnet Bridge on Avalanche
    • Jason recapped this grant. This proposal is asking for $210,433 for part one of their overall vision, which is to create bridging software that uses a permissionless Subnet on Avalanche and deploy a production-ready, fully-functional version of this software with a GUI to the Avalanche and Zcash testnets.
    • The current update is that Kit, the applicant, responded to the list of questions Burns posted on the forum, and the committee discussed this in their last brainstorming session. Overall, ZCG is in favor of the grant.
    • Brian said this grant is a calculated risk because it is unknown if the community will use this bridge; however, it can be looked at as an opportunity for other ecosystems to start leveraging Zcash technology capabilities. Michael said that he enjoyed the enthusiasm from Kit and appreciated the stellar communication with the community and committee in the process. He also thought this grant had merit and voted to approve it. Burns agreed and added that he did not see a technical risk for Kit not to deliver, so he also approved. Amber said she did see a risk in it if this is underused in the community but still agreed with the other members that it is a reasonable risk, especially if used, so she approved. Jason said that this grant is expensive and not a high priority project, and he is concerned about the budget. Jason added that if there were more reluctance from other committee members, he would vote to put this grant on hold; however, since the grant has the overwhelming support of the committee, he votes to approve this proposal. Jason also echoed Michael’s sentiments on Kit’s communication.
    • This grant was approved.
  • ZcashFlow: Analytics Dashboard
    • Jason recapped this proposal. ZcashFlow provides insights & metrics to track activities of Zcash ecosystem and its associated open-source projects. They’re asking for $38,000. The applicant provided a demo dashboard, it basically summarizes GitHub activity. It doesn’t seem worth it if you compare it to something like Alphaday (which was just a few thousand dollars).
    • The most recent update is that the applicant, Murt, sent ZCG a direct message and said he’d lower the price to $15,000 for the same service.
    • The committee discussed this in their brainstorming session, but given this new price drop had to vote again on this proposal.
    • Despite the drop in price and the demo, ZCG still felt this grant was too expensive for what it is and unanimously voted to reject the grant.
  • Halo2 Docs Improvements
    • Jason recapped this proposal. The applicant is asking for $24,000 to write user documentation to fill the missing sections of halo2 book to match the style of the rest of the docs, including worked examples where appropriate.
    • The current update is that Brian has contacted ecosystem engineers in the Zcash R&D on Discord. In addition, Jason reached out to Ying Tong to ask her for feedback and to make sure there is no overlap with her Halo2 Community Manager project, and to see if this will complement her grant.
    • ZCG will leave this grant open until more information can be gathered.
  • Batching Cipolla-Lehmer-Müller’s square root algorithm with hashing to elliptic curves
    • Jason summarized this proposal. The applicant is asking for $15,000 to implement Cipolla-Lehmer-Müller’s square root algorithm and the hash function to elliptic curves over highly 2-adic finite fields.
    • Brian reached out to Discord R&D to ask the engineers to opine. Both Teor and Daira provided feedback that this grant wasn’t a good fit.
    • Based on that feedback, the committee unanimously voted to reject this grant.
  • Jinsei Blockchain Analytics
    • Jason read this team’s initial pitch aloud: “Accounting for personal gains and fair market value income events Zcash is generally a terrible experience. Often, users manually classify transactions in Excel, hire a CPA, or pay a lot of money to learn how to use tax software. All of which can be a headache and yield imperfect results.”
    • The applicant has not posted their proposal to the grants platform, and it is too early to vote.
    • Jason asked Alex to have Dan follow up with the applicant to ensure the grant is properly submitted.
  • Zcash Shielded Assets - Asset Swaps and Beyond
    • The proposal outlines the QEDIT ↔ Zcash roadmap for 2023 and beyond, focusing on three significant developments:
        1. Enabling ZSAs on the Zcash main-net.
        1. Adding Asset Swaps.
        1. Improving user control over incoming transactions and additional features for exchange compatibility.
    • For now, QEDIT will submit a Grant Proposal only on parts 1 and 2, and part 3 in 2024. The team quoted $150,000 per month, but ZCG needs clarification on whether QEDIT is asking for this for the remaining months of 2023 and then posting a new grant in 2024 or if that allotment of money will cover the year.
    • ZCG will go back to the QEDIT team to clarify their quote. Jason asked the committee for their general thoughts on this grant.
    • Brian wanted it noted that this grant would fund 8-9 developers. He also said he is very excited about this and felt that Zcash Shielded Assets (ZSA) are a significant priority in the Zcash ecosystem for ZCG. He added that asset swapping was an exciting development that would benefit the ecosystem. Jason also expressed excitement about this grant and said that ZSA’s were one of the most important use cases for Zcash, which the community rallied behind. He also added that QEDIT delivered on their last roadmap and are good communicators who consistently attend the Arborist calls. Amber said that their organization was very impressive. She added that they are very thorough and appreciated how communicative they have been. Burns said that he looks forward to working with them for years to come.
    • ZCG cannot vote as this was just submitted, so voting will occur at the next meeting.

Brainstorm Session Follow Ups

  • Grant updates
    • The committee would like to get a general update from two big grants that ZCG has funded, Zcash Media 2023 and Nighthawk Apps Zcash Development Fund. Aditya used to provide detailed monthly updates on the forum that set a nice standard for grantee transparency reporting, but he has since stopped sending them. 37 Laines has a goal of releasing their videos in June, so ZCG would like an update on that timeline to make sure they’re still on schedule.
    • Jason asked Alex to reach out to both Aditya and 37 Laines to get confirmation that they are working towards completing their deliverables.
  • ZCG burn rate
    • Burns asked if ZF can track the ZCG burn rate: Is ZCG spending more than what’s being taken in?
    • Alex said he will confer with his team and respond to ZCG shortly.
  • Consensus 2023
    • Jason updated the committee on how things went at the conference. He said it was a good conference and that the 3 of them did some networking. However, Jason wanted three things noted:
      • Arculus - Arculus submitted a grant for $200,000 for cold storage wallet to the grants platform, but they never followed up on the forum. Dan reached out several times but never heard back, so ZCG never voted. Jason and Brian got a chance to talk with them at the conference and will follow up with them once they investigate what the developer’s requirements are and then get a better estimate of what it would cost.
      • Circle - Jason, Brian, and Dan told them about Zcash and ZSAs and asked if they were interested in integrating a zUSDC on top of Zcash. They exchanged contact information, and Circle said they would have someone follow up with ZCG.
      • Next year - Dan, Brian, and Jason agreed that having a booth next year at Consensus is worth the $20,000. The cost could potentially be divided between ECC, ZF, and ZCG. Jason said they felt the best way to actively engage people and spread more information about Zcash at this conference would be a booth where attendees could approach them. Burns added that highlighting past and current grant recipients to show what companies are working with Zcash would also grab attendee attention.
11 Likes

Thanks for the notes!

Paul and I were at Consensus on behalf of ECC. Too bad we didn’t connect. I was a late add in order to participate in a privacy roundtable that Consensus pulled together.

On Circle, we met and corresponded with Nikhil Chari who has since left, in 2021 to gauge their interest and requirements. Perhaps the following would be helpful background for you…

We shared this ZSA primer with them.

They in turn shared these due diligence requirements. At the time, the sticking points were blacklists and the ability to freeze funds. Multisig was an open issue but addressable.

While we attempted to keep the dialogue open, we were told that compliance was concerned about privacy coins and they weren’t interested in further discussions at the time.

7 Likes

There is high risk that a simple bridge won’t be used. That is what we saw with RenZEC (you do have to take into account the fact that Zcash itself is not widely used though).

That is why it is important that ZCG requires that in phase 2 and 3 of the project, bridged ZEC should be used for gas fees and staking. There needs to be some utility for the bridged ZEC on Avalanche so people will want to bridge it over. I also think ZCG should require the bridge and Zcash VM to reside on the same subnet unless somebody can come with a good explanation for why not. Avalanche allows for multiple blockchains (VMs) to reside on the same subnet, so this is just a question of whether the bridge and Zcash VM should share the same validator set. We don’t want to introduce more trust zones than neccessary. If Zcash becomes the primary privacy tool on Avalanche, I think this grant will be well worth it.

3 Likes

The updates for Nighthawk Apps are shared publicly and regularly per the Transparency and Accountability Obligations of ZIP-1014

A. The monthly developer calls:

B. The quarterly report:

  • The tax year end operations were wrapped up on May 1st, 2023 and we plan to follow the guidelines(from our accountant) for financial reporting before publishing the Q1 report.

C. Annual detailed review of the organization’s performance and future plans

  • 2023 Roadmap was made public early this year.

D. Annual financial report (IRS Form 990, or substantially similar information).

  • Not sure this applies to us, unless we switch to non-profit status.

Please bear with the delays of our quarterly report. We are resuming broader operations, coming unfunded for our wallet team’s work in the calendar year 2022 and with only partial funding from the Major Grants Dev Fund(only half of our annual budget for 2023 was approved).

2 Likes