Zcash Community Grants Meeting Minutes 5/2/22

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

Attendance:

  • Aditya
  • Brian (left early due to family emergency)
  • Jason
  • Michael
  • Alex Bornstein (ZF resource)
  • Daniel Wolande (ZF resource)
  • Jack Gavigan (ZF resource)
  • Danika Delano acting as notetaker

Key Takeaways:

  • ZCG and ZF discussed the legal request for Free2z: Private Peer-To-Peer Giving. ZF cannot provide support for legal counsel for grantees; the committee decided to move forward with creating a RFP for an audit.
  • ZCG decided to give Tao: Asynchronous Payment channels for stable coins more time on the forum.
  • ZCG discussed that they didn’t see ContiDAO - Mass Adoption of ZEC benefiting Zcash.
  • ZCG and ZF discussed the forum post from Tor: Arti Year II Funding Plan: Onion Services and more! ZF stated that they only have a positive view of Tor and does not have any concerns with the timeline setback or their ability to deliver Arti. ZCG decided to wait until they submit a grant proposal to discuss further.
  • ZCG agreed that Creation of Greek Community is a better fit for the ambassador program than a grant.
  • ZCG provided an official statement that they are not interested in funding Social Media Advertising Films or Photography & IqraCrypto.
  • Alex provided a comms update on behalf of Winnie.
  • Jason and Hudson will post about staggering ZCG elections in the next week.
  • ZCG and ZF discussed the Direct Grants Option in ZIP-1014 for organizations like Qedit.
  • Jason shared that they will submit their RFP for Zcon3 in the next week.
  • Zcash Community Grants have published their first two Requests for Proposals
  • ZCG & ZF reported they thought the 37 Laines video releases went well; Alex brought up KPIs; all members agreed that they were exhausted. Next step is discussing licensing.
  • Dan announced two upcoming Twitterspaces and Hanu’s Zcash anthem video that will be released in the next week
  • All members agreed that the ambassador program is going well and is especially thankful for Yoditar for all their coordination at month end with the other ambassadors.

Notes:

Open Grant Proposals

  • Free2z: Private Peer-To-Peer Giving
    • Jason summarized the grant proposal again and pointed out that it’s a proof of concept; the committee is ready to vote on it barring a couple considerations:.
    • Legal support: Jason explained Skylar has an expectation that they can use ZF’s legal resources to help create terms of service and other legal agreements or use ZF as legal support if Free2z runs into any legal or regulatory issues. Alex replied that the Foundation cannot provide that support; ZF would not do that for any grantee as it opens the Foundation up to a lot of liability; he suggested they include legal support costs in the grant. Aditya explained that the applicant was initially planning $50-80k for legal counsel, only to be used when necessary so maybe they don’t need it in their proof of concept; this grant has an extra need because the website requires moderation; he asked for others’ ideas on what to do. Alex added that it is in the grantee’s best interest to do the legal part on their own because of attorney client privilege; it is the cleanest, safest way. Brian voiced that he is in support of having legal support and brought up the idea that they could have a percentage available for all grant applicants. Aditya said that they could approve the funds and give the applicant the money or hold it on our balance sheet. Jason added that they could have a retainer that they can draw on for legal expenses; it would be readily available but they don’t pay out unless required. Dan pointed out that if they add it back in the grant, it could be locked up in a milestone and doesn’t get released unless they require it. Danika confirmed that it is workable on ZF’s end. Jack brought up that it’s not clear if they are going to take custody of the funds that are being donated directly to the recipients. Alex replied that in an email Free2Z sent, they stated they will not require creators/users to submit personal information and they will not have custody of any user’s funds; Alex said he will reply to the email with the reasons why ZF cannot provide legal support but they also need to hear it from ZCG. Aditya said that they should communicate this publicly on the forum.
    • 3rd party audit requirement for later milestone: Brian reiterated that he wants a safe environment that has gone through a security audit. He asked ZF if they had a recommendation and brought up the concept of an expert roster to see if anyone has expertise. Jack replied that he had chatted with one of the auditors and web apps are not in their skillset; he thinks the best way may be to issue a RFP. Brian said that the applicant could find a security vendor or ZCG can find one; the applicant would prefer to have a security audit sooner rather than later and they are open to providing access to code, if necessary.
    • Alex told the committee he is all for the creation of an expert roster but it may be tough to start with an auditor RFI since it requires a specialized skill set but he’s open to giving it a shot; ZF will do whatever the committee would like but it may be better to do a RFP. Brian replied that it would be good to get the process started and they don’t have to apply the roster to this grant. Jack agreed that a good start is to do a RFP and see what we get. Jason asked if the RFP candidates are limited to the forum. Jack said that ZF can share with auditors that they’ve worked with in the past; some auditors have moved around; he agrees with Brian that they should be looking to solve this problem; they can try something and see if it works; it seems like a straightforward piece of work if they aren’t taking hold of the funds so it’s a good one to start this process off with. Jason said the committee will talk about writing an RFP offline. Jack commented that Free2Z might be able to draft one in ZF’s RFP format.
  • Tao: Asynchronous Payment channels for stable coins
    • Jason pointed out that the proposal does not mention Zcash and might be copy-pasted and submitted to various grant programs; he didn’t have a good impression of the proposal. Aditya agreed that the proposal does not extend Zcash adoption & usage and suggested giving it more time on the forum. Michael said he is not optimistic but is okay giving it more time on the forum.
  • ContiDAO - Mass Adoption of ZEC
    • Jason summarized that they are requesting $50K for daily operations and $100K annually for hotspots; Tokidoki asked a lot of good questions on the forum and it doesn’t seem to benefit Zcash. Michael agreed. Aditya also agreed and added that he doesn’t see how it will help Zcash to provide hot spots at this point in time.
  • Forum post: Arti Year II Funding Plan: Onion Services and more!
    • Jason brought up that Tor posted on the forum about submitting a second grant proposal and wanted to get feedback from the community first. Jason explained ZCG wanted to ask ZF for a temperature check to see if they are still excited about the project, the backstory of why Arti was submitted to ZCG instead of ZF, and why there are delays on some of the milestones. Jack replied that adding Tor integration to Zebra is not at the top of ZF’s engineering priorities right now but Arti is definitely something ZF will want to use; he told the committee not to interpret them not integrating Arti yet as a lack of enthusiasm; Re: ZOMG funding instead of ZF- he doesn’t think there was a conversation about that; Re delays: big software projects are often delayed and it doesn’t surprise him; estimates and timelines move around and it’s clear they are making progress; Jack reiterated his positive opinion of Tor; they are a big, legitimate, and well respected org; he has a fair degree of trust in their ability to deliver.
    • Jason asked if Jack thought it was better for ZF to fund the second grant, rather than ZCG. Jack replied that ZF would look at it if ZCG doesn’t fund.
    • Aditya commented that it is important for network privacy; there are new developments to make the new stack work; he doesn’t see many replies on the forum but there are concerns when one grant is not finished; he asked how they can tackle the lack of enthusiasm and how they should reply. Jack pointed out that some of the engineers understand the issues better and this is harder to grasp; he also reminded them that no one is saying no on the forum.
    • Aditya brought up that the proposal may be $1 million so it’s a decent portion of the budget. He asked why the last one was only approved for $672K when it was originally $1 million. Alex replied that it’s not clear from the historical minutes but he will look into it (follow-up email sent to ZCG 5/3 with details). Jack shared that he has seen genuine cryptographic projects struggle for funding, and had a warm fuzzy feeling when Tor was funded; they are doing really important work and are grinding away at it; he feels good that the Zcash community is supporting that; Tor has been supporting privacy for a while.
    • Jason said that the committee will wait until they submit and then have conversations with engineers about integration, etc. Aditya said that sounded good and thanked Jack for his insight.

Other Grant Business

  • Creation of Greek Community
    • Yoditar asked johnarva95 if he would be interested in being an ambassador and he seemed interested. Dan explained that they reached out via email and he directed him to the forum. Jason said that they are better suited to be a global ambassador or to submit an RFP for translation, it’s good that it’s not formally a grant. Aditya agreed that it would be great to see Greek and European based ambassadors.
  • Social Media Advertising Films & Photography & IqraCrypto
    • Dan shared that both applicants have been very persistent on why they were denied; they were both filtered; he asked ZCG for a quote or reason from ZCG so they could respond to them. Jason said they can reply that they spoke with ZCG and they are not interested in funding their proposals.
    • Aditya asked if the template-form structure with questionnaire on the grant platform is the same as the old grant platform (that was very clear). Alex replied that it is roughly the same but cleaned up and better; there couldn’t be more direction on there; he added that they were also very mindful of what words to use for those where English is not their first language.

Brainstorm Meeting Follow Ups

  • PR article
    • Alex reported that ZK Podcast is airing a ZCG sponsored episode on Wednesday and a ZCG ads campaign will start running tomorrow. Jason asked what the ad would say, but no one from ZF or ZCG knew for certain. ZCG would like the opportunity to review and approve any ads before they’re formally submitted to air. Alex said he will have Winnie get in touch with them.
    • Alex shared that Winnie has a call scheduled this week with CoinDesk to discuss their collaboration which should start this month and that the CoinDesk ZCG banner that they selected will start being displayed for ZCG and Zcash promotion. Additionally, the PR draft for ZCG will be finalized later this week.
  • Staggering elections
    • Jason shared that he will help Hudson post an update at some point in the next week or two.
  • Direct Grants Option
    • Jason read the section of ZIP-1014 pertaining to the Direct-grant option: “It may be deemed better, operationally or legally, if the Major Grant funds are not accepted and disbursed by ZF, but rather directly assigned to the grantees. Thus, the following mechanism MAY be used in perpetuity for some or all grantees, if agreed upon by both ECC and ZF before Network Upgrade 4 (Canopy) activation: Prior to each network upgrade, the Foundation SHALL publish a list of grantees’ addresses and the total number of Dev Fund ZEC per block they should receive. ECC and ZF SHALL implement this list in any implementations of the Zcash consensus rules they maintain. This decision will then be, effectively, ratified by the miners as the network upgrade activates.”
    • He shared that the committee is interested in exploring this option for future consideration, perhaps for Qedit or 37 Laines; they would be paid in ZEC, not USD, in perpetuity; he asked how they could turn it off if a grant recipient disappeared or stopped producing meaningful work. Jack replied that it will be baked into the consensus rules; the only way to switch it off is a network upgrade and that cannot be done quickly, it needs to be planned months in advance; the direct grant option is an interesting way to have someone like Qedit to be invested in Zcash; he shared that his feeling is to have only orgs that are involved in the technical aspect of Zcash and that have successfully delivered quality work over a period of time so they are trusted; they also need to be comfortable with committing to managing and adapting to the potential variation of being paid in ZEC. Jason agreed that it changes the dynamic, it has to be the right fit; ZCG will give it more thought too.
    • Aditya asked if we know when network upgrades are coming up after NU5. Jack replied that NU5 was supposed to happen last year, and everyone wants a breather after this is done; there was an idea of having a network upgrade every 6 months to attract orgs like Qedit but it didn’t come to pass and it is unclear how network upgrade will work going forward; it is possible the next network upgrade be with the ZSAs from Qedit; there isn’t anything to worry about switching it on, but switching it off becomes problematic. Aditya said if we do have a 6 month schedule, that could be fine.
    • Alex commented that when we have these questions he asks what problems it solves and what problems it creates; he asked if we could accomplish the same thing by creating a custom grant agreement. Jason replied that there is something symbolic about it and that it’s a good way to further decentralize the dev fund… Jack agreed that it is good for decentralization; he hopes that Qedit delivers ZSAs and goes for the next thing and gets into a momentum of delivering good protocol functionality. Alex added that we could have an interim step of regular payments. Aditya said he likes the idea of interim steps. Jack shared that the funds come from the community and sometimes orgs get confused so this option is more direct.

Zcon3

  • Jason shared that they have created a session sectioned in 5 min increments that ends with Q&A and asked if it is helpful to have a moderator. Alex replied that it is helpful when taking public questions and to have flow; he added that they all have cohesion and rapport so it depends on how they are using the time.

37 Laines

  • Retrospective
    • Feedback for releases- Aditya shared that he thought the release went smoothly; a lot of high profile folks were appreciating the videos and they had over 100k views in the first week; both ZCG and ZF provided support on the backend up till the release, including Michael sending 100+ z2z memos for the Twitter Spaces. Alex agreed that it went well and that 37 Laines acted with integrity and openness during contract negotiations; if they are funded again, it will be easier next time; he added that ZF has talked internally and to say 37 Laines was successful is subjective because there were no specific KPIs; maybe that was impossible before, but now have benchmark so success metrics should be added to any future grant request/award. The website and grant platform didn’t pop as much but now they have a good foundation to build on. Jason shared that there was a bit of a spike on the forum (hits and people joining). Jason was very pleased with the release and how well 37L executed on their Zcash Media plan. Jason noted that there were a number of instances where ZCG had to make quick decisions, that a lot has been learned over the past few months, and that ZCG and 37L should work together to ensure things go smoother for future grants. Michael agreed that he didn’t like all the last minute requests but the product is good, he said engagement wasn’t great; all in all, the video is going to be around and it’s strong; he’s exhausted from release. Aditya pointed to the outstanding issues and suggested review of ROI on the launch plan grant. Everyone agreed on his summary.
  • Next steps
    • Dan shared the upcoming Twitterspaces; he will reach out to the committee to coordinate them
    • Hanu’s Zcash anthem video may be out this week or next week.
    • All members agreed that the Ambassador program went well last month and praised Yoditar for being so on top of coordinating with all the other ambassadors. Huge thanks to the Yoditar and all the ambassadors for their hard work!
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My absence was due to a family emergency that required unexpected travel. I forgot to let Dan know. Things are more stable now :slight_smile:

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Direct Grant Option

Yes. Personally I’d like to think of it as a trial run to possible future inclusion in the official dev fund. It’s still very early days but I can definetly imagine a future where Qedit and/or “Zcash Media” are funded directly from the dev fund. :tada::tada::tada:

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Hi all, thanks for your transparency as always. So far we have been on track with the Arti grant milestones and haven’t yet had any major delays related to this project–so I’m wondering what the group was discussing when they mentioned a timeline setback? We’d love to provide clarity here if we can. Thanks to anyone who can help.

Hey Al :wave:

I believe the timeline setback points to the milestones for Arti: a pure-Rust Tor implementation for Zcash and beyond: Milestone 3 & 4 of 4 (1/1/22 & 1/26/22) being overdue.

Is this an administrative oversight? Has the Tor team finished the deliverables for the existing grant?

Additionally, as made public in the meeting minutes, the ZCG has asked ZF to review if they should fund the second grant.

Hey @aiyadt, thanks so much for your speedy reply. I’m going to check with our team and see what’s going on with the Milestones.

Aditya commented that it is important for network privacy; there are new developments to make the new stack work; he doesn’t see many replies on the forum but there are concerns when one grant is not finished;

What does the last sentence mean? Does it mean concerns about funding a new grant when the first is not finished? Thanks for your help. :slight_smile:

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Yeah, there have been concerns brought by the previous committee about funding a team that has an ongoing grant. For @NighthawkWallet , it has been resolved by confirming that different team members/developers would be working on the ongoing funded parallel projects.

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This was 100% an administrative error. My sincerest apologies for the confusion. The milestone dates must have been entered into the Public Dashboard when the larger grant was initially proposed. They have been corrected to April 26, 2022 (milestone 3) and May 17, 2022 (milestone 4).

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Gotcha, thanks!

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Hi @Danika! We are following the milestone dates in our proposal here: Milestones · The Tor Project / Core / Arti · GitLab . The next milestone dates are 9/1/2022 and 10/1/2022. Please let me know where April 26, 2022 (milestone 3) and May 17, 2022 (milestone 4) so we can get in sync on this :slight_smile:

Our standard process is to follow what is entered on our grant platform (see milestones dates and amounts at bottom). I am happy to change the dates on the dashboard if ZCG approves of these dates.

Regarding the Direct Grant option: unfortunately, this isn’t possible anymore under ZIP 1014. The language there was indeed:

the following mechanism MAY be used in perpetuity for some or all grantees, if agreed upon by both ECC and ZF before Network Upgrade 4 (Canopy) activation

To my knowledge, no such agreement was published prior to NU4 activation.

So offering a Direct Grant option would require a ZIP amendment and, in my opinion, a ZCAP ratification.

(Historically, there were financial/tax reasons for that time limit, but those are now moot.)

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The Direct Grants section is a little confusing to me.

To clarify, your above interpretation is that since, to your knowledge, there was no formal “we agree” from ZF and ECC that in the future, after Canopy activates, grantees could be given direct block rewards, which are then activated/deactivated upon later, post-Canopy network upgrades, that this option is no longer possible without amendment, etc.?

I was sort of assuming that there must have been some implicit agreement between ZF and ECC to have had this section appear in the final ZIP. I notice that @amiller and @zooko are listed as the “owners” of the document, and there is a list of other credits as well (@aristarchus, @dontbeevil, @daira, @gtank, @acityinohio).

I was not around at the time, so to people familiar with the back and forth of ZIP 1014 at ECC and ZF back in the day: was there an explicit or implicit understanding (written, verbal, or otherwise) that ZF/ECC did indeed agree that Direct Grants may be possible for post-Canopy network upgrades?

Thanks in advance!

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Yes, that’s my interpretation (as someone who happens to have authored that text, which originates in my draft ZIP 1012).

Context: ratification of ZIP 1014 predated NU4, and was necessary for finalizing the NU4 code. At that point in time, it was still unclear whether Direct Grant is desirable, since it depended on work-in-progress things like ECC’s ongoing transformation into a nonprofit, and ongoing legal consultation. So the idea was to nail down agreement on everything else via ZIP 1014, without getting blocked on that specific question — but also to timebox by when the decision has to be made.

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Thank you for raising this issue @tromer. I will add it as an agenda item for our next ZCG meeting on May 31 to discuss how we want to prioritize a possible ZCAP ratification and ZIP 1014 amendment. I’ve spoken to ECC and ZF in the past about the Direct Grant Option (e.g. see Jack’s comments in the above meeting minutes), and both seem to be in favor of it, at least in theory, for certain long-term grant recipients. Hopefully we can get whatever support is needed to make this an option for future grant recipients.

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Great. Personally, I’m also in favor.

Operationally: to implement Direct Grant we need to make sure that the procedure for deciding these frequent changes to consensus rules, and implementing them in the zcashd and zebra implementations, are feasible and clear.

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@Danika I see. Did we (Tor) set the milestones in the grant platform? I am just trying to understand the process.

@bdavila yes, Tor set these milestone dates and amounts when they submitted the proposal to the committee and this is the proposal that was approved. I don’t want to speak for the committee but, in my experience sitting in on their meetings, they are very understanding that projects and timelines change and are open to working with grantees. Logistically speaking, this grant was submitted on our old grant platform that does not allow edits to be made once approved (our new platform is much more flexible in this regard) but we have a few workarounds to document approved changes that are made after a grant has been approved. I’m happy to walk through our process any time.

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@Danika, I see, great! Yes, I’d like for you to walk me though the process. We’d like to change the milestone dates to 9/1/2022 and 10/1/2022.

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@bdavila, great, I’ll send you a calendar invite so I can explain our process and answer any questions you have. Until then, the ZCG website is really helpful. @ZcashGrants do you approve changing the milestone dates for the Arti: a pure-Rust Tor implementation for Zcash and beyond grant to 9/1/2022 (milestone 3) and 10/1/2022 (milestone 4). You can like to approve.

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