Zcash Community Grants Meeting Minutes 6/27/22

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


  • Aditya
  • Brian
  • Hudson Jameson
  • Jason
  • Michael
  • Alex Bornstein (ZF resource)
  • Daniel Wolande (ZF resource)
  • Danika Delano acting as notetaker

Key Takeaways:

  • All members approved the ZGo - The Zcash Register grant.
  • Alex stated that the Zcash Ecosystem Security Lead should be considered a grant subject to the grant terms and conditions. The next step is for the committee to meet with Taylor to have a discussion and get some questions answered.
  • Jason listed the reasons ZCG was not ready to vote on the 37 Laines’ grant yet.
  • Michael shared that he thinks it’s important to speak up about his concerns with the 37 Laine’s grant: he believes the 37L grant’s ask is way too large, they are talented producers but their marketing was not successful, ECC is the most to benefit from the videos, and the strategy, in general, is not the way to go; ZCG should be spending community funds on apps, use cases, and infrastructure.
  • Aditya stated that, if any educational content is to be funded, it has to be short-form clips.
  • All members agree that the best next step is to meet with the 37L’s team.
  • Prompted by uncomfortable correspondence, the committee discussed one on one communication with grant applicants and agreed that harmless communication is fine but all members should be in the loop for in depth conversation and if a grantee is asking what they can do to get approved.
  • Hudson volunteered to help onboard the new ZCG member for about a month so they can get up to speed as quickly as possible.
  • ZCG added 2 new ambassadors that start in July from India and S Korea.
  • The committee voiced that there needs to be better follow up with grant recipients and Dan agreed to continue to reach out to grantees to follow up on monthly updates on the forum.
  • Due to committee members attending upcoming conferences, the committee expressed a need for pamphlets. ZF said they can help but may not have it done until after Zcon3.
  • ZCG discussed the idea of a hackathon and Hudson shared some insights including hiring a hackathon company to run one.
  • All members thanked Hudson and told him he will be missed.


Open Grant Proposals

  • ZGo - The Zcash Register
    • Jason summarized that ZGo would accept Zcash as payment; the grant is $114,200 submitted by Pitmutt; Michael had asked to provide info on marketing and technical specs; Pitmutt responded and the committee agreed that the answers are sufficient.
    • Micheal stated that he completely and wholeheartedly approves.
    • All members approved.
  • Zcash Ecosystem Security Lead
    • Jason summarized that this is Taylor Hornby’s grant to serve the ecosystem; Brian had reached out with questions and they are waiting on a response; they would like to set up a call with Taylor to discuss the opportunity further.
    • Jason asked if it is possible to structure the grant under an Independent Contractor agreement and pay out of the grant pool. Alex replied that it is best to call it a grant and have it taken out of the grant pool; if we need to supplement the Terms and Conditions in the grant agreement with anything then we can easily do that. Aditya brought up that this would be the first case of an ongoing grant.
    • Brian reiterated that they haven’t got a response back on the forum so the next step is to meet with Taylor.
  • Zcash Media: 2022-2023
    • Jason summarized that the grant includes 12 short documentary-style videos for $1.8 million; ZCG recognizes how expensive the grant is, and, especially given the current value of ZEC, how expensive it is as a percentage of their treasury; we don’t know how long this bear market will last or how low the price of ZEC will go and ZCG has every intention of being smart and frugal with its budget; Jason stated that ZCG will not vote today and listed the following reasons: 1) The grant is long and not everyone has had time to review it. 2) David from 37 Laines reached out to Jason to say 37L is not advocating for the dev fund mechanism at this time and that 37L is willing to negotiate with ZCG to try and find an agreeable outcome for all parties. 3) ZCG has a number of questions and, in the next week or two, will set up a call with 37L to discuss their grant. 4) ZCG would like 37 Laines to consider pursuing alternative funding similar to the Thorchain grant; they could reach out to large ZEC holders to see if they can cover some expenses. Aditya added that a large portion of the ~31 hours of recorded footage is of ECC folks so they may be open to partly funding from the ECC x Filecoin fund. Jason stressed that the burden to find additional funding is on 37 Laines, not ZCG, and that ZCG should not be on the hook if any alternative funding commitments fall through. 5) The grant has been open for 10 days and community sentiment is split, so ZCG will allow more time for comments. 6) Hudson has agreed to mentor the new ZCG member and give them his opinion on the grant so they can consider his feedback when it comes time to vote.
    • Michael shared he believes the 37L grant’s ask is way too large, he was expecting $200k-$400k for a tranche of videos from pre-existing footage (6 months to a year); even that, he’d feel conflicted about, given the results of their first efforts; since he’s not even sure if $200k more worth of 37L content would be a responsible use of funds, he certainly doesn’t think that $1.8M is as that is more money than ZCG approved for Qedit (50% more!), a team that’s uniquely qualified to build new functionality to the core protocol.
    • Michael explained he is not convinced that more AAA-quality content is a great strategy for us going forward; 37L are surely talented producers but the results have not shown them to be great marketers; he would say it was a flop in terms of marketing and engagement; The Snowden video that all their strategy was building to is still sitting at what he would consider a disappointing 54k views after two months, (fewer than HALF their first release) despite the still-rotating Youtube thumbnail/title that gives the illusion of new content; it’s doubtful we’ll get a better shot for a AAA release than the Snowden news; we took our shot, the story was on the front page on Forbes.com, we got buzz and high-profile retweets, but it didn’t translate into significant community growth; he pointed out that it’s even possible that slick, AAA content is a red flag to investors and counterproductive to winning over newcomers; to some (including him), too much style suggests a lack of substance; this spending could have a net negative impact on perception of Zcash; he emphasized that Zcash needs apps, use cases, and infrastructure; even assuming we get tons of eyes and interest, we point them to a few inaccessible discussions on the forums, quiet discords, and slow wallets; we’re a money coin and it’s still a huge hassle to use with terrible UX, it takes an embarrassing amount of explanation to onboard your barista to tip them (see Cypherpunk Zero NFT breaking light wallets); Zcash media gave us three videos with debatable impact in terms of new external interest and community growth; he’s surprised that anyone is in favor of making them ZCG’s top grantee and committing to 12 episodes; with the experiment over, looking at the results, he doesn’t think it’s something ZCG should go deeper into, much less quintuple down on.
    • Michael pointed out that ZCG’s here to outreach to new users, not preach to the choir, so when the existing community says they liked Zcash Media and they want more, he doesn’t find it especially persuasive.
    • Michael brought up that ECC were stars and heroes of the show and had more to gain from the videos than holders so ECC team members’ support of the grant needs to be taken with a grain of salt; Zooko and Josh using their star power to push the grant is pretty inappropriate; one of the potential subjects is the life of Josh; ZCG and ECC have different priorities, and ECC is going to be aggrandized by this content; he imagines even if the videos accrued no value to ZEC holders, they’ll still surely make Zooko, Daira, Josh, and any other interviewees look like genius freedom fighters via glitzy media; regardless of user growth or value accrual, they get great PR boosting their rep, paid out of the community funds.
    • Michael added that it’s scary to go against a proposal from a professional media company with a lot of money on the line.
    • Michael also told the rest of the committee that he had a call on 6/21 with someone named on the grant who spoke in favor of the grant; he didn’t realize he was part of the grant at the time, (they’ve had friendly chats on-and-off); On this call, Michael was told that David Boyer wanted to set up a call with him, one-on-one and he thought it was an inappropriate request and declined and said he didn’t know if it was allowed. He asked if any other members have been approached to meet one on one. Hudson said he has unread Signal messages that he never planned to open. Brian said he hasn’t been approached directly. Aditya said he was approached and has an unread Signal message and prefers to have communication in public, especially when the grant is under review. Jason said he had been contacted by David from 37L and will do his part going forward to ensure all relevant communication related to this grant proposal occurs in the joint ZCG/37L Signal group.
    • Hudson voiced that he doesn’t think it’s bad to talk 1:1 if that is disclosed; ZCG has helped others before and it’s all about intentions, honesty, and transparency; this is different than “here’s how to get the grant.” Jason agreed that 1:1 communication isn’t bad and should, in fact, be somewhat expected and encouraged. Jason said when he has communicated 1:1 in the past he has relayed important and relevant details back to ZCG; he agrees with Hudson that ZCG members have spoken 1:1 with grant recipients in the past, and it seems okay because no one ZCG member carries more weight than anyone else; it’s just important to be transparent about communication. Aditya said he agrees; once they apply for a grant then the communication should take place in public; unless critical information needs to be conveyed, then the applicants may send a DM to @ ZCG on the forum so they are all in the loop. Jason replied he gets where Michael’s concerns are coming from, Michael brought up a number of concerns that would be good to communicate directly to 37 Laines; ZCG talked about a retrospective with 37L after their last grant, but haven’t yet done it, and we should make sure that occurs. Jason noted that overall both ZCG and 37L need to do a better job communicating with each other. Michael stressed that all 5 ZCG members are of impeccable character and he has no concerns.
    • Brian stated that he’d expect someone that is trying to be a voice for the Zcash community to have some level of networking; the gray area is if they expect compensation or if compensation sways opinion based on private conversations; he’s okay supporting grant applicants who reach out privately.
    • Aditya brought up that David is a great writer and he did mention that writing a grant is unpaid work and he, personally as a grant applicant, understands it’s a lot of work; David can do open and public communication quite well.
    • Brian raised a point that even though the ecosystem is young and not well developed it would be valuable to have someone of 37L production quality at this stage in our maturity making educational content about Zcash because of the regulatory uncertainty about Zcash.
    • Aditya said he does not support the production & release of more long-form content with a $150k burn rate; ZCG should consider leveraging 37L’s talent with production and distribution with ZF & ECC to bring down the costs and minus bells & whistles, especially when the existing work showed us that the team was lacking marketing savvy which makes or breaks it for long-form video releases; if any educational content needs to be funded, it has to be short-form clips- with the attention span of the majority of the non-crypto audience reducing by the year, the target market of the educational videos is the key; ZCG now has the data from the 2 high-quality long-form videos, their reach, and limited audience drop-offs after the paid ads stop; Aditya’s in support of short form clips, for twitter and tiktok vs a new premier every month; ambassadors love to share short form content as well. Jason replied that he made important points, but this is a conversation ZCG needs to have with 37L. Aditya agreed. Jason volunteered to ask 37L when they could meet. Hudson agreed it’s a good next step; if the people watching these videos come to Zcash and the infrastructure is not built out yet, this might be an onboarding tool to get into other privacy crypto. Aditya replied that we need the audience to stay with Zcash.
    • Jason circled back to the private conversation topic and said it’s inevitable, and in most cases, harmless. Aditya reiterated that he prefers to have private communication with the whole committee and when the grant is made public and under review, further communication should be public, unless critical information is being shared. Jason gave an example of someone asking a harmless question where he doesn’t see the problem with it being 1:1. Aditya agreed that if it’s harmless 1:1 it is okay and we need to be set up for success but when it’s in-depth or if they ask “how do I get that approved?” others should be involved. Jason agreed. Aditya added that it just brings us in sync if all members are in the conversation; we all want the best for Zcash. Michael clarified that the reason he had concerns is that the caller was trying to influence him and, in the context, it was alarming; he has concerns about kickbacks to ZCG members; it is a good thing we all have stellar characters; he agreed that all members made great points.
    • Hudson explained that he is willing to help onboard the new candidate their first month-ish so they can immediately vote on grants; Hudson will not vote but will council the candidate and tell them “here is what I think about this”, “here are some resources” as joining the committee can be overwhelming; Hudson will come to some or all of the brainstorm sessions but not the main meetings. Aditya said he really appreciates it and that they can reach out to him. Jason recommended leaving Hudson in the ZCG Signal group during the transition. Hudson replied that it would be helpful until the new member is comfortable on their own. Michael thanked Hudson and said that there is a huge benefit in the continuity he provides. Hudson said that he liked that he stayed on the committee; it turned out to be good and the current committee was a breath of fresh air.
    • Hudson asked if they should meet with 37L before they release the minutes and mention what could come out. All agreed. Aditya voiced that he thinks the minutes should go on as normal.

Brainstorm Meeting Follow Ups

  • Discretionary budget
    • Jason stated that he wants to confirm that rather than leaving $50k in cash, ZCG would like ZF to buy ZEC back every month when ambassador’s are paid in order to properly reduce the hedge.
  • Global Ambassador Program
    • Jason announced that they added 2 new ambassadors that start July: Janesh from India, who is relatively new to the ecosystem but has significant experience community building for other crypto projects, and Aiden from S Korea, who has been active in Zcash for a while.
  • Follow ups with grant recipients
    • Jason brought up that ZCG and ZF need to tighten up the process with following up with grantees; for example, the last update on Trezor was in November 2021 and one of the conditions for Qedit is that they would provide monthly updates; they provided a few but not monthly; they do attend most arborist meetings so we could post the notes on the forum thread to meet that obligation. Dan replied that he works on milestone follow ups and Danika provides milestone updates before every meeting; he usually gets responses that say they will post soon and some don’t; he can reach out to Qedit as maybe they are speaking in the arborist call differently from what they would share in a forum update. Michael suggested they send Qedit the arborist notes and ask if it’s okay to post. Jason said that Dan can post on the forum reminding them that a monthly update is required, as they don’t want to set the precedent for ZCG to follow up with all grantees. Dan said he will reach out via email to prompt them to post and continue to post updates.
  • ZCG pamphlets/information packets for conferences
    • Jason explained that Aditya is attending Def Con and Jason might attend Messari Mainnet in September and they want to create info packets to hand out and asked to utilize Winnie. Alex replied that this second it is really tough because of all the hours we are putting in for Zcon3. Aditya volunteered to create something and bring it to Def Con. Jason replied that they can expense it from the ZCG discretionary budget. Aditya said that he will get approval but it will only be a few hundred dollars. Alex updated the committee that Winnie will most likely be able to help with the pamphlet and will connect them.
  • Travel expenditures for ZCG / ZF policy
    • Jason asked if ZF has a travel policy as ZCG is looking to implement one. Alex said, yes, he will share it with them.


  • Aditya shared that ZCG might want to consider the Hackathon idea suggestion from Tim via Telegram. Aditya said ZCG could have an RFI or RFP for someone qualified to host a hackathon and shared that Elena from ECC did it for ECC in 2020; you need an organizer to write rules, host zoom meetings, sponsors, and prizes. Hudson explained that it’s an effort; he shared that one option is to hire a group to run one like the Gitcoin company who do a pretty good job; it is much easier if it’s only a virtual hackathon; he can connect them with ETH global and Untraceable, a conference company; it is more complicated in person and with cash prizes. Aditya mentioned that ECC used Gitcoin for hackathon submissions and he could reach out to them. Hudson said he will also think of freelancers.

Thank you, Hudson!

  • All members and ZF participants thanked Hudson and told him that they appreciated him. Hudson said it is hard to step down but he will use this time to rest up and get in better condition to do more this year; it is also important to stagger elections.

that’s the way to go!


Thank you @Souptacular for your work & time you’ve given to Zcash. We will definitely miss you!!