Zcash Community Grants Meeting Minutes 7/25/22

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


  • Aditya
  • Brian
  • Burns
  • Jason
  • Michael
  • Alex Bornstein (ZF resource)
  • Daniel Wolande (ZF resource)
  • Jack Gavigan (ZF resource)
  • Danika Delano acting as notetaker

Key Takeaways:


Open Grant Proposals

  • Zcash Media: 2022-2023
    • Jason explained ZCG had a call with 37 Laines last Thursday to discuss their grant and there were two major takeaways: First, 37 Laines has decided to put their grant on hold. They want to revisit how it’s structured and put together a proposal that’s broken down by different packages. 37L anticipates submitting an updated proposal at some point in two or three months. Second, in the meantime, they are going to submit a proposal for a bridge grant to cover the costs associated with running their Zcash Media Twitter, other social media cuts, and costs associated with equipment and interviews at Zcon3.
    • Aditya asked about licensing details around ZF’s engagement of 37 Laines as part of the Zcon3 streaming. Alex replied that it is work for hire, so ZF retains ownership of the footage copyright.
    • Burns added that the reason for the bridge grant is the grant process is too long as it’s structured more for software development grants.
    • Aditya clarified that per 37L, their resources would be occupied with ZF engagement for the next few weeks.
  • Inventory Management Software
    • Jason voiced that ZCG believes the proposal is a bit vague and they are not sure how it will leverage ZEC. Aditya said he asked a question to the applicant on the forum and hasn’t received a reply and is ready to vote today.
    • ZCG unanimously voted to reject the proposal.
    • Brian expanded that not understanding who the user is in the proposal is a reason why they are rejecting. Burns added that they are not sure how it benefits the ecosystem; it’s not a good market fit; it’s more of a proof of concept. Brian advocated to reject it with an explanation.
  • Accelerating Zcash on FPGA Clusters
    • Jason explained that the grant is for $130K.
    • Aditya shared that he reached out to ZF and ECC and have not heard back from them yet; they can hold off on voting until they do more research.
    • Jack told the committee that none of the ZF engineers have had much experience with FPGAs; in his opinion it’s not clear what the use case is; he said he will respond to Aditya’s inquiry.
  • Electrum Fork For Zcash
    • Jason summarized that the proposal is for an implementation of electrum personal server for $6,500.
    • Aditya stated that he is in support of this proof of concept development of an alternate model for light wallet infra and he votes yes. All members agreed to approve for the same reasons with the default approval response.
  • DeFi for ZEC: Shielded ZEC DeFi wallet for Ethereum, BSC and Polygon
    • Jason summarized that the proposal is for $1.38 million for a wallet that will be available on desktop and mobile; he shared that ZCG believes it should be rejected but is open to having a conversation with the team to learn about it and Railgun; ZCG is also open to them submitting a smaller proposal.
    • Burns added that it’s not a ZEC-first wallet and it’s not clear why ZCG should carry the entire burden of development.
    • Aditya shared that users can still use renZEC & wZEC for DeFi via MetaMask.
    • All members rejected the proposal.
    • Jason volunteered to talk with Dan about drafting a message.
  • Arti: A project to re-write Tor in Rust
    • Jason shared that the grant total is $666,656.40 USD; the Tor team has an open grant in progress with the next milestones on Sept 1 and Oct 1st. He said that he had looked into why ZOMG (the former ZCG) funded the original grant; he believes Holmes reached out to the Tor Project to encourage them to apply for a grant; he asked if the other members think they should reject it or set up a call to get a better understanding.
    • Jason indicated that ZCG believes this grant primarily benefits Zebra, whereas ZCG wants to use its budget for projects that benefit the Zcash community. Jack challenged this assertion; while Arti is written in the same programming language as Zebra, there’s no reason it can’t be integrated into zcashd or other Zcash projects.
    • Aditya explained that more synergies lie with Zebra using Arti to integrate tor in the node there than other Zcash community run projects. Jack responded that it’s natural for anyone building a Zcash node to want to integrate with Tor for more privacy; ZF has people on the team who are ex-Tor which means they’re well-positioned to do that integration but the characterization that it only benefits Zebra is not accurate. Aditya replied that he doesn’t see any other Zcash project integrating with Arti for Tor and there are better synergies with the ZF team; ZOMG (former ZCG) did support and fund Tor last year when the Zcash price was up and to improve synergies with privacy oriented projects; not many other Zcash projects have integrated with Arti. Jack said, to his mind, having a modern Rust implementation benefits the Zcash community in general and the broader cause of privacy; it’s not something that the ZF team is working on with the Tor team; Tor came up with the proposal independently. Zebra will likely make use of Arti at some point in the future, when it gets to the top of ZF’s priorities.
    • Jack continued: this grant is being submitted to ZCG and ZCG should accept or reject based on its own criteria and should not be looking to ZF and asking ZF to fund it; this is not something that is specific to Zebra but it may be used in the future. Aditya said he did not mean to mischaracterize and understands Jack’s point.
    • Burns added that zcashd does not support Tor but other things that can be worked on to integrate; it could be for zcashd but it’s far behind and that’s his reason for wanting to reject.
    • Michael shared that it’s true that it could benefit the Zcash ecosystem but the biggest benefit is for privacy at large; he told Jack that he appreciated the clarity.
    • Brian stated that he thinks it’s too early to vote.
    • Jack provided historical context: ZF was asked by the previous committee if we would use Arti and we said, “yes, ZF is likely to use it”; when ZCG predecessors come with questions, ZF answers in good faith such as being asked to see if it is worth funding the grant. Jason agreed that “yes, ZF is likely to use it” is a good thing and something that should be considered; however, given where the budget is now, he personally does not think it is a priority with the limited funds.
    • Aditya asked what is happening now with Arti’s current grant.
    • Jack shared that the current grant was originally submitted for $1.2 million but there was a decision for it to be broken down into smaller amounts; at the risk of sounding harsh, ZCG doesn’t need to worry about what this means for the Tor project, it’s the Tor project’s burden to find funding; if this application is rejected, will probably look for other sources of funding.
    • Jason asked if this is the first applicant that applied with a concurrent grant; can we wait to decide? Jack said that this application appears to be phase 2 of the same project but he would have to look at it in detail; Aditya said that it is his understanding that they are applying early to have continuity next year. Jason suggested that once they finish their current grant, ZCG can talk to ZF engineers and see if it would be beneficial to the zcash ecosystem; they also might not have a budget constraint then. Jack replied that the ZF engineers might not have more input. Jason mentioned that he has heard a ZF engineer say Arti is beneficial for the ecosystem. Jack replied that he agrees but ZF is not in a position to tell ZCG how the project is going as the ZF engineers are not actively involved. Jason clarified that he meant it not in terms of collaboration, but who is qualified to evaluate it - i.e. who can help us make a better informed decision. Aditya added that ZCG needs to see who is benefiting from the work and ZF may know who else could benefit. Jack responded that ZF has ideas for how to integrate Arti, like releasing new transactions on the network through Tor so they cannot be associated with a certain node; the lack of implementation on the zebra side is because ZF has had other priorities relating to core functionality; the first grant’s estimated completion is March 2023 so they are submitting well in advance.
    • Jason announced that they should table it for now and discuss it in the next meeting.
    • Burns asked if Tor plans to talk about Arti at Zcon3. Dan replied that their presentation is unrelated
    • Aditya asked Jack: if ZCG doesn’t fund this grant, are we taking a step back? Jack replied that he doesn’t think so; just because you fund phase 1 of a project, there is no obligations to fund phase 2; ZCG should assess it on its own merits; We would need to do more brainstorming; that said, Arti could complement other grants like the Oblivious Message Retrieval work, he can imagine a world in which someone connects to a zcash network through Tor without revealing an IP address; provides privacy that is more resistant to surveillance organization with a lot of resources; he doesn’t think it will reflect badly on Zcash if they opt to not fund. Aditya added that sometimes it’s good to have clarity around someone driving the holistic architecture & integration of multiple parallel efforts, but it seems this is not the case.

Other Proposals (posted to “Community Grants”)

  • Jason clarified that these are grant ideas posted to the grant section of the forum and there is nothing to approve or reject as they are not formal grant proposals.
  • Funding a Cannabis Retail Start Up
    • Jason explained that the applicant is opening a cannabis retail store in San Francisco that is 100% cashless and will accept crypto; he doesn’t see any real benefit to zcash or the community; there is some exposure; he asked the committee for opinions and if anyone wants to see a grant proposal.
    • Aditya said he is against direct funding of recreational drug associated ventures that are still illegal and penalized around many jurisdictions around the world; he supports funding merchant adoption via ZEC payments, but it should be incentivized and driven by individuals and this is just a vendor.
    • Burns broke down the budget and said he doesn’t know if it is legal to give $27K of weed away; he’s not sure how much it benefits the ecosystem vs just the store.
    • Michael stated that giveaways are not appealing; you can accept ZEC if you have a tablet; if a large organization like Amazon was interested, he would be open to it, but not for a dime a dozen start-up.
    • Brian agreed that he doesn’t want to fund individual merchants, but is interested in more merchants or larger orgs with bigger impact.
    • Michael suggested they respond to the post to acknowledge it and say it’s not going to happen (using the meeting minutes as a rationale).
  • A Modest Proposal by Nullius
    • Jason explained that Nullius wants free ZEC to bribe friends to use shielded and asked the committee if they wanted to comment on his post since it was posted to the Community Grants section of the forum.
    • Michael said that it should not be taken seriously and they should just let it be. Brian was also a hard no. Aditya added if the comments on the forum are in violation of ZCG’s code of conduct, the moderators take action in removing posts. Dan replied that he doesn’t think it is breaking the community guidelines. Jason agreed.


  • Zchurn’s question on KYC and “fiscal sponsorship”
    • Jason explained that the question of fiscal sponsorship for the grants program was brought up in the context of, if they didn’t want to be KYCed, they could have a fiscal sponsor.
    • Alex replied that the way they proposed it is not applicable to our situation; it is typically used when a foundation will not fund an individual like an artist; the individual can connect with a fiscal sponsor to receive funding; ZCG will fund for-profit and non-profit grants, including individuals so there isn’t an issue that would be solved by a traditional fiscal sponsor.
    • Alex volunteered to type up a response for the forum and send it to Jason to edit. Response posted 7/26.
  • Promotional merchandise budget for Ambassadors
    • Jason shared that ZCG put together a process for Zcash ambassadors to request funds for promotional merchandise to hand out at physical meetups or conferences; the funds will come out of the discretionary budget; Brian created a form for ambassadors to fill out. Brain explained that they submit a form, ZCG reviews it and brings it to the foundation when approved.
  • Zcon3 ZF paid promotion idea
    • Aditya explained that one of the ambassadors had the idea to use paid ads for promoting events at Zcon3. Alex replied that ZF will not do any more ads prior to Zcon3, but may do it post-conference to bring additional viewers to the posted sessions; ZF did run ads during the start of Zcon3 sign-up and saw a tiny bump then it trailed off.
  • ZF Comms Meetings
    • Jason shared that Natasha from 37 Laines mentioned that she had joined meetings with ZF and ECC and asked if it would be valuable for a ZCG member to attend the meetings. Jack explained that Winnie started meeting with the ECC folks a few months back and ECC invited 37L before the big reveal; the purpose is to coordinate not stepping on people’s toes; we don’t do coordinated marketing, just giving each other a heads up.
    • Brian asked if ZF is interested in communicating with others in the ecosystem on outreach; 37L is highlighting that there is not a clear strategy across the ecosystem. Jason mentioned 37L is hosting a discussion on value propositions at Zcon3 and suggested ZCG/37L host subsequent meetings about value propositions on Twitterspaces.
    • Jack said ZF would be happy to facilitate the logistics of it; he added that ZF is not interested in taking direction from 37L. Jason clarified that the intention is how to connect the dots between organizations, not telling people what to do.
  • Jason announced that the August 8th meeting is canceled due to Zcon3 and they are not going to reschedule it; the next meeting will be on Monday August 22nd.
  • Zcash x BitPay Integration
    • Aditya explained that BitPay charges approx. ~$100,000 to get ZEC on BitPay and there is an opportunity for a discount.
    • Michael shared that he used BitPay 4-5 years ago and is not crazy about it but is open to it. Brian said he is also open to it and wants to know what they are charging it for. Burns said it may be useful if they support shielded and new addresses.
    • Aditya volunteered to get in touch with BitPay and figure out more details on the level of integration, including if it would be a grant application.