ZecHub: open-source education for Zcash

Hello Zcash Community,

Following up from an initial application submitted, ZecHub has voted to apply for a grant that would support its full operations during 2023.

In our proposal we request funding toward bounties for open-source contributions, legal assistance to formalise our business operations and compensation for three main contributors @dismad @squirrel @tokidoki.

Throughout the year we hope to improve upon our onboarding documentation, release many more engaging educational pieces about Zcash and its ecosystem while growing a passionate community of contributors from across the world.

Please see the detailed proposal:

Applicant Names:

  • Jason Rogers
  • Dismad
  • Tokidoki

Team Members’ names:

  • Dismad
  • Jason Rogers
  • Tokidoki

Governing Org:

  • ZecHub DAO

Pitch: A one-liner elevator pitch version of your proposal

  • This proposal seeks to grow Zcash’s open-source education hub and onboard more contributors to Zcash.

Previous program → Please provide details:

ZecHub - Period: June 2022-January 2023

ZecHub was founded by ECC’s Ian Sagstetter as an open-source education hub for Zcash. It saw 12 other Zcashers contribute regularly to the project. Contributors managed a Zcash wikipedia, produced newsletters in multiple languages, created video content, and managed an ethereum multi-sig. ZecHub’s primary focus was on creating infrastructure that enabled anyone to learn and contribute to Zcash. All work from ZecHub’s contributors was done for free during this time.


Applicant background:

Who is contributing to this:

  • @dismad: Background in Mathematics, Computer Science, and Education. Key ZecHub contributor, Cypherpunkzero holder and Moderator, experience in the Automotive Industry for 15+ years
  • @squirrel: I am the current community note taker for Zcash Arborist calls. I also have been a key contributor to the ZecHub project since its inception.
  • @tokidoki: A software engineer who loves Zcash. Previously, I was a moderator at the Zcash forum and currently I’m contributing to ZecHub and @CypherpunkDAO.
  • @zechubdao: The ZecHub DAO is a community-led group that governs ZecHub’s strategy and direction. All DAO members are active Zcashers.

Description of Problem or Opportunity:

The opportunity:

Zcash is the industry leader in privacy technology, zero-knowledge development and peer-to-peer payment protocols. But, it struggles with education and documentation geared towards end-users. It also struggles with giving non-technical community members an easy way to contribute to Zcash and earn ZEC.

From Ian, ZecHub’s founder:

Since joining the Zcash ecosystem as a contributor, I found that there was a lot of FUD around simple things like shielded wallet applications, how to use Zcash privately, and other relatively simple topics.

I also saw that a lot of the education and media platforms were dependent on a single individual or entity, and I thought to myself: what if that platform ceased to receive funding, or the person left the project?

I remembered EthHub from the Ethereum ecosystem and its purpose: Dispel FUD, make Ethereum easy to understand and do it in an open-source environment. I decided to take that model and apply it to the Zcash ecosystem, with a strong emphasis on open-source and decentralization. I focused on the latter aspect to ensure that ZecHub never died if I, or anyone else, decided they didn’t want to continue on with the project.

I also noticed there was an opportunity for Zcash to bring on some of Ethereum’s principles with regards to DAO-like working structures. In Ethereum there are a lot of environments where you can join an organization’s chat room, provide value, and earn some crypto.

ZecHub has the opportunity to be Zcash’s primary education platform and resource, while also giving Zcashers more purpose through contributing to the hub.

And even with ZecHub being a passion project so far, other cryptocurrency communities are starting to recommend ZecHub as a go-to channel to learn more about Zcash.

With funding and more structure, ZecHub can be the platform that makes Zcash education simple, inclusive and unique.


Proposed Solution: Describe the solution at a high level.

ZecHub provides easy to understand education resources, a newsletter and a podcast on Zcash-specific materials. It does this in an open-source manner.

The beauty of ZecHub is that anyone can review the documentation for accuracy, create new materials and use the hub’s structure to facilitate new ideas that benefit the hub’s education stack and the Zcash ecosystem.

ZecHub thrives on open-source contributions. We believe this is a feature, not a bug. We propose a pool of funds that is overseen by the DAO, and rewards contributors for every contribution made to ZecHub.

We believe this process will incentivize current community members to become more active contributors to Zcash education, and adjacent crypto ecosystem communities to come in and learn about Zcash and eventually contribute to the protocol.

ZecHub focuses on advancing Zcash education and will provide a uniform process for anyone to earn ZEC.


Solution Format: What is the exact form of the final deliverable you’re creating?

The format of the work will be:

  • An easy to understand Zcash wikipedia
  • Zcash’s weekly newsletter
  • Consistent Zcash education for crypto twitter
  • News shows, podcasts and other video content for social media
  • Zcash wallet tutorials (video)
  • Zcash user guides
  • Twitter spaces series
  • Easy to understand articles about Zcash
  • Zcash media in multiple languages
  • Media about other privacy projects (i.e. Railgun podcast), which can introduce them to ZecHub
  • Contributor onboarding docs, make working on Zcash easy

See some of our past work:

Technical Approach: Dive into the how of your project. Describe your approaches, components, workflows, methodology, etc. Bullet points and diagrams are appreciated!

Starting in January 2023:

  • Contributor onboarding doc to help onboard new Zcash contributors
  • We manage the ecosystems only weekly newsletter
  • Open-sourced education materials. Anyone can contribute.
  • We believe we should standardize bounty amounts in ZEC to making earning ZEC consistent, worthwhile and normal
  • We have created an efficient process for podcast guests and creating content
  • We have a community-led DAO to ensure the hub’s strategic direction includes a diverse set of voices
  • We will vote on all major changes related to the Hub, and will document those changes in public
  • We believe in collaboration. Anyone can use our materials to support their own channels. For example, Zcash en Español.

Dependencies: What external entities is your project dependent on? What involvement is required from ZF, ECC, and/or other external organizations? Who would have to incorporate your work in order for it to be usable?*

The podcast is dependent on Zcash community members being open to attending the podcast. ZecHub is dependent on its DAO members and open-source contributors to see the platform thrive. There are no other dependencies.


Execution risks: What obstacles do you expect? What is most likely to go wrong? Which unknown factors could jeopardize success? Who would have to incorporate your work in order for it to be usable?

The biggest execution risk has been a lack of funding and attention dedicated towards the hub. Still, it has proven its value to Zcash. ZCG funding, and dedicated contributors, solve for this risk.

Other risks could involve the hub’s information being free to use, potentially creating competitors instead of collaborators. But, we have not seen this play out in practice and doubt it will.

Another education risk is the hub’s dependency on one person for media materials. There should be a strong focus on developing more content creators for the hub.


Evaluation plan: What metrics for success will you share with the community once you’re done? In addition to quantitative metrics, what qualitative metrics will you commit to reporting?

The main metrics related to ZecHub’s success are social media metrics (followers, video views, newsletter subscribers, etc) and the number of contributors building ZecHub related items. Here are the metrics from ZecHub’s first 6 months:

Primary Social Media Following:

Twitter - 386 followers

YouTube - 115 subscribers

Newsletter - 50 subscribers

Social Media Engagement:

A high level overview. We average 2-10k Impressions per post on twitter. Our podcast has relatively good views with nearly 900 over 5 episodes. Ian also experimented with posting content on his personal account, and retweeting via ZecHub, with the most successful post having 34,000 impressions and 8,000 video views. We feel that our engagement suffers because we do not consistently post, and our social media has largely been experimental. Saying that, many feel that ZecHub has a quality brand, and has consistently delivered quality social media content. Posts include Hub announcements, docs updates, newsletters, podcasts, news shows, tutorials, and threads based on user experience.

We are in a bear market, and we feel that if we can increase consistency, maintain engagement numbers, and grow our social media following along the way, then we would have a successful year in this regard.

We will also post content that appeals to crypto ecosystems outside the Zcash community. For example, doing a podcast with the Railgun team brought more eyes on ZecHub from the Railgun community. If we do this frequently, with ecosystems that are aligned with Zcash, we can grow our following and engagement outside of Zcash. We believe this will bring more people to ZecHub as followers and potential contributors. This widens the net for potential engagement and growth on social media.

We will provide a monthly social media report for the community. You can view our main social media channels below:

Twitter
YouTube
Substack
Contributor Count:

ZecHub has had 13 Zcashers contribute to the hub. We believe this is the most important metric, because it can give Zcashers added purpose for the work.

We view everything, docs, podcasts, social media, etc., as a means to bring in committed contributors to Zcash. When these contributors are actively playing their part in Zcash education, they will have more things to post about Zcash on social media, in their online communities, IRL, and this will amplify ZecHub and Zcash’s work past our own follower base.

The best crypto communities are where people can come in, contribute and truly be a part of something. How bad is it when you enter a discord, want to provide value to something you care about, but there’s no way to do it?

Our goal for 2023 is to see 17 new Zcashers contribute to ZecHub, bringing its contributor count to 30. This will be done via our contributor onboarding process, and community management.


Total Request (USD):

(You will be paid out in ZEC based on USD market price at payout time.)


Please provide justification for the total compensation budget:

The estimated budget for ZecHub’s core contributors for 2023:

ZecHub’s contributors:

  • @dismad and @zksquirell - $75 * 7.5hrs * 40 weeks = $22,500 each
  • @tokidoki - $40 * 5hrs * 40 weeks = $8,000

Total ZecHub team member compensation for 2023 - $53,000


Contributor Bounty Fund. This will be billed as a startup cost and will be disbursed to ZecHub open-source contributors as they complete bounties. This will be denominated in ZEC:

  • Newsletter - 0.5 ZEC per edition

  • Translating Newsletter - 0.2 ZEC per translation

  • ZecHub Wiki - 1 ZEC per new page published

  • ZecHub Wiki - 0.1 ZEC per accepted edit to docs

  • ZecHub Wiki - 0.05 ZEC per broken link fixed or spelling error corrected

  • Video content - 2.5 ZEC per video and/or audio posted on ZecHub socials

  • Zcash Tutorials (with audio) - 1.5 ZEC per tutorial

  • Creative content for social - .75 ZEC per creative posted on ZecHub socials

This page has a more detailed explanation of the contributor bounty fund.

Total of costs for 2023 bounty pool - 270 ZEC. (12,082.50 USD as of 1/12/23)


System costs:

  • Pool ticket: $6 - month / 12x = $72 year
  • Canva: $8 - month / 12x = $96 year
  • Linktree: $5 - month / 12x = $60 year
  • Adobe: $24 - month / 12x = $288 year
  • Notion converter: $12 - month / 12x = $144 year
  • Website hosting: $300 year

Total of costs with systems for 2023 - $960


Business License:

  • $300 USD

Legal costs:

  • Startup Counsel Costs: $5250
  • Immediate Counsel Assistance: $12,250

Total estimated legal costs: $5550 with $12,250 additional budget reserved for startup costs. We also request that the ZF reserve $100,000 for further legal and compliance expenses. ZecHub will draw on this reserve on an itemized basis, as necessary.

Note on legal costs

We’re currently speaking with some of the top lawyers in the crypto industry to navigate the complexities of incorporating a DAO. Unfortunately, incorporating outside of the US is extremely expensive, so likely, we will have to incorporate in the US. The primary reason for incorporation is to ensure that the DAO members are not liable for tax events incurred from open-source bounty payouts.

To help us through that process, we will need outside counsel that will help us incorporate the DAO, and ensure that its members will not incur any personal liabilities. This is the initial budget for $5250. This should be all we need.

DAO legal structures are unfortunately difficult to navigate, so an extra legal cost in the beginning might also need to be accounted for. We are budgeting an additional $12,250 in case we need more funds for legal expenses in the beginning.

In the long-term, we are requesting a legal retainer budget in the event that ZecHub needs additional legal counsel. We do not expect this to be the case.

All legal costs will be managed and paid out by the Zcash Foundation upon receipt.


Schedule and Milestones: What is your timeline for the project? Include concrete milestones and the major tasks required to complete each milestone.

Startup costs - billed upon being funded

  • ZecHub contributor bounty fund, business license, & systems costs: $13,342

Milestone 1 - estimated completion date: 02/28/2023

  • Milestone 1 - USD value of payout upon completion of deliverables: $4818.18
  • Deliverable 1.1: ZecHub team report

Milestone 2 - estimated completion date: 03/31/2023

  • Milestone 2 - USD value of payout upon completion of deliverables: $4818.18
  • Deliverable 2.1: ZecHub team report

Milestone 3 - estimated completion date: 04/30/2023

  • Milestone 3 - USD value of payout upon completion of deliverables: $4818.18
  • Deliverable 3.1: ZecHub team report**

Milestone 4 - estimated completion date: 05/31/2023

  • Milestone 4 - USD value of payout upon completion of deliverables: $4818.18
  • Deliverable 4.1: ZecHub team report

Milestone 5 - estimated completion date: 06/30/2023

  • Milestone 5 - USD value of payout upon completion of deliverables: $4818.18
  • Deliverable 5.1: ZecHub team report

Milestone 6 - estimated completion date: 07/31/2023

  • Milestone 6 - USD value of payout upon completion of deliverables: $4818.18
  • Deliverable 6.1: ZecHub team report

Milestone 7 - estimated completion date: 08/31/2023

  • Milestone 7 - USD value of payout upon completion of deliverables: $4818.18
  • Deliverable 7.1: ZecHub team report

Milestone 8 - estimated completion date: 09/30/2023

  • Milestone 8 - USD value of payout upon completion of deliverables: $4818.18
  • Deliverable 8.1: ZecHub team report

Milestone 9 - estimated completion date: 10/31/2023

  • Milestone 9 - USD value of payout upon completion of deliverables: $4818.18
  • Deliverable 9.1: ZecHub team report

Milestone 10 - estimated completion date: 11/30/2023

  • Milestone 10 - USD value of payout upon completion of deliverables: $4818.18
  • Deliverable 10.1: ZecHub team report

Milestone 11 - estimated completion date: 12/15/2023

  • Milestone 11 - USD value of payout upon completion of deliverables: $4818.18
  • Deliverable 11.1: ZecHub team report

Total proposed USD value of grant:

  • $53,000 paid in ZEC

How was the project timeline determined?

  • The work will be done and delivered from February 13th to December 15th, 2023.

How did you learn about Zcash Community Grants?

  • Through being active Zcash community members

Application submission date:

  • 1/17/2023

We’re very much interested in hearing from the community about our proposal, let us know if you have any questions.

18 Likes

Disclaimers: My opinion, not ECC’s. I created ZecHub.


I fully support this grant! I think the team here has demonstrated that they’re capable in taking the hub over.

I’m also excited that there will be a standardized process, and funding, that enables anyone the opportunity to earn ZEC and contribute to Zcash education.

Just to be clear, I will be stepping away from the hub as a core contributor and governance voting member. But, I will continue to support the hub on its strategy and comms (if that’s something they want me to do). I will also continue donating my podcast to ZecHub’s channels for the near future.

To finish, I think ZecHub has the potential to become Zcash’s most unique and inclusive contributor onboarding environment. I also think it produces quality Zcash education materials, and will continue to do so.

Excited!

18 Likes

I think the same, i admire your attitude! :smiling_face_with_tear:

I like the idea, the dao is a collaborative space that brings a sense of belonging and identification with the Zcash ecosystem.

Open bounts for external collaborators is a nice way.
Eth does this well, is important. :muscle:

9 Likes

I love the moment in this proposal when the cost of work is fixed in ZEC. Ideally, all community grants should be fixing in ZEC. And there should be a mechanism for fixing the course for example for 3 months. To minimize the uncertainty of the threat of fluctuations for the grant fund.

7 Likes

As I said before, I really support Zechub for the education of Zcash.

I truly believe this project will be the primary source of information about Zcash in many countries, we have Zechub brazil with the translations and daily support, podcast that we made before, etc.

I have the pleasure of working with them daily, so I wish the best for the whole team - this is the best way for any community!

9 Likes

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that I’m 100% supportive of this grant. What we’ve seen ZecHub create so far is a fantastic addition to the Zcash A/V media space. The outline looks great. The rates are reasonable. I look forward to collaborating with all of the contributors and applaud @januszgrze and the rest for the work it took in the early stage of building ZecHub to bring it to this point :zcash: :zebra:

9 Likes

@squirrel, @dismad, @tokidoki, ZecHub, & the Zcash Community, I am happy to announce that the @ZcashGrants Committee has unanimously voted to approve this grant proposal.

18 Likes

Thank you @ZcashGrants and everyone else behind the scenes who made this possible!

I am beyond excited and hope collectively we can continue to bring more education into the Zcash ecosystem. :zebra: :owl: :hearts:

13 Likes