ZIP 1014-1: Proposed Amendment to the “MG Slice (Major Grants)” Section

@Dodger and I have agreed to poll the community and request comments on how to present the questions to ZCAP. If you’re following this discussion, please participate in this poll:

Poll: How Should The ZIP 1014-1 Amendment Questions Be Presented To ZCAP?


This is the key question that I’m also wondering about. If ZOMG had a % budget equal to $500k-1M USD what will it be spent on?

I tossed out the $100k number based on the things we worked on last year when getting ZOMG off the ground. Some things that $100k could have been spent on are:

  1. A more professional website (Holmes and I just used GitHub pages)
  2. A more professional logo (I made the one we have now in Adobe Illustrator, I’m definitely not a pro graphic designer :sweat_smile:)
  3. Hiring a contractor to help us follow up with grants (now handled by @decentralistdan )
  4. Tweaks and updates to the Grants platform (cost was covered by ZF)
  5. Social media campaigns to raise awareness to apply for a grant.

I’m sure if we would have had a set $ budget we could have come up with other stuff to spend it on too, but we would have added that work on top of the normal Grant review workload. Keeping in mind that anything added onto ZOMG plate takes time and effort to do well.

By adding items explicitly into the ZIP proposal, @aquietinvestor is suggesting what it could be spent on:

Are there some of those that could be served by ZF (Z-confrences, ZOMG support personnel) or by the existing Grants program (research)?

How much time beyond the expected 15hrs per month do the ZOMG members anticipate to be able to manage and organize these items on top of normal Grant review and follow up activity?

And as I mentioned before:

Is very broad terminology equating to a blank check for “Whatever things ZOMG can get the 5 members to agree to”.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against ZOMG having an independent operating budget of it’s own (more autonomy is better for decentralization) but in my opinion there needs to be accountability, realistic expectations for the time commitments required, and tangible benefits for Zcash users.

If it’s anything that attracts more Developers to build stuff on Zcash or drives adoption I’m strongly in favor of it. We just have to be diligent that it’s not an allocation of funds that would have been better spent by giving out Grants to professional full time teams building ZSAs, smart contracts, zkRollups, integrations, wallets, etc… for Zcash itself.


I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with this post.

After reflecting on this some more I think that the $100k number you came up with would be sufficient, especially with the extra supports coming from ZF.

As things stand, unless persuaded otherwise by others with more detailed estimates I think I’ll be leaning towards whatever option is closest to your initial estimate.


I’m okay not adding items explicitly into the amendment. If someone wants to propose alternative language to include, we can consider that. However, I think that it should be broad enough to not limit the independence and autonomy of ZOMG. At the end of the day, we should be able to trust the committee to make smart decisions that will benefit the Zcash ecosystem. There should be strong transparency requirements, and the community should scrutinize how ZOMG uses the funds and hold it accountable if they’re not using the funds wisely.

$100K may be sufficient. The nice thing about not writing the amount into the ZIP amendment is if ZOMG ever needs to increase or decrease the budget it can always be put to ZCAP for a vote. I feel a lot more comfortable having ZCAP decide what the budget should be rather than me trying to propose a budget/cap combo based on the comments I’ve received and putting that to ZCAP for a vote to approve or reject.


Yep I really like that change that you suggested to the wording, allows us to be more flexible and agile in the future if needed.


Shawn, I agree with this, but FWIW I do not think that “prior restraint governance” is an effective way to get this. By “prior restraint” governance I mean some combination of (a) explicit terms specifying what MUST and MUSTNT and SHOULD and SHOULDNT be done, and/or (b) some trusted third party who the intended agent has to get permission from every step of the way, so that the trusted third party can prevent the agent from going outside the intent.

(Gordon Mohr once memorably told me in private conversation that RFC 2119 terms like MUST and SHOULD are “governance theatre”. People think they’re getting assurance of the kind of performance that they want, but they aren’t actually.)

Instead, I recommend “trust but verify governance”. You specify the overarching goals and motivations in advance, and then you empower good people to do whatever they think is best for those goals. This empowers them, it signals that you trust their integrity and their judgment, and most importantly it sets them to accomplish things that you couldn’t have thought of in advance. Then, you need transparency, and after-the-fact scrutiny and guidance.

This strategy critically hinges on finding good people! People of high integrity and high skill. In a word: leaders. Fortunately, we’ve now demonstrated by two successive strong slates of ZOMG candidates that the Zcash community can muster people like that. It’s a huge strategic advantage that Zcash has over competitors (e.g. the USD :wink: ) and one that we should leverage to the max!

Just my two zats. :slight_smile:


MINA Snapps Bootcamp & Hackathon slide:

After having taken part in the MINA Snapps Bootcamp & Hackthon last weekend and a couple ETH Global Hackathons over the years, I can confidently say that Hackathons go great lengths in connecting & inspiring builders and even building breakthrough proof of concepts that can be improved upon.

Regarding the discretionary funding bucket, I believe every zat coming from the Zcash block reward is a blessing! which allows the community to shape the future of ZEC as seen fit.

The MINA hackathon had $10,000 in participation prizes to every participant, now we may not want to directly compete with a pre-mined, VC coin in handing out 10 grand to participants, but if we have to make the choice in spending the funds we have access to, we could at least learn from how the other projects are pushing forward as they are our competition to gain investors, users and builders in the zero knowledge category.

Additionally, if we are allowed a discretionary spending budget, if possible, ZOMG members should be compensated from the ZOMG budget, and not be dependent upon ZF reserves. This change could alleviate the possible power issues brought up by @ml_sudo in the last few months.

That being said, I believe setting aside a higher cap of budget would be helpful to not start the discussion around every suggested activity by the limited 100k budget constraints, even the 18k per ZOMG compensation x 5 itself takes up 90% off the budget of 100k. Otherwise, I see the discretionary budget spent on outreach efforts to attract builders, spreading educational material via various social media channels and attending crypto related conferences.


ZOMG member compensation is paid out of the ZF slice of the dev fund, I don’t believe this amendment would change that structure.


This is not in the scope of the amendment. When I first contemplated the amendment months ago, I considered advocating for committee members to receive compensation from the MG Slice in order to alleviate the financial burden on ZF. You can see an early draft here. However, in the first discussion of the ZOMG-ZIP 1014 Independent Review Committee, it was made clear that the Zcash Foundation’s plan to increase the time commitment (from 5 hours per month to 15 hours per month) and compensation (from $500 per month to $1,500 per month) was well received and not a point of contention, and the scope of the amendment was limited to a discretionary budget.


Is that something we want ongoing in the foreseeable future?
Is the amendment final or still under discussion?

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Its been that way because the ZIP specifically says funds are to go to outside teams ie: ZOMG can’t pay itself.

I don’t have an issue with the current structure, it leaves more funds in the ZOMG pot to spend if it doesn’t have to worry about paying itself.


The list Shawn gave above would be where my list would start too. I’d put special emphasis on #3:

This is solved now by having @decentralistdan in his role at ZF, but it’s pretty normal in the course of things for people to cycle out of roles every 2-4 years, and I think it makes more sense for ZOMG to have the option of hiring for this role directly next time if they want to.

Organizations and hiring are both complicated things, and it’s sometimes difficult to sync up between ZF and ZOMG because people are on different working schedules and there can be different organizational cultures or working styles. Right when ZOMG started, ZF happened to be in a leadership transition from Josh, to Antonie in an interim role, and then to Jack. This ended up delaying the process of hiring support staff for ZOMG quite a bit, because Antonie understandably wasn’t going to take that on when she was about to transition out, and then ZF had other priorities. There’s nothing like this kind of transition on the horizon I don’t think, but it’s still worth planning for by giving ZOMG the ability to hire directly if it needs to.

Another one on my list would be a security expert to help us pursue a strategy to improve security across the work being done by grantees, or an engineer to help us evaluate grant applicants and assess work performed.

Together, both of these make me pretty sure that $100,000 is too limiting. Having full-time support staff plus one or more part time technical experts already goes past $100,000 I think. ~$500,000 seems safe to me, and I think there’s enough oversight of ZOMG in the forums and through the election process to ensure these funds aren’t misused any more than grant funds would be misused.

ZOMG could use the RFP process to fill these roles too, but ZOMG could do that for almost anything, and it’s a bit awkward. If it looks like a staff position, we should handle it that way instead of forcing it to be an RFP; it’s cleaner that way and will be easier to find good people.

Communications about grants and recruiting of new grantees are two other areas where it would have been great to have support.

I hope this perspective is helpful!


Following-up to my own post to link to another recent post of mine which really relates.

The relation is:

  1. “Prior restraint governance” is not the only option. “Trust but verify governance” is IMHO usually more effective as I asserted above

  2. “Prior restraint governance” is inherently incompatible with decentralization. “Prior restraint governance” or decentralization: pick one. That’s what I assert here.


Thanks Holmes! Good breakdown.

With support staff and technical staff, and if ZOMG comp comes out from the budget, we’d be past the $500,000. At the very least, we’d have no budget left for anything proactively promotional.

Edit: when I say “we,” I mean the community / the future zomg panel… since I’m not running again.


Thanks Holmes for your detailed response, a lot of this makes sense to me, I really like the idea of ZOMG being able to employ a security expert to review work that is being carried out (and to potentially help probe applications).

And I think giving ZOMG the flexibility to hire additional roles if needed would be a good thing too, especially to protect the function in the event of unforseen turmoil in ZF.

This has definitely helped me to see where this funding could be used effectively.

P.S. thanks for your efforts in year one of ZOMG, I hope we continue to see you around these parts!


I don’t think ZOMG comp should factor into the amount for now, if there is a decision in the future to pay ZOMG committee members directly from the budget I’d definitely be in favour of increasing the budget by the appropriate amount when that happens.

And thanks ML for your work this year too, the whitepaper was a work of art! I also hope we continue to see you participate in the community.


The poll results are in and Jason’s “ZEC option with optional cap” has the highest percentage of votes with 40%.

Despite the results, @Dodger indicated to me via email yesterday that if there is no “clear majority” (i.e. 50%+), he plans to present his “Complex” option to ZCAP when the Helios poll convenes on December 20. A couple points on the “clear majority” standard:

  • Dodger said nothing about the “clear majority” standard when we agreed to post the forum poll to decide the questions to ask ZCAP. He brought it up one day before the poll closed.
  • Presenting three options in a poll makes it difficult to achieve a clear majority (i.e. 50%+).
  • The “Complex” option only received 35% of votes. Jason’s “ZEC with Optional Cap option” received 40% of the votes, and the “Simple” option received 25% of votes. So, 65% of respondents prefer a method of questioning simpler than the “Complex” option. Therefore, presenting the “Complex” option to ZCAP is not supported by the results of the poll.


If Dodger decides to disregard the results of the poll and go forward with the “Complex” option, I recommend he change the first question from:

Should ZOMG have a discretionary budget?


Do you support amending ZIP 1014 to give ZOMG a discretionary budget?

His question currently does not mention “amending ZIP 1014,” and I believe it should be explicitly stated. If ZCAP votes in favor of the discretionary budget, I want to avoid a situation where an accidental omission leads to unnecessary delays.

Edit: I’m just posting this so everyone is aware of what transpired. If this is how polls work in the Zcash community, then I accept the results. :+1:

cc: @Dodger @Alex_ZF


Opinions are my own here @aquietinvestor.

The difference between Jason’s option and the complex option is a mere 2 votes. Imo that’s too small a difference to decide to go with the simpler of the two options. Safer to poll the ZCAP with the more complex option to get a better picture of the community’s desires.

Plus the ZCAP constitutes competent individuals who can handle the more complex option, which imo isn’t complex at all, it just offers more questions to paint a clearer picture. (And I believe you were advocating for more transparency, right?)

My two zats (stole this phrase from Zooko).


I’m sorry, what? This has nothing to do with transparency. It’s a poll, the results are objective. I ran a transparent process throughout. Your comment is unnecessary and inappropriate.

I’m not making a big deal about this. Again, I’m just posting this so everyone is aware of what transpired. If this is how polls work in the Zcash community, then I accept the results.

I’m sorry if my post offends you, though I don’t understand how it would… I’m saying based on the results of the recent poll, asking more questions to the ZCAP would paint a clearer picture of the community’s desires - which in my view amounts to increased transparency on community’s wishes.

And to be clear, all comments I make on this forum are my own opinions, coming strictly from the place of being a years-long zodler.

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