ZOMG Open Call for Candidates 2021

Mixing the 24 hour clock with the 12 hour clock scrambled my brain for a second there, I was reading the final 3 rows as an incorrectly numbered list!!

Reminder!

If you are referring to Mario who was helping Chris, he stepped back after one meeting.

The other person (ML) was added only after a person left (Sarah).

There has always been a max 5 voting members of ZOMG. If you want to increase the number to 7 then you should submit a ZIP amendment proposal like Jason is.

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The December 15th ZOMG candidates call with @aiyadt @dontpanicburns @wobbzz @kayabaNerve is now up on YouTube:

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Is there any ZOMG support person (@decentralistdan?) that could assemble a snapshot of all the ongoing ZOMG projects to the new ZOMG board?

Sort of like when new presidents are elected, they get a briefing of everything that is going on. This seems like a good way for incoming decision makers to get up to snuff.

For instance, on the community call (which I only watched a fraction of for now) @dontpanicburns mentioned he wants a Metamask style UI for Zcash. But isn’t there already a team (Zephyr) working on this? I don’t mean to call anyone out and I’m not sure of the details of Zephyr progress or if they will ultimately fulfill a MM void for Zcash, just pointing out we need some sort of transition process to make things smooth and efficient :slight_smile:

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Hi @David_Heisenberg. Jointly responding with @decentralistdan to your question.

ZF will be providing a comprehensive welcome for the new committee that will cover all of the important information, processes, etc. that they’ll need to know. There is a lot of information to share. We’ll also be providing plenty of opportunities for the new committee to review and make changes to processes and approaches when there is flexibility to do so (some processes are setup like they are because there is no flexibility to do otherwise). We’ll do everything possible to set the new committee up for (continued) success.

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Yes, they are making progress with a MM style plugin, the latest update is in this thread:
Project Zephyr Update

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Polling has begun!

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Hi all,

I know this is a little late in the game, but seeing as there are still plenty of uncast votes for the poll, I wanted to ask @ZOMG-Candidate a couple of questions that may help to inform voters.

  1. What do you think of the first ZOMG White Paper? What do you agree or disagree with? Is there any room for improvement? What major areas highlighted in the White Paper do you think remain to be worked on? What areas highlighted in the White Paper are being addressed in a strong way?

  2. Given we now have roughly a year of ZOMG existing, what things do you think went well versus not as well during ZOMG’s first year?

  3. ZOMG receives a variety of grant proposals ranging from cutting edge technology to simpler ideas such as social media marketing. What do you consider your strengths in evaluating proposals versus what areas will you have to rely on others to help to evaluate the proposals? Do you think you have a wide and informed enough network to rely on to help you evaluate the merits of a proposal that may be in a topic you are not well-versed in?

  4. In the event of a disagreement between the community’s view on a proposal versus the ZOMG committee, what path would you take to come to a decision? For example, if the community appears to be very enthusiastic about a proposal but the ZOMG is not leaning towards funding it, how would you reach a consensus to make a decision?

  5. What are some things off the top of your head you really think the Zcash community needs and that you, as a ZOMG committee member, will be keeping an eye out for?

Thanks in advance for taking the time to consider these questions.

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  1. The original white paper comprehensively tackled both identity in theory and the actual work of the organization which I thought was commendable. Acknowledging specific projects and target markets was excellent. As I said on the recent call though, I don’t believe a white paper is actively a meaningful way to communicate this information and I don’t personally care to update it versus migrating it to a website. At the same time, I have no issue with modernizing the whitepaper as needed while we’re at it. As for the information in it, a lot of it is dated or no longer relevant as it’s 6 months old and doesn’t adequately covered grants and developments since issued. I have no issue with its goals/targets/metrics though, and would like to stand by most of them.

  2. This one is hard for me to comment based on my relative youth to the community. When I looked to review the standing ZOMG’s committee work, I saw a lot of discussions about both infrastructure and identity. Simply creating and establishing the processes it did and defining its relationships is significant in my opinion, combined with giving multiple deserved grants… I also want to especially note Arti as it sets precedent for both what contributes to Zcash along with how funds are moved as deserved, not hoarded. I also think its identity problems are what didn’t go well, despite the steps made, yet that was made clear as these elections opened and I believe they have since been extensively discussed appropriately. Arguably, the standing committee’s brutal honesty about these problems, as manifested by only one member running again, is something they did right due to the organizational changes it provoked. My biggest issue with the ZOMG was lack of knowledge and communication however. There was one specific proposal which I do not believe was appropriately evaluated, which caused me to run in the first place, and I can understand how a lack of developers would cause such issues. The part I consider especially problematic is how the lengthy discussion on the forums seemed to not be properly read by all ZOMG’s members, leading to missed beliefs and further evaluation issues in my opinion. However, I was not part of ZOMG and can’t truly comment here, and I don’t want to stir up drama as we head into a new year with a new ZOMG. My point is to highlight what I saw as problematic, or potentially problematic, and highlight what’s important to me (as asked).

  3. My personal strengths are as a developer able to analyze both basic/moderate theory, code, and timeline accordingly. I also have a complete non background in social media which will cause me to rely on others there. That said, the current candidates have a wide array of backgrounds, some fellow developers, some not, which I do believe will paint a comprehensive picture no matter who specifically is elected. Combined with ZF’s support and the new discretionary budget which should be available, I have complete faith the new ZOMG will be able to properly evaluate proposals.

  4. I believe that ZOMG was elected to make decisions and that shouldn’t be treated lightly. While furthering Zcash is a community effort, requiring communication and transparency, ZOMG members are also expected to be much more knowledgeable on topics and I believe that should be respected, especially given a finite budget. I believe community sentiment weights how much a proposal furthers Zcash, and therefore its grant viability, but I do not believe it should be a deciding factor by any means.

  5. Cross chain interoperability is a personal passion of mine and something I believe every cryptocurrency network on the planet will need to adopt or die. I believe this is proving itself by the existence of networks and projects which solely bridge others. For Zcash, this means everything from very experimental ideas to standard atomic swap work to Thorchain to other DEXs. Beyond that, while I believe a great selection of wallets exist, I am very curious to see more professionally targeted wallet software for enterprises and organizations. FROST will enable threshold multisigs with Zcash which will then need integration, yet with it, I’d like to see legitimate efforts on reporting software designed with Zcash’s privacy systems in mind.

I feel like this a very verbose reply which communicates very little for the first two questions, and I’d like to apologize for that. I may also benefit from better spacing here… It’s quite late at night yet I wanted to make sure this answer was accessible as soon as possible given its limited relevant lifespan. If you have any further questions/comments, I’d be happy to answer/clarify :slight_smile:

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These are really 10 questions in the form of 5 points! :laughing:

But really, I think we should consider formalizing these as a standard application questionnaire for future ZOMG members!

Q: What do you think of the first ZOMG White Paper?

Putting out a white paper was a solid initiative to establish ZOMG and to help categorize the scope of incoming grants. I hope the upcoming ZOMG releases a 2.0 version with learnings from the previous year.

Q: What do you agree or disagree with?

I agree with the “What Success Looks Like” section, and disagree with the open-ended sphere of scope for use cases up for building. Although there were specific grant categories to be funded, I don’t believe all the members were on board with the timing to fund specific proposals. We need a well aligned approach to fund projects and tools that will make it easy for developers to extend cross-chain use cases along with support for Web2 & Web3(basically web apps with self ownership of data access & control).

Q: Is there any room for improvement? What major areas highlighted in the White Paper do you think remain to be worked on?

Lots, we need realistic 1 year, 2 year goals and then work the way backward to take initiatives today to provide an easier onboarding of developers and projects to bridge with Zcash protocol. It might be challenging to accomplish the streamlining of process within the limited 20hr a month time allocation, so ZOMG members will need to push above & beyond to further Zcash interests.
Also, there seemed to be a notion of grant approval based on dollar amount and not the expected ROI. The idea to create ZIP-1014 was to fund teams of developers, but there was primary interest in funding small sized proposals, which is understandable for the first cohort to prove quick wins. We need to evaluate the outcome of such proposals and ROI as well and structure the small grants in the form of well defined bounties & RFPs with proper post-delivery evaluation.

Q: What areas highlighted in the White Paper are being addressed in a strong way?

The “Impact Timeline” highlighting the long development lifecycles for larger, long-term projects. I’d be interested to learn about QEDIT’s roadmap & timeline and whether they need follow up funding after the initial version is delivered.

Q: Given we now have roughly a year of ZOMG existing, what things do you think went well versus not as well during ZOMG’s first year?

The diverse backgrounds of the members helped shape a well rounded functional body to execute the funding of projects which ECC or ZF couldn’t accommodate. The discourse on forums and delays to fund obvious grants were red flags. Early this year, we had a large grant funding reduced by ZOMG, to be subsequently rejected by the developer and later another dev team outright leave Zcash. Furthermore, since none of the members were initially ready to run again for ZOMG shows there are unsolved problems that could resurface with the next ZOMG. I hope ZF can help alleviate some of these concerns.

Q: ZOMG receives a variety of grant proposals ranging from cutting edge technology to simpler ideas such as social media marketing. What do you consider your strengths in evaluating proposals versus what areas will you have to rely on others to help to evaluate the proposals? Do you think you have a wide and informed enough network to rely on to help you evaluate the merits of a proposal that may be in a topic you are not well-versed in?

My personal growth with crypto over the last 10 years combined with my wide network and my ability to take advice qualifies me to evaluate proposals. Fortunately, we have access to the top minds in ZKP cryptography to take suggestions when evaluating proposals around cutting edge technology. As for social media marketing grants, the real question is are we ready for it? Do we have all round alignment on the message being sent out? Do we have KPIs to track and measure growth.(which can be very difficult when spreading the word on privacy based tech) Maybe we should give away Zcash hats? :cowboy_hat_face:

Q: In the event of a disagreement between the community’s view on a proposal versus the ZOMG committee, what path would you take to come to a decision? For example, if the community appears to be very enthusiastic about a proposal but the ZOMG is not leaning towards funding it, how would you reach a consensus to make a decision?

Zcash Dev Fund is a community fund after-all, the community enthusiasm must not be ignored or Zcash loses holders and future interest to build upon. We are directly competing against VC backed coins which are building like no tomorrow. Zcash has the advantage of being very strong at core ZKP cryptography, all we need to make it shine by increasing adoption which can come via novel ways from community interest. Reaching consensus is a challenge in itself, having well defined mission statement and funding goals should make it easier to convince members about the benefits of funding a proposal.

Q: What are some things off the top of your head you really think the Zcash community needs and that you, as a ZOMG committee member, will be keeping an eye out for?

Primarily making life easy for new developers to integrate ZEC by writing RFPs for stable, unit tested SDKs in popular languages like Python, Java, Golang, JavaScript, etc. Attracting builders from the outside Zcash to start building native ZEC bridges. And the following points from my candidacy post:

@David_Heisenberg let me know if you are up for attending Clubhouse in the next 24hrs to further expand on the questions and concerns, I’d love to co-host a room. If not, I will anyway be hosting rooms in the near future to connect with fellow Zcashers at Zcash - Clubhouse

I’ll wrap up my reply with a quote from St. Francis of Assisi - Start by doing what is necessary; then do what is possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.

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Good point, aiyadt!

This reminds me of something related that I’ve been thinking about. Almost everything of value requires long-term support and improvement, for years, for its full value to be realized. I think our current processes here, which are mostly about giving grants for specific projects for a few months, don’t fully match that reality. This is true about both modular, narrow-scope projects like building and operating a block explorer as well as about big, ambitious projects like implementing ZSAs or Arti, and also about projects outside of software development, such as building an online community or a “Universal Basic Income” style program in a specific region or culture.

I also think that valuable projects typically have a wider scope than anyone initially realizes. An example of this is the grant that the Zcash Foundation made to Zondax to implement shielded Zcash support in Ledger devices. This was successful—within the planned scope of the grant. But since nobody has implemented support for it in the Ledger Live app, it has never (yet) been useful to any users. I think similar things are likely to happen with future projects.

For example, the THORChain grant to Nighthawk and the big ZSAs grant application by QEdit, for either of them to provide actual functionality to users, will definitely require wallet support (which I know Nighthawk has already started on!), and I think will also require a lot of other things, like support from issuers of tokens/stablecoins/NFTs, cross-chain-interop, maybe liquidity provision, maybe other bizdev operations, and maybe other things.

Who is the Zcash community expecting to figure out what those things are and provide those things, and how will that be funded? I basically think per-project grants are a bit of an awkward fit for what the Zcash community needs.

How do we as the Zcash community make individuals and teams into long-term, sustainable, wide-scope contributors to the Zcash movement? This is the main goal of the original ZIP-1014.

Thinking about this, the immediate, relatively straightforward improvement that I can imagine is if future ZOMG committees would establish a tradition that successful grants will be presumed to require ongoing support, improvement, and scope-enlargement for years after the completion of the first grant, and future ZOMG’s are expected (by the community) to support that.

But in addition to that, I still think that the Zcash community should launch some experiments with more creative (and riskier!) mechanisms. I can think of a few ideas:

  1. Launch some kind of DAO (probably on Ethereum, because that’s easiest).
  2. Give retroactive grants for past service. This is being tested by Optimism Labs and Vitalik Buterin. I can certainly think of a number of people who have contributed greatly to the Zcash mission with no reward to themselves, and I think they richly deserve a retroactive reward, and I imagine that it might be good for the Zcash community, and for long-term support and improvement of our projects, if we demonstrated that we honor past contributors that way.
  3. Direct a slice of the Dev Fund into Gitcoin Quadratic Funding grants.
  4. Have the ZOMG committee allocate a fraction of its Dev Fund slice to one or more recipients for the remainder of the Dev Fund. That would make that recipient be a first-class member of the Zcash Dev Fund, alongside Zcash Foundation and Electric Coin Co, and it would make them independent from the Zcash Foundation and from the U.S. government.

Clearly such experiments would come with risks and downsides (some of which are the risks and downsides already inherent in the Zcash community entrusting so much ZEC to the Zcash Foundation and the Electric Coin Co), but so does everything new and valuable.

Also these experiments could be tried on a smaller scale at first! During the time that ZIP 1014 was discussed and ratified, the price of Zcash was varying between ~$50–$70/ZEC, so if we use the price of $60, the total Dev Fund stream to the ZOMG (105,000 ZEC per year) could be predicted to be worth about $6m per year.

After the first ZOMG committee was inaugurated, the price of Zcash varied between ~$60–$300/ZEC. If we use today’s price of $150/ZEC, then the Dev Fund stream allocated to the ZOMG (105,000 ZEC per year) is worth about $16m per year. What if the community and the ZOMG decided to allocate 10% of that to new models instead of the traditional grants model? Then those new models would get 10,500 ZEC per year (~$1.6m) in the first year, and the traditional model would continue to get 94,500 ZEC (~$14.4m) that year.

(P.S. Oh yeah, and along with support, maintenance, improvement, and scope-enlargement – e.g. integrating with wallets and other chains and products and services – there’s also ongoing security assurance, monitoring, and response. Who is the Zcash community expecting to provide that, for all of our new features, and how will that be funded?)

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Respectfully, I think the Zcash Foundation should largely stay away from Gitcoin in favor of its own grant program.

The Zcash Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity that has, at great (clearly justified) expense, already built a grant program.

Conversely, Gitcoin is a for-profit company with various investors. They recently raised $11.3 million from various investors, including Paradigm, IDEO, 1kx, Electric Capital, Naval, Balaji, The LAO, MetaCartel Ventures.

I have written about the difference between Gitcoin and MAGIC Funds (which I based heavily on ZOMG) here: Comparing MAGIC Funds and Gitcoin | MAGIC Grants

Maybe there’s some room for everything to work out smoothly, but Zcash has the luxury of it’s own public charity that can already contribute towards a relatively broad scope of projects. I would rather not see the money be allocated to a for-profit entity for their own grant program unless there was an extremely specific reason for it.

If the Zcash Foundation wants to experiment with Quadratic Funding, it can do so directly. There are a lot of complicated real barriers in the way of that working as expected, since it’s prone to sybil attacks. That’s why Gitcoin uses verification methods like Twitter/Facebook verification to weigh some votes more.

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One of the most wasteful tech funding strategy I’ve come across while working with orgs with multi billion dollar yearly R&D budget, is to put together solid teams to work on next-gen products, only to cut them off after 12-18 months(often due to management decisions or letting only a few teams carry on), then dismantling the project and letting go off the now experienced teams, who ends up working for competitors and launching projects there.

As for experimenting with creative/riskier mechanisms:

  1. I wouldn’t support hosting a DAO on Ethereum directly primarily because of the high gas fees of $300 for smart contract transactions that would cost Zcash community 2 precious ZEC for interactions today and for the points brought up here Truly pseudonymous contributors & ZOMG - #29 by nathan-at-least If there is something Ethereum community can do for Zcash, surely I’ll change my mind. Maybe we should ask Vitalik and co if they still have interest in make a Zcash Frontier Edition happen:

For now, I do support an initiative of contracting companies like Gnosis safe to build a multi-party solution for Zcash as per the community needs and then use such well audited mechanism to control the funds. This is a limitation till Zcash gets ZSAs and maybe we could do everything we need with ZEC itself.

  1. I support retroactive grants as I believe the builders who contributed in the past did so in the form of a “giveaway” and as long as their contributions are measurable in some sort of way, they do deserve rewards.

  2. @sgp I believe Zooko was suggesting the use of ZOMG Dev Fund portion to issue grants on Gitcoin. We’d need to evaluate the costs of using Gitcoin in terms of fees, time of ZOMG members, etc. and compare to the benefits of attracting existing dev community on Gitcoin and ease of usage. Gitcoin did add support for ZEC and made it easy to host a funding last year. I enjoyed my experience of attending the Privacy Hackathon on Gitcoin [$3000 ZEC] Protect Privacy with Shielded Zcash | zcash Funded Issue Detail | Gitcoin | Gitcoin

  3. I support the decentralization to grow teams of active contributors to the Zcash ecosystem, we’ve seen support from anons at zecpages as well a) ZECpages b) ZECpages
    We need to validate long term commitments from each team and start funding them for making Zcash have distributed teams provide their services for ongoing security assurance, monitoring, and response in multiple time zones.

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The poll is closed and the results are in!

Congratulations to @aiyadt, @Souptacular, @BrunchTime, @aquietinvestor and @wobbzz, who topped the poll.

Thank you also to @dontpanicburns and @kayabaNerve. I hope to see both of you running again in the future!

Happy New Year! :tada:

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Congratulations to the new board and I hope to see a great year ahead! Best of luck to them.

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Great start for 2022!! Happy new year & congrats to everyone who helped Zcash move one step ahead!

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Congrats :tada::clap: to the new ZOMG !

Wobbzz, Brunchtime, Aiyadt, Hudson, Jason have been added to the “ZOMG Board” group and can now be pinged by using the @ZcashGrants tag here on the forum.

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Thank you to everyone who voted, looking forward to great things in 2022!

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Thanks for the invite @aiyadt sorry I was busy when you asked but I would like to in the future!

Also, I agree some standard set of questions to ask zomg candidates seems like a good idea and thanks to you and @kayabaNerve for taking the time answer my last minute questions.

Congrats to all candidates who ran for zomg and congrats to those who won this year’s election! I hope 2022 is a banner year for Zcash :partying_face:

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