Polling ZCAP on a New Dev Fund

In 2020, the Zcash community decided to establish a Dev Fund, https://zips.z.cash/zip-1014 consisting of 20% of block rewards, allocated between the Electric Coin Company, the Zcash Foundation, and a major grants program, now known as Zcash Community Grants. 

Since the Dev Fund was established, the Zcash ecosystem has evolved and changed significantly, becoming more decentralized as new teams have joined the ecosystem. However, that Dev Fund will end later this year, and the question we now face is how best to support this continued evolution, growth and progress towards greater decentralization. 

Last year, the community began discussing whether there should be a new Dev Fund, and, if so, what it should look like. After months of discussion, debate, community calls, Twitter spaces, and exploratory polls, we now have a slate of six proposals for the community to consider:

If the community does not reach clear consensus in favour of adopting a particular proposal, the Dev Fund will expire in November as planned.

A Note on Impartiality

One of proposals was drafted by the Zcash Foundation (ZF), based on the results of exploratory polling. However, ZF is not endorsing or advocating for any specific Dev Fund proposal. This is a decision for the community to make, and our primary objective is to help the community reach consensus, even if the end result is no funding for ZF. 

We at ZF believe that the work we have carried out over the past few years has been of benefit to Zcash and the Zcash community, and we hope that the Zcash community agrees, and is willing to continue funding that work. 

However, for the avoidance of any doubt, if the Zcash community decides that the Dev Fund should end and not be replaced (or that it should be replaced but that ZF should not receive any funding), ZF will support that decision, and do what is necessary to enact it (including implementing the new consensus rules in Zebra). 

Polling ZCAP 

Today, we opened a Helios poll of the Zcash Community Advisory Panel (ZCAP), which will close at 09:00 UTC on 15th July 2024.

The purpose of this poll is to determine whether there is clear consensus amongst the Zcash community that a new Dev Fund should be established when the current Dev Fund expires in November, and, if so, which Dev Fund proposal should be adopted. 

The first question asks respondents to indicate their approval for allowing the current Dev Fund to end without establishing a new Dev Fund, and sending 100% of the block rewards to miners.

The next six questions ask respondents to indicate their approval for each of the six proposals for a new Dev Fund. A summary of the various Dev Fund proposals can be found here, and the poll includes links to the relevant ZIPs, which we strongly encourage you to review in detail.

The poll asks respondents to indicate their approval for each proposal on a five-point scale: 

  • Strongly Approve
  • Approve
  • Neutral
  • Disapprove
  • Strongly Disapprove

The outcome of the poll will be determined using a Majority Choice Approval (MCA-M or Modified Bucklin) voting method, which works as follows:  Respondents rate each proposal on the 5-point scale. First, only the “Strongly Approve” ratings are counted. If one or more proposals is rated “Strongly Approve” by more than 50% of respondents, the proposal with the highest number is selected for implementation in NU6. If not, the number of “Approve” ratings is added to the “Strongly Approve” counts. If a proposal now is approved of by more than 50% of respondents, it is regarded as the preferred proposal. If there is still no clear consensus, “Neutral” ratings are added, and so on. The proposal with the highest combined total in each step is regarded as the preferred proposal if it reaches more than 50%.

In the event that two or more proposals garner majority support, but there is no clear community consensus, there will be a runoff poll.

Future Evolution of Development Funding Models

The final two poll questions solicit respondents’ input regarding the future evolution of the Dev Fund, specifically regarding direct versus non-direct funding models. Electric Coin Company CEO Josh Swihart has proposed that the current Direct Funding Model (which allocates block reward directly to specific entities or organizations by embedding their wallet addresses into the protocol) be replaced by a Non-Direct Funding Model, which instead allocates a portion of the block rewards to a multi-sig wallet. Those who seek funding to contribute to Zcash would then be required to submit proposals and compete for funding. 

While the design, governance and implementation details have not yet been fleshed out, several community polls have indicated strong community support for a Non-Direct Funding Model, and several of the current Dev Fund proposals direct a slice of the Dev Fund to a “lockbox”, in anticipation that a Non-Direct Funding Model may be established in the future. Therefore, we want to ensure that ZCAP members have the opportunity to express their views on this topic. 

The Helios poll will close at 09:00 UTC on 15th July 2024. 

As always, we welcome the community’s feedback. If you have comments or suggestions, please join the conversation on the Zcash community forum.