It is with sadness that we announce that Hudson Jameson has decided to step down as a member of the Zcash Community Grants (ZCG) committee. Hudson has been a member of the committee since it was first constituted in late 2020, and he will be sorely missed.
As ZCG committee member Jason McGee announced last week, Hudson’s departure presents an opportunity to begin staggering committee members’ terms, by holding an election at the end of June to select Hudson’s replacement. The new committee member will serve a one-year term, commencing on July 1st, and the remaining four members’ terms will expire on December 31st.
The Zcash Community Grants Committee is elected by the Zcash Community Advisory Panel (ZCAP), a panel of community members established by the Zcash Foundation (ZF) as a means of soliciting advisory input from the Zcash community.
The timeline for nominations and the election itself will be announced shortly. Before the election, however, we want to share our plans for expanding the ZCAP.
The ZCAP was originally formed in 2018 as a community governance panel. It was expanded in 2019, 2020, in June 2021, and most recently in December 2021. Since its inception, ZF has solicited the ZCAP’s advisory input on the appointment of the Zcash Foundation board of directors, and on questions ranging from whether Zcash should move to an ASIC-resistant consensus algorithm to what the short- and long-term priorities for Zcash should be. The ZCAP also played a key role in the governance process that resulted in ZIP 1014, which established the Dev Fund and the Zcash Community Grants program.
The Zcash Foundation is committed to making the ZCAP more independent and representative of the Zcash community. Over time, we have expanded the eligibility criteria for ZCAP membership, including criteria that were suggested by members of the Zcash community.
The ideal criteria for ZCAP membership are objective and Sybil resistant.
Objective criteria are ones that do not involve a qualitative judgment, and are therefore immune to intrinsic bias. For example, “past and present Zcash Community Grants committee members” is an objective criterion because a person either is (or has been) elected to the Zcash Community Grants committee, or they have not – there is no judgment involved. This specific criterion also has the advantage that ZCG committee members are elected by the community, not appointed by ZF, which bolsters the ZCAP’s independence.
By contrast, “is knowledgeable about Zcash” would be a subjective criterion, as it would require a qualitative judgment call, which risks the introduction of bias on the part of the person or organization responsible for exercising that judgment.
Sybil resistance is the quality of being resistant to Sybil attacks, where a single person can exert disproportionate influence by, for example, voting multiple times. Again, past or present membership of the ZCG committee is a criterion that is highly Sybil resistant because the risk that a person might successfully create one or more pseudonymous identities and get elected to multiple ZCG committee seats is very low, and is further reduced by the fact that ZF KYCs ZCG committee members.
By contrast “is a ZEC holder” is a more problematic criterion because it would be possible for a single person who holds any amount of ZEC to distribute it across multiple wallets, and create multiple pseudonymous personae in order to vote multiple times. Creating a threshold (e.g. a minimum of 10 ZEC) doesn’t entirely solve the problem – a person who holds 100 ZEC could, in theory, vote ten times. While KYCing ZEC holders would, in theory, resolve the issue, this would introduce extra cost and bureaucracy, and, given that members of the Zcash community value their privacy, it seems unlikely that many ZEC holders would be comfortable surrendering their privacy by undergoing a KYC process.
We believe that another objective of ZCAP expansion should be to reduce the influence of persons associated with the Electric Coin Company (ECC) and ZF. In the most recent vote, nearly 25% of the voters were employees, board members or otherwise closely associated with ECC or ZF. One of our goals is to continually reduce that percentage, thus making ZCAP more independent of both ECC and ZF.
Therefore, for the upcoming ZCAP expansion, we are introducing new eligibility criteria that will make ZCAP more independent and representative of the Zcash community.
We are inviting the following community members to volunteer to serve on the ZCAP:
- Grant recipients who have successfully completed more than 50% of their grant (as measured by the USD value of grant milestones that have been completed and paid out)
- Zcash Community Grants Committee members (past and present)
- Zcash Ambassadors from the ZCG Ambassadors Program
- Community contributors who have:
All individuals or organizations who meet any of the above criteria are encouraged to volunteer to serve on ZCAP by completing this form. In addition, the ZF team will be proactively reaching out to individuals and organizations that meet these criteria, to encourage them to join ZCAP.
New ZCAP Eligibility Criteria:
We are also inviting active Zcash Community forum members who meet at least one of the below criteria to self-elect to join ZCAP:
- Active members of the forum that joined before March 2021.
- Zcash Community Forums members who have recently visited the forum for 100 consecutive days and earned the “Aficionado” badge.
- Zcash Community Forums members who have earned the “Regular” badge by being a regular part of the Zcash community over a period of months.
Forum members who meet the criteria listed above should fill out this form.
Note that, due to concerns regarding the ongoing Sybil resistance of the first criterion (active members of the forum that joined before a specific date), we plan to retire this criterion after the upcoming election, in favour of forum badge-based eligibility. We invite feedback from the community on this decision.
As in past expansions, existing ZCAP members may invite a new member to join ZCAP. Members who qualify will receive an email in the coming days with instructions on how to invite a new ZCAP member.
The deadline to volunteer to join ZCAP or to nominate a new member is 09:00 UTC on Monday June 6, 2022.
Finally, we believe that there should be two more criteria for ZCAP membership:
- organizations and individuals who have made a meaningful contribution to the success of Zcash, and
- organizations and individuals whose membership of ZCAP would make it more independent and representative of the Zcash community
However, neither of these criteria are objective.
Therefore, we propose that ZF and ECC work together to establish a protocol to make it possible to use these two criteria.
Specifically, we propose that:
- We invite nominations from the Zcash community (via the forum) for organizations and individuals who may meet these criteria. Additionally, ZF or ECC may accept nominations via other channels they deem appropriate, and post them to the forum (so that the community can provide feedback).
- The deadline for nominations shall be 09:00 UTC on Monday June 6, 2022.
- After this deadline, ZF and ECC shall review the nominations, and indicate to one another whether they agree with or object to each nomination.
- If both organizations agree with the nomination, the nominee will be added to ZCAP.
- If both organizations object to the nomination, the nominee will be rejected.
- If one organization agrees with the nomination, and the other organization objects, the decision will be escalated to a vote of the ZF and Bootstrap Project’s board members (with votes weighted appropriately – e.g. each ZF board member’s vote counts as 1, while each ECC board member’s vote counts as 1.2).
- In the event of a tied vote, the ZF and Bootstrap Project’s boards may jointly select (using the weighted voting mechanism described above) an independent arbiter to decide whether the nominee should be added to ZCAP.
- If the boards cannot agree on an independent arbiter, the question of whether the nominee should be added to ZCAP will be added to the next ZCAP poll.
We also propose that a similar protocol be used to remove ZCAP members whose interests are not aligned with the Zcash community’s, or whose membership of ZCAP is otherwise inimical to its purpose.
Specifically, we propose that:
- Either ZF or ECC may raise the question of whether an existing member of ZCAP should be removed.
- If both organizations agree to the removal, the member will be removed.
- If both organizations object to the removal, the member will remain on ZCAP.
- If the organizations disagree, the matter will be escalated as described above (i.e. first to the ZF and Bootstrap boards, then to an independent arbiter or to ZCAP itself).
We believe that this approach will unlock significant improvements in terms of making ZCAP more independent and representative of the Zcash community.
Following this election, we plan to move to an ongoing ZCAP expansion process, with a cut-off deadline in advance of each ZCAP poll.
We are also adjusting the “use it or lose it” policy, as we feel that the previous policy of dropping members if they miss a single vote has resulted in some perverse effects. Going forward, ZCAP members who fail to vote in three consecutive ZCAP polls will be removed from ZCAP unless they have reasonable grounds for failing to vote. However, this policy will not apply to ZCAP members who would automatically be immediately eligible to rejoin ZCAP (e.g. contributors who have made a meaningful contribution to zcashd or Zebra).
Our goal with these changes is to make progress but we readily acknowledge that we’re a long way from perfection. We will continue to evolve and improve how ZCAP members are selected, and we invite the Zcash community to continue providing suggestions on how to expand the ZCAP.