Launching the Zcash Minor Grants Program

Zcash Minor Grants

Today, we are announcing a new, experimental Zcash Foundation (ZF) grants program, which we have nicknamed “Minor Grants”. This is intended to complement the Major Grants program (aka Zcash Community Grants) by providing a source of funding for smaller grants. We hope that this will reduce the number of smaller grant applications that are submitted to ZCG, thus enabling them to focus their attention on larger, more significant grants that are more in line with what the Major Grants program is intended to fund. Additionally, we would like to create a channel for grant applications that are not directly Zcash-related but explore broader applications of zero knowledge proofs or other approaches to financial privacy, in line with our charitable purpose. 

The maximum grant size for this Minor Grants program will be $25,000, and the budget is $75,000. 

We also want to engage the Zcash community, and take advantage of the “wisdom of the crowd” by polling the Zcash Community Advisory Panel (ZCAP) regarding which grants should be funded.

We plan to see how this first iteration of the program goes, how many and what sort of grant applications are submitted, how the community responds and the feedback we receive, before deciding whether to repeat or extend the program in the future.  

The Application Process

Applications must be submitted via the ZF grants platform, and applicants must agree to sign ZF’s grant agreement, and undergo the ZF KYC process if their application is successful. 

The deadline to submit a grant application is 09:00 UTC on Monday 20th March. 

ZF will review all applications, and will reject any grant applications that are deemed unsuitable (see the FAQs section below for examples of why ZF may judge a grant application to be unsuitable under this program). Suitable applications will then be submitted to a poll of ZCAP to determine which should be funded. Applicants who are members of ZCAP will not be eligible to participate in this poll. 

We aim to publish the list of suitable grant applications, and open the ZCAP poll by 3rd April. The ZCAP poll will remain open for approximately two weeks, and we hope to announce the results on 17th April. 

As this is the first time we are running this program, we don’t really know what to expect, so  this timeline may be subject to change. We will try to keep applicants and the community apprised of any changes or delays. 

To be eligible for funding, a grant application must receive greater than 50% approval from the participants in the ZCAP poll. Eligible grants will then be funded in order of priority determined by the level of ZCAP’s approval, and as the total budget permits. There will be no partial funding of grants. 

Example of how the Zcash poll will work

In the example below, ten suitable grant applications for varying amounts were voted on in a ZCAP poll that had a turnout of 134 with a $75,000 USD total budget.

Grant name Amount ZCAP Approval Votes ZCAP Approval (%) Eligible for funding? Funded? Cumulative funding
Alpha $15,000 128 96% Yes Yes $15,000
Beta $9,000 127 95% Yes Yes $24,000
Gamma $1,200 109 81% Yes Yes $25,200
Delta $25,000 102 76% Yes Yes $50,200
Epsilon $20,000 97 72% Yes Yes $70,200
Zeta $18,000 91 68% Yes No -
Theta $1,800 88 66% Yes Yes $72,000
Kappa $5,500 72 54% Yes No -
Sigma $1,000 62 47% No - -
Omega $12,000 57 43% No - -

In this example, the approval threshold to be eligible for funding would be 68 votes.

The Zeta and Kappa grants would not be funded because there would be insufficient funding remaining in the budget (after funding grants with higher approval ratings) to fund those grants.

However, the Theta grant would be funded because, while it achieved a lower approval rating than Zeta, it is small enough that it could be funded out of the remaining budget.

The Sigma and Omega grants would not be eligible for funding because they failed to achieve a greater-than-50% approval rating in the ZCAP poll.

FAQs

What is the Zcash Foundation’s mission?
Our mission at the Zcash Foundation is to build financial privacy infrastructure for the public good, by helping sustain and improve open financial networks that allow anyone and everyone to protect their own privacy, on their own terms. While our primary focus is the Zcash protocol and blockchain, we also support broader applications of zero knowledge proofs, as well as other approaches to financial privacy.

Do grant applications have to be Zcash-related?
No. Any grant that aligns with the Zcash Foundation’s mission is suitable for the Minor Grants program.

Under what circumstances would ZF reject a grant application as unsuitable?
Here are some examples of why ZF may reject a grant application:

  • The grant’s purpose is not congruent with the Foundation’s mission.
  • The grant does not, in our estimation, represent value for money.
  • We have reason to believe that the applicant is not capable of delivering on the grant.
  • The purpose of the grant would violate U.S. law or contravene the Zcash Foundation’s obligations under U.S. IRS 501(c)(3).

 

Can applicants remain pseudonymous?
Applicants can keep their identity private but they must undergo the ZF KYC process if their application is successful, which includes disclosing and verifying their identity to ZF.

Where is the funding for this program coming from?
This program is being funded by the Zcash Foundation, from its slice of the Dev Fund.

My application to the ZCG program was rejected. Can I re-apply to the Minor Grants program?
Yes.

Can current and former recipients of ZCG grants apply for a Minor Grant?
Yes.

Can I submit multiple Minor Grant applications?
No.

I have a question that’s not answered here.
You can post questions to this topic on the Zcash Community Forum. Alternatively, you can email minorgrants@zfnd.org