RPGF nomination: Michelle Lai

I nominate Michelle Lai for RPGF.

She was a critical member of the original Zcash Open Major Grants committee, which provides funding for development of privacy preserving projects in and adjacent to the Zcash ecosystem. Without her involvement, it’s unclear whether the committee would have been successful.

She also co-organized multiple privacy-centric events at ETH Denver 2023, including the Universal Privacy Alliance summit and the “Privacy Is Normal” mega-session Saturday night on the main stage at ETH Denver.

Like many privacy warriors, her work is largely a labor of love, so I encourage Namada to recognize her work with retroactive funding.


Seems that as a ‘new user’ I can only put 2 links in a post :frowning:

So, here are links to the videos from the privacy mega-session that Michelle created at ETH Denver:

Opening Keynote (Roger @ Tor): Privacy Highlight: Keynote with Roger Dingledine (Tor) - YouTube
We Almost Didn’t Get Encryption: Privacy Highlight: We Almost Didn't Get Encryption - YouTube

Fireside chat (Frances Haugen) Privacy Highlight: Keynote with Frances Haugen & Leslie Katz - YouTube

Privacy by Design Privacy Highlight: Privacy by Design - YouTube

Thank you Alchemydc.

Could you confirm if this is the correct twitter handle? https://twitter.com/michlai007

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Thanks @alchemydc for the nomination! I just landed on this after someone else told me about it :slight_smile:

I’ll share some thoughts here to help people understand my motivations.

When I sat on the Zcash grants committee I saw it as service to a free society, piggybacking off the good work that the very mission-driven folks in the Zcash ecosystem was doing. We not only funded Zcash adjacent projects, but also a Rust implementation of Tor (“Arti”), a necessary upgrade to Tor’s C implementation (pasting a broken link as there is a 2-link limit per post: forum.zcashcommunity[dot]com/t/arti-a-pure-rust-tor-implementation-for-zcash-and-beyond/38776/26).

I chanced upon helping to get the Universal Privacy Alliance (privacyalliance[dot]com) off the ground at Devcon in Bogota in October 2022, where I got to interview Edward Snowden and through that rally the troops working on privacy (cryptographers, engineers, people building in the zk space). He made the sobering point that “as things get worse, the desire for solutions will come naturally.” What’s scary about that is that things have to get worse first… sadly, we are seeing that in real-time in recent weeks.

Then, like DC pointed out, I had the opportunity to co-create the Privacy is Normal special at ETHDenver this year, a 4-hour spotlight on privacy. My driving goals for that event were to inspire the many devs attending ETHDenver to consider building privacy into their products, while also helping them to tackle difficult questions like the tradeoff between privacy and security (a sometimes fallacious assumption) and how to keep themselves safe from retaliation.

Among the strong cast of panelists and speakers were Roger Dingledine (cofounder of Tor), people from the EFF and ACLU, Frances Haugen (Meta whistleblower), cypherpunks active in the 1990s, and activitists whose lives have depended on privacy.

My participation in these efforts have been voluntary and ad hoc (“right time, right place”). I feel grateful to be able to serve, and hope to continue contributing alongside people who share these values, like DC and the rest of the privacy community.

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Yup that’s me :slight_smile: @bengtlofgren

seems like DC got banned by the discobot (he mentioned when we were chatting)! maybe the algo didn’t like him sharing a number of links :slight_smile: @awa @adrian