Announcing Ycash, The First "Friendly Fork" of the Zcash Blockchain


[Important Note: The Ycash project is completely independent from both the Electric Coin Company and the Zcash Foundation.]

At block height 570,000 of the Zcash blockchain (approximately July 18, 2019), we will launch Ycash, the first “Friendly Fork” of the Zcash blockchain. Because Ycash is a chain fork of Zcash, everyone holding Zcash at the time of the fork will receive the exact same amount of Ycash. (Note: To ensure that you get your Ycash, you must possess your Zcash private keys.)

Along with the blockchain fork, ZecWallet will also be forked to support Ycash, and official builds for all supported platforms will be provided.

The nonprofit Ycash Foundation is in the process of being formed and will be the owner and steward of the Ycash trademark. Trademark registration is currently pending in the United States, with registrations in additional jurisdictions to follow.

Restoring a Goal, and Upholding a Promise

We are launching Ycash to restore a goal—mining on commodity hardware—that appears to have been largely abandoned on the Zcash blockchain.

We are also launching Ycash to uphold a promise—that the Zcash Founders Reward would be forever capped at 2.1 million coins—that we fear will come under increasing pressure between now and the expiration of the Founders Reward in October 2020.

We believe that both mining on commodity hardware and maintaining the promised cap on the Founders Reward are essential to a fair distribution of coins. In turn, we believe that a fair distribution of coins is essential to ultimately achieving widespread adoption.

Key Changes at Launch (and Soon After Launch)

At launch, Ycash will implement the following two changes:

  1. Ycash will reduce the Founders Reward rate from 20% to a perpetual 5%, which will exactly preserve the original 2.1 million coin cap on the Founders Reward.
  2. Ycash will direct the remaining Founders Reward in its entirety to a newly formed nonprofit named the Ycash Foundation.

Furthermore, either at launch or sometime after launch (but hopefully no later than around the time of the Zcash Blossom upgrade at the end of October of this year) Ycash will implement a third change:

  1. Ycash will change its Proof of Work algorithm to an algorithm more conducive to mining on commodity hardware (like CPUs or GPUs). (Approaches like RandomX, ProgPOW, and various flavors of Equihash are currently being evaluated.)

Going forward, Ycash plans to continually leverage the strengths of Zcash by incorporating most changes made to Zcash into Ycash as well, especially changes to the zero knowledge infrastructure. Only in areas where there is substantial disagreement with Zcash’s approach will Ycash diverge. Additionally, we hope that the Ycash Foundation will successfully fund the development of novel features in Ycash that will be candidates for inclusion into Zcash.

Founding Principles

In addition to continuing Zcash’s strong commitment to privacy, we hereby commit in good faith to:

  1. Preserve the 21 million coin cap on the total Ycash money supply.
  2. Preserve the 2.1 million coin cap on the Ycash Founders Reward, which is hereby renamed the Ycash Development Fund (or YDF). (Note that since 1.4 million ZEC of the Zcash Founders Reward has already vested, the effective cap on the YDF is 700,000 YEC.)
  3. Aggressively pursue technologies that enable mining on commodity hardware (like CPUs or GPUs), including implementing periodic Proof of Work changes to that end. (To be clear, our commitment is to commodity hardware in general, not to a specific type of commodity hardware, like GPUs.)
  4. Utilize pure Proof of Work mining until at least the second block reward halving, at which point 75% of all Ycash will have been mined via Proof of Work. (Full or partial Proof of Stake will not be implemented, if at all, until after the second block reward halving.)
  5. Never differentially timelock coins, such that some coins are timelocked for a different time period than other coins.
  6. Keep transaction fees low by any means necessary, including increasing the block size limit or removing the limit completely.

The Numbers

At launch, the total circulating supply of Zcash will be exactly 7 million ZEC, 20% (1.4 million ZEC) of which was initially allocated to the recipients of the Zcash Founders Reward. With 1.4 million ZEC out of the 2.1 million ZEC Founders Reward already vested, that means that the Ycash Development Fund will have a cap of 700,000 YEC, exactly one-third of the total Zcash Founders Reward.

Because the YDF vesting rate is 5%, Ycash miners will always receive 95% of the Ycash block reward.

At the time of the first block reward halving in October 2020, 175,000 YEC will have vested to the YDF. Between the first block reward halving in October 2020 and the next block reward halving approximately four years later, an additional 262,500 YEC will have vested to the YDF. At the time of the second block reward halving, there will still be 262,500 YEC unvested and destined for the YDF in the future. We hope that the work on Ycash funded by the YDF will also be beneficial to Zcash too.

Immediately after launch, the recipients of the Zcash Founders Reward—including the Zcash Foundation—will hold significant amounts of Ycash (to the extent that those recipients still hold significant amounts of Zcash). We hope that this gives the Zcash Founders Reward recipients a vested interest in the future success of both Ycash and Zcash.

Next Steps, and an Invitation to Join Us

We will be working hard the next few months to prepare for launch. Well before launch, you will be able to review and discuss the source code changes on Github. Once the changes have been implemented, a testnet will be provided.

We will provide frequent updates on our progress, via this forum and the Ycash Foundation Twitter account.

We invite you to join us. We need your help! Whether you are a developer, a miner, a holder, or a user, we hope that you consider supporting Ycash. Please reach out to us by email at or send a direct forum message to @hloo. You can also send encrypted memos to us via the following Zcash Sapling address:


Thank you for reading this announcement, and we hope that you consider supporting Ycash!


Addendum to Ycash Launch Announcement: A Personal Testimonial by @hloo Regarding Friendly Forks

The people that have agreed to help with the launch of Ycash all have different reasons for helping. Some are interested purely in the technology, others are interested primarily in earning development bounties, and still others are interested in trying to achieve viable mining on commodity hardware. The evolving set of collaborators is not all of one mind, and I believe that to be a good thing, because open debate and the free exchange of diverse ideas will lead to higher-quality decisions about how to evolve Ycash in the future. Below are some of my own thoughts about Friendly Forks.

I am a long-term holder of Zcash, and I will continue to hold Zcash even after the launch of Ycash. I love being part of the Zcash community, and I am rooting for a future in which both Ycash and Zcash achieve widespread adoption. I will continue to actively participate in debates about the future of Zcash. I will continue to enjoy organizing Zcash events in the Bay Area, and I am excited about unveiling very soon the Zcash posters that I have commissioned an artist to create (thanks to a grant from the Zcash Foundation). I sincerely hope that, in the future, the work on Ycash funded by the YDF will be beneficial to Zcash as well.

The launch of Ycash would not be possible without the tremendous progress that the Electric Coin Company has accomplished to date with Zcash, and I have deep respect and admiration for those associated with the ECC.

With that said, I simply disagree with some of the decisions made by the ECC. I believe that the ECC should have changed the Zcash Proof of Work algorithm in response to the arrival of Equihash<200,9> ASICs in 2018. Furthermore, I disagree with the arguments put forth by the leaders of the ECC for differentially timelocking coins mined by the so-called Alg-B mining algorithm in the (now-called-off or postponed) Harmony Mining proposal. Finally, although the ECC has not itself proposed extending the Founders Reward beyond the original 2.1 million coin cap, it also has not publicly reaffirmed its commitment to the cap in the face of calls from the community to remove it, thus creating uncertainty about whether the cap will be honored on the Zcash blockchain.

On the issue of the Founders Reward cap, the ECC stated before the launch of Zcash that “90% of the Zcash monetary base goes to the miners . . .” (ECC Blog Post, “Continued Funding and Transparency”). Given this clear and unambiguous pronouncement, the bar should be very high for the ECC to consider supporting a community-proposed increase to the Founders Reward on the blockchain bearing the Zcash trademark. In my opinion, absent a stake-weighted poll of ZEC holders showing that a stake-weighted majority of ZEC holders participating in the poll favor removing the cap, there is not enough community support to justify removing the cap.

In organizing the launch of Ycash, I have been heavily influenced by a series of blog posts written by @nathan-at-least and @zooko (“Consensual Currency”, “Zcash Evolution”, and “A Future Friendly Fork”). Together, these posts put forth a set a beliefs that I like to call “cybercoin pluralism”. (See also Diana L. Eck, “What is Pluralism?” for a brief discussion of pluralism in the context of religious traditions and cultures.) For present purposes, it is sufficient to focus on the following line of thought:

  1. Within a given cybercoin user community , different “sub-communities” of users may make different “design tradeoffs”, leading to chain splits.
  2. Chain splits empower users to choose which chain or chains to use. (And nothing precludes a user from using both chains.)
  3. Because of shared goals and shared values across sub-communities, chain splits need not split the larger community.
  4. As a user, although it is okay to believe strongly in your chosen design tradeoffs, humility dictates that you must consider that you may be wrong or you may simply have different aspirations relative to other users. The community should embrace and celebrate each user’s ability to choose the chains that they want to use. In the long-run, a community built on choice will be stronger than a community built on lock-in.

In a sense, cybercoin pluralism is the pluralistic rebuttal to cybercoin maximalism. And at the core of cybercoin pluralism is the concept of a Friendly Fork. To a cybercoin pluralist, a split need not be viewed as an “attack” on the existing chain. People may simply agree to disagree, without fracturing the larger community.

Nathan and Zooko have laid down the philosophical foundation for a Friendly Fork. They have also practiced what they have preached by providing the technical foundation for a Friendly Fork (for example, by adding versioning and replay protection in Overwinter). Ycash aspires to build on these philosophical and technical foundations, for the betterment of the Zcash community as a whole.

I aspire to have the Ycash community remain part of the Zcash community. That would make Ycash a true Friendly Fork of Zcash. I hope that this forum will be the primary forum for discussions about Ycash (perhaps organized under a “Ycash” forum category or a more general “Friendly Fork” forum category). We need more people participating in this forum, and Ycash has the potential to attract new people.

I ask you to to keep an open mind and consider supporting Ycash alongside Zcash. We will try our very best to make Ycash worthy of your support. Long Live Ycash and Zcash.


This is an interesting development and I look forward to contributing where I can. If feasible I think it would make sense to deprecate Sprout at launch.

Not to get too off track but just to be clear on the Founders’ Reward stuff I don’t think anyone has ever expressed a desire to extend that? What I, among others, have suggested is a new development fund as a % of the block reward managed by the Foundation to fund continued development. This is critically different to simply extending the payouts to founders/investors.

That being said the focus on community mining is a good one and one that hopefully will benefit the upstream project.


I should have made clear that I view a development fund managed by the Foundation to still be a violation of the promised 2.1 million coin cap, because 90% of total money supply would not be going to the miners as promised.


Read the 2 posts twice so i didn’t miss something important. A lot of questions arise on my end thinking about this friendly-fork:

Why a chain fork and not just a project just built/improved/patched/whatever on the Zcash code?

That’s allright and makes sense, but why a fork?

This heavyly suggests that it’s allready internally decided that the Zcash founders reward will be extended. Just sounding like that in my opinion.

I personally have always huge problems when i read “fair distribution” and “fork” in one sentence. I absolutly fail to see where the fair distribution lies after ECC company, ZEC Foundation, ZEC investors automaticly will be the main holders of Ycash?
Sure, the mining begins, but the initial fair distribution is allready compromised, not?

Just a reminder that only the top coin of a given algo is 51% attack-secure. IF Ycash “joins” an algo with another top coin on it than there is a security threat!

This somehow sounds like indirect funding Zcash but i may miss something of course…

Hope? Could be, but there are as well scenarios where it works the other way. Large holders have in generally influence on a given project, just logically. I would go as far as while trying to being independend with a soft fork there is a huge dependece involved. Again one of the reasons i don’t understand why a soft fork and not a “copy-paste” project based on ZEC which would garantee way more independence at all.

Who is we? Mind sharing the other people behind this project? Any shifting/support from ECC company or ZEC foundation?

Absolutly agree with this one. Time for some clear statements by the foundation and ECC to see what there stand is on this one. This is as well important to choose which chain ultimatly to support.
IF there are any changes to the ZEC founders reward than the whole mining distribution will be changed, allocating way more funds to ZEC devs, mostly the foundation too and way less to miners… It’s just about time to get a final answer here… Just my opinion of course.


I’ll keep an open mind & wish you luck.

Keeping a fork ‘friendly’ will be challenging, these things usually start out well but quickly devolve into ‘who gets custody of the dog’.

Interested to hear who the key players are (especially the devs), its an extremely rare skill set.


When I say “we”, you can assume that I’m using the royal “we” and that I am only speaking for myself.

I’m not implying that there is some sort of secret developer team that will be unveiled with great fanfare at a later point in time. I wouldn’t even call the developers that I am working with a “team”. I am simply working with a few collaborators (including software bounty hunters) to try to implement the changes necessary for launch, with the hopes of attracting more developers along the way.

Also, I’m not implying any support from the ECC or the Zcash Foundation, but such support would be warmly welcomed!


If Ycash succeeds, it will be in large part due to the ECC’s work on Zcash, so I think it is appropriate for those associated with the ECC to have Ycash stakes equal to their Zcash stakes at the time of the split.

Similarly, the Zcash Foundation has hired an elite developer (and eventually will attract more elite developers) whose work promises positively impact both Ycash and Zcash, so it seems appropriate that the Zcash Foundation would have a Ycash stake equal to their Zcash stake at the time of the split.


That’s all fine and ok, just as i said and imo not a real fair distribution and not really independet.

I absolutly agree with your arguments, but than again the only real reason would be the mining issue than which could as well be fixed eventually/maybe with harmony a year later. So i wonder if it’s really worth IF this is the only difference to Zcash???

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As of March 11, Harmony Mining is no longer on the “NU3 wishlist”:

And yes, I do believe that all this effort is worth it just to change the mining algorithm and make a real commitment to mining on commodity hardware. And if Ycash gains momentum, the funds from the YDF can be used to implement novel features going forward.

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So this Ycash at release date will be like a copy of ZERO coin. I mean ZERO uses the latest Zcash technology and is asic resistant. Expect the Ycash soft fork “airdrop” for ZEC holders…

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Interesting developments @hloo , I think if any community is capable of having a “friendly fork” it’s the Zcash community :slightly_smiling_face:

Zooko and Nathan said it well

I hope that, when that time comes, the Zcash community fills in the unoccupied space in the matrix above, deploying different technologies, well-fitted to different needs, but continuing to be tolerant and cooperative with one another, to the benefit of all.


I believe ZERO is a code fork of Zcash similar to Zclassic, not a chain fork like Ycash will be. This is the first actual “chain fork” I have seen.

I complete agree, @Shawn. One of the reasons I left the Bitcoin community for the Zcash community back in 2016 was because the Zcash community seemed to encourage open debate and be accepting of diverse viewpoints. That culture was created in part by Nathan and Zooko (and many others) taking pluralistic stances on a number of different issues, including chain splits.


From July last year:

The Foundation opposes any change to the Zcash Founders’ Reward, even those that may benefit our balance sheet. Without overwhelmingly broad consensus, monetary policy changes cannot be supported — particularly ones that redistribute a longstanding disbursement to the protocols’ critical contributors.


That said, overall ZF position on this move is undecided. We’ll talk about it and get back to you all!

I have personal thoughts but I’ll keep those to myself for now.



the zcash founders and investors will receive 1.4 M Yec?

Best of luck with your friendly fork, I’ll keep myself updated on this project ++


That is the upper bound with respect to the Founders Reward coins. In reality, the ECC and the Zcash Foundation have spent a portion of their coins to fund operations.

Ycash has a much better chance of succeeding if those associated with the ECC and Zcash Foundation have a vested interest in its success.

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A friendly fork would mostly have an indirect impact.
A friendly fork could be seen as an indirect/hidden way to raise further funds. Pretty sure the biggest benefit would go to the ECC company, Zcash investors that hold ZEC, and even the ZEC foundation which holds and gets ZEC.

As explained above by @hloo , the Ycash founders reward could be used for further development and again shared with Zcash. This again could be seen as a tricky way to bypass the ending ZEC founders reward. Just as a thought that came immediatly into my mind.

After thinking a bit more about the argument he mentioned “holding the promise about the ZEC founders reward”. Ok, the ZEC might not get extended but another founder reward is raised. This just sounds somehow strange.

Than the gpu mining issue. I absolutly agree that gpu mining should be an option, even preferable over asics as of today. But making a new coin with just this difference? As i said allready, there are several gpu coins around that use latest Zcash technology and swear on asic resistance. Or let’s talk again about a dual harmony upgrade. Zcash might anyway include it into the next proposal and be ready for it in 1.1/2-2 years? Until release of Ycash anyway 6 months will pass. Is this soft fork realy worth IF Zcash comes up with harmonay anyway on soon after?

And still from my first post an unanswered question, who is WE?

How and when will you decide a mining algorithm?

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