Arjun Balaji's "2019 predictions"

I think this is the best, most insightful and comprehensive “turn of the year investor perspective” on the cybercoin market I’ve ever seen:


16) Given both comments from Zooko about both PoS and the Zcash Founder’s Reward and rumblings from the community, I think it’s possible that (1) Zcash plans a multi-year transition to propose a move to a hybrid PoW/PoS system ( 50% confidence ) or that (2) a change to the Founder’s Reward ( 30% confidence ) takes place. As the Founder’s Reward runs out in 2020, with a lot of research and engineering work left, I can see a proposal to extend it (or lengthen the reward beyond 2020) emerging.

What is the word on PoS? Didnt know that was being looked into for ZCash.

“90% of the Zcash monetary base goes to the miners, to reward them for doing a public service by maintaining a secure global blockchain, that anyone can use, and that can hold validated but private transactions.”

Also extending the rewards would be stealing from the community. If you say your going to have a system in place with X years of funding paid for by the miners sharing the reward, and than extend it later on, you are breaking more promises.

Is there currently any talks about changing the mining rewards?

They also said they will be ASIC resistant, dont you remember how that ended ?

If valid reasons would be presented I wouldn’t bother at all.

All depends on what is put on the scale. I would be more than happy to finance another 4 year of FR (at 5%?) to see zcash go full succint :Q__

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Ok, so what happens in 4 years when they need more funding? How many times do you keep letting them extend it?

If you set a precedent now, where anything can be changed on a whim, it leads down a dark road. Going from a ASIC resistant coin, to fully accepting them before they were even shipped out didnt help build any trust.

[Obligatory “I am speaking for myself, this is not a company statement or position”.]

We’ve always been interested in PoS, but the general position has been “let Ethereum do it first”. Our wheelhouse is ZKP protocols, not PoS systems. Building out the technical capability to do our own R&D on PoS (which would be necessary, because even now it’s still not quite ready for production deployment) would be significantly costly, and slow down the core functionality improvements we’ve wanted to make (like Sapling). TBH PoW changes also fall into this category, but while there are still unknowns, they are much more manageable than for PoS, which is why Harmony Mining is feasible for the October network upgrade.

If such a proposal were made, it would be entirely reasonable (and IMHO necessary) for the community to see the reasoning for it, the two obvious cornerstones being functionality deployment, and speculative research. We all know that high-quality research and development (of the sort that the Zcash network has greatly benefitted from) costs money, and that the available funding constrains what can be worked on. I would expect that any proposal to introduce any future development funding would outline concretely what work is proposed (succinct blockchains? smart contracts? complete elimination of t-addrs?), taking into account how much can be realistically deployed for a given funding level and time period. At the same time, it would need to support speculative research where we don’t know ahead-of-time what would pan out (case in point: Sapling was the result of speculative research).

IMHO having a time limit on funding is a good idea, because it enables the community to check-point the funding process more easily. If the community decides that there’s good reason to fund additional development beyond when the current funding expires (e.g. if there is still functionality that we want to see developed and deployed), then it can support another extension. If the community decides that they only want to see maintenance with no more research & development, or they want to cease all paid network support, then that’s fine too. It’s not about “letting them extend it”; it’s about enabling the community to choose what they want to support. That directly matches the ethos we already have around Network Upgrades (which were specifically designed at a technical level to ensure that everyone can freely choose whether to follow an upgrade or not).


Come one be real now? What community? When the matter of ASIC resistance was being decided, entire community (of 64 people voted) ?! Who do you consider to be community that makes the decisions and keeps you in check with reality ?
I’ve mentioned several times, and no one cares to respond to this - 86% active wallet decrease since May, price decrease of 85% since May.
Is it the hashrate maybe? But then the hashrate had to increase because Z9 with 42Ksol made hash as much as 82 GPU’s. Hashrate increased only 5x. This means there are a LOT less devices mining Zcash now than there were back in May.


Community is much more than the set of people who voted in the Zcash Foundation governance panel (which is what I assume you are referring to).

Community is much more than the miners (a conflation that many other cybercoins have made).

To me, the community is anyone who participates in the Zcash ecosystem. That means network developers, app developers, miners, mining-pool operators, enthusiasts, exchanges, shop owners / vendors, and other categories that maybe aren’t currently part of the community but could be in the future. It’s way too simplistic to use a single metric (like a small single vote, or hashrate voting) to make decisions for the community as a whole, and has the effect of excluding large different sectors of the community depending on the chosen metric. That said, if I were to choose a single metric, it would be “entities upgrading to a full node or light client library supporting a given network upgrade”, as this indicates people wanting to rely on a particular upgrade as part of their own economic activity.

Note that this is only true as long as it is clear to users that upgrading implies their support! So it needs to be clear (e.g. blog posts, release notes, community outreach and discussions) what particular versions of the software and libraries actually mean. This ties into the discussions around the EOS halt of zcashd, where the Zcash Company is being clear that by running a version of zcashd outside its EOS halt window, you are making the explicit choice to run software or consensus rules that the Zcash Company does not provide ongoing support for. I think more of the Zcash ecosystem software and libraries should try to be explicit in this regard, as it would make it significantly easier to gague support for a change based on what is being depended on by entities within the community.

I would not be surprised if this is almost entirely correlated to the Bitcoin price. There’s a visible empirical trend where cybercoin prices relative to Bitcoin tend to decrease when the Bitcoin price decreases, and vice versa. I suspect this is due to the cybercoin-to-fiat (actual fiat, not stablecoins) market bottleneck:

  • Cybercoin prices in fiat go down when Bitcoin’s price in fiat goes down.
  • This leads to sell pressure on the cybercoins into fiat.
  • Selling non-Bitcoin cybercoins can for the large part (at least until recently) only be met by selling from cybercoin into Bitcoin and then onwards to fiat.
  • This puts downward pressure on the cybercoin-to-Bitcoin exchange rate.

This is only based on my own observations though; I would be very interested to see research that has looked into this!

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Were those community members given a vote on ASIC resistance? No. I only say what I see, and I see a closed circle of 64 people making decisions.

Remember that in early 2017 Bitcoin was trading at 1000$ and Zcash was 0.1 BTC, or around 100$. Its not about just price drop. Its about excluding people off the network by accepting ASICS.

You said

  • what if it doesn’t, what can it do to stop it?

What if community does not accept it? How would you know? Were community members not vocal enough against ASICS ? Yet you accepted them.

What I am saying is community (the real community) has no other means of expressing their wishes other than selling Zcash to the ground and leaving it completely, which 86% of them did exactly that. Yet nothing has been done so far to counter ASICS.

It is clear to me that you need to accept more down to Earth people inside your community( your closed circle of 64 ) to really point out the flaws you have in decision making abilities. I hope you choose wisely.

not really impressed with this analysis. this all mostly common knowledge type stuff, imo. very vanilla. part that did interest me was this:
“As the Founder’s Reward runs out in 2020, with a lot of research and engineering work left, I can see a proposal to extend it (or lengthen the reward beyond 2020) emerging.”
i did notice an earlier post from zooko (i think) that mentioned this possibility. almost felt like an A/B test. i’m personally okay with extending the payment rewards to zcash co… would probably be better to bring that up after zcash does have a couple decent bull cycles, tho. (imo)

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Thanks alot for the quick replys!

Like how the community decided ASIC were good for the network and they should stay?..Wait a second, I think 80+% of the community was against ASICs last I remember. So who is the “community” you talk about? The people that voted last time did not represent the community.

They voted in ASIC because it would be inconvenient and slow down Sapling. 80+% of the people voted against ASICs, but the “devs voted” not to fork away from ASICs, and I guess them are the votes that count.

You can say this all you want, but when it comes down to it, we didnt have a voice last time. Its hard to belive you when everyone was screaming and could not be heard about not wanting ASICs.

Will the people getting funding vote to get more funding…Hmm I wonder? Conflict of interest much?

If 80% of the community is against the rewards being extended, but the “teams votes” say yes, is that listening to the community? Im sorry, but my trust in this “trustless system” has been lost.

What is so controversial about people being paid to do cutting edge research and development on this coin? Why are people so ungrateful for the talent that has been drawn to this coin? To think that Bitcoin got the entire crypto currency model 100% right from the get-go is self evidently wrong. Even other large coins that have not had Bitcoin’s issues, such as Litecoin, suffer from the same absent decision making mechanism and from the same expectation that development occurs without direct compensation. Meanwhile coins like Dash and Pivx solved these problems long ago - and Pivx is also a proof-of-stake coin.


To claim that the Foundations Governance Panel was a “closed circle” of insiders is wholly inaccurate. Pretty much anyone who wanted to be on the panel could have asked to join , and many community members did such as @kek @root @garethtdavies and many others including myself.

You can see the reasoning, selection process, and results outlined here:


Problem is, this has been done before ASIC’s were announced (in April if I read correctly). I myself havent had a single reason to doubt Zcash before the decision not to fork away was “voted in for”. This stands the same for probably majority of the holders back then. I haven’t even had a forum account back then.

I had no reason to doubt the decision making abilities, but now I do.

Of course its the closed circle, the decision could have been made on a much larger scale. You ignored the wishes of community ( the real community, not your little group of friends who got in early/bought their place in like Roger Ver).

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Where does this 80+% number come from, and how representative is it of the community? We can’t just cherry-pick individual metrics or votes that support our particular desires. We need to be inclusive of the whole community.

And as I already said above, I agree that the community is much more than the people who voted on the governance panel (though as @Shawn correctly recalls, the panel was open to anyone who wanted to participate).

Again, where does this 80+% “vote” number come from, and how representative is it of the community?

It’s true that ZcashCo developers did not write code to fork away from ASICs immediately (though it should be noted that anyone else could have chosen to do so, and did not). This was for a solid technical reason: it would have been completely reckless and dangerous to try and deploy that kind of wide-area-effect consensus rule change without any time for research, development, testing, auditing, or quality assurance. There was indeed a section of the community who would have happily installed immediately whatever binary we published, but that section is not the whole community, and it doesn’t take into account any of the rest of the developer ecosystem, libraries etc. that would need updates to be deployed and integrated into however many third parties might be using them. And with Sapling already in full swing (consuming all of our development resources well into late 2018, and there’s still more to do), it turned out to not be feasible to deploy any PoW changes until the Blossom network upgrade in October 2019 (which is when Harmony Mining is proposed for).

If Zcash is to be a mature, mainstream cybercoin, changes need to be made in a responsible manner in order to provide the best assurances of safety, security, and privacy that we can, as well as providing time for the changes to be deployed by the numerous third parties (mining pools, exchanges, wallet devs, app devs, merchants…) involved in the network. The current network upgrade pipeline takes about a year from late-stage research and feature-selection through to on-network activation, and this was informed directly by what we learned (and the pain we went through) while deploying Sprout, Overwinter, and Sapling.


If you say you will do a job for X amount of money, and then later on change the amount of money mid job because its gonna cost more than you estimated, it is controversial. People started using ZCash based on what was presented at the time. To change it later, like ASIC-RESISTANCE is being dishonest to the people that supported the original plan.

Many polls were done at the time, All of them showed a 80% in favor of forking away from ASICs. Im not cherry picking anything, most of the community was AGAINST ASICs, please show me otherwise.

Let’s talk about ASIC mining didnt become the most used post because it was fun to read, it was because it was the most important topic and people flooded in to show their dislike of ASICs.

And now, here we are, 6+ months later with a Team Member saying, “how representative is it of the community?”. Maybe try reading Let’s talk about ASIC mining , the MAJORITY of the people did NOT want ASICs. Yet here we are…fully ASIC network now.

Here are a couple polls I had saved, there is atleast 2 other polls around on the internet showing the same thing. Also the offical 19/45 vote was very misleading, ASIC resistance did not have to be adopted as a PRIORITY, but it should of been worked on at the time, and had a plan within 3-6 months to fork away. This would of been a disincentive for people to buy equihash ASICs knowing the network is forking soon.

Why is this one so different from the others? This is not representing the community.

Please…dont act like you would of accepted said code even if it was tested and proven to be bug free, sapling was the priority and anything that might effect it was “to much risk”, it would not of been added.

Like I said, it would of never happened, even if we had 100% secure and tested code for the new algo. So why even bring up this strawman argument saying “anyone else could have chosen to do so,”.

Than in the same paragraph, infact almost the same sentence, you say "it would have been completely reckless and dangerous to try and deploy that kind of wide-area-effect consensus rule change"

It would never have been accepted into the fork. So why even pretend and say that in this post?

Yet other much smaller dev teams(several of them) were able to have a anti-asic fix in place within a week of ASIC annoucements. AND it didnt cause any security issues. Why is ZCash so different?

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Out of the entire ZCash community, you had 64 people vote. How representative is it of the community?

If anyone was able to sign up and vote, why such a small amount of people voting?

Did people know they were able to vote on these issues? I didnt know I could “ask” to vote in the panel. This is the first time I heard anything about allowing anyone who asks on the forums to vote in the panel.

EDIT: And Sorry, I think you guys have done a great job, however, some of the statements and changes that have been made have left a bitter taste in my mouth about ZCash. I had very high hopes at the end of 2017 for ZEC, and to see it fall so far, is sad. But please, keep up the great work, and I hope ZEC recovers.

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Technically the Foundation Governance panel was made up of people who have had any Community involvement, but the Zcash Foundation Board had the final say:

I said anyone could have asked to be part of the panel, all you had to do was show you were part of the Zcash Community, the bar was not super high imho. So I think if you were passionate about Zcash and had asked, Josh @acityinohio would likely have approved you.

And Sonya posted an open call on the Forums for more people to join: Community Governance Panel

But this is kinda getting bogged down with the past Foundation process, which ultimately had zero effect on Zcash Companies decision on not rushing a protocol change to brick ASICs.

So the real question in my mind is what is a “better way” to measure Community sentiment for changes to consensus? It seems like no matter how inclusive of a system is designed we are always going to have people later say that they missed the email, or post, or the system was rigged, etc…

If we want to move the conversation forward the first question to tackle is the one of how to measure the entire communities opinion not just a vocal few.


See, posts like these are what make me second guess anything you guys say now. First you say ANYONE could ask to join, as if there was no requirements and anyone was accepted. And than you come back and say…

"Technically the Foundation Governance panel was made up of people who have had any Community involvement, but the Zcash Foundation Board had the final say "

Sure the bar was set low, but this is why people didnt ask to join to vote. They did not think they were allowed to. From the link you listed earlier.

Community Governance Panel

In accordance with these guidelines, we compiled a list of Community Governance Panel members by actively reaching out to people, both individually and in broad public posts, to request participation. Ultimately we recruited 72 Panel members, and 64 of them voted, comprising 88.88% turnout. The voters weighed in on six ballot proposals and nine Board candidates.

Where on here does it say anything about, JUST ASK and you will be accepted. It said YOU GUYS reached out, not that we could sign up for a spot on the panel. THIS is why people didnt vote. They didnt think they could.

Wasnt only 64 people a red flag that hey, I dont think people are understanding they can vote on these things. 64 people voting should of been a clear sign, that people did not think the voting was for them. Out of hundreds of thousands of people in the community, you only had 64 voters…how does this not raise any questions about the sign up process?


Neither of the two polls you posted give any indication of who participated in it, so I cannot evaluate whether they are representative of the Zcash community at all.

It’s nothing to do with whether ZcashCo would have accepted it, but whether the community would have accepted it. We cannot and would not stop anyone from running whatever code they choose to (it’s one of the reasons we are strongly against auto-upgrades of node software). All we can do is say whether or not we would develop on, and provide ongoing support for, a particular chain. So while yes, code written by another entity to implement an immediate fork away from ASICs would most likely still not have been included by ZcashCo in the Sapling upgrade (due to aforementioned security and testing concerns), it could still have been proposed to the community as its own upgrade.

There is the separate question of which chain would be called “Zcash” after this kind of competing upgrade, which is defined by the trademark holder. But that is getting wildly off-topic for this thread, and there are discussions about that elsewhere.

See the following links for information on how the Zcash Foundation (which is separate from the Zcash Company) processed applications, and the full list of participants (so you can judge for yourself how successful the Zcash Foundation was at their goal of obtaining a representative sample of the community).

The call for participants to sign up was posted about right here in the forum:

I appreciate your sentiments :slight_smile:

Agreed. We need bettter ways to include more voices, and to figure out how to make such a process scale. There are some good Rust 2019 posts being made at the moment about similar scaling problems in decision-making within the Rust community, which I think could be very useful for us.