Basics of blockchain economics (and how it should guide protocol changes)

Hi friends! Here are my current thoughts on the basics of blockchain economics. These thoughts have been percolating for years, and I think they probably apply to almost all blockchains, at least ones that have a verifiable and predictable monetary base like Bitcoin and Zcash.

I have some ideas about how to evaluate potential protocol changes in light of this, but I think I’ll save that for a follow-on post because I want people to be able to agree or disagree about the basic facts and goals without considering how it would interact with their favorite proposed protocol change.

Fact number one: issuance of new ZEC coins by the protocol is a transfer of value, not a creation of value. Every time a miner or a Dev Fund recipient receives 1 ZEC from the protocol, they are richer, right? At today’s rates, they are about USD 70 richer. But that also means someone else is exactly USD 70 poorer. Who?

Fact number two: issuance of new ZEC coins by the protocol is a transfer of value from the ZEC holders. The value is not coming from out of thin air. It’s not coming from the miners. It’s coming from the ZEC holders.

I think a lot of people misunderstand these two things, and those misunderstandings can lead to a lot of mistakes and confusion, but these two statements above are not controvertible. They’re simply facts.

Fact number three: ZEC holders are going to pay about $92M from their pockets in 2021 to miners and Dev Fund recipients. (~$74M to miners, ~$5M to Zcash Foundation, ~$6M to ECC, and ~$7M to ZOMG). That $92M number is calculated from the following:

  • There are 10.5M ZEC in circulation today. Zcash issuance is going to be 5.25M ZEC coins over the coming four years. That’s ~1.3M per year. Therefore, the rate of issuance (which other cybercoiners confusingly call “inflation” even though it is different from what economists call “inflation”) is about 12.5% annual for 2021. That means if you hold 1 ZEC throughout 2021, you’ll be paying about 12.5% of its value for these core support functions (primarily mining) in 2021.
  • The price of ZEC is around $70 today, so this $92M is assuming it stays around there on average during 2021. If it rose to $700, then this would be $920 M that the ZEC holders are paying out for these core support functions! If it rose to $7000, then it would be $9.2 B that the ZEC holders will pay for these core support functions in 2021!

Okay, that’s it! That’s my starting point. And I think this is a very good thing! I think it is one of Zcash’s three strategic advantages [*].

ZEC-holders paying for core support functions (mining, software maintenance and security, innovation, marketing, regulatory and government relations, customer support, business development, education, etc.) out of their pockets makes Zcash more resistant to capture. If these functions were not funded by the ZEC holders themselves, then this would introduce a risk of someone coming along to fill that need and, in doing so, “capturing” Zcash, or gently guiding it toward their special interests and away from its original mission of empowering everyone with economic freedom.

[*] The three strategic advantages: 1. Self-funding (from the ZEC holders) of core support functions, 2. Governance and leadership are decentralized but not too diffuse and not too experimental, 3. Zcash culture supports evolving faster than Bitcoin but slower than Ethereum.


With all due respect, but:

  1. The issue of new coins is the issue of new coins (emission) and nothing more. The value of a coin is determined by bidding and has nothing to do with the issue (example: 1 zec is mined, it costs 1 zec, it can be sold for altcoins or for currency, and then it will acquire value, so the cost is determined by buyers!) zec costs 70 dollars, I sold 1 zec,I have 70 dollars and someone has 1 zec, have I become richer? No, I made an exchange, who benefits from it, in your opinion, I became richer, but tomorrow zec costs $ 100 and that means the exchange was in the red, based on this, one cannot operate with the concept of distributed value if the cost is not fixed!
  2. Emission and what you call value transfer are not related at all because value transfer is not applicable to cryptocurrency.
    (For example, there are 10.5 million coins in circulation, I have 1000, if another 10.5 million is mined, I will have 500? No, you are operating with a total value that does not exist, because it is not possible to sell all coins at the same price)
    The owners of the coins have no relation to the value, because, as it should already be clear, the value is determined by the buyer).
  3. In 2021, the holders, again, will not pay anything, buyers will pay, but since prices are not fixed, they cannot be determined as a percentage of the final or initial cost, so the example does not fit in principle.
    Total: The value of zec is determined by bidding and buyers, holders do not pay anything, payment of 20% of the issue comes from buyers of new (issued) coins, you cannot mix value and price.
    Emission is not equal to inflation I said this for a long time, on this we agree.
    The concept of distributed value and value transfer can work provided that the value is set for all zec (by 21 million), then when new coins are issued, all the others must either cost the same or become cheaper (provided that the value is determined inversely proportional to the coins issued (more coins are cheaper coin)

So on a purely incentive level this should have effects on people’s behavior. I’m a cryptographer, not an economist (and @Anton1 up thread raises some real questions about if what you say hold) , but if it does, one of these incentives stands out.

We’ve created a currency where you are paying a fairly large fee (via whatever you want to call it ) to hold ZEC. In terms of using ZEC as private money, this creates perverse incentives to keep your money in USD/Dai/Tether outside the shielded pool and only move in what you need to make transfers. Because then you are subject to this tax for less time. This would seem to have a pretty large negative effect on privacy, since the transactions into and out of the shielded pool are not private to at least the exchanges.

This also seems to cause problems for getting adoption from users who are, realistically, not all in on ZEC and merely want private money to buy things. Because what you are telling them is that, in real terms, their ZEC “accounts” have negative interest rates on short to medium time scales.

Note, this is distinct from the “you should hold crypto as an investment that might appreciate” view. For that ZECs dev fund may have an advantage. But holding ZEC doesn’t contribute to privacy as much as using it.


I think what @zooko is saying and what @anton1 is saying can be consistent with each other, which is why they both seem literally true :slight_smile:

@zooko is saying it’s a value transfer from holders to core support functions.

@anton1 is saying it’s not a value transfer, it’s just an act, and value is determined by the market.

But @zooko’s statement is implicitly assuming that the market reacts indifferently to this act, that is, that is, that the act of transfer doesn’t itself increase or decrease demand, so that when issuance increases demand without increasing supply, issuance recipients benefit at the expense of holders. And @anton1 is saying that the market could view this in many ways, and a decision to increase supply could potentially make the coin more desirable, not less—or at least that the market’s valuation of new coins is sort of its own process external to the process of coin creation.

And @zooko is saying the same thing, by saying that the dev fund is a strategic advantage for zcash, i.e. something that will make Zcash more valuable, including to investors.

I think the hard part here is that while miners are locked into a game with a very clear metric for success, it’s much, much, much harder to create metrics to evaluate the success of ECC, ZF, or ZOMG. So yes, you can classify these entities together with miners under the banner “core support roles,” but it’s worth admitting that they’re really different in terms of the risks involved. Miners carry their own legitimacy, but the legitimacy of ECC, ZF, and ZOMG must be carefully constructed somehow. (Though I suppose miners sometimes subvert the intent of their metrics too, like by opposing protocol changes that are good for others but hurt their interests.)

Also @secparam, what you’re describing as an incentive that pushes people away from using Zcash in the most ideal, private fashion also looks like an alignment of interests between issuance recipients and users who need privacy. If the people who need the most privacy are the “most taxed”, then issuance recipients like miners, ZF, ECC, and ZOMG are incentivized to serve the needs of the users who need privacy the most, no? And if true, that’s pretty cool.


@holmesworcester You’ve got the incentive alignment backwards. The saying is “anonymity loves company.” You need cover traffic and honest people using an anonymity system for it to work. If your system pushes normal, privacy less sensitive, users away or makes them use it in a way that doesn’t contribute to privacy, then that is not an alignment of interests, it’s the opposite. You, the privacy sensitive user who are paying for zcash, are costing yourself privacy.

An alignment of interests would be if you incentivized non-hardcore users to use private transactions and provide cover traffic. This would account for the positive externality of normal users staying in the shielded pool. Instead you are suggesting we tax them for it.


Well, the user who wants privacy is in a legitimate pinch then, because on the one hand the tax reduces the anonymity set, and on the other not having the tax reduces resources for improving the system’s privacy.

But even given this reality, there’s still alignment in that if ZF and ECC know the way to increase their funding level is to increase the number of people who want to hold shielded Zcash, they’ll have to make holding shielded Zcash really attractive to privacy-seeking users.

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I think its fine we have a dev fund, indeed necessary. But its a necessary evil specifically for privacy if Zooko’s economic view holds. And we should keep that in mind.

I agree. But that seems to imply that if ZF and ECC could, for example, let more users on the zcash chain even if they didn’t pay the same tax/dev fee/ whatever we want to call it, then we should do that. And in fact privacy critical zcash users should be happy about that. They’d be getting more privacy for the same price! Do you agree?

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Sure, yes, all things being equal!

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I found this section clearest, because it consistently uses ZEC denomination. It could be even clearer if the final sentence said:

That means if you hold 1 ZEC throughout 2021, you’ll be paying about 12.5% of its value in ZEC for these core support functions (primarily mining) in 2021.

In all of the other sections, where you use USD / $ that mixes together both supply issuance dynamics and exchange rate dynamics, and I suspect that is confusing.

I personally like the approach of separating these issues, and then making (unrealistic) assumptions in order to understand the impact of separate factors. For example:

If we assume that the “Market Cap” defined as Current Supply * ZECUSD Price is held constant, then it’s very straightforward to see that as new units are issued to miners or into a Dev Fund, the ZECUSD exchange rate per unit must go down, so someone holding 1 ZEC will see a decreasing exchange price as new units are issued.

I believe this is true even when we drop this unrealistic assumption if a fixed market cap.

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I believe that the use of unrealistic mechanisms of economic interaction to describe the structure of zcash is fashionable, but they cannot be used, use what has been tested and proven then everything will become clear.

  1. There is no relationship between the number of coins and their value (otherwise there would be no coins with a large issue and a higher price (ltc, eth and others)
    Why are they more expensive with more coins? Answer: they buy more of them, that is, there is such a demand for them that would keep such a price and therefore capitalization (conditionally, because you cannot sell all coins at the same price, but they have a greater market depth, that is, coins can be sold for a large amount anyway compared to zec)

There is no transfer and distribution of value.
What is development tax and how does it get price?
According to the consensus, 20 percent of the block goes to development but 20 percent in its own currency.
Matzners mine a block, receiving 80 percent of the coins, transfer it to the exchange and sell at the current rate, how does this affect the rate? No, there is no dependence, because if no one wants to buy, then the rate will decline due to the fact that the sale will be at the depth of the market, if there is a rush demand, then after the sale of coins the rate will still go up. Likewise, with the remaining 20 percent for development, which will be sold at a completely different time and at a different rate and will buy them in the amount of 100 percent.In other words, one cannot say that 20 percent of the block goes to development, 100 percent of the coins received for development go to development when sold on stock exchanges, which are 20 percent in their own currency but not 20 percent in dollars.
In total, the buyers of coins who are allocated for development, in fact, exchange their money for zec, because it is not known which coins are from miners and which ones are from developers, but the moments of sale are different and the rule does not work in any case, because miners do not sell all at once.
It can be concluded that demand affects the price and sets it. (everything is like in classical economics in the stock market without fixing the entry price)
3) Holders do not pay anything, as described in the second paragraph, buyers pay for development upon purchase, in the future the holders just watch.
The rule the more coins the lower the price does not work because the basis of the price is demand, and under the condition of limited emission, it cannot be said that the demand will be the same throughout the issue. The higher the demand, the higher the price, the rule always works. The sale of already issued coins affects the demand, this rule also works (dumps in the markets), that is, if demand grows and the price rises behind it, this can be changed by dropping 10 million coins on the market, and since the demand and market depth do not allow it to be absorbed the price will rest against the price at which buyers can redeem such an offer.
There are dependencies, of course, the lower the demand, the lower the price and again lower the demand, because new buyers will not buy the coin for storage and some of the buyers will leave, the inverse relationship is higher the demand, the higher the price makes the demand even higher, it also works.
Everything else that is described in the first post is fantasy and has nothing to do with the economic system, but it can work but according to other laws that we do not have.Objectively, the price reflects the value for zec, the higher the price is more money for development, which means the price is the fundamental goal for the project, if the price were $ 1, then before this period there would be no ECC or fund in the project.
Acceptance affects the price, more people use higher volume, higher volume, higher trust and more trustees, which means fewer coins on exchanges and when the supply decreases, the price adjusts to increase.
Attracting investors (long-term holders) again leads to higher prices.If the price decreases, it means for some reason confidence, which means buyers are decreasing, now zec is a speculative asset by 100 percent, because it moves with the market, it has no real buyers who, regardless of the prices of another currency, would buy it by adjusting the price.If the development process is not directly aimed at increasing potential buyers and holders along with the increase in the users of the coin, then the price will go down and a budget deficit will result, here again is a classic scheme. Take Nokia as an example of the industry giant, now zcash is very similar to this company, because they had development, demand and an army of fans, but they continued to release a product that was no longer in demand among the population, and competitors appeared that were worse but cheaper, nokia got less money and the product got worse than its competitors (end).
Now zcash has a deceptive promising success due to ZOMG, but this is essentially the same because the budget was 2 times in the first 4 years and there was nothing that was expected now, but I know the founders’ award, but now ECC has less money, but they are on third-party developers, where do you win? It is objectively not there. (a company that cannot find its customers splits the budget for hiring contractors - success is guaranteed in the real world, because everyone does it).

Total: with limited emission, it cannot be said that the supply of new coins affects the price, because it affects the current demand and the possibility of selling already issued coins.
There is no transfer of value, because the developers sell their coins and they are holders like everyone else and there are not 20 percent more coins, but these are the same coins that would be sold by miners.
Demand determines success (not directly, but very clearly), the price is adjusted according to demand, because the value of the project increases (everything is like with shares, the more successful the product is, more users, the higher the trust, the higher the price of the shares)
Conclusion: the development of the project should be carried out in order to reduce the available supply (big sales), but the main task should be to increase the demand, it is clear that zcash can work without storage, but without storage zcash will not work as a project, because the low price will not allow its development to continue , therefore attraction (namely attraction) of long-term holders to the project is necessary. Predictable demand and controlled supply will help build trust, which means it will allow the project to conquer the user market.


To me, it is all about dilution, how much % of ZEC do you own (similar to a company going IPO or raising a new funding round where existing share holders are diluted by new stock being issued).

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The issue is limited, at any time the buyer can know what part of the total coins he buys, the example with the issue of new shares is not suitable, therefore, like the example from the first post. Do you agree?


Anton - I cannot possibly disagree with you more. The price of a coin–or anything, really–depends on both supply and demand. If the coins given to miners/devs are locked up in a vault somewhere for eternity, then I agree with you that the number of coins fundamentally doesn’t matter. But if the miners/devs are selling the coins on the open market, the price is naturally going to decline unless the demand for coins outstrips both the supply of coins sold by miners/devs and the supply of coins sold by holders/users. Moreover, demand is going to in part depend on the future value of the coin–which is going to be muted if investors expect supply from miners/devs to remain high.

What makes blockchains interesting, though, is that rewards to miners/devs can also have a positive impact on demand. If investors think that the miners are providing enough hash rate for the protocol to remain secure, demand for the coins could actually increase in spite of the rewards to miners. Similarly, if investors think devs may (or are) solving problems that other blockchains haven’t yet solved, demand for the coins could increase because investors believe that there may be additional use cases for the coin in the future.


good point. known future issuance vs unknown. So, my analogy is not perfect.

A little clarification about supply and demand and how they relate to limited-issue blockchain: In real form, when a product is sold by a manufacturer, work is carried out to determine the depth of the market (approximately how much of a product can be sold and release begins), if an error occurs, then if the market is not deep enough, the release decreases or the price decreases if marketing does not work, if deeper than expected, prices rise due to high demand or increased output whenever possible.
But in a normal situation, the price rises for inflation, usually and does not decrease with production, i.e. those who buy a car first do not pay more than those who buy a year later (I do not mean discounts and gifts to motivate the buyer). For the blockchain, everything is a little different: we have a limited release, the release is clearly predicted according to the protocol, the price is set according to the demand on the exchange, and it remains only to regulate the demand through the development and implementation of the product on the market, as well as attracting long-term investors to artificially reduce the available supply, this is what works, then what should be used to achieve more funding through increasing the value of zcash
(price will follow the increase in value and demand)
What I do not like in the current situation is that the team of the foundation and developers does not seem to understand elementary things or does everything so that popularity does not grow for some reason, because what is written in the first post is a fantasy on the topic “I want it to be So”. Until now, there has not been an answer for the army of potential users and future holders to the question “why should I buy zcash?” as soon as an unambiguous answer is given, everything will become easier to carry.

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Why does no one take value added into account in this model? Let me add something. Today, it will take me 3 days to mine one ZEC. These are two Z15 ASICs. In July, it was only 1 day, but halving and hashrate, which is growing every month, constantly reduces my reward. And I knew this would happen when I pre-ordered in may. And I took all this into account in my payback calculations.

Mining on ASIC is a small business. It will certainly be unprofitable if a person does not understand what to do. But people who don’t understand what to do and how to do it are a thing of the past. Now no one will sell coins at any market price day in and day out - it’s just stupid. Even though I’m writing about ZEC and I’m not going to sell it for a very long time, I still took into account many calculations when buying ASIC, including, for example, calculating what would be more profitable for me to buy: coins from the market or these not-so-cheap devices.

So that’s what I would like to say here. The issue of coins based on POW algorithms, even though pricing has purely market processes, has its own added value and increases capitalization every day by itself. The issue is not a dummy and not someone’s expectations, it affects pricing as clearly as any other factors. The issue can objectively be excessive at times of low demand-and this puts pressure on the price, or it can be insufficient at times of high demand and the price will rise. But the issue of POW coins is never free.

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I think everyone in this thread is fundamentally in agreement about the mechanics of supply and demand, and what happens to the price when there are changes to demand (like attracting more users and anything that increases adoption) and what happens when there are changes to supply (like new coins issued to miners who have to sell them to pay power bills). Yet still there’s some room for difference in interpreting what has value and why.

First, here’s how I understand Zooko’s post: it is just suggesting a shift in language that’s explicit about “transfer of value” occurring as a result of issuance in each block, and describing these as “payments”. These are payments only in the sense of “share of the pie”, NOT in a sense of payments denominated in ZEC. This would be a lot clearer if we had a different “share of the pie” unit to refer to. I’ll propose this:

  • ZEP, short for “ZEC Percentage”, defined as 1 ZEP = a 21million’th of the current total circulating supply of ZEC

If you have 1 ZEC today, you have about 1.96 ZEP. But, if you look at your wallet balance denominated in ZEP, you’d see it slowly ticking down as you’re charged holding fees paid to miners and to the dev fund. Eventually the ratio converges to 1 ZEP = 1 ZEC when the last halvening occurs.

If you had a wallet that displayed balances in ZEP rather than ZEC, then Zooko’s viewpoint about holders paying for mining & dev fund would be crystal clear.

I know everyone has thought of this and it’s obvious there is some equivalence between new issuance of coins on one side and a fee or tax paid by holders on the other side. I think the biggest risk of not being clear about this is essentially “double counting” when discussing it, leading to an unnecessarily pessimistic view. There’s sell pressure due to new issuance, but on the upside you’re receiving a “store of value” service completely for free. Or you can think of this as paying a proportional tax or a holding fee, but if you take this viewpoint then you should be displaying your wallet in ZEP. On the upside, since 100% all the ZEP have already been issued, the price of ZEP relative to ZEC will steadily rise.

(btw I’ve been pondering this ever since in Bitcoin Luke Dashjr made a Tonal Bitcoin (TBC) client, which I’d summarize as bizarro world hexadecimal units)

Now separately about Anton’s point… as best I understand it, this is suggesting a viewpoint that assets have no value until they’re sold, such that the price is determined entirely by buyers and not at all by holders.

I think this viewpoint is not correct for a few reasons:

  1. This viewpoint would suggest that when you exchange ZEC for USD, there was a transfer of value from the buyer to the seller. But even as you explain elsewhere, an exchange at market price doesn’t result in any significant net change in value to either party.
  2. It doesn’t treat demand and supply as equivalent. It’s basically saying demand matters but supply is irrelevant, whereas economics treats supply and demand curves the same way.
  1. This reasoning should apply to any digital asset, including USD. So even if you trade ZEC for USD, you still don’t have anything of value until you sell it for something physical you can actually eat. I’m actually kind of partial to this argument, that there’s intrinsic consumption value of goods and services, but everything else is speculative in some way. But regardless you’d have to apply it consistently.
  2. It doesn’t explain the value of optionality. The reason holders are contributing to the value is because they hold the option to choose how if and when to sell ZEC at an exchange. You have to pay for an option even if you don’t end up exercising it, the ability to choose is itself the value.

There’s a lot of other details in Anton’s post that I think amount to a criticism of what devs do vs what miners do with the newly issued coins they get, which are well received, but also separate from the discussion about framing how the issuance itself affects price and value.


How should what you describe in the real world work without invented values ​​and non-existent concepts?
I have 1000 zec, 10.5 million released, another 10.5 million will be released, zec costs $ 64. How do you think this is all connected? How much will I (exactly I) pay in 2021 if I don’t sell coins?
As I have already written several times, there is a product, half is released and half is not yet, there is a developer who has a commission on the release of each product (they released 100 units, the developer left 20 in stock), there are buyers on the exchange who buy but not at a fixed cost as on the market, but in its own way (placing orders), everything. How many goods were sold so much money received, why come up with non-existent mechanisms to explain a simple economic phenomenon, there is no dependence between all of this, there is just a market. There will be negative news and the product will go for resale, but the released product will continue to be released as it was on schedule.
Do you think that an unreleased product scares buyers, I say no, and if there was an interest in this product, then it would be bought at other prices, even only produced, emission does not affect the price, demand affects the price (bitcoin cost higher at a higher emissions and litecoin and zec). The fund needs an economist!
When exchanging zec for dollars, there is a transfer of value because you receive your salary not in sausage or zec, but in dollars.
If you can’t determine the impact of the 20 percent tax on development, then it’s not there, it’s all the same 10.5 million today, these 20 percent do not allow miners to increase the opportunity so as not to leave in minutes to earn money (when mining will run into profitability), in other words 20 percent of the network’s capabilities are not received at any time due to a development tax of 20 percent, that’s all (this does not affect sales and purchases because it is still 100%)
I missed your point on the second point: in economics, demand gives rise to supply, but in a fixed supply, demand dictates the price, for example, limited goods (rare, antique and art objects) can be attributed to a fixed supply, where no matter what the demand, supply cannot increase.
Due to the fact that the demand is not stable and the supply is stable, the price can rise and its drop within unspecified boundaries, all other factors affect but are not fundamental.
I appeal to yours and other participants in the dispute to the name of the topic, it says ECONOMY, find references in economics to your thoughts on the variations and relationships of the produced quantity of goods to the unproduced ones and the need to look for dependencies in them. If you say that zcash is not a commodity, then look at the stocks, or find at least something similar to your thoughts in the economy and the real world.

The simpliest definition of value (I can figure) is it is an idea, be it learned or intrinsically known at birth, conscience to it or otherwise, that a noun (person, place, thing or idea) may have at some point, be it sooner or later, a desired (and usually desirable) effect on somebody’s (often our own and often soon) perception. This applies to the animal kingdom as well and mainly boils down to brain chemistry. Many creatures come into existence and immediately exhibit unlearned traits conducive to their survival such as stillness and any subsequent learned value is usually for the same reason.
But at the other end is the opposite, higher order of valuation that extends beyond the immediately tangible. Principals, convictions and beliefs may have started as mere ideas but are imbued with different personal expectations. The chemical gratification for all of your toil may only extend as far as wishfully thinking someone else may eventually realize the fruits of it. So, on a fundamental, personal level its the same thing with the differences primarily being the who, what, when, where, why and how’s of it all and so making it also the complete opposite.
Defining extremes is easy as most peoples’ mentalities fall between a wolf and a treeship pilot but how our trains of thought (with regard to these things) are steered, whether by teeth or more by our individual experiences in life and higher concepts varies between extremes for everybody and at different times. There’s a much deeper conversation here because, though we are technically animals, we differ by having mind or the ability to contemplate our own perception as something seperate from our physical selves; cogito ergo sum and is why we can change what our ideas are supposed to mean to ourselves i.e. valuation.
Modern man tends to excel at this practice (for better or for worse) though few probably think of it in such terms and so the problem (if considered at all) of differentiating these primal screams from our first-world problems, that all the same manifest themselves solely in our hands and mouths, is only leveraged because its the same logic that underpins all of it. Thats my take on it anyways, why anything has value.
Economics is… well, its moneyball or at least in the sense most people in coinspace tend to think of it and without putting too fine a point on it. It can be used with much broader definition to describe the larger state of affairs (what I believe Zooko refers to) but it’s always about money in some respect. Zcash IS a form of money so using the term blockchain economics here certainly seems appropriate but may be too broad because it encompasses pretty much every facet of coinspace.
So with all this in mind, the question of how should blockchain economics guide protocol changes is kind of lost on me. My initial reaction is that it shouldn’t and that protocol changes should be guided from within the context of the mission by design criteria and security audits (and I heard Pollards gonna have three!). But then I suppose the question might become what is it about Zcash economics (as in the projects’ larger state of affairs) that necessitates said criteria? There was a question about btc like this once (and yes, that is a heavy handed example!) and it’s instead the answer here that might be completely lost on me were it not for the mission which at least gives direction in helping to bring these necessities (the mothers of invention) into focus.
Empowering everyone with economic freedom stems from the cypherpunk movement (though perhaps it may not have been defined then as such) and came in the substantial form of btc. But it lacks at least one thing (probably more) necessary to fulfill the idea of it being a form of sound, censorship resistant, electric money. Zcash exists because of the mission, not the other way around so as long as we remember that empowering is charging someone with an ability that might appear effortless, everyone is not one single person excluded and economic freedom is the ability to transact real, sound money completely of your own volition, then its not quite so difficult.

I find Anton’s reasoning more logical and transparent. And I agree that the initial post in this thread was flawed.
To answer the question, “Until now, there has not been an answer for the army of potential users and future holders to the question “why should I buy zcash?” as soon as an unambiguous answer is given, everything will become easier to carry,” I can only answer for myself:
I bought zcash because I wanted to pay for things over the internet with privacy. It seemed better than the other privacy-oriented coins because of the developers and technical backup of the protocol. I also bought zcash because I wanted to be a rebel; it held some symbolic or cultural value to me because it is “sticking it to the man”, i.e., challenging the state monopoly on issuance of currency.