Cash is dead. Long live digital cash! ECC weekly update

Hi Zeeps,

Miss me? I missed you. I spent the last couple of weeks (primarily) on a vacation of sorts. I won’t bore you with the travelogue other than to say that part of my trip was a visit to India to hang out with friends and see some of the work I’ve been involved with since I lived there in 2003.

Since you are here, let’s go for a little ride while I tell you why what’s happening in India is so relevant to Zcash, our mission, and our focus. Beep beep.

As some of you know, my relationship with people in India was a catalyst for my finding Zcash in the first place. In 2016, I needed to send money privately to India, and the legacy financial system rejected me. I went looking for a solution and found the promise of one in Zcash. Sadly, eight years later, the promise hasn’t yet been realized. Keepin’ it real, zeeps. It’s close, though. We’re getting there.

This story is not so much about what happened then as it is about what has happened since and what is happening now, and not just in India. I’m not talking about what’s happening in the crypto casino but about what is happening in the real world—you know, the one where billions of people actually live and transact for things like a samosa or a mobile phone.

A lot has changed since I lived there. There are multilane highways and bypasses, free of wandering animals, and Starbucks is ubiquitous in the cities. And then there is what has changed with cash.

In 2016, India killed the 1,000 rupee note. A 2,000 note was made available for a time, but you won’t find them in ATMs as the country has removed them from circulation. The 500 rupee note is as big as it gets. 500 rupees are equivalent to about $6. During this trip, I could withdraw up to 10k rupees ($120) from an ATM at any given time in 500 rupee increments. In the slums (about 1 in 6 people), cash is still king, but the rest have moved to something called UPI.

UPI, or Unified Payments Interface, allows just about everyone access to digital peer-to-peer payments. You just need a mobile number and bank account (or debit card for foreigners), and voila, free and instant payments. Easy peasy. But you know what they say when you are not paying for the product; you are the product. UPI is a straight-up dystopian nightmare, and it’s spreading like wildfire, even beyond the borders of India.

UPI QR codes were almost everywhere I looked. In this case, I was just looking for a Limca, but I found that there is more for sale here than meets the eye. I was for sale.

In my conversations with people in India about UPI, the general sentiment was that they don’t care too much about privacy. This system just works. This was especially true for people with lower incomes. If you are merely scraping by on a few dollars a day, you don’t care much about privacy for “small transactions” used to acquire basic necessities.

In addition to the data issues discussed in the linked article above, there is an even darker side to all this. Shocker! One of my friends in Mumbai is not a Hindu. He has a different faith. When a gift from a religious organization in the West showed up in his bank account, the police showed up at his door to ask about it. They had questions and they required answers.

This shift is happening not just in India but around the globe. Not feeling it yet? Don’t worry. They are coming for you too. It gets real when the knock comes to your door or when your account is shut down, and you have no other means to buy the things you need.

This is why digital cash is the killer use case for Zcash. Check out Coin Center’s Case for Electronic Cash if you haven’t read it already. Zcash is the answer. There is nothing else that compares. Straight up, keepn’ it real.

It’s easy to get distracted or impatient, thinking, “If we build this cool new thing, maybe that will be the sparkling thing that will draw in a bunch of new people, and the price will go up, and we’ll have all the memes, and the narrative will change and everyone will love Zcash and we’ll all be rich cause they’re all buying it up using their leveraged Binance accounts! It might take a year or two or four to build that sparkling thing and then market it to the casino, but it’ll be awesome and Zcash will be awesome and I’ll be awesome!”

Even if you aren’t so taken by something so grandiose, you might be tempted to think, “But you can do this on Ethereum. Isn’t that cool? We could build that.”

Yep, it’s cool. It’s a different product with a different use case.

And it reminds me a bit of Aesop’s fable about the dog and the bone.

We’ve been here before, chasing novel things and losing time. I’m not casting blame or calling out some of the efforts going on today and I get enamored with sparkling things, too. I hope all these things pan out.

And sure, there are other things we want to do with cash beyond peer-to-peer payments, such as lending it out or using it as collateral.

But the simple fact is that the world desperately needs digital cash. It might not replace India’s UPI soon, but people need the capability to access an alternative that won’t dehumanize them, exploit them, or abuse their human rights.

Zcash is the answer for uncensorable, secure, private digital cash. If we deliver that one thing to the world, oh what a difference it will make!

Here’s what ECC has been building:

Zashi

iOS

Unique Installs: 1.91k

Total Downloads: 2.20k

AppStore Rating: 4.9 ★

Investigated info.plist issue, released SDK 2.1.10

Improvements for Wallet Restore:

  • Dependency for logic that detects restore and plugged-in device.
  • Dependency for logic that checks the battery status and responds to changes in plugged/unplugged status.
  • iPhone doesn’t sleep when these conditions are met.
  • Final design for the restore tips screen.
  • #1290 “Inform a user to plug in a device when restoring” merged.

Zashi 1.1.2 has been released. It includes improvements to the Wallet Restore function, a screen with syncing tips, better UI prompting to switch to a lightwalletd server if the current one has performance issues, and improved latency for start-up and showing transaction history.

ZIP 321 Integration:

  • Various fixes in zcash-swift-payment-uri lib.
  • Zashi me now generates ZIP 321 format.
  • Zashi scanner has been extended to identify ZIP 321, and the Zashi me feature is now properly handled.
  • zcash: scheme integrated into the project.
  • Deeplink handling / malicious app warning is waiting on the final design.

Tx Resubmission SDK:

  • The SDK side is done.
  • Integrated into the state machine as a brand new Action, triggered not sooner than 5 minutes after the previous attempt.
  • TransactionEncoder needed to be added to the dependency injection.

Tx Resubmission Zashi:

  • Proof-of-concept for transaction resubmission is triggered by Zashi in cases when Zashi is in the background.

Also cleaned up some tech debt.

Android

Production Install Base: 1.26k

Total Installs (incl. Open Beta): 3.01k

PlayStore Rating: 4.438 ★

Android Zashi Updates:

  • Finished and merged Dark mode tasks.
  • Added the bubble-style border for message UI components across Zashi.
  • Zashi UI now correctly displays transactions with more than one memo.
  • The Receive screen is now divided into tabs with the Unified and Transparent addresses.
  • The Scan screen now allows you to pick and scan addresses from QR codes stored on the device.

Android SDK updates:

  • Monetary separator API now supports locales with the same grouping and decimal separators.
  • We are working through a CI issue that is currently blocking the release of the updated SDK.

Zcash Core

SDK:

  • We fixed a previously reported bug in the Orchard commitment tree handling, but a new problem has surfaced (librustzcash#1431 “shardtree panic” reported by @AArnott).
  • The ZIP 320 implementation was blocked on some necessary refactoring and database migrations, but those are now merged or ready to merge.
  • Implemented support for querying ZEC/USD exchange rate APIs over Tor.

NU6:

  • We concluded that the memo changes originally proposed for NU6 cannot be ready in time, and there are unresolved issues concerning the potential abuse of large memos.
  • Explicit fees + zsfDeposit + (possibly deferred) dev fund changes could be ready.
  • Zcashd: The default “block unpaid action limit” will be set to zero, i.e. not allowing unpaid actions, in the next zcashd release. zcash/zcash#6900

Other

We’ve brought in an additional Android developer to help us accelerate the Zashi Android work to reach iOS parity. Welcome Milan!

@peacemonger has also joined the ECC team again! Tatyana has agreed to a contract position with ECC to lead our Zashi product marketing function. Her responsibilities will include product strategy, research, adoption, and promotion. Welcome back to ECC @peacemonger!

So far, 24 of us have registered to attend the San Diego Z|ECC summit, scheduled for the week of July 8! During the two-day community position of the event, we’ll be workshopping plans and a refreshed roadmap with an emphasis on Zcash adoption (Day 1) and innovation (Day 2). Let us know if you are interested in being a part of it.

A number of us will be participating in a Zcash meet-up hosted by Edge that Thursday. Come by and say hello!

We also hosted another PGP (Pretty Good Policy) event in DC, this one at the Capitol building, thanks to House Majority Whip Tom Emmer.

That’s it for this week.

Long live digital cash! Long live Zcash!

Onward.

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Thanks @Lukas for reporting the missing APIs on the Zcash payment URI library.

I’m glad that you found it useful :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

@andrea do you know when the Android equivalent will land? We’d need to sync about the dependency distribution because the kotlin version of ZIP-321 is not being distributed through maven central

Welcome back @josh !

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the whole world is following this trend, countries are implementing digital money, instant transfers. It certainly has its good and bad sides, the fact that it is free reminds us that we are the product. physical money is more anonymous, the government is taking that away and gaining more and more power with digital money, knowing what we buy, our habits and customs. The population will only understand the lack of privacy when the government shows its claws, creating censorship. I believe that interest in privacy and privacy cryptocurrencies is near.

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We need greater infrastructure and acceptance, companies and websites willing to accept Zcash as payment, so that we can not only collect Zcash, but be able to use Zcash to make purchases in privacy.

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Congratulations, Tatyana!

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Zcash is way ahead of its time, people still haven’t realized that they need privacy. This is good, this way Zcash develops, it has time to be even more robust, time to consolidate itself in the market. When people realized the need to seek privacy, Zcash will already be consolidated in the market and thus the search will grow exponentially.

the infrastructure, Zcash acceptance does not depend much on Zcash, ECC or any other organizations or technology, the problem is people having a better financial education, knowing that privacy is very important. This is what is taking time, people don’t have much financial education, this is not taught in schools, people learn on a daily basis and only realize that they need privacy when something happens that makes everyone think and desire privacy. privacy goes much further than the value of zcash, profits, privacy means greater freedom, freedom is priceless, that’s why I believe the value of zcash will rise exponentially, it has a very limited coin supply (if each person buys 1 Zcash, there won’t be that for everyone and the value will go up and up and up…)

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Anyone in the United States can use the SPEDN app for Chipotle, Dunkin, Barnes & Noble Starbucks, Gamestop, and Ulta. Worldwide you can buy Coinsbee gift cards to Amazon, Domino’s, Uber, or almost anything else. Also you can get internet with Calyx Institute, domains at Njalla, merch at the Zechub store, use a dozen VPN services, and support thousands of non-profits such as Signal or Habitat for Humanity.

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Dont forget that Zcash can buy 2Zs which can be used for anon GPT4o burner accounts, cost-plus livestreaming, comments, votes, advertising, generating images, loading content into a global cache, and probably some other stuff … :wink:


I like completing the mission of private internet cash, private bitcoin. That hasn’t been done yet. I remember a certain post, “we built it and no one came.” The truth is that this initial mission hasn’t been completed and fully tried.

  1. Pay down tech debt
  2. Make the core zcash products - nodes and wallets - better
  3. Make The Zcash Codebase™️ great

Focus on making the primary cases of running nodes, working on the software, and transacting ZEC better.

I’m skeptical of programmability in general. But, if the core cases are strong like bull, then some of the more exotic moonshots get closer, not farther. If the core contributors spread themselves thin chasing rainbows that may or may not land for users, then the exotic moonshots become exponentially harder because there is tech debt and developer inconvenience to work through at every turn. All hands on making the core codebase(s) great.

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For the record, I signed up for the SDK months ago and never heard back from them. It looks like it’s been in “early access” for who knows how long.

Maybe @skyl thinks too much as an engineer. IMO, it doesn’t matter (much) what the code base is as long as it fulfills its purpose. Don’t ask how the sausage is made.

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what i understand is.

if its really hard and more expensive to make the sausage and not all sausage makers can easily help to make it. the sausage will not be as good imo.

or if the sausage makers have to constantly fix and repair the sausage making machine instead of being focused on making the sausage receipe better and more tasty.

then it matters how the sausage is made imo.

just my random thoughts.

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Wow!

India is like Venezuela. Here we have some shit called Pago Móvil, and it’s the same of this storie… the same!

We have a lot of work to do telling the people the true about the money. Unfortunately many people don’t know this, and those who do don’t know which options (such as Zcash) to use.

Congratulations @peacemonger !

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I’ve been involved with a ton of software projects over the last 20 years. Maybe you have seen even more over an even longer time frame. In my experience, the most solid projects with extraordinary longevity and utility always spend a significant amount of resources on the health of the codebase, the developer ergonomics, the developer productivity, developer convenience. I have seen a lot of projects over-emphasize mashing out features without doing the needful and many flame out fast as a consequence. I always lean towards “paying down tech debt” as a top priority. If working on the software is a huge PITA then everything will slow down and grind to a halt.

I admire projects like Django and React for their attention to making life easy for newb developers. I’d like to see Zcash move in this direction. How easy is it to get started? How long to spin up a proof-of-concept for a newb?

To continue the sausage metaphor, I’d like to see the tooling around the sausage making improved to the extent that we can serve up millions of high-quality sausages a minute to millions of customers. Right now you have to trek for days through the jungle to engage with the one sausage maker and wait for hours to get your one artisanal sausage handmade in the traditional way. Okay, maybe my take on the metaphor is a bit strained. But, I’d like to see the tooling improved to the extent that instead of a dozen people being able to make sausage, we can show many 1000s of 8th graders how they can make their own high-quality sausage with our awesome sausage-making tooling.

“Paying down tech debt” doesnt have a good connotation. Maybe some of the other phrases can be more palatable to stakeholders: developer productivity, developer ergonomics, developer convenience, codebase health. If the codebase is strong like bull it can thrash more ;9

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Cryptocurrencies are definitely here to stay, people will learn more easily how to deal with cryptocurrencies. our day is coming. Are we prepared for when Zcash takes off?

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:100:. This level of usability is what Zcash has been missing, and IMO, it’s why adoption has lagged behind the awesome technical acheivments we have in the protocol. I hope to see lots of effort and funding directed towards making Zcash fun to build with.

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What is “2Zs”?

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Credits on

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Theyre defined in the ToS

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@andrea do you know when the Android equivalent will land? We’d need to sync about the dependency distribution because the kotlin version of ZIP-321 is not being distributed through maven central

@pacu We don’t know yet. I pushed it to 1.2 releases at the moment, and we need to first finalize 1.1 scope. What you are raising is a valid concern. We will need to schedule some call together and discuss how to implement this on Android when the time comes. My best guesstimate is that we will get to this some time in July.

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2Zs are just entries in a postgres database that are used for micrometering in-app stuff, preventing spam, measuring contribution and consumption …

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