Future of Zcash mining (circa 2019 and 2020)


Not neccessarily. I’m an ASIC miner and I support a gradual change to mining so that everybody wins. Using a multi-algorithm PoW approach, Zcash could slowly phase out ASICs beginning next October by alternating algorithms between blocks. The simplest implementation of this would be alternating between Equihash and ProgPoW every other block (i.e. Equihash–>ProgPoW–>Equihash–>ProgPoW), but Zcash could formulate a predetermined schedule that gradually shifts from mostly Equihash to mostly ProgPoW over time.


Two points:

  1. That is a simplification of the governance results (which were not be-all-end-all decisions anyway). Some of our most recent grants explore ASIC resistance as a possibility that is at least worth researching.

  2. One of the strengths of the Company and Foundation being separate entities is that we can pursue different initiatives as the respective strategic decision-makers see fit.


We shouldn’t be upset each other (GPU or ASIC miners, PoS early adopters, etc… By the way I am the three). When you look at the way BCH becomes, it is pathetic…

Keep on the main goals: PRIVACY and FINANCIAL FREEDOM.

@zooko The way just need to be smooth and transparent to make well-advised decisions.


I’ve always liked the idea of making mining accessible to mobile phones (not everyone has a GPU, but billions of people own smartphones), and I wonder if it would be technically feasible to design a PoW algorithm similar in scope to ProgPoW, but designed to favour smartphones instead of GPUs. I’m fully aware that this may not be possible, but I wonder if there’s anyone who’s heard of any PoW algorithms designed for mobile, or any research projects exploring this idea? Maybe I’m out to left field on this one, but mobile PoW to me would be the holy grail of mining (true decentralization/mass participation).

I’ll be researching this idea further, but in the mean time I would appreciate any resources or thoughtful suggestions on the topic. The obvious obstacles to this are that smartphones are inherently much less powerful than GPUs or ASICs, but could an algorithm leverage some aspect of a smartphone that would be uneconomical for GPUs/ASICs to copy? Perhaps direct user input would be part of this, which wouldn’t scale well for large ASIC farms. Maybe in order to mine, a mobile user would need to be playing a mobile game which can try to determine whether or not a miner is a real person. Think Turing Test meets PoW, giving some form of PoLU (Proof of Live User).

Of course this idea is highly theoretical and there are no guarantees that it’s even possible, but considering the potential for truly decentralized mining it seems like the idea is worthy of further exploration.


Electroneum tried something like that, but people started installing Android roms to PC and cloning apps, so you could mine for like 100 phones on 1 PC.


Actually Electroneum has/had just simulated mining, not real mining, on the smart phones. It was done to attract and make people curious and reward them with airdrop ETN in exchange. But as said, there was no real mining process involved.


Real mining (using CPU and GPU power of the phone) will probably never happen, as it would drain your phone battery so fast, it would have to stay on charger all the time. It would look something like this:


Actually it happens allready. Monero for example can be mined with smart phones. The PoA coins/project that work on mining with ioT devices are the best bet in my opinion as these are very similar (iot devices/smart phones).

There is allready minergate available for smart phone mining. Another miner is Druidminer if i remember correctly. So technically it’s no big deal at all, in my opinion at least. Only thing i wonder is why not more projects go into this field which should be clearly the future together with ioT devices and POS/PoS likes…

Interesting video about ioT devices mining:

Minergate smartphone mining

Merge Mining on myriad with smart phones:

Did read through this but lists several cell phone miners:

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At @zooko’s request, I’m sharing my experience GPU mining Zcash and some thoughts. Hopefully, it will be another useful anecdote in this debate.

In 2016, I was hired by a cryptocurrency trading firm to build a Zcash GPU mining operation. Before the build we created financial models for the operation under a broad number of scenarios. One key assumption shared by all of our scenarios is that the Zcash company/foundation had committed to keep GPU mining competitive, and thus we assumed the GPU hardware would last approximately 2 years until future GPU generations made it obsolete. Most of our scenarios had break-even for the operation around the one-year mark.

Our buildout started in late spring-early Summer 2017 and was completed after a few weeks. Our mining operation was not incredibly large but did have thousands of GPUs. Because of the rapid increase in prices from Summer 2017 through the end of the year, the mining operation made money considerably faster than expected. Excluding labor at the trading firm (including my own) on the project, we probably reached “payback” on the investment in the equipment around January. After January, the decline in prices and the continued growth in difficulty rapidly degraded profitability. We considered expanding the operation in Winter and Spring 2018, but decided against it, for reasons including: a.) we weren’t convinced that there was a real commitment to ASIC resistance by the Zcash company/foundation, b.) we were concerned about the bear market in prices, and c.) we were concerned about the ever-increasing difficulty. By June 2018, the operation was no longer profitable, about a year after launching.

With that experience in mind, I would like to offer some thoughts on the future of Zcash mining.

A key assumption we made when deciding to invest in mining was that the Zcash company/foundation had committed to keep GPU mining competitive. I think this was a reasonable assumption to make given the actions and statements of commitment by Zooko/the Zcash developers. For example, in addition to discussing their commitment to ASIC resistance, the Zcash company chose the Equihash proof-of-work, and discussed ways to maintain ASIC resistance, including changing the Equihash parameters, switching to other forms of proof-of-work, etc. For better or worse, by failing to act in the face of the development of ASICs, the Zcash company failed to live up to its commitment to ASIC resistance.

At this point, I believe that the Zcash company/Foundation have effectively accepted ASIC miners. At ZCon0, I attended the mining breakout session led by Zooko. My takeaway from that session is that the Zcash company, either by lack of resources, it’s development cycle, lack of concern, etc., will not be making any POW changes well into 2019. I believe that many miners have invested in ASIC miners due to the inaction by the ZCash company. For that reason, I would recommend that the Zcash company, whatever it decides to do going forward, should commit to making no changes until the current generation of ASICs have come close to the expected end-of-life. If the Zcash company is comfortable with the state of things such that it doesn’t feel the need to make emergency changes to the protocol, then I think it should avoid upsetting the expections of the latest generation of ASIC miners.

One further thought: Part of the reason I think that the Zcash company failed to aggressively counteract the rise of ASICs is that the loss of decentralization that was expected turned out to be less problematic than thought around Zcash’s launch. Accordingly, the Zcash company focused on its strengths and worked to get Sapling done. I would recommend that Zcash maintain that focus. At ZCon0, Zooko discussed Zcash adopting proof-of-stake or possible other exotic consensus mechanisms. Zcash should stick to core competencies and avoid working on POS, etc., unless the security of the network is threatened, or adoption by other cryptocurrencies has ironed out all the issues.


At ZCon0, I attended the mining breakout session led by Zooko.

Oh, hey ZCon0 friend! :nerd_face:

My takeaway from that session is that the Zcash company, either by lack of resources, it’s development cycle, lack of concern, etc., will not be making any POW changes well into 2019.

My personal takeaway from that session was that Zcash Company couldn’t rush a Hard Fork as some community members wanted and, by the time they would be comfortable with something, it might be already too late to do something about it.

I think the “Harmony” proposed is basically Zcash Company trying to please Greeks and Trojans: they (a) don’t want to screw up users who bought ASICs and (b) users that believed in a supposedly ASIC resistance.

Accordingly, the Zcash company focused on its strengths and worked to get Sapling done. I would recommend that Zcash maintain that focus.

Firmly agree here.
They should be (and I think they are committed to!) pursue more press urgent features that would lead to either more privacy (Z-Addresses ready for it) and usability (SPV, Bolt, Scalability, etc…). After all, if we are pushing people to ditch their dollars for a new currency with enormous inflation, we have to give them good reason to do it.


Another +1 to this point. Personally, I’m still super skeptical about PoS and I want to see it battle-tested successfully by Ethereum before broader adoption is seriously considered.

That said, I wouldn’t object to the Foundation funding research into PoS, along the lines of the PoW research we funded recently.

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i have been mining zcash with hundred gpus for more than a year.

i do not understand why developers created project as asic resistant, involved a lot of people (like me) and then used all we created as a present to Chinese asic producers?

The way zooko protects asics, obviously show that this whole project was designed this way from the beginning.

Why zcash devs can not admit that they 100% betrayed every single community member, who believed your statements from 2016 and 2017?

asic mining is rigged from the beginning, it is obvious, but this not the case in this topic…

On the other hand, if devs are OK to give away coin to Chinese, the question occurs - why do we need dev team anyway?

noone wants to take responsibility for decisions.

Zooko wants to take a year maybe for investigation… well buddy, in 2016 the problematic of asics in network was clear for you, huh?

This whole project is a hypocrisy fest since may '18.

And now ther’s talk of reward extension.

Have you earned it? In my opinion NO, i think you, dev’s, not only shoud receive no rewards but need to invest your own money.
it is obvious that your sudden love with asics became a problem for lots of members.
And you give 0 response. Absolute 0 options!!! Your position - maybe in a year we’ll do something, but we have to study more, we will let community know at least 12month in advance… WHAT!!!

Imo - you, dev team, are absolute ZERO. If we judge by action.

You care about sapling, but do not care if you lose people because of ZOOKO subjective decision.

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Several thoughts on the comments on both quoted views:

about avoiding POS unless the network is threatend & ironed out all the issues:
this doesn’t make sense at all. for several reasons in my opinion:

a.) we know by now that upgrades/updates are planned 12 months ahead, means IF we would see some network threat right now and today it would take at least about 10 months to work on it. Seriously, if a threat occurs there are only 2 reliable options: Either you are prepared allready or you fix it immediatly. As the later isn’t possible there is only being prepared left as a reliable option how to deal with network threats.

b.) mining pools. Right now at the moment we have 3 mining pools having over 50% and 4 mining pools allready over 75% of the network hashrate. All 4 are chinese mining pools. I call this absolutly critical and a network threat. Not even talking about the obvious huge centralization effect.

c.) ironing out issues: Take a look at the Top 50 coins right now. There is only a handful POW coins left there with all the rest using different POS designs. The only pure POW altcoins without working on POS are by now: ZEC, XMR, BCH, BSV, LTC, ETC, DOGE, BTG, BCN, DGB, XVG, BCD, AE?. Makes 13 out of 50 coins stick for now with pure POW. Just 1/4 in other words. I would assume that the other coins allready on POS like designs allready ironed out most issues or they wouldn’t be where they are … in the top 50… And how to iron out something you don’t even research or use anyway? Makes no sense at all.

d.) Now of course if nearly absolutle chinese mining centralization isn’t an issue and threat, ok, so it be. Just have in mind that with every day more miners outside china and some other higher electricity cost regions are forced out and mining/rewards are shifted toward low electricity regions, mostly china based. In my opinion with raising difficulty and/or lower ZEC prices the more the network becomes dependent towards low electricity regions.

about: battle-tested successfully by Ethereum before broader adoption is seriously considered.

what does this help ZEC? ETH is totally different from ZEC, not? Why not researching a very own better or unique approach of a POS like design? Why not watching Dash which is even a direct competitor with their hybrid POS/POW design? Why ETH and not Tezos, PIVx or NEM for example which obviously use pure POS like designs successfully allready? Seriously, i fail to see a single reason why exactly ETH is important to us.

about: That said, I wouldn’t object to the Foundation funding research into PoS

Why even not researching? This one is hard to understand. Why we/ZEC pretend to be innovative and ahead we even don’t research anything with POS. Even no research what impact it would have? What cons and pros might arise? Seriously, so far i have seen several funding for absolutle useless researches that i can only wonder why POS isn’t researched at very least. IF the research comes to the conclusion that it’s not something for ZEC or would have a negative impact, so it be, but even not researching it … ???

This compared to the harmony blossom upgrade in Oct 2019, which will be mostly (i’am absolutly confident about this) most useless upgrade in whole ZEC history due POW by than absolutly geographically centralized and all the released free GPU hashpower from ETH which all other POW coins can’t take anyway. I could bet this wasn’t researched and analyzed as well. In case i’am wrong i would appreciate the link to the research report, but i doubt something like this excists.

This said, i can only wonder how a whole team will work on something without research putting a lot of resources in it but missing funding researches for possible future events. Someone should think that after the asic debacle/disaster the foundation and devs have learned a bit and give proper preperation and research more attention, but obviously nobody seems to see any need of researching upfront the direction we are heading.

Best example Asics which was obvious they are coming, caught unprepared & unresearched. Now blossom harmony, again unprepared and unreasearch and a possible fix for the upcoming POW mess be it a POS design or hybrid design, again unresearched.

Just while writting the last sentence i got an the ETH constantinople announcement taking place on 14th-18th January lowering mining rewards from 3 to 2. The devs should closely whatch what hashpower shifting will take place so they get an idea what’s coming when ETH switches fully to POS (mostly end of the year)…

Edit and added something that fits: You’re either ahead of the curve or you’re behind the curve …

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@sonya @zooko

Just some more thoughts and questions …

  • is it possible that with blossom harmony upgrade the asic algo mining is considered not reliable and/or secure enough for future? IF not, what’s the intention than?

  • with the blossom and harmony upgrade the new gpu algo and the miners seem to have their mining rewards time locked for 50 weeks, the asic algo not. While i can see the logic and intention for this i think it’s pretty unfair, unreal, unpractical and whatever not un-.

  • Having in mind this time lock “feature” for the gpu miners and the implentation for it is there somewhere an analogy where it has been “iron proofed” allready? From several statements i get so far i came to the conclusion that things must be iron proofed and battle tested, any references to a POW mining timelocked reward design would be appreciated.

  • IF loyality of miners is a priority, at least the locked mining reward for gpu’s let me believe it is, why not a POS design which would bring up mostly less security and other headaches like the timelocked rewards. I mean with POS loyality is by design ensured, not?

  • How will the gpu miners be protected that they get their funds within the 50 weeks after they mined? Who or how is protecting them from bad actor mining pools for example?

  • What about transaction fees? 50 payouts for a mining reward with 50x transaction fee or how is designed?

  • Just out of curiousity, did someone from the ones coming up with the bright idea of timelocked mining rewards over 50!!! weeks with the question how the miners pay their electricity and other mining related things? I can resist to add here that i have the feeling that none of the devs/foundation members ever mined a single ZEC. Damn, forgot, why should they, the dev reward % is generated by others… (irony off!)

  • considering that mining rewards are time locked i could bet there are some possible legal issues. While i’am not a lawyer i could imagine that there are several legal problems.
    First that comes into my mind the right to without an allready obtained and worked for reward/payment. No matter if i as a miner agreed to that it smells like some kind of debt to me as Zcash owes me the rewards.
    Second one that comes into my mind is that i could potentially change the form ZEC is seen. From a pure payment coin it gets with such timelocking into the sphere of banking/lending/hypthek/depositing, not?
    There are more but i will write them in the other topic directly related to the timelocked gpu mining rewards.

  • and something general about ZEC mining. Are daily 5-10% blocks obtained at a zero excess cost in difficulty a problem right now because that’s what i see from some graphs… Just out of curiousity if this is considered a mining problem right now or just working as intended…

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Oh man, I can’t believe I didn’t see this before, when you originally posted it. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and recommendations!

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zooko cares for future, sapling, blossom… there is no future. Look up zec price chart, at the cryptoexchanges, since may 2018.

zcash as an investment looks sad. and it is 100% asics fault. they created network where everyone aggressively fighting for fixed profit right now, and some participants have huge advantage (producers of hardware). difficulty race, pushes miners chasing it.
gpu network on the other hand is proven to be the most fair play. it attracts enthusiasts all over the world. small miners, who do not care so much about anything than joy from process. they do not panic sell, they do not fix profits every week. in other words they do not drive value down, instead they create reliable ecosystem.
that is why so many projects went, and keep going anti-asic, specifically gpu, cause it is driven by enthusiasm, not roi. because gpu producers do not have intentions to make the most out of crypto by manipulating hardware prices according to btc rate, secretly mining, playing funny games with difficulty, pools, etc, etc, etc…

you guys at a fancy Zkon0 can decide, accept anything you want, there is a huge chance still that you all together lost a point, completely.

year 2019, zcash forums and we’re going backwards! year 2016 completely forgotten…
is this for real? i still hope this whole love trip with bitmain is just a joke… madness.

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Cant say this because ASIC bag holders will come out and say

“It was never a promise/contract/obligation”.

And its true. But I too also got the impression they were for GPU miners and against ASICs, that this was a goal and objective of the coin. Not just a side effect of choosing a new algo.

Maybe they need to come out and explain their positon again, and be very clear where they stand now, and what they think is best for the future network.

Trying to appease the ASIC and GPU crowd by going dual PoW while at the same time punishing GPUs shows they are discriminating against GPUs now for some reason, a 180 from over a year ago.


One year later than you should do it… zoom… find my banned post from You since May or June 2k18 I told about that the ASIC is a baddddd!!! :wink:


A pdf concerning an alternative Pow (nu4 maybe)

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Idea, a proof of research chain like gridcoin (because of the aforementioned reasons) where people earn Zcash (simply) using boinc
No transactions besides the mining payout and sending from researchers address (ZR maybe) to the original chain (ZS) occur, no coins can be sent back from the main chain to the research chain (this prevents pools but no real need for pools anyways with this setup)
Instead of time locking the mining reward it should time lock the ability to send to the original chain giving the researcher the option to stake or do nothing and wait
Outgoing offchain sends and staking would be problematic, if it were possible to create a function to prevent the effective amount of coins Staked to half that exist at that block then no more than 50% could ever be staked (say 1 million coins total, 750,000 Stake, everybody’s effective stake diminishes by 33% of their total Stakes if thats possible or even necessary?)
Since ZR2 ZR transactions are prevented stakes can never be combined (perhaps the blocks intervals are incredibly long and outgoing (ZR2 ZS) transactions and their confirmations would take a long time further incentivising the time locking and staking)
Deciding on which projects could be worked on for reward and how the reward is split from the main protocol is a separate issue of governance