How does ZEC fit into the Zcash Foundation's long-term strategy?

Speaking as a privacy researcher here, it actually needs to be both.

Mass adoption is crucial for privacy. If you only have a few thousand users, that limits your anonymity set. So any unusual behaviour is much easier to tie to individuals.

But if you have millions of users, there is a much wider range of behaviours that can stay anonymous.


I was thinking a lot about the tangential subtopics last night - the licensing debate and the ZSA tokenomics debate. But, I’d like to also make a comment on the bigger question posed in this thread.

I take for granted that the Zcash Foundation, the entire board, and all employees of the ZF are heavily invested in the success of the ZEC token. I imagine that the ZF is doing everything it can to ensure the long-term health of the network, the community, and adoption of the ZEC token. For me, this isn’t about short-term price but long-term viability. I’m concerned with ZEC adoption, interest, cultivating developer talent, creating useful things that more people can use, etc. My time horizon for ZEC is closer to 2-10 years than 2-10 months. When I buy ZEC, I don’t care much if the price goes down 50% in the short-term, but I do care that it is still alive in 5 years and that the network and the community continue to grow and that people - particularly those connected to the ZF and ECC - continue to fight for it (ZEC the token). That is indeed one of the main reasons I buy ZEC - to pay for talented people to work on the long-term viability of ZEC. The positive feedback loop drawn by @zooko is basically what I have in mind.

From my view, as someone who is relatively detached from the day-to-day politics of Zcash governance, I think that people who buy ZEC should be able to expect that the ZF and the ECC are committed to the long-term prospects of the ZEC token. IMHO, anyone who is connected to the ZF should be passionate and optimistic about the long-term success of the ZEC token; anyone who is not should step down.


(Speaking for myself.)

Just to clarify, no patents are at issue here. Only copyright.


We need more collaboration between the core teams working on Zcash

I want to refer back to this statement from @LeCryptoMath back when we were deciding whether or not to fund ZSAs…

Prior to Zcon 3, I would love to see a united roadmap that is constructed by both ECC and ZF. It would be awesome if each entity could co-sign where they want contribute to it and where there is room for Third Party, core quality teams, to step in and fill the gaps.

This thread is sad but I think these discussions are so critical to Zcash moving forward because it feels like we are on life support as far adoption. The strategies/plans we have in place are obviously not working.

Things like Zcash Media stepping in to fill a huge gap while being funded by the community is such a huge step in the right direction. I think we should DOUBLE DOWN on them! Or how QEDIT was able to step in and get a huge grant for ZSAs… To best prepare & inspire new teams we need a Unified Roadmap, no pun intended, which the community can look back on and rest assured there is a team working on critical infrastructure that makes Zcash the central infrastructure of PRIVATE HARD ASSETS in “Web 3” ~ 5 years from now.

I really hope we can put all our differences aside and get this done. It would be beautiful if we could make this Unified Roadmap a focal point of Zcon 3… So much content could be made just explaining what Zcash Core teams are doing now and what we need help with from the broader “Crypto” “Dev” communities & how they can get paid to contribute.

Im typing this response whilst walking so I apologize for any errors or the tone of haste… I love the Zcash community and what we stand for but so many of the concerns brought up, are legitimate. Rather than pointing fingers, we could really use this time to change the trajectory of Zcash to becoming the engine that powers freedom globally.

@joshs @Dodger could you guys sit down together and get a Unified Roadmap with outlined responsibilities/gaps where ZCG should target Third Party funding? I would love if people like @LeCryptoMath or Zcash Media also join those conversations (In my book they are the second tranche of core teams working on Zcash)… I know everyone is busy but I also know each one of you love Zcash and this is important! :slight_smile:


Hey @rekodi. Thank you for these thoughts. There is much in here that I agree with including the desire to see actionable clarity from both the ECC and the Zcash Foundation. Like you, I suspect that if we were clear about our vision and roadmaps for ZEC the token, and Zcash the protocol, it would help others like Zcash Media and QEDIT step forward with their own ideas and initiatives related to opportunities that ECC and the foundation are unable to focus on because of our own limited time and resources. I also really like the new initiative the grants committee started to issue RFPs where it sees unmet needs.

As for a joint roadmap, that gets a little tricky. We likely don’t have the same perspective on some priorities or even the implications, and the community needs its voice heard on these priorities and as well as related potentially contentious issues.

For example, I think both ECC and the Zcash Foundation are interested in a well considered path to pool deprecation. But that opens up all sorts of questions about how to handle ZEC stored in those old pools. Personally, I don’t think that’s something that either org should try to decide in a vacuum. The question of changing consensus to PoS is another - which also opens up all sorts of questions I won’t try to enumerate here.

We at ECC are working on a protocol roadmap, largely focused on interop and PoS research and will be releasing a series of blogs with probably more questions than answers at the outset. These are intended to open the conversation with the community, including the Zcash Foundation. We’ve had great conversations with the foundation about our desire for dialogue with the community about our thoughts and research at Zcon3. I believe we’re well aligned there. It’s going to be an amazingly rich and important conference! I hope you’ll be there.

We also owe the community other ECC roadmaps that may or may not align with the Zcash Foundation’s plans. Our stated “North Star” is to deliver a world class UX for ZEC. That includes a set of activities in support of the user experience focused on ZEC token adoption, for example, UI tooling such as a wallet, commercial adoption and so on. We are working to bring clarity on those activities - some of those things being highly exploratory, iterative and opportunistic. We hope to talk about some of those things at Zcon3 as well - we’ve submitted some topics to the foundation for consideration. We also have a new team in place, including a new head of product marketing that just started with us yesterday! I’m excited for everyone to meet her.

Based on what I’ve seen from the talented team at the Zcash Foundation, I suspect they are doing similar things. The foundation’s communications about their own North Star and roadmap would also help the community in a manner I believe you are suggesting and I suspect would help answer the question Zooko posed in the thread.

[edit: I just saw this new post from @Dodger!]

I, for one, don’t feel like we’re on life support but do believe we can do much better, and even now that we’ve turned a couple significant corners with the protocol. Let’s hold ourselves accountable for that, and as always, we are open to feedback on thoughts on ECC’s plans for and execution in delivering a world class UX for ZEC.


I actually should take back my comment about life support, I believe so many of the things released in the past two months will have exponential impacts to adoption later… For example, I get to point to Zcash Media documentaries every time I tell someone about Zcash!

As far as life support, I guess what I mean is that most of people interested in crypto do not correlate Zcash to storing wealth because all these other cryptos store wealth as well as offer xyz… Our edge is that we know, in the long run xyz is not viable without PRIVACY. The approach we are taking is not even considered because its hard to see this without coordinated visions amongst the core teams. I know we will do it eventually and imo I think it will get adopted when ready BUT if we are able to explain our vision it makes the process so much easier. Forward thinking supporters will accumulate ZEC in anticipation, new ZODLrs will be added, new dev teams will realize working on Zcash is working ahead of the curve…

That being said, what about a community zoom call moderated by an informed community member (I volunteer unless someone else wants too :slight_smile: ) where we talk about the north star for ECC and ZF… If this call goes well, we can make it a recurring thing!

My main thing is unifying the vision, I know ZF and ECC are different entities BUT to the rest of Zcash you guys are the backbone of our investment and vision for Web 3. A unified vision will sync everyone in the community as well as give an opportunity for people outside the community to see what we are really working on… Thanks for the reply @joshs and everything you do!

P.s. I still would love a Unified Roadmap, we can even make it dynamic such that it includes the different opinions of each entity ~ turning the roadmap to more of a Vision Board rather than a hardline roadmap :slight_smile:


“For example, I think both ECC and the Zcash Foundation are interested in a well considered path to pool deprecation”

That is a big topic but feels under respected. How long are “We” the community comfortable with letting Zcash coins stagnate in old technologically inferior pools?

Are there legal questions around a hard date and closure with burning of the old pools? How do the stagnant old pool coins affect supply auditability?


Regarding the licensing topic, could this help: Licenses for Protocols -

So in conclusion, my advice is to treat protocol licensing like network security. You try to guard against known attacks, you don’t trust good intentions. It comes down to CC-BY-SA if you’re not concerned about patents, and GPLv3 if you are.

While I do think this would be best kept to the other thread, this is a very out of touch question that spawns a very lengthy action. The protocol is already licensed without controversy. The discussion is about the ECC’s implementation, which is the sole implementation, which will be relied on for consensus. It should be noted BOSL is copyleft, like both of those licenses, yet with the following issues:

  • BOSL isn’t GPLv3. Therefore, GPLv3 codebases can’t use it.
  • BOSL source is used in Zcashd and Zebrad not by a BOSL relicense of their behalf, which I’d honestly prefer to the status quo as it’d resolve multiple ambiguities and not be duplicitous, yet by a corporate exception which violates FOSS.
  • Zcash is unable to use protocol developments from other parties because it can’t use BOSL code because it isn’t BOSL. It’s MIT using BOSL code via a corporate exception. If I make a 10x better librustzcash + Orchard, it can’t be merged back unless the official librustzcash is relicensed as BOSL, which has been acknowledged as likely crippling to development (as now every single daemon, wallet, exchange, company… who uses librustzcash will have to FOSS their codebase which a closed source exchange focused on security likely wouldn’t appreciate). It’s copyleft with none of the benefits of copyleft except it acknowledges almost no one is willing to work with copyleft code, much less custom licensed copyleft code, and they’re more likely to pay a centralized corporation for a license.

Also, while I believe zooko did say MIT was sublicenseable as BOSL, Daira raised a few more specific issues and zooko’s statement was not comprehensive IMO. Therefore, it still remains a bit unclear if Zcash can even be forked by the community after this (you wouldn’t even be legally able to download it to make edits for Zcash in that case, as your edits immediately make it not as released by the ECC).

While the answer may simply be yes, it’s all fine… then the issue is why the hell are we having these multi-week legal questions. What is up with this?

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If you want a larger community, ZEC needs to be worth more. How big a community do you all think BTC would have if it were worth $100? I’ve always said that the ECC needs to safeguard the technology and make its’ blockchain better than any other. If people want the prvacy and the faster speeds they will use ZEC. If the value increases more people will care about it.

How do you achieve both? By patenting the technology. Why would you all want it to be freely available? No hard fork has ever been worth more than its’ parent coin on a long term basis (save maybe ETC/ETH depending upon how you look at it)… No other dev teams can make it better than the people that made it in the first place. The problem has always been about creating value and the ECC always gives that value away for free.

All companies have to safeguard what makes them unique and the essence of why they exist. If it is given away there is no added value and ZEC will be a science experiment. I used to mine ZEC when I first got into crypto and I am glad that they allowed ASIC’s because that made me switch to mining ETH. I wouldn’t have made anythinig mining ZEC, but made a decent amount with ETH.

Now is that something the ECC and ZF want to hear? I would hope not. Since ZEC is still a PoW coin you both should also seek to increase the value to increase the security of the network. Increased value will not happen without an expectation from investors(ZODLers) that the price will go up over time. That is why the value is the main concern. It is tied to everything else. The only feasible way to do that is to monetize your technology and make people want to use it, have to use it to get access to ZEC’s unique technology.

People that were “only interested in the tech” would have been here a long time ago if that were true and they would still be here ,but they are with BTC because it is more decentralized, worth more and is more secure as a result. If ZEC can’t compete on the decentralization front then it needs to compete using its’ technology. That is all it has right now. More centralized coins than ZEC are worth way more than it is so the centralization is not the issue.

I voted against the ZOMG because I thought the whole venture was becoming fragmented and ZEC didn’t need more organizations disrupting the focus of the project. It needs to be more focused. People have to get something in return if you all expect them to use it so work on attaining that goal. That is my 2 cents.


Here’s a much better title for my same original post. Other than the generalized and hurtful title, which was a major mistake, I think the rest of my original post holds up pretty well 9 days later.


This is a reminder to everyone at ECC and ZF that Zcash holders are bankrolling everything.

This is a reminder to the founding scientists that ditching Zcash after the massive wealth transfers from ZEC holders to their own pockets would be weird.

Y’all wanted forum based governance, y’all wanted a 2-2 trademark multisig, y’all maligned coinvoting as plutocratic, and now you find yourself exhausted by how much draining our community governance has become.

Screw Orchard, NU5, ZSA, and wallet development. Your priority should be to give a voice to people who actually “hold the coin” (aka “bleed the blood”). We are collectively realizing that only people with ZEC acquired at high cost-bases can cut the BS and put heat on every stakeholder to deliver impactful results in a timely manner.


My opinion is there’s no good reason to use CC-BY-SA over MIT, especially in an ecosystem (Rust) that is already organised around MIT/Apache 2.0.

More generally, please let’s not throw other licenses than {MIT, Apache 2.0, BOSL, GPLv3} into the discussion about orchard licensing just because we can. (That also applies to AGPL.) It’s already complicated enough.


Echo littledomino. Zcash coin value never took first priority to the ECC or ZF because there are near zero incentives to spend energy on it (a paradox of the self-funding mechanism). I liked the point made above JKDC that speaks the truth we don’t like to hear. Where would Bitcoin be today if price was still only $100 or even suppose $1,000? Price appreciation of a network’s native asset is first and foremost what drives adoption (not technology and not community). People only stick around, they only build, they add more capital whenever they materially experience relative valuation growth. When valuation isn’t growing people leave, they build elsewhere, and they pull out what capital is left. The self-funding mechanism perverts that market incentive structure by perpetually paying the insiders to stick around and build new widgets regardless of tangible positive results on network valuation


Interesting perspective but NU5’s no widget lol
Or Canopy
Or Sapling
Or Sprout


(Speaking for myself, not ECC.)

I don’t normally comment on coin price issues, but it’s certainly not the case that the dev fund (or earlier, the Founders’ Reward) provides “near zero” incentive to care about the ZEC price. On the contrary, you can see from ECC’s transparency reports that the company holds a significant amount of ZEC that came from the Founders’ Reward and dev fund, and it will receive more from the dev fund in future, so of course we care about the price.

Speaking as an individual ECC engineer, there is really not much I can do personally to affect the ZEC price other than continue to develop and deploy reliable and secure software and specifications.


Anyway, to the actual topic: I don’t know if licenses are the right way to do this but @zooko is absolutely correct that something must change if Zcash doesn’t want to be cannibalized by other projects.

Personally, I resent very much having to even come to this forum to participate to governance. It’s crazy that actual ZEC holders who sustain the inflationary pressure to fund development and make the founding scientists wealthy are treated with such contempt.

@daira thanks for your work, but you do have in fact massive sway over the future of Zcash. You can join the movement to give ZEC holders a greater voice, so that they can be final arbiters of disputes between ECC and ZF as well as check these entities power, executive management, and board members.

@Dodger I want to tell you that having to come and argue on this forum when my money funds the whole thing is humiliating. ZF and ECC work for ZEC holders, and it’s time to recognize that and pledge your swords for them. If you’re trying to turn us - ZEC holders - into sacrificial lambs on the altar of privacy, you are doing the world a great disservice.

@founding scientists: I guess you win either way. You got money and fame, now consulting gigs and attractive term sheets from thirsty VCs. If you still have skin in the game, then you should also fight for coinvoting and giving ZEC holders a seat (!!!). Otherwise, the community should go forward assuming you are previous important contributors but be careful not to give you an outsized voice. As well as manage your expectations (e.g. relative to ZSAs), since you don’t get to dictate roadmaps if you’re neither exclusive with Zcash or bagholders yourselves (accounting for your “low” i.e zero cost bases).

Best regards,
John “taxpayer” Doe

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Picture ZF and ECC shouting insults at each other.

ZEC holders: Isn’t there someone you forgot to ask

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(Speaking for myself and as ZIP Editor, not for ECC.)

I do. That’s a centralisation risk, actually, and I take mitigating that risk seriously.

Specifically, my roles as a protocol designer, security analyst, and ZIP Editor, and the respect I have in the Zcash community, give me arguably more power over the future direction of Zcash than a single person should have. In order to mitigate that, there are certain governance discussions where I deliberately restrict my involvement to commenting on security and technical issues. This was also one factor in stepping down as a forum and Discord moderator.

(Besides which, participating in governance outside my ZIP Editor role is unpaid work that negatively affects my mental health. And I’m on holiday at the moment.)


Based on the transparency reports, and with a generic guess about historical & running funding totals there has never been a risk of downsizing staff, or halting development initiatives (correct?).

Of course I understand that the ECC ~cares~ about price using hand gestures. My assertion is that their care has never extended it to a top priority. Point is taken that individuals on the engineering side really aren’t expected to drive price, awareness, and adoption. In Transparency Reports dating back to early 2020 there has been at least 9% spending (roughly $25,000 to $75,000) per quarter on Growth Outreach and Education, is the conclusion that that money would have been better spent elsewhere?