Is it possible to determine when a coin was minted?

Similar to how fiat has dates on it, and where it was made, is it possible to see details about a specific cluster of zec? For example if i buy 1 zec can i see when the different parts of it were mined, by which pool etc?

Anyone can examine any payment to any T Address and see all details of that payment and its public history back through time. However, when funds are transferred from a Z Address to a T Address no one except the sender knows which Z Address sent those funds.

A consensus rule requires that all mining rewards and Founders’ rewards must be transferred to a Z address. Therefore, if you trace the history of any payment to any T Address you cannot directly link it back to where it was originally mined.

Although you cannot directly link funds back to where they were mined, it is possible to guess which funds transferred to a T Address came from mining rewards in many cases. This is because miners or mining pools often send mining rewards into a Z Address (as required) then immediately send them out to T Addresses. By looking at the global amounts sent out of mining rewards versus the amounts “emerging” from Z Addresses over time, you can see cases where X ZEC was sent out of mining rewards, then X ZEC minus fees are sent from unknown Z Addresses to T Addresses shortly thereafter.

This is an important reminder that if you want strong privacy, you should send and receive ZEC with a Z Address.

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Ha… I didnt know a z-address is required for mining a block, then is even more of a surprise why all of the pools I have found only use t-address to pay off! Why is that! I always thought because of some hassle with z-addresses!

It’s due to memory consumption and cpu stress to send out payments using z-address. Sending a shielded transaction right now requires time and effort. Sending all mining payout at a z-addresses would slow down the process and take more of their time (it’s more probable that a shielded transaction fails…).

With sapling upgrade (expected for Q3) this process will be complty different and use much less resources and take much less time, here is a simple infographic:

(https://z.cash/blog/cultivating-sapling-faster-zksnarks.html)

Thanks, I am aware of this, but I was thinking since pool operators need to mine to z-address they might as well do payouts with z-address. However, they will be burning indeed substantial resources from their own pool server hardware, I guess that’s the answer.
Along the same line, it should be fine for them after the upcoming update!?