June 16, 2017 - Dev update

yes, those are a good idea that zcash should adopt, great dashboards for that system.

@paige is that link to XBXCAT not open to the public? I get the 404 page at github for it, which is normal when you don't have permissions to view something.

Any thoughts on how we could make this happen?

Made an account to post this; I think it's a great idea. I'd be happy to help out w/ anyone who's working on this. (Or to just build it myself.)


Oh! I didn't realize the ZBXCAT repo was private. My bad! I wonder why... perhaps just not ready for prime time yet? @arielgabizon?


@JFrankfurt I don't know of anyone working on this. If you would be interested in developing something​ I think it would be a great addition for the community!

Please please create for us - miners an official wallet soon. Thanks the best.

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Hi, I think @jaygraber and I want to keep it private a little longer, as we tweak and clean it up a bit.

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Yeah, it's not complete yet, I haven't had time to work on it in the past few weeks. Will let you know when it's ready to be announced.

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Hi Austin,

I'm largely responsible for the fact that ZcashCo has not initiated a wallet development effort. Why?

There are several reasons:

First and most fundamental, opportunity costs:

We've been busy at work on a few key things: first, a new protocol (codenamed Sapling) which will have incredible benefits, including for porting and adoption. Second, we've been spending our time helping multiple good existing wallets (and exchanges, and other products) integrate Zcash.

Second, specialization:

Those teams are already focused on making good products. Why should we compete with them, further centralizing the Zcash development ecosystem? Especially when our team's strength is cryptographic protocols and not GUIs.

Third is maximizing Zcash's utility for users:

Instead our strategy is to collaborate with complementary projects as much as possible. Projects which integrate with multiple cryptocurrencies are better, IMO, because as a user of cryptocurrencies I'd much rather have one good mobile wallet, one good hardware wallet, etc… for all of the multiple cryptoassets my economic collaborators and I inevitably use.

Last, and most important: decentralization.

I want to reduce the scope of the Zcash Company's influence over Zcash over time and transition more influence to a broader set of stakeholders. Expanding to potentially push out other orgs that bring users to Zcash is the opposite of that.

So those are the reasons we are enabling existing wallet (and other products/services) to integrate Zcash rather than competing with them.

I believe your message strongly mischaracterizes the Zcash company, community, and other stake-holders, and it tangles together many criticisms. I'd like to point out just some of the key pieces I take issue with:

You know, with the current value of the founder's reward, you could expand your team.

We do in fact plan to do so soon!

Just a quick clarification in case you or other readers missed this part of our Continued Funding and Transparency blog post: the Zcash Company receives only a tiny fraction of the Founders' Reward. The Zcash Foundation (more below) receives a larger portion, and is a much better vehicle for decentralizing Zcash development.

At a minimum you could put bounties on things.

The Zcash Foundation is gearing up to do exactly that! Check out this ticket for discussion. Please contribute relevant feedback there!

It sounds like you weren't aware of that, so I hope the Zcash Foundation improves its exposure as it ramps up.

In addition to grants, there are proposals to fund scholarships and put in place a governance structure for Zcash development outside of ZcashCo. If you are interested in helping with that or making suggestions, head over to the Zcash Foundation issue tracker and/or join the Zcash Foundation chat room.

Here are some other responses to the rest of your criticism:

  • We've never asked anyone to build something for free, as far as I am aware. I noticed Zooko mention it's a market opportunity for someone.
  • None of the software we develop for J.P. Morgan is private! It's all open source. It's one of our stipulations that our enterprise work be open source and therefore any innovations can be funnelled back into the public Zcash cryptocurrency (or other platforms). (We also stipulate no IP restrictions which would prevent anyone from using our development efforts, such as patents.)
  • I completely reject the notion that we're not engaged as equals with a broader community. Check out Foundation awards, company hosted presentations by community devs, open mining competition, contribution to Bitcoin and Ethereum, among many other interactions.
  • Our funding model is completely transparent and I posit much better for the world than ICOs (at least by comparison to the current status quo). The amount we raised is 1 or 2 orders-of-magnitude less, and the product we've created is orders of magnitude less vapor-ware.

If you are persuaded, at least partially, that we are among the best projects to contribute to, I recommend you make suggestions like "use FR to fund better secure UX for wallets" to the Foundation. (BTW, secure UX is one of my high priorities, and I believe the best way to achieve that is working with multiple wallet vendors, rather than making a single wallet. This way the results will apply across the ecosystem for all users.)

If you are unpersuaded, I advocate finding a project that fits your ideals better and contributing to it positively rather than spending time complaining about a project you don't agree with. There are already multiple Zcash clones that change the funding model. I am obviously biased as a FR recipient, but I believe our funding model is mostly beneficial for the community at large rather than a cost. Or put another way, I believe Zcash will be more effective at enabling financial autonomy for more people than clones that remove the Founders' Reward.

Let me know how all of this lands,


Hear, hear to all that!

Also regarding decentralization in general, as @zooko pointed out today on twitter, my port of zcash to windows has just now topped the number of full nodes running the "official" version of zcash on linux on https://network.zcha.in

So.....yeah, you do not see things like that with most coins (and we also were tweeting about how I can get a revenue stream from that and integrate donations to non-profits at the same time!)

and removing the FR has indeed not been great for zcash clones! but as I accidentally fell into being benevolent dictator of one of them, HUSH, that funding gap has led to me to begin porting CounterParty to it (I expect a backport to zcash proper at some point) to use a crowdsale of tokens to fund ongoing development of it.

So the FR is indeed a brillant move and I would not be surprised to see the model used more in the future.

:100: :100: so much this:

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Good point about decentralization of dev and userbases, @anon47418038.

I do think that the Zcash Founders' Reward is a double-edged sword: I think it aligns incentives for the recipients the right way, and with the limited release rate, that keeps those recipients engaged longer term than many other projects.

On the other hand, I do wonder if it does centralize development, the community, or the overall network. I'm constantly pondering ways to address that. At the same time, it's also not clear to me if this is a real problem or how bad it is. I'm definitely keeping my eye on this topic and welcome informative (non-troll) criticism.

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(I apologize for the late reply, I haven’t visited the forum in a while).

Thank you for the thoughtful response! There are many things here that I like, especially the plans to expand your team, start a bounty program, and the development of scholarship programs. I have a lot of respect for that.

Also, it would be hard to understate how great it is for me to learn that your work for JP Morgan is open source and IP-restriction-free. Thinking otherwise was really bothering me to the point where my respect for @zooko was taken down a notch. (I was like “just when you think you know a guy!”)

It sounds like you weren’t aware of that […]

That’s correct. All I saw was: @zooko responds to userbase call for an “official” GUI with the sentiment “we are too busy working for JP Morgan to help you. Sorry. Let other people do it.” I was like “whelp, it didn’t take them long to sell out their morals did it?”

From your response (and even more so, from how offended you were by the accusation) I can see that both (a) your leadership’s morals seem to remain intact and (b) that that matters to you. So I think we’re still on the same side. :slight_smile:

With that out of the way, here are some criticisms / counterpoints / less agreeable responses:

W.r.t. not making an “official” GUI wallet you said:

Instead our strategy is to collaborate with complementary projects as much as possible.

While I absolutely think that collaborating on wallets is important and praiseworthy, I do not think it should be done in lieu of an official GUI. Indeed, in the very tweet tweet storm that set me off, @zooko pointed out that for a large part of the userbase anything shy of an “official” GUI wallet wouldn’t be suffice.

As a fan of human-centered design, it blows my mind that @zooko heard a reasonable and (to those users) critical request from people representing a potentially massive new user base, and your team says “nah”. The folks at Stanford’s d.school would drop dead where they stand if they heard that.

Hire a UX designer to help if you need to. Those users will trust it if (a) your team wrote the code and (b) you give it the “official” stamp. IMO you are grossly underestimating the value of a an “official” GUI wallet.

We’ve never asked anyone to build something for free, as far as I am aware. I noticed Zooko mention it’s a market opportunity for someone.

Sure. However, it is well known that wallet developers haven’t found a good funding model yet. As it stands, wallet development is essentially done for free (or in some cases through donations, and in an few rare cases through angel investment money).

While you haven’t asked people to make wallets “for free”, that is currently the only way people know how to make them.

Our funding model […]

Let’s just agree to disagree on this one. I think it is a quite clever mechanism that is a positive incentive hack for those receiving the rewards, but it comes at huge cost for a laundry list of other things. But that ship has sailed, and it’s not coming back to shore.

There are two things about Zcash that give me confidence in its success: the technology and the team. You can clone the technology, but you can’t clone the team. A clone of Zcash without the Founder’s Reward won’t be less successful because it doesn’t have the Founder’s Reward. It will be less successful because it doesn’t have your team.

I’ll swallow the “Founder’s Reward Pill” because there doesn’t exist another team on the planet that would inspire similar confidence.

If you are persuaded […] If you are unpersuaded […]

Fair enough. I was stabbing because I was angry and disappointed, and I was angry and disappointed because I (incorrectly) believed that your leadership was having a crisis of character. I apologize for the mischaracterization.

[…] I advocate finding [another] project […]

Not a chance.

This technology, this “blockchain movement”, this particular project (Zcash), and this team, are far too important for me to not speak up when I think it’s heading in the wrong direction.

I’ll make an honest effort to frame my criticisms more constructively when I have them (to my credit: I usually do), but I won’t “find another project” in order to spare anyone from my criticisms.

Let me know how all of this lands

Very well. I appreciate the thoughtful and thorough response! Thank you.



Quit trying to spend other people's money.

I'm not. I'm offering them advice on how to better spend their own money.

Let's recap. @zooko said:

There are no "official" user-friendly apps for mainstream platforms like iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac. This thing about the app being "official" is really important to certain people. Multiple people from mainland China, for example, that I've talked to, have said something to the effect of "Well obviously I would never run a non-official Zcash app.". I'm not sure how to respond to that.

To which my response is: "You respond to that by giving them an official Zcash app."

We're talking about people from mainland China.

An enormous potential user base who report that they would "obviously never run a non-official Zcash app".

What I see here is a leadership that is (understandably but unfortunately) so distracted with other things that they don't hear opportunity pounding on their front door.


fyi we found out the other day that the zcash proving keys official download URL is blocked in mainland china, but that my mirror of them on AWS CloudFront wasn't...and the user that found the issue downloaded from my mirror (while they could, its always touch and go!) and uploaded them to a local chinese mirror.

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Thanks for the follow up! I'm glad you're still engaged with us, even if we disagree on some things. It sounds like the main points of strategy disagreement are FR structure and official wallet.

I agree with you FR structure ship has sailed, but I think it's still important to discuss so that other future projects might benefit from any understandings we come across. I'm curious to know what other funding / incentives designs you consider better. (Even "plain ol' FLOSS volunteer dev" is an option.)

As for an official wallet, I do find it persuasive that some users request this.

Let's recap. @zooko said:

There are no "official" user-friendly apps for mainstream platforms like iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac. This thing about the app being "official" is really important to certain people. Multiple people from mainland China, for example, that I've talked to, have said something to the effect of "Well obviously I would never run a non-official Zcash app.". I'm not sure how to respond to that.

To which my response is: "You respond to that by giving them an official Zcash app."

We're talking about people from mainland China.

An enormous potential user base who report that they would "obviously never run a non-official Zcash app".

My current thinking here is that if we hired some Silicon Valley GUI engineers and ramped up an official Zcash GUI project, we'd have some amount of success in Chinese adoption. (This presumes that the one Chinese source Zooko heard from was correct about the Chinese market, btw.)

OTOH, if we want to target the Chinese market effectively, we should ramp up a Chinese-expert team.

I hear that Chinese "super apps" like Wechat are pervasive and broadly encompassing and that the built-in payment systems there which are easy to integrate with banking accounts are widely used. A Chinese person told me a few days ago that street vendors selling food from carts on the street routinely accept payments with these apps.

I'm inspired by Signal, which convinced Whatsapp to integrate their encryption directly. Whatsapp isn't "an official Signal app", but that one move brought strong privacy tech to a vast swath of users. In my opinion, that kind of strategy is the bigger, longer term success. For example, if we could get a Wechat plugin that has the same UX as existing payment plugins and is culturally tailored for Chinese street vendors, that would be lightyears ahead of the typical "mobile cryptocurrency wallet".

Now it may be that this big picture / long term strategy is too far out for ZcashCo to nail, and an official wallet app would be a much better lower hanging fruit for the next couple of years time frame. Definitely something we need to consider.

I still feel like we're not wallet specialists, and we'd be competing with many existing good wallets. I almost believe the best way to have an "official" Zcash wallet is to convince one of the existing wallets to add Zcash support and ZcashCo officially blesses it. Doing that, though, would require a high degree of trust. We'd want to have really thorough security auditing, for example.

So, for the time being, our strategy is to put a lot of our effort supporting existing wallets, mobile and hardware, and most importantly work on getting the zkSNARK tech ported into them.

Edit: PS: Having good high quality criticism above the standard trolly noise floor of eg twitter & reddit is so valuable! Keep it up. We need more high quality criticism.


FYI, according to the network map, there's a bunch of Zcash nodes located in China, and looking at the top Zcash markets, more than 60% of the trading volume in Zcash is versus CNY.

I love the WeChat plugin idea. That sort of approach works well because it allows us to focus on our priorities - developing the protocol, improving performance, and adding more functionality to the Zcash platform. The current version of Zcash barely scratches the surface of what the technology is capable of.


About funding models for wallets. Jaxx makes money from shapeshift transactions done on their wallet https://www.reddit.com/r/jaxx/comments/6e0ang/how_does_jaxx_make_money/
I think that's a good one.

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(non programmer here)
would it be possible to build a bitcoin wallet that uses zcash as a mixing service?
LURKERS - if possible, I'll pay somebody to build it.

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Question is if there's a way to do it so that it would be better than mixing that doesn't use Zcash. Cause if ultimately the user gets his bitcoin from on of the mixer's bitcoin addresses, I don't see what he gained from going through Zcash.

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