Note about trademark strategy

completely agree with this statement. almost posted something like this yesterday, but got caught up with other things.


Speaking about informal clear statements…here’s one in the early days about simply transfering the trademark to ZF:

giving the reason that owning the TM is the “kind of thing that’s more apporopriate for a non-profit operating in the public interest”


I appreciate that there is a lot of emotion in the responses to this proposal from Zooko to “wait a bit longer” so I won’t be commenting further than this post.

From a semi-outsiders perspective and having been here since before Zcash Alpha 0.1 here is my 2 ZEC on the whole TM matter.

The TM sits at the core of the Zcash ecosystem and it’s existence has helped keep out bad actors who would squat on or impersonate the hard work that the founders, scientists, engineers, and developers have dedicated parts of thier lives to bring to life. TMs are designed to help defend from those that would act in bad faith when using the Zcash name.

So what exactly are we working to defend from bad actors?

We believe that privacy strengthens social ties and social institutions, protects societies against their enemies, and helps societies to be more peaceful and more prosperous. A robust tradition of privacy is a common feature in rich and peaceful societies, and a lack of privacy is often found in struggling and failing societies.

As we move more of our lives into the Internet, and integrate our lives more with the lives of people from around the globe, we want the new society we are building to be one of the peaceful and prosperous kind.Source

This is the reason everyone is passionate about Zcash. The reason behind everyone working hard to bring it to the masses. With this great purpose comes great responsibility.

Several of the Founders got together to donate significant amounts of thier personal wealth because:

However in the long run it would not be appropriate for a single for-profit company to have this much power over the evolution of the Zcash technology. Ultimately, there will need to be an independent, inclusive, non-profit body to steward the technology in the interests of all users. Source

The Foundation is also at the root of Zcashs core philosophy of stewarding a greater good. It was designed that way from the start. This ethos has not changed, the imperative is just as important today as it was years ago.

From my perspective this whole TM issue should not be an issue at all. The TM is designed to protect the Zcash from those that wish to do harm to Zcashs core mission. ECC and ZFND are the protectors of this mission.

Zcash is already 2-2 multisig, it was designed to be that way from the beginning. A paper agreement is just a affirmation of this and should be a non-issue.

If a third party comes along and can demonstrate that they hold these same core values that the ECC and ZFND have worked to protect, then it would be in the best interest of the community and network to add them to aide with the virtues of decentralization.

But until then the ECC and ZFND are the best we’ve got.

  1. Keeping a brand longer in the same hands is protection, from whom, from the foundation?
    There is no obvious reason to do this longer if they are hidden.
  2. The founders do not share their personal wealth, this is a hoax.
    Founders share only a part of zcash coins, the amount multiplied by the cost gives financing, the cost is the purchase price, this statement is negatively received by buyers (for example), the cost is less and financing is also reduced, therefore owning a brand by its actions reduces the likelihood of success in achieving the goal over which the fund and the company work in my opinion is a threat to the community. Less price, less financing, less implementation and an increased likelihood of not achieving the goal. This is an alternative look.
  3. It is absolutely not important in whose hands the trademark is, it is important how the owner protects the product, but as you noticed in the protocol there is a need to manage several participants for fault tolerance, therefore holding in one hands and verbally granting the right to the second party (which can be revoked in any moment) this is just the inverse function, risk mitigation.
    This is the second point of view, and it would not be like yours under the condition of equal management (documented including). The contradiction is not that he promised and did not give, but that he claimed that he would be used for protection and did not give, that is, he protected, and from whom should he be protected now?

All funds the Foundation receives are from the Founders personal allocation.

This has been made possible by donations from some of the founders of the Zcash project. I personally have donated half of all of the coins I was due to get from the Founders’ Reward, and many of my colleagues have donated as generously or even more so! Source

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Your post sounds perfect on first read but after the second read i realized that it’s a bit too idealistic and away from reality.

Sounds good, but just a quick reminder that we are not talking about a open source project founded by some donations. It’s not only about passion but money as well.

This would be true IF there is a garantee that the ECC will work on Zcash next year. From the proposal response we have seen there are not many proposals they are willing to work further on Zcash, means your argument that the ECC is a “protector” might be only valid for 1 more year.

Actually having in mind that there is a possibility that the ECC might not work further on Zcash makes it even more important to transfer rights of the trademark to the ZF.

On the other side we have the ZF which confirmed that no matter they are to continue to work and “protect” Zcash no matter what the dev fund outcome will be, which makes them automaticly a better steward for the trademark.

Upsss, and wait, most important. Until the ZF has any rights on the Zcash trademark and isn’t self founded but depentend on founder donations it’s even not really a protector of Zcash. IF something, whatever, happens with the ECC without the trademark they have 0 affilation to Zcash, easy and simple as that. All the rest could change overnight in a worst case.

Obviously paper agreements which are legal agreements are an issue or the trademark issue would have been settled alllready for months. Everything non legal written are just promises and nice words, which as witnessed, can be broken at any given moment.

You forget an important factor here. With the ECC alone holding the trademark they have a greater say in who and how a possible 3rd entity should be formed. It’s out of my understanding how another absolutly centralized decision than would be in the interest of the community. In my opinion it’s in the very best interest of the community if:

  • promises btw the ZF and ECC and from each to the community are hold.
  • the ZF and ECC and the community decide about a 3rd entity, not ECC alone with the trademark joker.
  • just ask the community about their stance in the trademark issue. The initial post of Zooko got not a single like, do you hear the community Shawn? That’s the first post ever Zooko made that got not a single like. That’s a signal to me that the community does not support Zooko, after even the “mandatory” ECC employee likes are missing.

Why try making a real bad move look better? A bad move is just that, a bad move and this one definatly is one of the worst moves possible in the worst moment possible.

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@boxalex My post is purposely idealistic, pessimism will not move us further to resolving this issue.

I will not be responding to your critique of my post.

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Actually my post isn’t pessimistic, it’s an realistic overview on what happened, what didn’t happen and what could happen reality.

That’s ok. Here (where i live) we say that closing the eyes won’t get us forward either.

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Deeply worried about these things in combination -

  • setting conditions that would trigger a pivot
  • retaining unilateral control of the trademark
  • that a strategy for handling the trademark even exists

2-of-2 trademark control prevents all the ‘bad things’ I can think of from happening, its really important.


Totally agree, that’s just a no-brainer.

The founders are not sharing money but coins.
If after the action the coins will not cost enough to continue the work of the fund, how will the founders help?
The funds received by the founders fund and the company are zcash sales, so the funds are the proceeds from the sale of the goods, the founders simply give a percentage of this product whose trademark you cannot protect from negative influence from the ECC in case this happens.
You wrote how it can and should work, but not how it works now, why it doesn’t work now, because there is no trust.
ECC does not trust the fund to conclude agreements (the answer is that they did not come to an option that suits everyone), the community acts as spectators, although it is the will of the community that the fund should represent, but there is no mechanism for implementation, the company and the fund do not trust the community - again due to the lack of a mechanism for expressing the wishes of the community.
Perhaps something will change, but after all, the conditions under which everything will work as it should should not be voiced, so I conclude that there is protection from anyone with the help of a trademark.
As for pessimism, why did the fund ask for more money when it reached 50? You could continue to work for what is and think that the price remains around 350, but you sold and the amount didn’t work out the same as you would at the price of 350, you looked just pessimistic, you didn’t have to do anything but live a dream :slight_smile:

I don’t know why efforts to protect the trademark against use by spammers and fraudsters are being raised in this thread. They’re important (and the trademark really does help in practice getting scam sites shut down), but they’re a complete red herring with respect to the trademark agreement. Those efforts would continue regardless of any trademark agreement, since the ZF has no incentive or intent to block them.


This is a terrible decision and it matters. Adding the trademark qualifier “we’ll use it to honour the community’s decision in the current governance process” is still problematic. It seems unlikely that any outcome will be “clean” and frankly, narratives can be created to support any decision ECC wants. What is important is not the exact legal terms of the contract but that there was an agreement in principle that any use of the Zcash name would not happen without joint consent of both parties.


Hey folks, thanks for all the sincere replies. I hear you that several people who’ve posted on this thread find it upsetting and think it’s a big deal. We’ve reached out to the Zfnd to talk about this more. One thing I haven’t heard yet is what does the community think is the right way to handle the trademark going forward.

To me it seems obvious that the trademark should be managed by the same process that manages the funds (and if there is no such process or no funds, then that raises an interesting question of what to do with the trademark).

But what seems obvious to one person is often very different from the perspective of others, so I’d like to see more explicit statements of the community’s intent here. Why not put something about management of the trademark into each of the current ZIPs!

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I agree with this.

What’s super alarming is the breach of trust in the meantime, and the company’s apparent intent to reserve its optionality with respect to the trademark. Meta-alarming is that decision being unilaterally announced with zero community input, also totally blindsiding the Zcash Foundation.

I love you, Zooko, but it’s very hard to interpret this as a benevolent move made in the best interest of the Zcash community rather than ECC itself.


Where is the logic behind that? There was an agreement that at all costs should be held.

Why even compare it with the funding process at this time? The funding expires in 2020 and the community is looking and discussing for a solution.

While in the trademark descision it seems only YOU made that choice. IF the real intension, which i personally doubt, is the 3rd entity, so it be. You can later once there is maybe someday a 3rd entity discuss that issue with the foundation to give the 3rd entity legal rights as well or not. But that shouldn’t be a cheap excuse for not holing the promise regarding the multisig trademark use btw ECC and ZF.


Because when you posted this it was 9PM UTC, 31st August 2019. I don’t have time to put this in a zip. I do have zips ready in case something like this happens. and for the record I don’t believe the ECC is acting in bad faith. but zooko, you have to realise what you posted is going to be viewed as:

1 - Controversial to the point it distracts from everything that has already been accepted and assumed in prezips
2 - a possible distraction from something else (think sapling above all… that wasn’t about sapling, that was about counterfeiting.

I personally don’t see the issue, with 1-1 at this time.

However I do see why the zfnd and the community would feel mislead by your post. - especially when the question has been asked (by the foundation on this forum) and responded to by the ECC (on this forum) that whilst yes it is still technically 1-1 in honour it is 2-2

But to me I now see a conflict because you, as in you personally - zooko, stated you will do whatever the community decides. - this effectively leaves us with 1-2 where the only vote that counts is the zfnd. This is not ideal (I don’t know what is. I am just throwing things out and hoping something works)

but I don’t know what you have discussed behind closed doors, I just know that the statement messes up a lot of proposals. and really upset the zfnd. - To be fair I can see @daira and @gtank now just rejecting zips that would not pass 2-2. Which I would agree with, but is that their job? no, not as the zip outline is defined, but they might now be put in that position.

Zooko, would you be willing to write a zip that formalises your personal thoughts and submit it on this subject? (PM it to me and I will submit it without any information linking it to you)

You are asking me to submit a zip based of guesswork. I have none of the information you or the zfnd has. Please provide me with guidance. Please.



Assuming the global intent for the golden Z emblem is to accurately reflect “what Zcash is” then if it ever came into conflict I don’t know why it would not be in the best interest of the ECC to simply relinquish ownership
Same goes for the ZFND, currently they support Zcash but if that were to ever change why would they want to keep this now other emblem to somebody else’s project?

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I’m sure they’ll sort it out, probably face-to-face rather than firing posts at each other. There’s too much at stake for this to blow up, especially now.

Go have dinner somewhere really nice and split the bill :slight_smile:


Totally in favor. :slight_smile:

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