POLL: What technical feature should Zcash work on next?

There are tons of improvements that can be made to Zcash, but there are limited resources to implement them. We have to prioritize which features are most important, so I have made a ranked choice poll listing every technical improvement that I could think of under some broad categories. Comment if I forgot something. I am assuming the critical wallet syncing issues will be at least somewhat relieved in the near future and the ECC exits emergency mode.

Link to poll (I recommend using the “ranked pairs” algorithm when viewing the results)


Just make the poll here.

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You can’t rank choices on the forum.

Keep it simple. I don’t need to rank a thousand choices like David Bowie in the Labyrinth.

Plus your entire problem statement of this thread is that there are too many choices :tm:

Interesting results. I broadly agree with the ranking, but there are a couple exceptions. I would place ZSAs and interop at least 3rd and 4th, because I believe a shielded stablecoin on Zcash is the best bet at achieving exponential adoption, and I believe bridging a decentralized stablecoin from another chain is our only realistic way of getting a stablecoin. If Zcash could provide people in developing countries with weak currencies a private dollar, we could gain millions of users in a few years. People in countries like Nigeria need both a stable currency, and privacy from their government who are cracking down on alternative currencies.

I would move hardware wallets and dev tooling a couple places down. Hardware wallets are not as important for me, because I think storing smaller amounts in software wallets is okay, and I’d rather have many users with small amounts, than a few users with large amounts. I also am not sure how many devs would be eager to work on Zcash right now even with good tooling. I think interop and ZSAs would create much more interest from devs, and thus it makes sense in my mind to focus on dev tooling after ZSAs and interop.


I think survival bias has a large impact on this kind of polling.


I also wonder if the metric would be different if each of these items were sized. For example if you told everyone there are models of general programmability that could be deployed within 2years maybe that would influence their decision?

For example if someone’s primary interest was to achieve yield producing assets on Zcash then I believe general programmability would get us there before POS. Maybe someone should try scoping out a of these items so we can have a meaningful discussion of the topics :thinking:.

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I think it’s important to parse whether a decision about “what to focus on” is for R&D or not. R&D is typically a fraction of what a company would be spending on. The main thing would be more short-term improvements in customer experience, etc.

Right now, asking questions like this has many hidden considerations. For instance, we are likely asking people who’ve stuck around by putting up with a UX that has made Zcash a niche thing. This audience is much smaller than the people not using Zcash right now, either because they’ve left or they’ve never heard of it. So while it’s fine to poll die-hards who are familiar with what may very well be good improvements in the long run, it should be taken as what it is. Not necessarily a mandate or reference point for the Zcash project as a whole. Instead, we could make an effort to ask people who tried Zcash but left, why did you leave? What would have made you stay? This will probably yield very informative results that could be used to counterbalance the opinion of “the survivors”.

This is why I think asking the right questions to the right audience is just as important, if not more important, than the answer to any one question (and why I think control over the administration of polling mechanisms is very important, perhaps surprisingly so).

I often look back on this poll when I see polls like this current one come up. The poll was taken ~9 months before the spam attack started. At this time, while there was a lurking vulnerability that ECC engineers called out, apparently to no avail, focusing on Zcash performance and scalability garnered the least amount of votes in the Helios poll - when it was in fact the very thing Zcash needed to work on. This is an example of the Overton window of “what’s ok to prioritize in Zcash” excluded calls from people knowledgeable about what is needed to ensure Zcash’s basic usability. For the record the ECC-led coin holder poll held around the same time similarly didn’t vote scalability as the top priority. (BTW I’m counting scalability as a catch-all term meaning efforts towards making it so that more people can easily use the existing Zcash functionality).

I hope what I said above is not taken negatively by the pollster. I think the options in the current poll are good and diverse options. But I also think we have to make sure to include a diverse source of inputs beyond the survivors (e.g., people who’ve stopped using Zcash) and be realistic that without immediate improvements in basic functionality, it may not be possible to do the longer and loftier projects.