Proposal for a Fresh Zcash

This is a succinct and specific description of what I propose needs to change, with urgency, for Zcash to begin to get its mojo back, and ultimately win. We can’t be complacent. It’s time to move on from heavy theory and wishful thinking. Let’s get practical. Let’s deliver, and deliver on the things that will put us in position to win. I don’t know about you, but I’m here for it!

1. Narrow the vision.

ZEC is the best solution for digital money (or digital cash) that protects freedom, dignity, consent and security. Privacy is necessary to provide those things. But it doesn’t end with privacy. It must also include seamless distribution mechanisms, robust tooling and a good user experience.

There are many, including myself, that want a private and secure store of value and transfer of wealth, and who may also want to use it for payments. This personal need is why I joined the Zcash project, and in my years on this project, I have meet many of you who have similar needs and desires.

Additionally, as highlighted by @januszgrze in his talk at Zcon4, many want the opportunity to earn ZEC directly. When ASICs were created for Zcash mining, many around the world lost that capability and the project lost a key means of distribution. The ability to earn ZEC is a powerful driver.

Not everyone has the same needs today, and many don’t see the immediate need for what Zcash offers. That’s especially true of the privileged. But for those who have experienced censorship and persecution, or who are able to see our potential distopian future, the health of ZEC or something like it, is critical. The time for Zcash to shine brightly is coming. As centralized powers and the means of surveillance increase, the need for private money will increase.

This project is us. We are our best chance for delivering digital money to the world. No one else is coming. It’s just us. Let’s go!

2. Change governance and funding.

The current dev fund model has created perverse incentives. It’s why I left ECC.

I propose something like I outlined here.

If not that model, then a model that only funds grants (no other fund recipients) seems reasonable to me. The ZF and ECC would have to apply for grants if they desire funding from the community.

We also need to kill the trademark agreement if power is to be given to the community. I previously outlined the challenges and a few ideas in the post linked here.

I also propose that it is in the best interest of the project that Zooko and Jack step down from their roles as the leaders of ECC and the Zcash Foundation. They are good and well intentioned people. However, both in public and behind the scenes, there is too much drama and too little inspirational or practical leadership. The project needs to elevate and empower new energized, bold, positive and collaborative voices.

3. Collude for a bit.

The project isn’t well funded enough for all the duplicative efforts. I’d like to see community leadership where needs are prioritized by the community and the work intentionally delegated to grant applicants and/or professionally hired.

Fwiw, I applaud the decision by ECC to shift its support to the ZF-built zebrad over time. That seems like a good start.

4. Focus some of that collusion on distribution.

We need to get more ZEC into more hands. Some ideas that a number of us have articulated:

  • Promote means to earn ZEC without KYC. This may come through staking and earn programs funded by grants.

  • Implement a grants program (through GitCoin or modeled after) that allows for non-KYC grants and quadratic funding.

  • Improve the developer experience by cleaning up the documentation, improving SDKS, increasing visibility in shared code libraries, funding grants that contribute code to accelerate and amplify, and invest in a developer relations function.

  • Augment these table stakes with programmability through interoperability (which brings in more communities).

5. Focus some of that collusion on user experience.

The Zcash user experience is poor. The address types are confusing and frequently people misunderstand them - often thinking they have shielded funds when they do not, the sync experience is horrible, obtaining your first ZEC is way too hard, and safely exchanging it for local fiat is a security nightmare in many parts of the world.

  • Make Zcash private by default, moving away from the proliferation of t-addresses.

  • Deliver hardware wallet support. (Btw, I spoke with Ledger yesterday. Zondax’s work needs a wallet. Per Ledger, @hanh’s work is dead unless an organization, rather than a person, is willing to take the code and formally support it.)

  • Fix sync. @paullinator is spot on [about 8:30 min mark but I encourage you watch the whole thing]

  • Build options for people to exchange ZEC for local fiat or other financial instruments through interoperability and P2P exchange options.

  • Improve security through network-level privacy.

  • Look for potential partnerships to drive use cases. @Alex_ZF shared some ideas with me at Zcon4 that really inspired me. There are leads to follow, but someone(s) needs to be mobilized.

The digital money we all want and need is within reach. But if we are to be serious about winning, we need to be serious about taking the steps we need to win. And we must win!

Thanks for considering all this.
Love and peace.


Overall, this seems like a pretty good outline. I just want to see ZEC thrive. And I fundamentally believe decentralized, free, and market based solutions are the best way to go. I find a lot of irony in the fact ZEC is just so centralized from a funding perspective. We need to decentralize the funding in order to decentralize the development.

With that, we need to really think hard about the way things are, our fears, and what ZEC is. There is a saying: being too early and being wrong look the same. So, I dont know if you are too early or just wrong. But, I cant tell the difference as we sit here today. So, my recommendation is to focus on the bridge to your dystopian future because if it is coming, its not coming in our lifetimes. Most people who think, the world is ending turn to gold anyway…(its a very depressing life and their fears just never seem to materialize, and you just end up losing a lot of money. If this is you, you should ask yourself how many years has it been now…)

100% agree. Where we disagree. I do not believe ZEC is money if used in the context for day to day transactions. I personally can not imagine why I would ever use ZEC as day to day money (yes I own it as digital gold). Its too risky as cash/money. This is where I think BTC maxis have it right. And if BTC is digital gold, ZEC is private digital gold. If you want a private and secure method for payments, the answer is Zstablecoins. No vol, very reliable, secure, stable, accepted everywhere. Zstablecoins and ZEC complement eachother perfectly, broaden the user base, generate more transactions, better maximize the use of the blockchain.

Mining for ZEC…Are we really going to say that mining is earning money? That is the priviledged way to make money. Yes I said it. The way most people make money is by working…Selling their time. And when you think about earning money in this way, I think it leads to Zstablecoins, not ZEC as a way to earn money. And you already know my arguments as to why retailers dont want it either.

Digital money is here. Its been here a long time. What do you think your debit and credit card is? Its digital money, isn’t it? Now we have many other forms of dcentralized digital money. But the average person can not tell the difference. And, if you think no one else is coming, you are about to see what public markets & capitalism creates. The performance and user experience bar is going to get real high real fast. Digital money has been here and its gaining momentum. So ZEC needs to move fast or get left in the dust.

100% agree governance and funding needs to be changed. However, your solution is just more of the same, isnt it? Its centralized funding with just another new gatekeeper. I’m for better voting. But to say Zooko and Jack to step down while at the same time arguing for just another organization controlling block rewards is not the right way forward to me. We are not in a great place. But the pieces are still here to move forward and fix the structural problems.

100% agree. But transition to gas from blockchain rewards ASAP. The right line needs to be drawn to decide what is an edge use case that should be self funded and what is not an edge case that should get some funding. For example, I’m building an app for the iOS/Android. I dont get any funding from Apple and Im going to have to pay them, which realistically they deserve for creating the SDKs I rely on to get onto the phones. Apple understands the edge use cases…

100% agree this is important. To me, the best way to do it is to decentralize development. Ethereum looks like they have the best model. Focus on ZEC, and making it easy for 3rd parties to integrate it via SDKs. Funding the edge use cases will stretch you too thin…you will run out of money.

100% agree.

1 Like

If true, this means Ledger moved the goal posts significantly. There is nothing that indicates such requirement and they advertise their open platform. As such, it would be great to hear from Ledger officially.


Appreciate the response.

Unfortunately, having worked professionally on both sides of it, it’s already here. It’s just going to worsen.

Understood. But I have a legitimate need for private transactions today. So do others. So there we are.

I am. Earning money is putting resources to use in exchange for compensation. Resources aren’t restricted to time. But that really wasn’t the point and probably not worth bike shedding about.


Thanks for bringing this up. I publically support this. I hope others are equally able to go out on a limb and make tough decisions to publically support things like this.


They didn’t share that with you? That’s disappointing. Per my conversation yesterday, I believe it was shared with the foundation. I wasn’t in the loop on your specifics until very recently.

The good news is that there may be a path if an “official” organization is willing to support the code. It sounds like they are concerned that if it’s only a person, that individual can easily disappear and stop supporting the code.


you must think people are really dumb then. Because the non privacy based coins and Etheruem are dominating. Dont get me wrong, I like privacy. Zooko had quoted someone that said “its about tradeoffs”. I happen to agree. If you think people are going to risk their money, their labor for privacy. It should be obvious the “bundle of attributes” required from money (particulary day to day transactions) is much much more than just privacy.

yes. But you and the others dont want to pay for it. You are asking us to subsidize you. Its getting old. You seem to understand that capital tied up in mining should get a return, but you dont at all give us ZEC holders anything. We just pay. How do we get a return?

That is true of everyone. Zcash does not have the bundle of attributes people want from cash. You have a fairly large blind spot as to what matters to people and what money is.

Probably not worth going back and forth; but I often ask myself why I should tie up my capital with ZEC when there is no visible way I can earn money with it, 20% of rewards are inflationary, and no one wants to pay for using it via a transaction fee. it sounding more and more like a very high risk proposition to hold it.

1 Like

It’s called Zcash, @Jgx7. It’s money: SoV, MoE & UoA.

Just like @joshs, I have a legitimate need for private transactions today as well.


Are you willing to pay for it? Say a 2% transaction fee? Why aren’t you fighting for privacy based stablecoins? Isnt it obvisous ZEC is too volatile for anything other than long term holding? I dont think (but maybe you have) you have thought through the impact of vol on the average person. The average person gets paid every 2 weeks. So they would be buying ZEC every 2 weeks. And most people spend it quickly. The vol kills the average person. So when you claim to care about the little guy, its very hard to take it seriously other than if you are using it as a tool to support your arguments when its needed.

@Jgx7 To make it short, I do not have to justify myself particularly, and I very respectfully disagree with your vision for Zcash. I was simply making my position clear here.

I am generally in support of @joshs proposal, or at the very least to meaningfully explore each aspect discussed in it.


You (and @joshs) said you have a need for private transactions. All I ask is if you both are willing to pay for using it because currently I as a ZEC holder am paying for it. I dont want to pay for your transactions anymore. So its pretty simple, if you need it, are you willing to pay 2% (for arguements sake)? I willingly pay 2%-3% to use my debit/credit card every day because they make it so easy. I paid it because when I carry cash, i end up losing money, and its a pain to carry around. 2%-3% isnt so bad; but i do want more benefits than just making payments easy. If you are not willing to pay for it, it leaves one to conclude its really not that important to you because if I dont pay for your fees, then you dont want to use it…That is the inference.

I personally think this is a threshold question for people who claim to need privacy. Im not saying 2% is the right number. But there is a number that needs to be paid.

I believe we should support you.

These all seem like sensible takes. Makes me wonder how receptive the ECC has been during your time there. Is it more a problem of resource & talent scarcity, or a mindset inflexibility that makes tangible progress towards your points so frustratingly slow?

Truly baffling how these have been consistently coming up for YEARS, yet here we are with none of them.
(a non-compliant p2p exchange has to be a community effort to be fair)

I’d love to hear your opinion on my recent post about adding accountability to the dev-fund; letting the community vote on the distribution weights & recipients twice a year.


I respect you and what you’ve done for Zcash my friend. But I strongly disagree with your position that Jack and Zooko need to step down. I have seen them both in action, I don’t see how we can replace them. They’ve delivered on some solid goals and recently negotiated a transition to Zebra.

Zcash is a family, and in my experience getting along in a family is very hard. We have work to do. But this is not the time to change Captains of either ship.


I love the spirit of it, with funding tied to accountability with community empowerment. I’m not sure about whether or not it’s practically realizable in the near to mid-term. Maybe you can see the path and I just need more time to think about it!


@joshs Thank you so much for writing this post. It’s such a relief to see a leader in our community championing points parallel to some I’ve been trying to get across for years (it’s been a huge burden on my mental health to feel the weight of trying and failing to make some of these changes), and you’ve got some great new ideas in there too. I fully support your assessment and vision!


Thank you for being so outspoken. It’s been inspiring to me.


Josh, thank you for that level of candor. I’m always inspired when people in zcash can speak out loudly and from the heart. I agree that any hat can prevent us from doing that.

I wanted to ask about this drama thing from everyone here. I don’t know what most people think and I’m ambivalent about some of the tension between Jack and Zooko. On one hand I think it makes me feel uncomfortable and like a polite tug of war, but when I start thinking more, I come to the conclusion that for a decentralized project, differing viewpoints are a boon, not a detriment. And here I’m not pointing out specific situations, but thinking in general, as if it’s not about Zcash - At the very least, it eliminates collusion with respect to lobbying for one solution.


I have deep respect and love for Zooko. He’s brilliant, thoughtful and caring. But he hasn’t been an effective leader at ECC or within the community in recent years. The numbers and outcomes speak for themselves. ECC needs a change if it is going to be a meaningful contributor moving forward.

I can’t speak for Jack’s performance within the ZF. My reason for challenging his leadership is what I see as consistent negativity, poor treatment of others and related behaviors. I’m also concerned that he desires too much control. That’s been my experience with him. His performance at Zcon4, both in the framing of the event and his behavior on stage with Zooko, is a reflection of these concerns.

I maintain that to in order for Zcash to win, or even remain viable, we need fresh thinking, a clear vision, strong leadership, effective community building, deep commitment to the project and strong collaboration in the ecosystem.


can we get honest feedback also from @zooko and @Dodger on dis? do you maybe partially agree?

i tink they want the best but it mite be really time to get fresh leaders, not sure who tho. is there anyone in team who would suit better? its a difficult role to fill for anyone. but sum change is needed iwo to get things rollin.