Q1 2020 Livestream Video + Q&A

Hi everyone!

I hope those who were able to make it enjoyed the Q1 2020 Livestream. If you weren’t able to catch it, or just want to re-watch it, here’s a link to the recording of the Livestream


And now for the answers to the Q&A portion of the Livestream. Part 1 below…

What is the status of iOS & Android native libraries that can be used for integrating shielded transactions in apps?

We are currently developing our mainnet wallet, which we will open source in Q2, on our SDKs. We are continuing to add features to the SDKs to round out the feature set but we encourage developers to start building with them now, contribute back to the repo, and tell us what features and modifications they need. The code repositories can be found here:

There are some features which are obvious that we’re working diligently to include such as full t-address support and completing memo support for incoming memos and we’ll be adding those features in the next few months. But for a lot of future development we want to be more collaborative with the developer community to address their needs. We are setting up the wallet developer working group and documentation portal for this exact purpose and hope to be able to announce details in another couple of weeks.

There is a saying I heard a while back, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” I think that perfectly sums up how we want the wallet team to operate going forward. We developed these resources initially in a closed environment to jumpstart our efforts and now is the time to open this development up and come together as members of the Zcash community and take them further.

Has there been a performance/stability review of the chain since the block time change? What are the findings?

Block time has been stable since Blossom activated, and hash rate has been increasing. Relatedly, a team with a good track record within the Monero community has submitted a Zcash Foundation grant application to build a Network Observatory for Zcash. This could expose key metrics related to network health in realtime, for both Zcashd and Zebra, the independent implementation Zcash client.

Is ECC/Foundation hiring? Where to apply?

ECC is looking for a core software engineer to join the core team alongside Sean, Daira and Str4d. The job description is found on the careers page on the electric coin website.

I don’t see any jobs posted on the Zcash foundation site presently. I recommend reaching out to them on Discord or Twitter or email at contact @ zfnd . org to learn more.

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Part 2!

Why is the Zcash dev fund a competitive advantage when other chains like Decred or Dash have already had this?

I’m not going to comment on Dash, but I do think that the Decred model is interesting. It provides for a dev fund (over the issuance period), with on-chain governance and an integrated proposal system called Politeia.

The recently approved Zcash dev fund is for the four years following the first halvening, which will occur in November 2020. The new dev fund provides material funding for multiple entities to move the project forward. The “Major Grants” slice is the largest slice. I have been paying particular attention to how funding in the Ethereum community has been evolving, and I’m excited for the Zcash community to be able to tap into innovations like quadratic funding, and collaboration with communities like Gitcoin, in order to allow for competition and market forces to help the Zcash community distribute funds as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Overall, I am bullish on the Decred model. I’m bullish on the Zcash model. Governance models continue to evolve, and time will reveal the relative strengths and weaknesses of each model.

How will the new grant program be the same or different than the existing grants?

The newly created Major Grants slice of the dev fund is the LARGEST slice of the fund. It will receive more funding than the ECC or the Zcash foundation. It represents 8750 ZEC per month (over ~$560K at today’s ZEC price - $6.7M per year) for Zcash related dev and support. This is a big opportunity for devs to step up and get paid to innovate and improve Zcash. The process of how these grants will be distributed is TBD, but the Major Grants Review Committee will be independent from the Zcash foundation, providing additional decentralization.

How can people or teams apply for grants?

Presently https://grants.zfnd.org/. Note that “Major Grants” won’t go live until the end of this year, as the funding stream for them doesn’t activate until the halvening in Nov 2020.

There were many zeroknowledge proving developments at the end of last year. How does Halo compare? Do others without trusted setups that support recursion?

Out of all of the protocols that came out last year, only two support efficient recursion. Halo, and a protocol that came out a bit later called fractal. both are interesting and will be improved gradually over time, but halo has the smallest proof sizes (much smaller than fractal’s) and seems like a good direction for us to be taking the project, and we can switch to using something similar to fractal later if that work ends up being improved significantly enough in the future.

Part 3!

If Halo and other zcash technology is open, what happens when other bigger chains just take that?

The Zcash team created zk-SNARKs, which are a novel form of zero-knowledge cryptography. The team made a conscious decision to release the Zcash codebase as open source, believing that the strength of cryptographic code must not depend on the secrecy of its algorithm. To date, Zcash is the only project that has operationalized zk-SNARKs in cryptocurrency. We believe that Zcash has achieved differentiation by virtue of inventing this novel cryptography, and has demonstrated execution capability by running a battle tested mainnet for the past three years+. With complexity comes risk, and we believe that the Zcash team has done a commendable job of balancing the complexity/risk tradeoff since our network launched and will continue to do so going forward. Our continued innovation (Halo, scaling research), engagement with third parties for support, regulatory work, etc. are demonstrating that we can continue to be the category leader for privacy-protecting digital currencies and we will continue to be the standard bearer for the space.

Do you have any updates on shielded support on HW wallets? I understand that the foundation is working on it, do they have sole responsibility?

The foundation has committed to support Zcash development for Ledger’s BOLOS OS. We are in contact with the commercial side of Ledger who are aware and supportive. Trezor has been less receptive in prior months but we are attempting to re-open that door. A number of lesser known hardware wallets have reached out, and might be options, but we have been unable to vouch for their security. If there are other hardware wallets you would like to see supported, we’re happy to take a look.