Q3 2020 Livestream Q+A

Hi all!

I’m Janie, and I’m the newest addition to ECC. Thanks to all of you who attended our Q3 Livestream last week and to those of you who’ve watched it on YouTube since then. We couldn’t answer all the questions live during our time, but the team pulled together answers to the rest of the Qs we received.

What is the status and roadmap of Zcash’s use as payment method ( similar to Lightning and BOLT )?

We have completed our initial implementation of Transparent Zcash Extensions (TZEs) which Bolt Labs will be using in the implementation of their zkChannels protocol for Zcash. zkChannels is a chain-agnostic anonymous off-chain protocol that enables cheap and private value transfer between a customer and merchant. Bolt will be working on their implementation in Q4 and Q1. We also hope to include transaction malleability fixes in NU5 which will be the last piece needed for full support of zkChannels or any other integration protocol that uses transaction hashes as a reference. NU5 is tentatively scheduled for mid-May 2021.

Will Zcash ever do smart contracts?

ECC is focusing on making it easy to store and transact ZEC, safely and privately, and at a large scale of many users. As we see those goals coming to fruition, various kinds of programmability may be added in a way that doesn’t disrupt privacy or scalability.

Along the way, we will work to ensure interoperability with other chains works well, so that existing and upcoming smart contracting systems can use ZEC. Today there is already an operational RenVM bridge to Ethereum, and we anticipate other Ethereum and Cosmos bridge technologies to deploy in the 6-18 month timeframe.

How would you describe ECC’s relationship with the Zcash Foundation today?

ECC is grateful to Josh Cincinnati and George Tankersley for their contributions to the ZF during their tenure. Andrew Miller (chair of the ZF board) has been leaning in and helping to set the ZF on a path to success going forward. We are supportive of the great work that Deirdre and other members of the ZF team are doing to bring Zebra to life, and there is active development collaboration between ECC & ZF. We are keen to see what ZF is capable of doing with its funding levels being meaningfully increased in Nov as part of the new dev fund, and we are optimistic that ZF will find a great ED to take the organization to the next level going forward.

Is Zcash looking into programmability to utilise Halo 2 for custom proofs?

Our first application of Halo 2 is focused on removing the trusted setup. That being said, Halo 2 is an exciting general purpose technology that can be used for programmability features moving forward.

How will Zcash attract other developers for funding? Will they be aggressive in recruiting from other chains or will it be more passive?

This is a question for MGRC and ZF. We suggest asking in the MGRC discord channel or forum.

What sort of developers are Zcash looking for mostly? Cryptographers or front-end user facing applications like wallets?

Zcash can be improved by almost any kind of developer! Currently the most difficult technical area is providing usable, secure, and private front-end apps for users. We’re seeing great strides here and Zcash would benefit from more front-end projects as well as more contributors to the existing projects. We’d also like to see more data anlytics websites that provide Zcash-specific information, such as about shielded pool activity or helping users track privacy issues. There is also no shortage of need for cryptographers, consensus experts, networking specialists, and infrastructure developers who can help with the core protocol.

When will the Halo 2 paper be published with the new improvements?

We’re not sure, but our goal is to get Halo 2 described and specified in enough detail that it could be deployed in Zcash as soon as next year. You can expect to see more detailed material about our improvements and designs in the coming months.

Is there a decision on if the MGRC candidates will be replaced each year? Consider the fact that a rotating MGRC will make it hard for long term projects

This is to be decided by MGRC. There are obvious drawbacks to having all 5 MGRC members be up for re-election simultaneously. However, this is an area where ZIP 1014 is fairly prescriptive. Changing this may be beneficial, but likely would require that the community amend the ZIP.

Other than inflation, why you think ZEC is under performing comparatively price wise ?

Looking at YTD, we see that ZEC is performing better than BTC, XMR and DASH. Only ETH is doing better, and this is largely because of the defi and the yield farming craze. https://messari.io/chart/competitive-D5815CCC