Q4 ECC Live Stream - Recording + Discussion Thread

Hi team,

Here’s the recording from the 2019 Q4 Live Stream.

Josh and Savannah will post answers to the remaining questions here. Please feel free to share your reactions and feedback to what was discussed in the comments section. A big thank you to everyone who participated today.

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Can you please post the slides too? Much easier to use for reference/reminder.

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Here are the Q4 ECC Live Stream Slides.

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Hi everyone.

We weren’t able to get to all the questions submitted on the call. As promised, here are our responses:

Why is BOLT contingent on funding? don’t they have their own resources?

Answer from Nathan:

Shipping BOLT (a protocol) in NU4 is currently a combined effort between ECC and Bolt Labs (a separate company). The effort in 2019Q4 on ECC’s side includes:
Developing and sharing a WTP prototype with Bolt Labs to enable then to create a BOLT prototype,
Producing containerization for zcash testnets to make it easy for Bolt Labs to deploy prototype testnets with early/alpha BOLT protocol functionality.
Providing technical guidance on the BOLT ZIP, providing a WTP ZIP (which the BOLT ZIP depends on), as well as providing several related dependency ZIPs (in particular one to address malleability).

Bolt Labs has its own resources, although we suspect if Bolt Labs were to attempt to deploy BOLT on Zcash without ECC’s involvement, it may take substantially longer.

Funding is important, but zcash is now running on deficit with current allocation and price? will you downsize or you expect a price rebound?

Answer from DC:

Time will tell. We don’t have a crystal ball, but we do believe that the uncertainty around post-FR funding has had negative pressure on price. Once the community’s decision around post-FR funding has been made, we will adapt as appropriate.

Decentralized private stable coin on top of zcash ?

Answer from Nathan:

Decentralized private stable coins are an unsolved research problem. Much of the mechanics of MakerDAO, for example, require transparency, whereas other portions could be augmented with better privacy.

ECC described a vision for the 2-4 year horizon of expanding the “private sphere” out from Zcash across bridges to other chains. We believe this is the best approach currently to bring better privacy to existing stablecoins.

Another technical strategic opportunity would be to implement a decentralized stable coin within Zcash. It is ECC’s position currently that this would introduce excessive technical and strategic risk for Zcash. However, as the industry learns more about stable coin design and private smart contracts, this position could change.

If Corporates are able to use/integrate Zcash Tech - ZKsnarks without actually using Zcash coin- How will it help ZCASH grow in terms of mcap ?

Answer from Josh:

I’m assuming that you mean corporations like JP Morgan. Their adoption may help Zcash by validating and/or testing the underlying cryptography. Adoption might raise awareness and trust with the public. They may make improvements or provide insights that benefit the Zcash community as a whole. But this is hypothetical and I would imagine that results would vary.

What is the status on discussions with Okex and how do you see this impacting ZEC worst case scenario?

Answer from Josh:

For OKEx in South Korea, we translated our regulatory brief and FATF overview into Korean and provided it to them. I believe it is still under review but have a follow-up scheduled for this week. If they choose to delist Zcash, it will reduce S. Korean’s ability to purchase Zcash with KRW. In my opinion, we need to invest to build stronger bridges and community in S. Korea.

If lightning is trash, with settlement and decentralization issues, why is bolt at different?

Answer from Nathan:

In particular, ECC continues to advocate for layer 1 scalability. We do not consider BOLT as a general purpose scalability solution. Instead, it is a great enabler of new use cases that layer one does not enable by itself, and for those use cases it can enable large scale use with less cost to the counterparties and to the base layer.

Any update on ETH using ZCASH for privacy in smart contract ? How will it work and impact Zcash ,pls eleborate ? Will they actually use ZCASH coin or just tech?

Answer from Zooko:

There are two ways to do it and Ethereum folks are pursuing both in parallel. One way is to use ZKP technology on top of Ethereum, as with the Aztec project. The other is to use sidechaining between Ethereum and Zcash, for example using Keep Network’s trust-minimized bridge. Each approach has different trade-offs from the perspective of Ethereum users. The Aztec-style approach does not use the ZEC coin itself; the Keep-style approach does.

How can zcash beat Aztec and the stablecoin they want to build with Carbon on top of ethereum?

Answer from Zooko:

That future product doesn’t exist yet. Zcash already works, is widely understood and scrutinized, it is integrated into hundreds of products and services around the world, and it is widely used. Things that don’t yet exist yet always look great! Things that already exist are always flawed and disappointing. :slight_smile: And during that time while the new product is getting finished and getting rolled out to the market, Zcash will also be improving. However, I don’t think such things are necessarily bad for each other. To investors, such things are a zero-sum game because every dollar they bet on that new product is a dollar that they don’t bet on Zcash, so they see everything through a zero-sum lens. But to users, they use whatever is available and meets their needs, and different users will use different products for different purposes, and they can actually help each other. The existence and the success of this private stablecoin product that you describe (when it reaches the market) could actually increase the demand for Zcash and the usefulness of Zcash. Anyway, I conceive of my job not as trying to persuade investors of the long-term value of Zcash, but instead as improving Zcash.

How to improve network level privacy? Something better than tor?

Answer from Nathan:

Network privacy improvements are an important need for Zcash! ECC has not focused on this area. We believe the Zebra development team at the Zcash Foundation already has both more expertise and effort in this area than us. This is a great example of multiple development teams specializing in complementary areas to the benefit of Zcash.

Have you received any feedback on shielded functionality from SEC or CFTC?

Answer from Jack:

We have not. Questions about Zcash’s shielded functionality generally come from regulators with responsibility for overseeing anti-money laundering and prevention of terrorist financing (AML/CFT). The SEC regulates the securities markets (Zcash is not a security), and the CFTC focuses on derivatives markets (there are currently no Zcash futures or options traded in the United States).

Why doec ECC use such a bearish 40 usd/zec target to explain the need for a higher % allocation from the block reward?

Answer from DC:

We used $40 as the ‘status quo’ watermark, but the average price has actually been a bit lower than that for the past 60 days.

Why is ECC being tight lipped on negotiations with the community in regards to how much they can do with different amounts of money per month? (FR discussion)

Answer from Josh:

We haven’t been trying to negotiate with the community. Instead, we’re working hard to listen. We’ve been open with our current spend, use of funds and plans. I hope more clarity was provided during this livestream. If the community wills it, we would like to continue with our current work and the plans we outlined. Of course, we can do more with more funding such as deep engagement in Asia, driving well-funded marketing campaigns, additional engineering, adding regulatory firepower, etc.

Once wrapped zec tokens on Ethereum become active, do you see zec becoming interoperable with the Hyperledger through Besu?

Answer from Nathan:

I’m not familiar with Besu. Wrapped tokens on Ethereum will most likely be ERC20 (or any newer standard) and can interact with anything supporting that interface. It is also probably possible to bridge directly to Hyperledger rather than traversing through Ethereum, but I am not familiar enough with Hyperledger to know the best technical approach to that. If it involves SPV-client-style security then Flyclient MMR will be helpful for that.

What motivation is there to run a shard chain in the scaling solution ?

Answer from Nathan:

ECC does not have a complete viable sharding architecture design yet and there are many open questions. Our design work so far does not yet define incentive structures for the different infrastructure providers. It will be very important to have a well designed incentive structure for us to feel confident in promoting a particular architecture. Most of our focus so far has been on proving technology that provides privacy, recursion (or nesting), and space compression, since we believe this will be a key building block in the larger architecture.

If it wasn’t ASIC what do you think would have been the ZEC price today?

Answer from DC:

It’s impossible to say what effect the ASICs have had on the price of ZEC. That said, with the power of hindsight we can see that when the ASICs came online, the Zcash community lost a tremendous amount of energy, as GPU miners were pushed off the network. In response to the arrival of ASICs, the Zcash community could have pushed for an emergency hard fork, but this would likely be a short-term band-aid rather than a long-term fix.

Presently, the Zcash hashrate is quite healthy, and we can probably thank ASICs for that. However, we have concerns about concentration of hashpower in the hands of a small number of miners. We also have concerns about miner loyalty, or lack thereof.

Whats ECC position on a decred like funding model(Hybrid Pow/Pos)?

Answer from Josh:

We think it’s interesting and we’re paying attention but we don’t have a formal position.

Zooko, do you contribute any code to Zcash and how many hours a day do you spend on Twitter and Messari Screener? Thanks.

Answer from Zooko:

no comment. :slight_smile:

Answer from DC:

In addition to his role as Chief Executive Officer of ECC, Zooko also has recently turned a positive KDR on Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds. This is a non-trivial feat for somebody his age. We credit this achievement to his commitment to bonding with his teenage sons, which is the only thing he prioritizes over saving the world from runaway surveillance capitalism and economic tyranny.

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Thanks @joshs @zooko @alchemydc @nathan-at-least, and everyone at ECC who supported them (@elenita @dodger and surely others), for the excellent livestream and the above thorough followup on questions!

It was great to see all of this deep thinking and planning revealed and explained at depth.

I’m particularly excited to see you’ve now also posted the accompanying ECC R&D and Engineering Flight Plan for 2020 (dedicated thread here), which is solid, well-thought-out, well-presented and extremely compelling.

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