The post above is self-contradictory when it references:
every exchange and … regulator
Exchanges and regulators are enemies of privacy. Governments are enemies of privacy.
Bitcoin is a success because it is amorphous. It has no corporate structure that can be leaned on by governments to impose anti-privacy AML/KYC requirements.
Unfortunately Zcash has several affiliated corporate structures. Corporations work to ensure their own survival. So the people running these Zcash-affiliated corporations hope that they can play the “compliance” game well enough to keep themselves afloat rather than squashed by governments.
I think it’s a vain hope. Governments prize their monopoly control of money flows. It keeps the tax revenues flowing and allows them to wage financial war, through sanctions and other means. A truly successful, truly private cryptocurrency would be too much of a threat for governments to tolerate. They would seek to either ban it or cripple its privacy features, as we are already seeing with Mnuchin’s latest proposal.
So every ounce of effort the Zcash community expends on playing a losing “compliance” game is wasted effort.
Where should that effort go instead?
Zcash is a privacy-oriented technology. So its competitive advantage would be strongest with users who value privacy the most. And who would that be? People doing things those in power don’t like. These days that mostly means: selling merchandise forbidden by the nanny state, and transacting with designated Evil countries.
So Zcash should be engaging quietly with every single dark web marketplace out there, asking why they are adopting Monero rather than Zcash, and making the technical case for zk-snarks rather than ring signatures. And it should be reaching out to the communities using Bitcoin to circumvent sanctions, so that Zcash can replace Bitcoin when Mnuchin’s successor starts prosecuting people for spending Bitcoins that started their life in Iran or Venezuela.
Now, if any of that actually started happening, no doubt that would bring down all sorts of regulatory hurt on Zcash’s affiliated corporate structures like ECC and the Zcash Foundation. So the people manning those structures have a big incentive to not do any of that. I don’t expect it to, dooming Zcash to remain technically brilliant, but mostly unadopted and largely irrelevant, until its backers give up and/or USG bans all privacy coins.
But I do expect a real privacy-focused cryptocurrency to come into existence someday, maybe even based on the Zcash codebase. zk-snarks are a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to their door. It’s just that that path won’t have signposts marked “KYC” or “AML” along the way.