The future of Zcash in the year 2020


#1

I’m going to start a new thread here to focus questions/thoughts about the future of Zcash.

Zcash is in a unique situation that has many questions that need to be answered in the next two years before the Founders Reward ends. This includes the question of what happens when the Founders Reward runs out, (ie: is there an extension/new fund?) but doesn’t stop there.

:radioactive::zap: I step into my time machine :zap: :radioactive:

Now I’m in October of the year 2020. The halving has just happened reducing the block reward to 6.25 ZEC per block.

Now what?

The Zcash Company is still around, did we decide to fund an extension to keep it going? If not how long till funds run out and everyone is laid off? What happens to the wish list of cool new technology that we still want in Zcash? Like say, Coda protocols succinct Blockchain tech, or StarkWares trustless setup STARKs? Have T-addresses been completely depreciated yet? Will the core Zcash Developers stick around or move on to other things, or get a nice $$ offer to move to another coin/project? Is this the final version of Zcash? Is it everything we ever wanted?

Then there is still the Elephant in the room of who controls the keys to the K̶i̶n̶g̶d̶o̶m̶ main GitHub Repo? Who gets pull request and merge/tagging authority? The Foundation should definitely be there, has this been handed over? Does the Foundation now have enough staff/developers to “run” Zcash? Perhaps Zcash core developers moved to the Foundation? How long will the Foundations reserve last? Are there enough volunteer developers to pick up the torch if the Zcash Foundation and Zcash Company disappeared?

The clock is ticking because in 16 weeks all Nodes will go into auto-sensense (shutdown) without an updated version. Or else everyone (including exchanges/pools/explorers/nodes) wi̶l̶l̶ ̶h̶a̶v̶e̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶r̶e̶m̶e̶m̶b̶e̶r̶_̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶a̶d̶d̶ ̶-̶d̶i̶s̶a̶b̶l̶e̶d̶e̶p̶r̶e̶c̶i̶a̶t̶i̶o̶n̶ ̶i̶n̶ ̶t̶h̶i̶e̶r̶ ̶c̶o̶n̶f̶i̶g̶u̶r̶a̶t̶i̶o̶n̶ ̶f̶i̶l̶e̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶k̶e̶e̶p̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶n̶e̶t̶w̶o̶r̶k̶ ̶a̶l̶i̶v̶e̶.̶ EDIT: as @str4d points out this is old information, disabledepreciation is no longer available, so the network would completely shut down.

And then there is the slight issue of the Zcash Trademark. Whoever controls the Trademark gets to call thier version “ZCASH” and keep the ZEC ticker symbol on exchanges, everyone else is out of luck. Is this now in the hands of the Zcash Foundation or some sort of mutual agreement between the Company/Foundation?

:radioactive::zap: Back to the present :zap: :radioactive:

Ok, my time machine example is a bit cheesy I’ll admit. But I think it’s critically important that we start talking about these things now while we have time to work together to come up with a plan.

[ Disclaimer: I’m speaking from my own personal thoughts and my opinions here don’t necessarily reflect those of the Zcash Foundation or Zcash Company ]


Arjun Balaji's "2019 predictions"
Arjun Balaji's "2019 predictions"
Arjun Balaji's "2019 predictions"
#2

Great starting point for a discussion / thought experiment! One nit:

-disabledeprecation was removed from zcashd in version 1.1.2, specifically to make it clear that the zcashd software versions made by the Zcash Company will always shut down in accordance with the defined End-of-Support policy (currently 16 weeks after release). In the event that the Zcash Company disappeared (or otherwise ceased to provide ongoing support), it would be necessary for everyone to either build from source (disabling the EOS halt themselves), or obtain binaries from some other entity (relying on whatever support policy is offered by that entity, which might be the same as Zcash Company currently, or might be “no EOS halt”, or something else).


#3

@str4d Oh, wow. So that’s even more serious than I had thought. I’ll update the main post to reflect this.


#4

Specifically -disabledeprecation (or lack thereof) isn’t that serious, in that it would be simple for an entity like the Foundation to fork the repo (assuming a doomsday like scenario where noone has commit access) and either re-enable that feature or remove it entirely and simply release it as the Zcash Co currently does. So I think the likelihood of the network shutting down due to that flag is overblown.

As to the theme of the thread I am strongly in favour of creating a dev fund as a % of the block reward to fund continued development of the protocol post 2020.


#5

@garethtdavies Yes and No. This also brings up questions like if a separate entity (Foundation or otherwise) has to fork the repo to add this code is it still “Zcash”? Not as it sits right now it would need to be called “Z Foundation Cash” or something else unless of course a TM agreement was already in place. And if not then Zcash would in fact shut down and the entire ecosystem would need to switch to the “new” not quite Zcash, Zcash.

But that’s the point of this post, to ask these kinds of questions.


#6

Considering how Crypto is global, How would you enforce trademark laws when other people claim they are the real Zcash and are not in a country that enforces trademark laws? This is the part I dont understand.

With decentralized exchanges trying to become a thing, how can you enforce your coin on the exchange if they dont care about trademarks? Im honestly confused on how trademarks would work for a decentralized asset where some countries do not play by the same rules or care about trademarks.

Its like hackers from other countries. Sure it might be illegal in the USA, but other countries in africa dont care and wont prosecute cough nigerian scammers.


#8

In that instance it would certainly be hard to enforce, if DEXs ever get the volume/liquidity to become “real market makers” it may be a concern. But currently we are dealing with the biggest exchanges in the world being in developed countries like the US, Korea, etc… Coinbase, Gemini, etc… do you think they will list an asset with the Spectre of a lawsuit hanging over thier heads? Last I checked Zcash Company was adding TMs across the world.


#9

I dont know enough about how trademarks work to know all the legals of it. Would listing a asset be grounds for a lawsuit? They would not be the ones breaking the trademark.


#10

I honestly don’t know either, I’m not a lawyer, but I do know legitimate exchanges tend to be risk-averse so even just the TM question could have a chilling effect.


#11

A Delorean of course.

GREAT SCOTT!


#12

Little did you know, when entering the past you have created a new timelime.

As you returned to your “present” time, you are no longer in the same timeline you left. You have created a fork in time.

Will things turn out the same in the future you have glimpsed? Or will your presence and knowledge of future events change the outcome. Maybe everything you do is already pre-destined. Only time will tell.

Thanks for the quick responses Shawn, keep up the great work.


#13

Thoughts…

The founders reward covers things that wont be an issue two years from now, ie: paying off those first investors. Any idea how much that is? (Guessing lots).

With those costs gone a ‘new reward’ may not be an issue, depends on how much is needed to continue development, support, operations etc.


#14

The investors got paid in full during the first year. See https://z.cash/blog/continued-funding-and-transparency:

The investors will receive their share of the Founders’ Reward over the first year of mining. The rest of the founders will receive their share of the Founders’ Reward over the first four years of mining. (This doesn’t change the size of the Founders’ Reward per block — it is still 2.5 ⓩ for the founders and 10 ⓩ for the Miner for each block in the first four years. It just means more of the Founders’ Reward goes to the investors than to the other founders during the first year.


#16

Interesting, i will add some points what mostly will happened by than in my opinion:

  • In Oct. 2019 harmony blossom has been introduced.
  • By than or shortly after that ETH is switching to POS.
  • All the free hashpower released from the ETH network is switching to the few POW coins by than. Note: Right now we have only about 13 pure POW coins in the top 50 by market cap and i bet in 2019/2020 they are even less.
  • All the free hashpower from ETH is raising difficulty to the sky on all the other POW coins. Only the very lowest electricity cost countries will survive in this POW battle. China, some former Soviet regions and that’s it about…
  • ZEC will be mined only from these regions by than. 99% is my prediction for 2020. Literally we have a chinese mining centralized coin mined on chinese mining pools by chinese miners. Note: Right now 3 chinese ZEC mining pools allready have over 50% and 4 chinese mining pools allready have over 75% of the network hashrate. With miners forced out constantly from higher electricity cost regions this mostly will go higher as well.
  • In 2020 when the halving occurs it’s the final nail that sets the end to the very last enthusiast hobby ZEC private.
  • By than Zcash has a full time translator english-chinese in the team. This is necessary because all dealings with miningpools and miners are by now in chinese, lol. Maybe Jihan Wu is a deputy or representative director/manager at Zcash Co by than (would at least safe the salery for the translator). (adding some fun factor).
  • Meanwhile the ZEC volume has been corrected, exchanges more regulated and inflated/fake volume being removed has brought us back to reality and ZEC price is on it’s real level. Mostly lower than now. Yes, i’am a believer that all the fake/inflated ZEC volume we still see had an artificial impact on ZEC price, making the halving even worse.
  • In 2020 we realized that we missed some major trends and directions. We are one of the few coins still betting on POW as we have not researched any other alternative being confident that harmony blossom will fix everything but actually didn’t fix anything but made things even worse.
  • Seening how lagging future decisions are done we lost alot of ground, other privacy coins and direct competitors that adapt faster to changes in the environment outperform us and took some or a lot of our market shares.

Now we come to the future funding: After there are anyway no private miners left that are outside the low electricity cost regions and mostly centralized in China and some former Soviet republics i suggest you guys directly discuss the issue with them. Most of us here are either allready forced out of mining (me included) or are getting forced out within 2019. I seriously, no fun by the way, suggest you decide that funding matter from the mining rewards directly with the enterprises involved than. Shouldn’t be too hard to come too an agreement with the 4 mining pools and several big mining farms that still will mine ZEC by than. As each side (Zcash/Foundation and the mining pools/mining farms) are depentent to each other i’am pretty sure they agree that funding will continue.

This said, don’t worry about funding, it will continue…


#17

This is a great thread @Shawn, thanks for sharing your perspective.

Some quick thoughts from the Zcash Foundation side:

  • Re: trademark, that’s a top priority from the Foundation—we’re working through a sharing agreement such that the Company doesn’t have unilateral control over the trademark. I am not a lawyer (but we’re working with some) and we still have much to do, but I wanted to let everyone know that we’re working on it.

  • I agree that the clock is ticking, and we need to have a good assessment of the state of Zcash and future development resources today. I’ve given some info in a prior thread but expect a more thorough report from the Foundation soon.

  • Ultimately I agree that everyone in the Zcash community needs to start discussing these issues, and I think the Foundation has a role to play in gauging community sentiment—hopefully in a more expanded (yet somehow still streamlined) Community Advisory Panel along with other venues for discussion.


#18

One my hopes in creating this thread is to spur discussion about what happens when the Founders Reward runs out. Is the Zcash Foundation expected to then take over? I don’t know Zcash Company financial details so I have no idea how long they can/would/want to last once thier primary (?) funding source abruptly ends.

Zcash Company has been clear about the long term goals of decentralization:

However in the long run it would not be appropriate for a single for-profit company to have this much power over the evolution of the Zcash technology. Ultimately, there will need to be an independent, inclusive, non-profit body to steward the technology in the interests of all users.

This was discussed in other threads with various reactions, and I will quote some reactions here to a suggestion that some sort of “new fund” be established to help Zcash Company or even the the Zcash Foundation or some other entity keep the lights on and keep working on improving the Zcash protocol beyond 2020.

(Please don’t feel singled out if I quote you here, I’m just trying to keep the conversation moving forward)

As you can see there is a wide range of opinions.

Which brings me to the second part of the puzzle, how do we measure Community sentiment for these kinds of changes

There is also discussion on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Vires_Num3ris/status/1081340542389243904?s=09

What would be the most effective way for the ‘community’ to vote on these proposals? Most conventional voting systems are too easily gameable to be the only deciding factor imo.

Perhaps a weighted skew of several different voting mechanisms and over staggered timeframes. @acityinohio can you point me towards your thoughts thus far?

https://twitter.com/acityinohio/status/1081372632317087751?s=09

Sure! The most concrete articulation right now is probably the feedback from the original advisory panel process (https://t.co/c45W81S21b ). The main addition the Foundation is keen on adding is a parallel staked voting approach, but still brainstorming other possibilities.

So thats where we are at.


#19

If the mining reward distribution will be altered anyway for a dual GPU/ASIC, could a percentage be carved out for the Zcash Foundation, which in turn could fund developers and infrastructure? Or would that be criticized too heavily?


#20

And change the name as well while you are at it. It would no longer be the same coin …


#21

My crystal ball parts are still on backorder, but my gut says the following is likely to take place.

First, a new crypto bull market will increase interest in Zcash at least an order of magnitude higher. Having more people involved in the discussion, as a function, will make changes more difficult. That said, it’s important that we continue to listen to how old and new users want to use Zcash and see what other projects are doing successfully. Being open, aware and introspective as a community is one of the best traits of Zcash.

Second, the number of well funded competitors is going to increase. Everyone is going to want to be the new hot crypto. If you thought the last run was extreme, just wait. Zcash may have a hard time keeping up with the massive amount of money hyping these other pump machines. We have to figure out a way to not get lost in a sea of the next cryptobubble.

Moving the, “What is Zcash” and trademarks over to the Foundation is an important step. Increasing the size of the community governance panel is also important, but we need some sort of filter to make sure that those new members aren’t actually there to harm Zcash (see: Trojan Horse). Weighted voting tiers? I’m not sure what the best way to do this would be.

Last, in terms of funding, I think we should have a community governance panel vote to extend paying developers for their work past 2020. Coins that don’t properly pay developers are at risk of a hostile takeover. By that I mean a company swoops in, paying devs while forcing them to work on for-profit company projects while stagnating the protocol.

Either way, great things are in store. Many challenges and opportunities!
:zebra::zebra::zebra::zebra::zebra:


#22

@_eric a code split of the Founders Reward to separate the Zcash Foundation funds from the Zcash Company funds is in the works for Blossom:

But that only applies to the existing ZEC allocation which runs out in 2020