The future of Zcash in the year 2020

Sure, I can make it all one big paragraph.

Wow, just checked, 20 line breaks. heh point taken. I will try to be more succinct.

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What would the ECC like to do? I don’t presume to know, seems fair to ask

Very fair,

I fear people are considering breaking the 90% contract.

I would like positive affirmation from the ECC that this is not the case. And any adjustment to the rules that we are currently talking about would be opt-in - so users can select if they want some of their transaction(sender/receiver sets these), block reward or transaction fees (the miner sets this not the sender) to go to some development - or the (default) initial contract distribution is honoured.

I am all for adjusting the rules as long as the 90% contract is not broken, be that by majority vote or otherwise.


The only way any of the above could be implemented as an adjustment to the consensus rules[1], is for the consensus rules to specify that certain hard-coded addresses may optionally be present as outputs. But if it’s optional, then it’s basically useless as a consensus rule. Users and mining pools are already free to optionally add addresses as outputs to their transactions (a few wallets have done this in the past as “dev fees”, and IIRC some mining pools in the Grin network opt to donate a small percentage of their profits to developers). The only marginal benefit it provides would be having a globally-agreed-upon list of receiving addresses - but users can by definition ignore those and just create equivalent outputs to different addresses.

(As a side-note, miners wouldn’t get to set anything; it’s the mining pools that create the coinbase transactions and choose a policy. Miners could at most move their mining power to a different pool with a different policy, or solo-mine with significantly less efficiency (and thus incentive to do so) unless they are large enough that they are effectively their own mining pool.)

Tying this back to what @acityinohio stated about the Zcash Foundation’s position:

Any opt-in proposal where the opt-in process is not “user chooses to upgrade to a version of the node software that will follow a Network Upgrade activating this proposal” should IMHO not be proposed as a consensus rule change, because it adds needless complexity for no useful benefit. I think it would be valuable for @acityinohio to clarify the above statement, because if it is referring to local on-demand opt-in (as @mistfpga is referring to), this implies (in my view) that the ZF would only support proposals that do not change the consensus rules.

[1] I am specifically ignoring consensus rule changes that would create some kind of dynamic in-network decision-making process (a la Tezos) to decide when to turn on or off some kind of funding, because that is an extension of consensus-making and is not a local opt-in decision like @mistfpga was referring to.


I posted some notes on the dev fund topic here: (just my own thoughts, not on behalf of the Foundation). To summarize:

  1. The dev fund question is best viewed as a negotiation. It’s a good idea if it adds more value than it costs. The no deal option, where (speculating here) ECC does something else after next year, and others (including Zcash Foundation) do maintenance and improvement, is a fine option, which is good because we start from a good negotiating position. Several other commenters in this post have been discussing along these lines: what would be the cost of a dev fund? If it goes to one entity, how much of that is overhead vs goes to engineers (or other activities like marketing)? What would we want to get out of it? Another upgrade on the same scope/quality as Sapling? Who else besides ECC could compete for this?
  2. The trademark policy will probably play an important role. While the community (node operators, miners, exchanges, wallet devs, etc.) get the final say on what software to run, “the community” is hard to define precisely and it’s clearly a lot harder to coordinate without at least unity over the name and symbol. Lacking any other better model for community ownership of the trademark, some kind of joint-control between ECC and Zcash Foundation would be a first step. If the Zcash Foundation and ECC enter into a bilateral negotiation over a potential fork, the scope would likely be over which fork (if any) gets to stay called Zcash.
  3. It’s fairly unclear how best to form and recognize a community consensus but we should try anyway. Options include coin holders vote, community governance panel like we did before, miner vote, combinations of them, or other options. I think any of them are better than nothing, and that in most cases the outcome would not be sensitive to which mechanism we choose. One possibility is a community consensus could start from outside, e.g. a petition or ad hoc miner vote, and be adopted after the fact by the Foundation.

To summarize: My view of an ideal outcome is that ECC and Zcash Foundation agree on a process for recognizing Zcash community consensus, and in case of a fork, pledge to license the trademark to describe the community’s chosen fork. This would serve as the basis for a negotiation between the Zcash community and any potential development firm hired by the community through a new dev fund.


We would support proposals that change consensus rules if there’s overwhelming consensus to do so, but specifically in the case of opt-in we were imagining some flag for users (to enable in their transactions) and/or miners (in their coinbase transactions) that would determine whether funds are awarded to a potential future dev fund (and at what proportion to potential recipients). A scheme along these lines would definitely require a consensus change.

I understand the concern about complexity, but in our view this would preserve user choice and provide important signaling for the ECC, Zcash Foundation, and any other recipient of a future fund. Note that others associated with the Foundation may have more detailed or nuanced personal views (see @amiller’s comment above), but this was the consensus reached by the Zcash Foundation Board of Directors on how we’d approach the possibility of a new dev fund.


@battbot, I am surprised that you, and apparently several others, are concerned about the development funding levels being too high? Wouldn’t you want to to err on the side of having too much funding than having too little funding?

I am getting the sense that some people think having ample funding for development is ‘unfair’ to the miners. It’s interesting that no one has said “giving 20% of newly mined coins to a development fund will decrease the security of zcash to unacceptable levels”. It seems to be about a sense of what is “fair” (and I do believe having a sense of fairness is important!)

1% is so low that it would cripple the project imho.

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@garethtdavies I just came across your interesting idea of funding development with a fixed $ amount of zec. Are you concerned that wouldn’t have the full benefit of aligning the incentives of zec holders with the developers, since they would get the same number of dollars regardless of how their work impacts the price of zec?

(btw thank you for getting this conversation started many months ago! :grinning:)


I don’t think that was me. I’ve always been a fan of % of block rewards. I can’t seem to find where this was brought up though to give proper attribution.

I could certainly support your plan. I’m more on the fence of % of distribution between Foundation/ECC mainly due to the accountability of the Foundation where there could for example be a greater representation on the Board for all interests (where ECC remains a private for-profit company). Being pragmatic though, ECC has basically done all of the development, so any solution without them is frankly worthless and maybe these concerns can be addressed in other ways.

I can’t take credit for that either :laughing: but I do think we need concrete proposals sooner rather than later.


I don’t feel strongly about the 50/50 split that I suggested, and I share you concern about accountability. (I do trust Zooko and the company to act in good faith in the best interest of Zcash, but it would be irresponsible to not have some checks and balances). Perhaps it would make sense to shift a little more towards the foundation, with the expectation that some of those funds would go toward contract work with the company.

The thing I feel pretty strongly about is making sure that there is enough funding to build all of the things that the community wants for Zcash.


What sort of information is missing from the transparency report that you would need to understand this?

Good day everyone,

New Zcash holder here since 3 days ago. I’ve decided to drop all of my XMR for ZEC as i prefer the technology behing Zcash being way more “state of the art” from the ground up compared to other privacy coins, and also ZCash gives me this relaxed vibe that it’s not seen as a “criminal coin” the way Monero is labelled, and for that i would consider it a much better investment in the coming years…I do have some questions though, as i’ve been reading the long thread for the past couple of hours:

  1. Why ECC and why ZF? Why two separate entities? What is the current role of the ZF?

  2. As far as i can tell all the brain power of engineers are all at ECC and i can’t believe option A from Andrew Miller was even mentioned. I for one believe it would be a disastrous mistake if ECC were to be gone. In the event that Option A does occur, what would be the future roles of ZF? Would they be focusing on tech development? what about Marketing? Adoption? Will ZF have cypherpunks/engineers with deep cryptographic experience to keep on innovating the tech?

  3. Did Zooko and the early zcash team envision what would happen after 4 years and how they would plan to keep going? i mean now that we’re approaching end of 2020 everything is in turmoil? did they expect to finish the roadmap in the first 4 years and then off to the next adventure? Doesn’t ECC have enough ZEC reserves or ETH BTC reserves? I dont understand what is the point of all this back & forth since it was made official since day 1 that after 4 years the full block reward would go to miners. What is the problem now?

  4. My last question and i will repeat it again. Why 2 separate entities? I think it would be smart to find a way for ECC and ZF to merge together, rather than talking about hard forks and trademark disputes and ECC moving on to developing their own coin. What kind of show are you guys putting on here today?

Thank you


Welcome to the forums @mista.mist :slightly_smiling_face: you can read more about why the Zcash Foundation was started here: and here:

TL;DR: ECC is a for profit company, Zcash Foundation is a 501© non-profit organization working for the community.


Thanks Shawn, will read it in a bit.

For profit company?! Didn’t ECC create Zcash and supposed to be their main priority? Were they a for-profit company back in 2016?

Yes, ECC has always been a private for profit LLC and the Zcash protocol has been thier primary focus. Formerly “Zerocoin Electric Coin Company” now just “Electric Coin Company”

The posts I linked above explain alot :wink:

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I apologise in advance if the extra details are already collated and documented. I have not found this info yet.

To be able to discern if/how many of the Founders, Investors, Advisors and Developers would need to be retained post 2020 from that transparency report I would need to see more detailed information like (not exhaustive, and some may not be applicable.)

  • A distinction between one off costs and recurring costs in each area.
  • Marking of start up costs v maintenance costs in each area.
  • A distinction between usability development costs v R&D costs.
  • Formalised groupings of teams that are in the same project area and their costing.

All as percentages of the total amount, like a numbers version of use of funds with a bit more detail.

I dont know if you directly collate these stats, but I would imagine you could work out the numbers just from taxes. Although depending on how you organise your company internally it might be a nightmare to collate this info into the transparency report.

To be clear I am not asking for a total financial breakdown nor am I asking for any names/personal info. just stats.

I can make a longer post with more detailed examples of the kind of information if that would help? It is late here and im off to sleep.


Thank you for the links. Good read which puts things into perspective. It will surely boost decentralization at a rapid pace if the power was spread out over the communities of miners, hodlers, stakeholders, etc…Though i’m all for decentralization but its important to know that adoption and a cryptocurrency turning into a successful medium of exchange can only be achieved if it is widely perceived as a store of value. Like Josh said on one of the youtube vids, i agree that project grants are a pretty good starting point for zcash brand awareness and adoption.

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For what it’s worth, again, these are my thoughts and not the views of ECC or those that pay my salary:

I’ve been thinking a lot about governance and collective decision making — and their relationship to individual sovereignty. Who is the Zcash community? How is it governed? Where is my personal voice reflected? How is a question of funding decided?

It’s complex. I needed to strip it down in my own mind in order to reconstruct my thoughts. This is where I landed:

Are all people of equal value?
Yes. I believe this is universally true.

Are all people’s perspectives of equal value?
No. I believe this is relative to whom the perspective applies.

Let me explain.

I spent much of my life believing that it is the expert opinion counts most.
The neurosurgeon’s opinion of what to do about a patient’s stroke is most relevant.
The climatologist’s opinion about global warming is most important.

But what qualifies someone?

A threshold set by a 3rd party? A degree? An award?
Who has responsibility?

Consider the agile concept of the pig and the chicken.
Who gets to decide on whether to offer bacon and eggs on a breakfast menu?
The pig is committed. The chicken is only involved.
Whose perspective matters? And yes, the calculus changes if the chicken recognizes the difference agrees to add wings as a breakfast option.

It comes down to stake, but not necessarily stake based on aggregate value. I don’t think of this as rich vs. poor, as has been alluded to in this thread. I am reminded of this story:

"Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

Stake is relative. But determining relative stake is still impossible, practically speaking.

This isn’t to say that the unattached expert shouldn’t speak. The unattached expert might come up with a novel idea out of their expertise. Their perspective has merit, but they don’t have much at stake and therefore their merited perspective is not of equal value.

Does the neurosurgeon’s opinion have more value than the opinion of patient?
Not to the patient. And it shouldn’t to us, the observer, if we value the patient’s sovereignty more than the merit of the expert’s perspective.

And so I argue that merit and value are two different things.
An expert opinion may have merit. But it is the idea realized has value. And only those that have something at stake can determine and affect value.

How then is this resolved for Zcash governance? I do not believe this can be resolved by a popular or stake based vote based upon the current protocol governance model. I think this can only be resolved by the personal decision made by those who have stake - those that use Zcash, mine Zcash, or have some engagement with Zcash.

All people are of equal value and they may chose to support or not support a certain course of action - whether that be funding ECC Zcash development, fund work through the foundation, or something else. This need not be tied to emotion. There is no moral right or wrong in this decision. If we believe that each person is valued, the only way forward is to let each person chose where they wish to invest their own time and resources.


@acityinohio’s thoughts on Zcash governance:


Like Arjun Balaji has said, we’re trying to build protocols that will last for generations. Zcash and its ilk are meant to outlast all of us. That requires a long-term mindset. We need to protect against emergent behaviors that might be fine with the people you know working on the project — but imagine 50 years from now when you don’t know anyone involved.

What kind of social mores will keep the project healthy, and how can we codify those without delaying progress too much? Zcash multisig governance is one answer to those questions, and we’re currently exploring and iterating on how it ought to work. Ideally, over the next few years, Zcash the protocol will be defined by a multisig governance model, where 2-of-2 consent is required to modify the protocol or introduce new features.


Make no mistake, @mistfpga, much of the discussion on this thread is precisely about abandoning the promise that “90% of the Zcash monetary base goes to the miners”. Like you, I am against abandoning that promise.

I think where you and I may disagree is that, even though I am strongly against abandoning the promise, I would accept as legitimate a proposal to break the promise if it was backed by a stake-weighted simple majority (as determined by a non-binding vote). I personally would vote against such a proposal, but win-or-lose I would accept as legitimate the outcome of the vote.

The fact that such a voting mechanism is not currently available and will not likely be available any time soon does not change my opinion; the onus to implement such a voting mechanism should be on those that want to abandon the promise.