The future of Zcash in the year 2020

Zcash Foundation has re-posted the entire video of Zookos talk, the first video had the Q&A cut off. This one has almost 20mins Q&A State of Electric Coin Company - Zooko Wilcox - YouTube


The Q&A is the best part! People asked a lot of solid questions about governance and funding and timelines and strategy. So definitely watch the fixed version with the Q&A: State of Electric Coin Company - Zooko Wilcox - YouTube instead of the first recording (apparently the first recording got cut off because of

Also I actually recommend you watch Nathan’s talk first before mine! Nathan’s talk was one of the opening talks of the conference, and it describes big picture strategy ideas for Zcash as a whole much better than my talk — my talk was more focused on disclosing facts and decisions about the company.

Nathan’s talk: Envisioning Zcash at Global Scale - Nathan Wilcox - YouTube

Then go watch mine, please, especially the Q&A (in the fixed, longer recording that includes extensive Q&A).


Thank you for the requests. I’ll take this back to the financial and communications departments to see if we can add more information like this into future transparency reports. I think it will be difficult to compile and disclose accurate and useful information at this level of granularity. That’s for a few reasons:

  • With regard to the “one time vs ongoing and startup vs ongoing” granularity, things are always changing (especially in this industry and in these times!!).
  • And, sometimes there’s a “one time” exceptional event like the Coinbase Earndrop Campaign, but then the next year you want to do a new one-time exceptional event, and the next year you want to do another one, and then you realize this wasn’t an exceptional event after all but should have been part of your normal marketing budget all along.
  • And, going the other way, sometimes you spin up a whole initiative and plan to spend money on it every quarter, and then two quarters later you’re like “Oh, something changed in the market and this problem is solved. We don’t need to spend this money after all.”
  • With respect to the “usability vs R&D” and “costs of different groups”, some of our employees are dedicated just to one niche, like UX or regulatory or core protocol, but most of our employees work on multiple of those niches over the course of a typical month. Plus, the people whose full-time focus is one thing (e.g. UX) are often spending their time helping the people whose focus is other things (e.g. core protocol or regulatory or bizdev…). This is really valuable and IMO these different areas cannot be effectively handled separately but need to be integrated in one large team and need to co-evolve with each other and to help each other out continuously! But anyway, it would be pretty hard to precisely ascribe costs to the different areas, although maybe we could roughly ascribe costs.

Okay, I’ll take this request back to the finance and comms teams and see what we can do. In the short-term you can eyeball Team - Electric Coin Company - Electric Coin Company to get a rough estimate of the resources we are applying with different skillsets.

Also, of course, if anyone hasn’t seen the first transparency report, check it out. It already gives a lot of relevant facts. (I’m pretty sure this is a higher level of transparency into our finances that any other cybercoin project, company, or foundation does. If anybody has other examples of detailed disclosures from other projects, please share them so we can learn.)


I didn’t check many but the young BEAM financial report is for sure better in my opinion.

The Dash Core Group one isn’t bad either.

I will review some more when i have a bit more time…

I really appreciate this. Finance isn’t really my thing but I do have to look at a lot of reports and try to allocate resources based of predictions. Hopefully this msg will help clarify the sort of thing I am asking for and if it is possible (I understand it may not.)

I agree, from a tech point of view, with an agile style development it is very hard to work out these numbers. I think that granularity is unneeded for me to make basic inferences. Like I personally think that after listening to your talk, you should slow down, in that time pivot in zec related manner (this is for a different thread), and hand over more control and responsibility to the foundation. so the maintainers and the foundation become the core developers. - but I don’t have the rough outline of what gets spent on what type of development.

It is that kind of decision I am trying to make, so the information only needs to be high level. Something so you can actually look at my ideas and they will in someway reflect the company. It doesnt make them useful or good, but it should help you either adapt them or be able to dismiss them more easily.

Very true, which is why it would be handy to know what you thought you were going to spend on a general area (like sapling activation) and what sapling activation took in terms of time and financial resources. I am not asking to open your books, just very high level info.

I agree. You could have a marketing section and in that section you have “one off promotional events 3%” you can still have that next year. or move it to recurring one off events. or even expand it to 5% next year. You decide on how to display the information just please make it consistent.

Regarding development, It would be more like “Core team work on sapling 57%” in the employees spending. I understand this is a sensitive topic, so I would suggest calling the Core development by a code name and use that as the reference so you cannot correlate employee to salary, because it would say employee core developer, that doesnt mean that the spend all their time on ZCOR.

You have one time recurring costs too - like pc hardware, A dev machine might be seen as a one off cost, but it isn’t, it is a 4 year recurring cost + a recurring electricity cost. you have to decide on how you display it. - just please keep it consistent (dejavu?)

So adding something like 1% spent on employee hardware - would really help. The one off/recurring labels might be off, but that is something for the reader to decide. I am not asking for anyone to do my due diligence for me.

I completely understand. This is the nature of having a company and one of the major benefits of the ECC as apposed to distributed development.

I really am just asking for high level information - so for your example - you would have UX development - 5% (or whatever), but this would just be what you have budgeted v what you spent. - So if someone moves from the core protocol to help a UX developer, that is not counted unless it comes from the UX budget pool. So you name the niche groups and give them cool names.

Big cooperation’s tend to charge themselves for cross teamwork. I understand this is not feasible nor even desirable and certainly far too granular for the ECC.

Again that would be amazing info to have, a forecast of your budget v what was needed. but this feels a little too much info to ask unless at a very high level.

Another example is how much of the % of the budget is going to govt compliance in what regions, etc. but this might be too granular.

Im hoping the finance people can make some sense of what I am requesting. and more importantly what I need the information for. To try to help make my proposals useful.

Thanks for passing this forward, sorry if it is a bit rambling its far too hot here.

1 Like

I have read this whole thread and I now understand that I have been poorly treated by the ZCash team.

I naively thought that the Founder’s Reward would be used to fund development and marketing. This is not really what happened. The majority of the $250m raised has gone straight into the pockets of Zooko and 44 other individuals.

The excessive cash extraction by the founders has resulted in a death spiral. With so little money for development and marketing Zcash has progressed too slowly to compete with other coins. It is rational to assume that as insiders who are fully aware of this situation that the founders have been selling Zcash into the market which has been driving the price down. The person who gains most from this arrangement is Zooko who, to add insult to injury is now working on other project.

The Founder’s Reward is now coming to an end so the team has said that unless we find away to to continue to fund their under-performance they will go and work on other projects.

What should be done?
The fact that something is legal and transparent does not make it right. I am convinced that the original intentions of the Founder’s Reward were honourable. Unfortunately events conspired to make it a mechanism for transferring vast amounts of wealth from the many to the few.

It is for the 44 individuals who have benefited from the Founder’s Reward to commit to funding ZCash through to stability. It is likely that some - will take the money and run. The project will be better off without them. Those that stay will deserve our long-term support and respect.

Edited for tone 21/07/2019 after being flagged. Please see my next post for the facts that I used to support this analysis

Boxalex. I agree with your analysis and have posted my own summary here.

Could you provide some substance - data and facts to your claims? Or are we just going to hurl shit to each other like monkeys…

Valdimir01, thank you for your question.

I have taken the total amount of Founders Reward from Boxalex’s post in this thread which calculates it as $234m at that time.

I have taken the figure for the distribution between the ECC and the 44 from the transparency report and this post. This shows that founders and vested employees (the 44) take 64% (the majority) of the Founder Reward. This means that they have received $150m or ~ $3.4m each.

Many long term holders have seen a substantial decline in their investment, however the 44 are now rich (by any normal standard). I use this to justify my statement that the effect of the founder’s reward has been to transfer wealth from the many to the few.

The way that Jane Mercer was treated and the fact that the ECC has a monthly deficit supports my contention that too much weath is diverted to the 44 and not enough to development. [Moderation edit by @daira to correct Jane Mercer’s name.]

That Zooko has spent time advising other projects and is “absolutely maxed out” comes from his post https ://

My statement that Zcash marketing has been ineffective is a widely held view in the community but I don’t have figures to either support or refute this viewpoint.

My statement that the people who have gained the most from Zcash so far ($3.4m each) are asking those who have not how they should be paid in future seems to supported by many of the comments in this thread itself.

My statement that the team has under-performed is based on the my belief that the $250m “spent” so far is a lot of money and my understanding of the road-map is that that Zcash is still far from having the features it needs to be a long-term private store of value. The very poor price performance may be an indication of a market perception that Zcash is not achieving its goals (although inflation is obviously a big factor).

If there are any factual errors above or if you disagree with this interpretation I would value your thoughts.

It not my intention to criticize anyone unfairly but as someone bought into Zcash because I believed in the vision I am disappointed that the project is failing not because of technical difficulties or the vagaries of the market but because, in my view, too much cash is being extracted.


Absolutly agree with this conclusion. Actually it’s the only valid one why:

  • the ECC runs at a deficite at lower exchange rates
  • there are not enough reserves to finish the product
  • the product won’t be even nearly finished with the expiration of an estiminated $350+M (current exchange rate!) Founders Reward.

My proposal for the future:

  1. Deductions from the block are prolonged (the percentage is calculated on the basis of further thoughts)
  2. Recipients of the founders award in the period of the first 4 years donate part of their money to the fund for further financing of the project, thereby becoming investors, and returning their funds in the next 4 years in zcash currency, this will reduce the dissatisfaction of the first customers and the market as a whole, and make them interested further success.
    The percentage of funding is calculated at the time of transfer in coins, not in dollars.
    This will confirm the statement “all in zcash”
    Can someone arrange this as a separate post as required by the rules?

Am I the only one who thinks it’s not really possible to make this decision (how the ECC and Zcash foundation gets funded) based on community input? This is the internet, and its good to hear people’s input and ideas, but this really seems like a decision for the Zcash Foundation.

The ECC has been transparent with the funds, and maybe they should get a consultant to look at their spending and see if there is a way to squeeze out a few more years based on the income that they know they will receive until 2020. This should probably happen soon. Maybe the founders should donate the last year of their rewards to the ECC if they really believe that is the key to success. I’m sure there are ways to get a few more years of solid development without the miners tax, and the decision could actually have a significant impact on price in either direction, so less might be more in the long run.

1 Like

Welcome the forums! :zcash:
The Zcash Foundation Board of Directors will have the final decision (historically, the likelihood of them siding with the communities’ decision is pretty high)
Second, Andy Murray CFO discusses the transparency report at about 13:00 here so he’d probably be the one to talk to about that :shrug: Electric Coin Company 2019 Q2 Livestream - YouTube
Beyond that you should probably research more about how things work, pretty much every important link can be reached through here ; )

With the Founders’ Reward ending in 2020, my recommendation is that the Electric Coin Company (ECC) pursue a two-year strategy change to prioritize vertical integration of the Zcash ecosystem. As part of this, the ECC should continue its responsibilities for maintaining the Zcash protocol, however shift its core focus and emphasis to prioritizing distribution for Zcash-compatible wallets, acquiring companies that are complementary to Zcash & enabling the vision of the ECC, and normalizing privacy for consumers and enterprises.

This transition strategy may require substantial changes to leadership within the ECC to enable the vision to come to fruition. The ECC should consider developing or acquiring technologies to complement the Zcash protocol, such as – private custom assets, private smart contracts, layer-two privacy, network-level privacy, and private consumer & enterprise wallets. Vertical integration at a time when digital and financial privacy are at the forefront of enterprises and governments alike allows the ECC to set precedence and demonstrate how privacy should be incorporated into the digital world.

Protocol-based funding has been and remains a controversial narrative, causing unnecessary confusion and dissent within our small and growing ecosystem. I believe if the ECC takes the necessary steps to enable the aforementioned transition strategy, it will have the ability to pursue and raise a new round of capital using a traditional funding model. The integration of technology stacks beyond merely the Zcash protocol provides new avenues for revenue and affords new growth opportunities in consumer and enterprise verticals.

Lastly, we should acknowledge the ECC for launching and advancing the Zcash protocol, clearing regulatory hurdles for building decentralized and privacy-preserving protocols, and fighting for digital and financial privacy. It is rare to have such a collection of highly-skilled and like-minded technical talent in one organization, and it should be our duty to assist the ECC in pursuing its next steps, regardless of its decision.

1 Like

I’m only for continued funding of ECC / ZF if it means also slowing down the inflation rate (more than the halving already would), while still keeping the 21mm total supply.

A megathread for more focused discussion of dev funding proposals: Future of Zcash dev funding — megathread / everything in one place

Howard Wu, thank you very much for contributing your thoughts about this. I know you as a very smart, thoughtful, and well-informed person in the space, and one of the few people I know who is active in both science and in VC-style investment.

I want to make one clarifying point about your proposal:

I just want to point out that, while ECC could do this, if we did so we would not be able to continue focusing primarily on improving, supporting, and promoting the core Zcash protocol the way we have been. We would instead need to prioritise the needs of the customers we would be acquiring (e.g. paying users of paid-for wallets, enterprise customers of vertical integrations, etc.) over the needs of all ZEC-holders (e.g. improving the core Zcash protocol, marketing Zcash to all users of the world, government and regulatory outreach and education, etc.).

This approach is an example of the “Pivot” option out of the three options that I described in my talk at Zcon1 (State of Electric Coin Company - Zooko Wilcox - YouTube). (The other two options are “Slow Down” and “All In On ZEC”.)

As of Zcon1, ECC has committed to not exploring the “Pivot” option for the time being. As I described in that speech, we currently have at least 24 months of sustainable funding under our current model, and as long as we continue to have more than 12 months of sustainable funding we are going to stick with the “All In On ZEC” option.


I was just re-reading the whole thread and these parts got my attention, especially the one about a voting mechanism catched my eye and mind again. Makes just … perfect sense.

However, for someone that is vehement against breaking of the 90% to miner promise and core value i don’t see much of contribution in any of the proposals, neither in these that stay to the promise, even less in these that want to break the promise.

Sure, you made your stance clear by a personal fork, but i wonder IF it should be limited to this as a ZEC holder? Just curious what the reasons about your silence is while on one hand claiming to be vehement against any breaking core value on the other hand not contributing to any proposal … Somehow at least … strange.

1 Like