The Future of Zcash

I was trying to bring this up at Zcon0 with the Facebook representative, but people laughed and changed the topic, they failed at integrating Libra into the marketplace, and currently have the largest social network on earth. Mark Z is king of kings, no man has ever had that many people in his commons.

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If running it depends on a network that consists on dedicated hardware that is expensive to acquire and to operate, it’s probably not sustainable :sweat_smile:

I’m oversimplifying on purpose. That’s how non-crypto people think/are told what mining is.

I believe that is fundamental for Zcash mission that it can be operated at a lower cost than average, so the technological barrier to enter the ecosystem is as low as it can be.

I’m not enforcing concepts, protocols or technologies, also on purpose, to think about what we would like the Zcash of the future to be and not so much (yet) on how we achieve that.

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The ZCAP poll has been sent out, with two questions relating to Zcash’s post-NU5 priorities:

  1. What do you believe should be the first (short-term) priority for Zcash following the activation of NU5?
  2. What do you believe should be the second (longer-term) priority for Zcash following the activation of NU5?

The options available are:

  • Improve Zcash’s scalability
  • Move away from Proof of Work
  • Add Programmability to Zcash
  • Add Support for User-Defined Assets to Zcash

The poll will close at 09:00 UTC on 1st September.

I want to acknowledge the suggestions from @teor (reduce protocol complexity), @dontbeevil (10x size of ZEC in shielded pools), and @den (trying to fill the gaps required for being integrated in a popular app).

@teor and I discussed the topic of protocol complexity and agreed that this is something that we should be doing anyway (i.e. no matter what our priorities are in terms of new features and functionality), as a matter of sustainability, best engineering practise, and minimizing Zcash’s attack surface.

@dontbeevil - I agree wholeheartedly that we should be seeking to increase the amount of ZEC stored in shielded pools but I feel like this is an outcome that will result from improving the Zcash protocol and educating users. As such, I didn’t feel it was appropriate to include it as an option in this poll.

@den - Similarly, while I agree that we should be making it easier to integrate Zcash with other apps (and hopefully Zebra’s modular architecture is a step in the right direction for this), I don’t feel that we have enough clarity on what changes to the core protocol would support this objective.

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I don’t believe this option, or this set of options in total, is consistent with ECC’s recommendation, or the expressed desires of many in the community.

I think it would be better to at least say something like “Explore other consensus mechanisms other than pure Proof of Work” to allow for alternatives such as hybrid PoW/PoS or other things. For example, a PoW miner might oppose a “move away from PoW” but support a hybrid option.

ECC’s position isn’t really a move “away” from something. Our recommendation is to move toward Proof of Stake for a variety of positive reasons. There are many others in the community that have also voiced that opinion. @Dodger previously mentioned in an Arborist call that the Zfnd might prefer something else, but having language specific to PoS in the survey gives the community means to express its opinion.

Zfnd, I humbly request you change the survey to more accurately reflect the community’s expressed interests.

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You make a good point hybrid PoW solutions but, unfortunately, Helios doesn’t permit changes to the questions after a poll is opened.

I’d point out that this is an advisory poll. It’s not binding on anyone, and if strong evidence emerges that options that aren’t included in this poll have widespread support (e.g. if many forum users respond to this thread expressing dismay that they are unable to vote for an option that encompasses hybrid PoW), we can always run another poll with more granular options.

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Are you able to void it and send another? “Proof of Stake” is not mentioned anywhere in the poll in spite of widespread discussion support here and across other mediums. For example, here is a list of supporters I pulled quickly from Twitter:

This is in additional to our posts about the benefits and a possible hybrid approach toward realization.

See: Should Zcash switch from Proof of Work to Proof of Stake? - Electric Coin Company

And: What would a Zcash Proof-of-Stake transition look like? - Electric Coin Company

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I think it’s adequately covered by the “Move away from Proof of Work” option.

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Just to give a quick temperature check here: I realized the move away from proof of work phrase implies moving towards hybrid models or proof of stake. Just one person here though!

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The first time I read it I took “Move away from Proof of Work” to mean just that: should Zcash move away from being only a Proof of Work chain?

I don’t see it as an exclusive statement, any approach (PoS, PoW+PoS, etc…) would technically be moving away from being a PoW only chain.

The results of the poll, if greater than 50% “yes” would indicate that further research into PoS/Hybrid/Whatever solutions is warranted.

EDIT: also see my reply below.

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I believe that words are important and that it’s not splitting hairs. If I understand correctly, the reason it was worded that way is because Dodger would like to explore other consensus mechanisms (@Dodger - please correct me if I’m wrong), which is fine but not a good reason for wording it the way he did for a poll, and it’s really a trivial change to get it closer to what the community expressed it is interested in - which is PoS or a hybrid.

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I’m in favor of a move toward proof of stake.

I’m not necessarily in favor of generic move away from proof of work, toward an unspecified consensus mechanism. For example I don’t think I would be in favor of a ‘proof of space and time’ mechanism used by the chia network.

@Dodger, I’m a ZCAP voter, and not sure how I should vote on this to best express my opinion. Would voting that I don’t want a generic move ‘away from PoW’ be interpreted by the Foundation as a vote against moving to PoS?

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I see @aristarchus and @joshs point, the question should be more indicative of a direction to go in vs just a simple “yea or nay” to Proof of Work.

A miner could favor a hybrid PoW+PoS model but the current format of the question would force the miner to pick “no” because the third option isn’t on the table.

I would personally be in favor of rewording the poll to somehow include all three options.

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Since votes have already been cast, perhaps just send out a message to all ZCAP members saying something like:

A vote for "Move away from Proof of Work" shall not be construed as a vote against moving to a hybrid Proof of Work / Proof of Stake system. A voter who supports making a move to such a hybrid system or a pure Proof of Stake system should choose the "Move away from Proof of Work" option to express that preference.

If a voter disagrees with this clarification, they can choose to change their vote before the voting period closes (since Helios allows voters to change their votes up until the end).

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We had a long conversation on — deprecate t-address or t2t transfers. Wondering if you could have another poll for this

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While I’ve changed my stance, i think it’s worth consulting ZCAP on this.

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Hi Dodger,

Thanks for the comment. What I tried to say was that we could identify the needs from other projects for them to integrate Zcash in their solution.

To take the Signal example again, I think they were looking for almost instant transactions.
T
his would mean for the Zcash ecosystem to focus on finding a solution for instant transactions.

This is just one example that comes to mind. I’m thinking more of a way to prioritize new features based on real demand.

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Definitely not.

Our objective here is not to stage a formal referendum to determine which alternative to PoW Zcash should adopt. I think it would be premature to ask that question at this stage. Changing the consensus mechanism has far-reaching implications for Zcash, including the network’s security, decentralisation, incentives, how ZEC is distributed (and concentrated), and the perception of Zcash as a store of value versus a means of payment.

To be clear, the Foundation isn’t opposed to PoS in principle. We just think that, if the community does want to move away from PoW, given the magnitude and import of such a change, we should consider what other alternatives there are, instead of just focusing on PoS.

However, the first step, to my mind, is to find out whether the community believes that moving away from PoW should be a priority (relative to the other options). If this poll indicates that a sizeable proportion of the community does believe that it should be a priority, that will help inform the Foundation’s decisions about what our next steps should be, and how we will allocate our resources to support the community in moving forward.

For example, we may commission some research or analysis of what viable alternative consensus mechanisms exist, and the implications and trade-offs of adopting them.

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I think that’s a good idea. Thank you, @hloo!

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Hi, I’m a ZCAP member, I also thought “move away from Proof of Work” was poorly worded and misleading. Should have said “move towards Proof of Stake”

Just my 2c.

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Community has spent significant amount of time on discussing t-address & t2t transfers. I think it calls for a poll on this @Dodger

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