The ZEC offramp problem

I’m connected with quite a few people that want to use ZEC (or BTC), but cannot because they have no offramp in their country that would allow them to exchange ZEC for the local fiat currency. For example, there are no exchanges that I’m aware of in India that allow for conversion to INR. In other cases around the world, some potential ZEC users are under authoritarian regimes that pose a safety risk. In another example, before the Taliban, many in Afghanistan were able to use a physical OTC location, but that was since closed and the proprietor arrested, killing the use of ZEC for remits into that location.

This is the danger with “Operation Chokepoint 2.0” in the US, where limiting access to traditional banking ahead of circular economies, effectively kills local crypto utility.

Is anyone here aware of solutions that exist, or could exist, that would allow someone to safely and confidentially receive ZEC and exchange it if no exchange (or atm) is available, and/or where using a regulated service may be a security risk?


This is a problem I have experienced myself with my family in Southamerica. Sure, I can send them ZEC but there’s very little they can do with it over there and they can’t swap it for fiat.

To get around this problem, you need a trustless way to swap peer-to-peer, basically Bisq but on Zcash. It would still require a lot of OpSec on repressive regimes.

There is also the additional challenge that, at least at first, the most likely use case will be remittances, so you are likely to have an imbalance between buyers and sellers. If everyone is trying to off-ramp, you need an informal market-maker, someone with the resources to buy all that ZEC for the local fiat and some level of access to the international market where that ZEC can be arbitraged to keep the cycle going.


Bisq supports Zcash iirc :slight_smile: I’ll confirm this soon.

But totally agree with your and @joshs’s comments here.

What I’m finding in my initial non-kyc research is that the only plausible way to use ZEC in these situations is in an agorist fashion. But, that requires a lot of user education, simultaneous merchant + peer to peer adoption, so it’s very difficult to coordinate.

I’m not really confident on on/off ramps the more I dive into it. This isn’t a Zcash problem though, it’s an issue in the entire digital cash space.


I don’t think the Zcash support is there yet. The issue was never commented on: Add Zcash shielded z-address support · Issue #4941 · bisq-network/bisq · GitHub

There was recent discussion about adding researching stablecoins on Zcash, which might also help.

I think there is another way out of this which is via bridging. I have understood that some of the work started with ZSAs means we can start having support for bridged assets, thus enabling (trusted) two-way bridges to operate. We would still need to have someone build this though.

Additionally, there is work being done such as the ZEC.d bridge which would allow offramping via AVAX.

All in all its clearly a huge problem, and we should have multiple projects this issue.


Transparent ZEC was a payment option when I tried Bisq last (a couple of years ago), it may have changed.

But the whole escrow transaction is done on the Bitcoin chain, for the world to see. I can’t find the link, but I believe it was last year that the US government sued a man for “running an unlicensed exchange” because he had traded a large amount of BTC through Bisq over the years.

The idea of Bisq, a decentralized, peer-to-peer exchange, is brilliant. Building it on top of Bitcoin, not so much. Though I do respect the technical achievement of what amounts to a smart contract being built on top of Bitcoin.

4 Likes facilitates peer-to-peer exchanges and supports Zcash, useful for up to $1000 USD at a time. Fees are $$$, and the process is cumbersome, but it gets the job done. It is based in Mexico and is used widely in Latam. Most of the peers speak Spanish as their primary language.


It seemed like they were very active for a while but haven’t heard much recently. I’m glad to hear they are still an option.

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This doesn’t solve your international offramp issues, but for US and related countries it seems the only thing crypto owners actually use as off ramp is gift cards. Cake wallet has this function for Monero users. Can @hanh or others include the same gift card “Zcash pay” function in zcash wallets?

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I don’t have any good ideas but I know that some governments suffering from bad inflation try to fix their exchange rate with USD, and a black market emerges for trading USD at a market price. Maybe we could learn something from how those channels work and organize themselves to enable something similar with ZEC.