WinZEC, Zcash4win/mac, Overwinter and Sapling: an uncertain future

WARNING: this is very long, but it concerns the binary disto of zcash that is running on the majority (or close to it) of its full nodes, all end users, actual people, not exchanges, etc, and its uncertain future.

Currently, anyone running zcash4win who upgrades to WinZEC at, which is running a version 1.1.0 zcashd.exe binary as its full node, is fine for when Overwinter activates in, what, a week or so, @paige??

But, unlike with legacy Zcash4win which is not longer distributed but still run by MANY users, I did NOT turn off or monkey with the auto-deprecation feature in the zcashd.exe v1.1.0 in WinZEC (nor did I change the client ID to BeanStalk, it uses default MagicBean since it will commit suicide after however many weeks). So with no future releases, it will eventually die sometime before Sapling.

Legacy Zcash4win nodes, if they do NOTHING, will be on a chain fork when Overwinter hits.

Zcash4mac users are already stuck with manually running the EXCELLENT command line toolchain build for macOS (binary or source) from @kozyilmaz, but there is no currently distributed standalone binary jar file of the ubiquitous Swing UI Wallet that is both 1) compatible with Overwinter vintage zcashd and 2) macOS

There are also a bunch of fixes, aside from enhancements and features, in the only Swing UI Wallet java GUI by @vaklinov that he currently maintains, the ZenCash version, that REALLY need to be back ported for Zcash, regardless of platform (Mac, Win or Linux), and there is very likely to be an unknown amount of work making all the ui elements and internal validations/data structures handle Sapling addresses and similar changes.

All of this will be quite a lot of work, as would additionally bringing a (currently theoretical and only a domain registration at the moment) MacZEC into being.

And now time for some difficult Real Talk™, and that is that WinZEC and its predecessors Zcash4win and Zcash4mac have never really paid for themselves. The only time aside from a few random, sizable donations/sponsorships that paid for 1-2 months of living expOenses, I have unfortunately rediscovered what other bitcoin (and other) wallet developers have since clued me in to, and that is that funding GUI wallet development through dev fees just does not pay enough for ongoing maintenance and support. If nothing else, users just Will Not Stand for paying a wallet dev fee more than the coins default TX fee, just as a general rule, because of human nature and psychology.

The ONLY time period that Zcash4win or WinZEC dev fees and donations actually were enough to cover modest, tucson-level living expenses, was late fall/early winter 2018, when bitcoin and zcash and everything else was mooning and transaction volume was high.

Since then it doesn’t even cover my cigarette smoking habit, which is you will note an order of magnitude or so less than rent in any tech-friendly city with any talent at all to collaborate with or hire, certainly not Denver.

So, SOMEONE either steps in and produces an easily installable, updated, will live long enough to see and work with Sapling, Mac and Windows GUI wallet, or there is going to be a chain fork in one case (zcash4win users), and then client death in another (WinZEC).

My reality has been funded of late almost completely by bounties, contracts and donations in the Komodo and HUSH platform communities, and there currently no time pressure comparable to all this looming Overwinter/Sapling stuff going on in that corner of the Zcash Fork Universe.

I have a branch of zcash 1.1.1 for windows that I and @str4d have been working on back and forth between our forks, and he has said it is likely to land in upstream zcash in 2.0.x, and any interim command line builds of those branches would stick WinZEC users merely in the same boat as Zcash4mac users are currently: needing to manually run zcashd and manually launch the Java GUI front end.

If some person(s) and/or entitie(s) doesn’t pop up and offer funding for all of the above, I’m going to have to EOL (End of Life) WinZEC and just not do MacZEC…it just is not financially tenable without a substantial investment from SOMEWHERE in my reality right now.

Otherwise I will be financially forced to flat out EOL (End of Life) all my Zcash wallets, say “use the source and see the zcash forums and ZcashCo”, and focus 100% on Komodo and HUSH Land.

I mean if enough funding shows up, GREAT, I’ll redirect and get Right On That, most of the Komodo ecosystem stuff I am working on has a far longer time horizon, lack of urgency and level of effort compared the above effort needed for me to keep pumping out Windows and Mac GUI full node Zcash Wallets.

There are hard costs involved, dev memberships that need renewing to sign builds, build VM’s and/or HW for testing, etc., let alone living expenses and bandwidth bills for downloads.

So, funding shows up, or I nope out and just point everyone here for all their Windows and Mac GUI private transactions.

All y’all (ZcashCo) are fully able to afford investments in sister companies these days (don’t get me wrong I think the Agorics thing IS AWESOME, M. Miller is how I met Zooko online! I’ve ported HIS stuff to Windows!), and I GET IT that your are all Real Busy with Zcon0, Overwinter and Sapling, but as the man said in the movie, “show me the money, Jerry”. Or build it yourself, whatever.




sorry that the above wanders a lot and could be better put together, I just moved 8 time zones, from Barcelona for 3 months back to Denver, and managed to come down with acute bronchitis between travel and simultaneous Denver Pride and Comic Con this last weekend.

Feel free to tag in anyone who should see this and/or link to it from elsewhere.

I guess the tl;dr is: command line zcash on mac is in good hands with @kozyilmaz, @str4d is ready to upstream the gmp patches and build changes for Windows for Sapling (but WinZEC won’t make it that long as-is), and if there is to be a GUI full node wallet that can send private transactions on Windows and Mac SOMEBODY has to 1) do it and 2) pay to have it done.

  1. can be me, ZcashCo, someone else, or nobody

I don’t care who 2) is if I end up doing it, but its gonna have to be a big enough chunk of ZEC/BTC/DOLLARS/WHATEVER to keep me, server bills and subcontractors going for some months.

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Thanks for the contribution <3

Or there is Door Number 3 that nobody wants to talk about, which is the only circumstance I’d go to all the above listed effort on my own (very thin) dime:

At Overwinter activation height I release 1.0.14-based, non-self deprecating GUI wallets using my Mac, Win and arm64 ports and the current Sapling-compatible Swing UI rebranded as another coin with a reduced FR going to myself and drop all zcash support and remove all downloads (the “altcoin drama rage quit hardfork”, as it were).

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“pull a bitcoin cash”, as it were

Note that this, aside from “doing nothing and just nope-ing out/fading on zcash proper”, is the path of least effort for me.

I don’t use Windows but this sounds important if so many Zcash users are on Windows.

How much do you need @anon47418038 to update the software before the fork? Or, Door Number 2, as you say, what do you need per month to keep WinZEC alive in perpetuity?

I am not sure but my overall expenses run around a bitcoin a month, which is NOT a lot compared what I made in my 20 year, Silicon Valley, VC funded, morally compromising Surveillance Capitalism enabling career before I went all in, as it were, on privacy oriented cryptocurrencies.

I mean COME ON, I ported zcash to Mac, Windows, arm64, all the downstream ZEC forks use my patches, credited or not, github history intact or not, which is cool, I mean its MIT licensed…but the ONLY fork that has ever paid anything close to market rate for any of my work in the ecosystem is Komodo. Zcash donations have always been spotty and rarely enough to cover lower middle class living.


I mean, Windows users are the number one user base numerically across the entire computer industry and its just a reality that you need a Windows wallet, like it or not, and SOMEBODY has gotta pay for support for all that

Libertarian Voluntary-ists always talk a good game until some asks for them to volunteer cash, which is largely what i’ve felt the reaction of the majority of the well capitalized stakeholders in the Zcash ecosystem has been…“oh some ELSE will volunteer the cash for a wallet that can SEND PRIVATE TXNS ON THE MOST POPULAR PLATFORM ON THE PLANET”

I mean, come on

Here are your handy “save Winzec” and “make MacZEC a thing” donation addresses. Let’s see how far we get while the antibiotics for the bronchitis I got this last week kick in over the next few days:

“Update WinZEC for Sapling compatibility and upstream GUI improvements”, with explorer links so we can all keep score:


“Make MacZEC with current Overwinter/Sapling zcashd” stretch goal:


Dang it Radix, why didn’t you get an application in with the Foundation? Issues · ZcashFoundation/GrantProposals-2018Q2 · GitHub

There is $250,000 being decided right now, I’m sure you would have had a good chance to get some support. Plus there is another round coming up in the fall (I believe).

CC this thread to @tromer @acityinohio


Because due to illness, injury, disability and gender identity issues (yay, coming out in public is fun, NOT), on top of travel to let that broken arm heal and an attendant lack of stability due to all of the above, I have barely been able to scrape by and produce the barest minimal deliverables for the last two grants I was awarded, I can’t attend zcon0 and the Foundation seemed to give no redacted about that, ZCashCo tells me nothing that’s not public about anything generally as i’m not on the payroll, which has led to things between us being somewhat…frosty, but I’d rather not air that laundry in detail here in public.

Oh yeah that grant progress report, at least has gone from “one 9” of uptime to only three days of less than 100% uptime out of the last 100, @tromer, that’s the bright spot in all this, and @str4d DOES have patches from me for gmp for windows


This is a CLEAR problem on many levels.

@zooko if you recall me asking why there isn’t a dedicated analyst/product manager in ZcashCo monitoring market, network, and community metrics and topics, this is another such item that would fall under that person’s responsibility. It can sometimes be difficult to envision the need for such a support member, but the longer you go without one, the more and more examples will pile up that you should have had one in place already.
I know it’s not as simple as “PAY THE MAN!” but the other major privacy coins have a TEAM dedicated to this and a senior leadership voice. That way the topic is addressed before uncertainty caused it to spill over into a public plea for an absolute decision.

@anon47418038 is not a new or small contributor to the Zcash ecosystem so it is alarming to me that ZcashCo hasn’t established a more direct relationship and arrangement with them proactively, at least as a 3rd party developer. How many others are voluntarily supporting Zcash in a way a normal person would expect some level of compensation and could simply disappear, hurting ZEC?
Third party / vendor management is a key responsibility of a product manager and it needs to be proactive.


The job title you are questing about for has the phrase “Developer Relations” in it somewhere, because as Steve Balmer famously ranted, for ANY platform its about “Developers! Developers! Developers!”

ZcashCo has had imho horribly lacking DevRel with nobody assigned that as a primary job responsibility.

The parts of your platform’s ecosystem you don’t pay to build, you at least have to pay someone to be a full time liason to those who do.

Such as when the entire ZcashCo team was at DevCon3, which was kept under their hat for understandable opsec reasons…but that was when I lived in Tucson as my disabled, single parent, queer ass could have actually afforded to go and Meet The Team!

I’ve run cross-chain security indicident response for the whole ecosystem before, I have a documented history of respecting information embargos and NDA’s, the network was already mostly running my Win ports full node, I’ve been on mailing lists with Zooko and Daira for over 15 years, and nobody thought to freaking tell me, or if they did didn’t trust me to keep it under my hat?

THAT is the face of ZcashCo developer relations.

There has been ONE, count them, ONE direct ZEC donation I have received from anyone who gets any kind of slice of the Founders Reward that was double-digit’s of ZEC, which paid my Jan 1017 rent, so thank you for whoever that was.

Otherwise, Libertarian Voluntarism in this space is hollow words: feel free to volunteer your code but don’t expect anyone with a slice of FR to volunteer funds back.

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It might be as simple as pay the man

Just to interject because reading this was upsetting for me: I vehemently object to your characterization that the Foundation doesn’t give a redacted about you attending Zcon0. We offered you the same scholarship (free registration) as every 2017Q4 Grant Recipient, and we funded you through the Grant Program in 2017Q4. And after informing you of the scholarship options, you told me you couldn’t attend because of visa issues, so your characterization has me doubly confused/upset…particularly since I’ve personally donated to your campaigns before.

I cannot speak about the Zcash Company, but from the Zcash Foundation side the 2018Q2 Grant Program was available and well publicized. I’m sorry that you had a series of issues preventing a submission but we had a very open call for funding with a long period for possible submissions.


Indeed. it occurred to me that there is also “Door number 4”: the “girl, don’t go away mad, just go away” option…I’m open to being paid to walk away from ZEC proper and agree to never do a chain fork.

ZcashCo can AFFORD to support desktop users, I can’t, not with my current financial reality.

Funded me for specific deliverables, not “expensive hotel and flight six months later”.

There might be a need for programs (either of foundation or company) of more long term support. The foundation grants are more for a one time project maybe, not for long term maintenance of a client/GUI.