Zcash User Research & Engagement (ZURE), Phase 1

Hello community!

Please take a look at my grant proposal for Zcash User Research & Engagement (ZURE), Phase 1.

I recommend reviewing the Intro to ZURE presentation first.

I look forward to your questions and feedback!


Zcash User Research & Engagement (ZURE), Phase 1

Applicant name:


Pitch: A one-liner elevator pitch version of your proposal

ZURE will study ZEC usage among early adopters to drive engagement and inform tech development. The goal is increasing Zcash adoption.

Total Request (USD):

$35000.00 USD

Have you previously received a grant from Zcash Community Grants (formerly called ZOMG) or ZF?


Are you seeking or have you received funding from other sources for this proposed project?


Applicant background:

  • Former Head of Product Marketing at Electric Coin Company. 8 years of product marketing, 7 years of content management and strategy, 15 years of copywriting, 15 years of startup marketing.

  • While still with ECC, I launched the 1st round of User Research (UR) interviews (see Zcash User Research, Round 1/Wave 1). It consisted of 62 interviews and was designed to gather Zcash user sentiment and build relationships. I also conducted an extensive analysis of crypto adoption around the world and ran several surveys. My plan for ZURE takes the findings of those efforts into account.

Description of Problem or Opportunity:

The problem ZURE aims to solve is the lack of exclusive focus on Zcash Product users, i.e. users of the private payment system. User-focused information and updates are scattered and mixed in with information about Zcash Technology.

See Intro to ZURE for more info.

Proposed Solution: Describe the solution at a high level.

  • ZURE’s solution to the problem is methodical collection, analysis, reporting, and public discussion of Zcash Product user feedback, where “Zcash Product” is defined as the private payment system. The goal is to engage early adopters of Zcash, focus the conversation on ZEC usage, normalize the idea of using ZEC for payments, develop a community of private payment users, inform ecosystem developments that support ZEC usage through public reports and discussion that involves both, users and builders, and keep the Zcash community updated on usage-related developments, issues, and opportunities.

  • Zcashers, interested in learning more about using ZEC for payments, are ZURE’s target audience. They are invited to participate in User Interviews. ZURE’s stakeholders include Zcash enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, and builders, interested in leveraging usage insights and increasing user adoption. They will be engaged through public discussion and, when necessary, 1:1 calls and small group meetings.

Solution Format: What is the exact form of the final deliverable you’re creating?

  • ZURE’s vision is to build a user adoption engine, with user research at its core.

  • There are multiple deliverables in this process. Short-term deliverables include, but are not limited to public UR Reports, public discussions of usage insights, and a @UseZcash twitter account, dedicated to usage-focused updates and developments. Long-term deliverables include user-focused content, usez.cash website, closed UR participant channels (TG, Signal), events, and more.

Technical Approach: Dive into the how of your project. Describe your approaches, components, workflows, methodology, etc. Bullet points and diagrams are appreciated!

User Interviews, Round 1/Wave 2

  • Expand the 1st round of user interviews, and add to the 62 interviews completed at ECC. (see attached report)

  • My calendar will be available to anyone who wants to participate

Zcash Usability Testing

  • Conduct a full review of the ecosystem from a ZEC user perspective

    • Test all standard ZEC actions available on recommended exchanges (buying, sending, receiving, storing, z- vs t- vs u-)

    • Test all standard ZEC actions available on recommended wallets (seed phrase import, memos, transactions, etc)

    • Test recommended ways of using Zcash Product (earn, donate, pay - Giving Block, Spedn, Free2Z, ZecHub, PayWithZcash, etc)

  • Survey and interview design

    • Use this information, along with 1st Round insights, to design the 2nd Round of interviews.

    • Use the results from user surveys ran at ECC, along with the ecosystem review insights to design a survey (one or more). The sequence will be decided during the analysis.

User Interviews, Round 2/Wave 1

  • Complete the R2/W1 of user interviews

Public Discussion

  • Publishing the most interesting highlights throughout the process

  • Create and publish a complete report once the 2nd wave of Round 1 and the 1st wave of 2nd Round interviews are complete.

  • Invite the Zcash community to discuss the results on various platforms, such as Zcash Forum, @UseZcash Twitter, Discord, and other.

  • Make additions and/or adjustments to the public report based on the public feedback analysis

Next steps

  • Use interview results and public feedback to design the next steps

    • New rounds of interviews

    • New surveys

    • User-focused content and updates

    • Group discussions and online events

  • Publish the next steps and begin the process all over again

Dependencies: What external entities is your project dependent on? What involvement is required from ZF, ECC, and/or other external organizations? Who would have to incorporate your work in order for it to be usable?

ZURE is impossible without willing participants. Its success depends on the ecosystem’s willingness to support and participate in this process.

End users:

  • Interview and survey participation

  • Public discussion participation

  • Note: My estimates for this grant rely on past results. For example: The majority of 1st Round user interviews, completed at ECC, took about 3-4 weeks to complete.

Builders, organizations, supporters:

  • Public discussion participation

  • Support and collaboration: Forms of support from builders and leaders may include feature updates, answering common questions, contributing to the resolution of common user issues, and etc.

  • Examples:

    • ECC’s readiness to support ZURE’s comms by collaborating on community outreach (shout-out to Nate and Chris T. :slightly_smiling_face:)

    • Collaborating with ambassadors on things like survey translation and distribution

Execution risks: What obstacles do you expect? What is most likely to go wrong? Which unknown factors could jeopardize success? Who would have to incorporate your work in order for it to be usable?

  • The majority of the risk stems from the dependencies. As I mentioned above, a lack of participation is the biggest threat to this project.

  • There is also a risk of skewed results, if the effort doesn’t reach a wide enough audience of Zcash users. This is why it’s important not to favor any particular comms channel and to continue to seek out and welcome new participants. Because this effort targets active early adopters, those who choose to join and stick with this process are ZURE’s target audience by default. These early adopters are the key to wider Zcash Product adoption.

Unintended Consequences: What are the negative ramifications if your project is successful? Consider usability, stability, privacy, integrity, availability, decentralization, interoperability, maintainability, technical debt, requisite education, etc.

I honestly can’t think of any.

Evaluation plan: What metrics for success will you share with the community once you’re done? In addition to quantitative metrics, what qualitative metrics will you commit to report?

  • Survey results

  • User interview results and observations

  • Zcash Product usability testing results and observations

  • Public reports and public discussion summaries

  • Ongoing user-focused, UR-driven updates and content

  • Overall level of community engagement and collaboration with ZURE

Hardware/Software total budget:

$0.00 USD

Please provide justification for the total hardware/software budget:


Services total budget (cloud, hosting, etc.):

$0.00 USD

Please provide justification for the total services budget:


Compensation total budget:

$35000.00 USD

Please provide justification for the total compensation budget:

User Research + Engagement by Tatyana

Rate: $100/hr

Total hrs: 350

Logistics:10 hrs

  • Outreach and scheduling

  • UR invitations

  • Builder comms

  • Participant comms

Interviews: 70 hrs (not including no-shows)

  • Round 1: 40 interviews (30 min)

  • Round 2: 50 interviews (30-60 min)

Analysis & Strategy: 210 hours

  • Ecosystem analysis (ZEC usability testing)

  • Interview and survey creation/planning/analysis

  • Result analysis

Reports: 20 hrs

Discussion: 20 hrs

  • Multiple public channels and forums such as @UseZcash, forums, Signal, TG

  • 1:1s with ecosystem enthusiasts and leaders

  • Group discussions

Content: 20 hrs

  • Updates based on analysis , reports, and discussion

  • Updates creation and validation (ecosystem leaders)

  • Content for Usez.cash website and @UseZcash twitter

Do you require startup funding?


Milestone 1 - estimated completion date:


Milestone 1 - USD value of payout upon completion of deliverables:


Deliverable 1.1

175 out of 350 hours

Milestone 2 - estimated completion date:


Milestone 2 - USD value of payout upon completion of deliverables:


Deliverable 2.1

350 out of 350 hours

Total proposed USD value of grant:

$35000.00 USD

How was the project timeline determined?

Note: Each week represents approximately 40 hours of work. Due to dependencies mentioned above and the fluid nature of ZURE’s process, the actual hours per week could vary. It is also important to note that December tends to be a slow month due to holidays, which may affect the time it takes to complete Phase 1.

Deliverables include, but are not limited to the following:

User Interviews, Round 1/Wave 2

  • Week 1: Launch R1/W2

  • Week 1-4: Community survey

  • Week 5: Public report

  • Week 1-5: ongoing updates to forum, X @UseZcash, and other relevant channels

Zcash Usability Testing

  • Week 1: begin full review of the ecosystem from a ZEC user perspective

  • Week 2: Round 2 design

  • Week 5: Public report

  • Week 1-5: ongoing updates to forum, X @UseZcash, and other relevant channels

User Interviews, Round 2/Wave 1

  • Week 3: Launch R2/W1 - invite Round 1 participants

  • Week 3-7: Community Survey

  • Week 9: Public Report

  • Week 3-9: ongoing updates to forum, X @UseZcash, and other relevant channels

Public Discussion

  • Week 1-8: Ongoing public updates

  • Week 1-8: Public reports for Usability Testing, Round 1, and Round 2

  • Week 9: Phase 1 of ZURE is complete

  • Week 10: Master public report, analyzing Phase 1 of ZURE


  • Week 1-10: begin to create and organize content for the usez.cash website

Next steps

  • Week 10: Phase 2 proposal. Possible steps include:

    • Expanding Rounds 1 and 2

    • Adding Round 3, focusing on competitor analysis

    • New surveys

    • User-focused content and updates

    • Group discussions and online events

Application submission date:



Love this image!

I think this is important research, and support this grant. :student:


Thank you! :slightly_smiling_face:

For 90+ interviews at 30 minutes each, this seems like a bunch of busy work that can be replicated with a SurveyMonkey link + ChatGPT analysis.

And no offense here, but former head of marketing at ECC and now this kind of research pops up? What exactly were you doing during your tenure? I’m extremely skeptical of this grant and similar ones that are “research” focused providing any actionable result, unless they are followed by implementing some sort of new or enhanced functionality to the protocol itself.


I can only support this grant under qualified conditions, where ZEC are valued above $200 per coin.

Spending precious ZEC at less than $30 during a bear market, on user (very few exist) research does not meet my standards for ZCG fiscal responsibility, nor to the due respected value of each ZEC in the treasury.

I recommend that this proposal is shelved for a year or so. It would be served better when Zcash has notably more users, and when the wallet and infrastructure products are more mature.

Correction: former head of Product marketing.

User research, which includes user interviews, is a standard practice across industries. It’s not a new concept. Studying users before you build/launch something really expensive or attempt to communicate the value of what you’ve built in a way that resonates is not a novel idea. In fact, skipping this step usually doesn’t bode well for startups. There are reasons why so many of them fail; not understanding who they are building for is one of them. Surveys and AI analysis are certainly within the scope of user research, but, no offense, reducing it to just those two things shows a very limited understanding of the process and its benefits.

I understand the resistance to user research. It’s also not new. :slight_smile: The practice of using limited anecdotal evidence to support and reinforce our biases is not new. In fact, it’s very natural. And sometimes very expensive. If this proposal is accepted, I sincerely hope you participate in at least one interview not only to contribute your take on Zcash and its usability, but also to see UR in action, have a real conversation without the constraints of an online forum.



I wanted to share my personal advocacy for this grant, or else similar work:

Chiming in here: I found @peacemonger 's work at ECC super valuable and losing that during our downsizing was a big loss, especially because we weren’t able to publish those results mid-project.

I believe this kind of work is extremely important for Zcash, and in fact, it’s better served through an open process like a ZCG grant rather than silod into a single org (as it was unintentionally at ECC). This kind of work is invaluable for three reasons:

First, proactively researching users with an emphasis on breadth helps uncover a variety and breadth of user needs that I believe are often missing from almost all community & dev discussions. Almost all of us simply rely on whatever assumptions and biases we have without much insight into how skewed our filter bubble may be. And, from watching @peacemonger’s initial research in this area, I am fairly confident that most of us are wrong about real user needs. We have ideas from our own experience or anecdotes, but without rigorous proactive effort to uncover the true breadth of users, we’re stuck with our own skewed pictures.

There are many examples I picked up, such as that according to a survey almost none of the members of the ECC mailing list participate in twitter, this forum, or discord! However, even sharing those examples can exacerbate the problem of bias, so the best antidote is rigorous published research. Just try to answer these questions and ask yourself why you believe your answer:

  • Of all current Zcash users, what is the most common native language or geographic region?
  • Do different sets of users rely on Zcash for different reasons? What are those reasons? (e.g. SoV? Privacy? Mobile wallet convenience? Payments?)
  • What motivated existing users to adopt Zcash?
  • Which people discovered Zcash but have yet to acquire or use ZEC? Why? What alternatives do they prefer?
  • How do people acquire Zcash?
  • How many users are aware of: this forum? ZCG? ZCAP? Network Upgrades? ZSA or PoS plans? etc…

Second, this kind of user research is not tied to a specific organization’s goals or product plans. This is useful for avoiding “org / product” dominance to skew our understanding of real Zcash users. This is also part of the painful reason ECC decided to wind down this broader user research since we were forced by finances to focus more narrowly on specific product goals (Zashi, SDKs, PoS R&D). For example, if ECC continued a user research function, due to our budget contraints we’d very likely narrowly focus on Zashi users, wallet developers, or PoS-specific needs or features, rather than broadly on what all current and potential Zcash users need. What if most Zcash users don’t use a mobile wallet or don’t need PoS features? Our narrow focus might not discover that and so Zcash would lose out on larger adoption opportunities. If the broad Zcash community loses broad user research, then the results of development orgs are going to be “narrow” to just their particular products, those users, and the assumptions behind them.

Third, publicly documenting this research serves as a useful reference point for both community organizers, product developers, and protocol engineers. In product development we frequently have to choose between different approaches with various trade-offs to meet a varied set of assumed user needs. We rely largely on anecdotes or data from this forum, ZCAP, etc… -but how do we know how representative that data is? By getting documented broad user research in front of the community, we can begin referring to those results to make decisions in a more rigorous manner. This is also critical for governance decisions, because the most important decisions directly impact different users with varying needs.

I see a lot of hand-wringing about Zcash’s slow adoption, lack of Product-Market Fit (PMF), etc… and at least one different opinion for every conversation participant. How can we actually figure out which directions are most likely to improve adoption and find PMF, rather than just endlessly debating with uninformed opinions?

By rigorous user research.

I typically refrain from advocating for specific grants, but I’m making this exception because I view this kind of work as critical and timely for Zcash. Obviously I have my personal bias from working with
@peacemonger: she’s extremely motivated and has experience for this kind of work, so it’s up to ZCG to evaluate this specific grant. However, regardless of the decision about this grant, I do hope the broader community can prioritize this rigorous general user research moving forward.


I don’t see the distinction. It’s all in the same bucket.

I’ve worked at plenty of companies (large and small). The larger ones had bigger budgets and were able to justify user-research.

Studying users before you build/launch something really expensive or attempt to communicate the value of what you’ve built in a way that resonates is not a novel idea.

Zcash, is launched, right? From the whitepaper:

Zcash is a decentralized and open-source cryptocurrency that offers privacy and selective transparency of transactions. Zcash payments are published on a public blockchain, but the sender, recipient, and amount of a transaction remain private.

In fact, skipping this step usually doesn’t bode well for startups.

[citation needed]

Why can’t those results be re-used/published?

And in your points (I’m not going to re-quote them here), I think you and others working on Zcash are overlooking the base-line use case: Zcash being private money. AKA Bitcoin that can scale and is private.

English and the internet?

Do different sets of users use cash for different reasons? Answer: yes, obviously. Same reasons you listed. Don’t think we need to interview 100 people to discern that.

I’m guessing lots. They probably prefer alternatives that don’t endlessly dump and have a more focused product leadership direction and decentralized structure (hint: Zcash Foundation, ECC, and ZCG are not decentralized).

How do people acquire any cryptocurrency? An exchange. Or maybe your brother tipping his favorite local barista.

  • The forum: there are internal traffic stats an admin like @dodger can pull
  • ZCG: Probably 1 out of 20 people who know about Zcash.
  • Network upgrades: Why should most normal customers care? Developers and exchanges are a different story and those that need to know, will.
  • ZSA or PoS plans: Obviously a very small amount.

This research evokes memories of the time in high school when I consumed Adderall ahead of a significant test, only to spend the entire night tidying my room, arranging my documents, and creating “study cards” rather than directly engaging with the study materials. It’s a type of “satisfyingly-comprehensive” nonce.

This is also part of the painful reason ECC decided to wind down this broader user research since we were forced by finances to focus more narrowly on specific product goals (Zashi, SDKs, PoS R&D)

Once again, this is a lack of product leadership. Zcash is way too small and has yet to deliver on its mission statement (per the whitepaper), to even start to worry about user research. This money would be better spent on getting shielded wallet support across the line.

PoS-specific needs or features

It sounds like ECC is already committed to migrating to PoS, so why would that even be worthy of research? ECC does what ECC wants to do (clearly).

If the broad Zcash community loses broad user research, then the results of development orgs are going to be “narrow” to just their particular products

Uh, hello!? That’s the point! Zcash doesn’t need to be everything to everyone.

Third, publicly documenting this research serves as a useful reference point for both community organizers

Again, what’s stopping you from publishing the half-completed research work attempted by @peacemonger that apparently is getting thrown away?

Personally, I think it’s in your best interest given your relationship to the project, Zooko, Zancas, Least Authority, etc.

User research is something you do in order to grow those “very few” users into many. Also, what is “very few”? Are you sure your estimate is correct? Who are they? Why do they choose to use ZEC over other methods? What did we do right with them? How can we replicate those tiny successes? What can we do to make those users want to recommend that experience to others? Where do we find more people like them? How can we turn others into them?

Let’s say there are no users. Why? Why don’t the people, who believe in Zcash, use Zcash? The answer may seem obvious, and sometimes it is, but among the obvious answers there are always a few unexpected ones. Among the many tiny dead ends, those are the tiny breakthroughs. And even the “obvious” answers mean different things to different people. Let’s say “poor usability” is the reason someone doesn’t use ZEC. What does that mean? What specifically were they trying to do when they ran into issues? What obstacle could they not get around? Are they struggling with a particular feature? Are they confused? Can it be fixed through better communication or does the solution require a team of developers? Is that a common issue? Are there those who get around that issue successfully? What solution is good enough for a particular segment of our users? Who are they? What improvements make that segment bigger? Etc.

Waiting for the coin price to go up magically on its own is not a strategy. “Build it and they will come” might work for a very small group of unicorns and only for a limited period of time. Eventually, even the unicorns have to roll up their sleeves and get methodical about their users, if they want to stay at the top. That work has to get done. We cannot assume we know our users without making a formal effort to listen to them. When it comes to user adoption, assumptions and stagnation are correlated.


it’s very obvious. they are targeting day to day transactions and marketing zcash as a more stable currency than fiat. the problem is people don’t like seeing their currency go up and down by 10%, 20% 50%. they accept volatility from commodities (like
gold/silver/coffee etc) and investments (stock/bonds), not from currency. when currencies get too volatile shit hits the fan…. labor as captured in the currency needs to be highly stable. especially over short timeframes. the view that privacey is the be all and end all is a dead end. we need more out of a currency.

zcash is private gold, not private cash. anyone using ZEC to buy coffee is doing it for fun, not as a way of life. The average person doesn’t have the deep pockets to accept the risk. we should be going head to head with bitcoin and not targeting emerging markets where people can’t accept the risk of zcash.

The average person needs a private stable coin. market zec as private gold to connect with the right customers. something like 75% of bitcoin owners are long term holders.


Respectfully, these are your personal opinions and assumptions. Be careful when speaking for “people” and their needs. I’m people too.

The question, “what do you think people think/need?” would not make it into a user interview I conduct, unless I was casting a very wide net, prepared to take whatever I get with a giant grain of salt. The value of the insights gathered from a question like that would be pretty low compared to the value of the insights gathered from the question “what do you think/need?” I also wouldn’t ask anyone to define “average person” or guess what that nonexistent entity needs, unless I was trying to make a point. I’m looking for early adopters - Zcashers, willing to tinker with the less than perfect UX and share their experiences. They are the first step towards the mass adoption we dream about. Even if it’s a small group, they are out there.

1 Like

They are not just my opinions. I have done my own surveys with people of many different countries. They want USD and nothing else. Now these are software developers so maybe it’s biased.

then hopefully you don’t ask questions designs to steer the survey.

what would you want to accept as payment for your goods or services and/or accept as payment for your wages.

  1. a private crypto coin that might be worth 99% to 101% of your purchase price over short and long term periods. This option has stability and privacy’s as its primary purpose.

  2. a private crypto coin that might be worth 90% to 110% of your purchase price on any given day and may have even higher volatility over longer periods. you might lose 90% or more of your money or you might make money. This option has privacy only as its primary purpose.

  3. a US dollar backed private stablecoin that pays users a yield for holding it. This alternative is design to track the value of the USD and offer the user a yield.

  4. Bitcoin. This option is for people that want Bitcoin.

  5. Zcash. This option is for people who want a private Bitcoin.

All of these options will be hitting the market. it’s already proven the killer use case so far is stable coins. So it’s going to be a fight to get market share.


it’s a major problem when the community can’t even agree on what zcash is, what is should be… and any attempts to identify real-world users that could help grow the coin’s value are shuffled aside… happening here… based on everything else looks like it happened at ECC

so we’ll spent a million on media and videos without a clear use case
we’ll spend however many tens of thousands on shielded assets without real world support that people will use them to affect a real change

and we’ll consider pulling block rewards away from miners who are already growing more disillusioned with zcash - is mining zcash even profitable anymore?


Who would do that at ECC, and what priority would they sacrifice to do so?

What do you mean by “private money”? What does Zcash provide or fail to provide and to whom to achieve that goal?

In your answer, are you sharing your opinion based on the assumptions of your personal experience, or are you referring to more rigorous research?

If you are not referring to research, why should your opinion be persuasive to everyone else in the Zcash community versus any number of contrary opinions?

You assume most Zcash users speak English as their native language. Aren’t you curious if that’s true or not?

There are hundreds of ways to improve Zcash. Which should we prioritize in your opinion? Do you have any way to substantiate your opinion?

No offense, but your guess does not persuade me much at all. Here are some questions I do not know the answer to:

  • Of all of the people who learned about crypto and decided to investigate if it’s useful for them, how did they learn about it?
  • How many of those people decided an alternative to crypto was better for them? What were those alternatives?
  • Of those, how many of them learned about Zcash? (My guess is a tiny fraction.)
  • Of the ones who learned about Zcash, and chose a different alternative, which alternatives did they choose? (Think about how important this is! Was it BTC? Was it ETH? Was it stETH? Was it USDT? Was it USDC?)
  • Of those who chose to use crypto for any reason, how many distinct crypto tokens or products did they try or continue to use? What are those tokens and products?
  • Are there trends of which alternative they chose based on their geographic region? (Hint: The answer is very likely to be yes, and that tells us something about how people’s needs differ by region. For example, the holders of USDT and USDC are very distinctly geographically distributed.)

Then why is there continual discussion and diverging opinions about these topics?

Have you published the methodology and results of these surveys? They could be very helpful for the Zcash community! For example, it would improve this discussion in the first place.

That’s my primary theme here. We need the methodology and results of this kind of research to be published, to inform our discussions and decision-making.

I see the word “obvious” a lot. It’s not obvious! If it was obvious, then why did you do a survey in the first place?

We are sharing assumptions coming from a small number of people on the forum. I want to see people back up such assertions with user research.

If your survey shows people prefer USD, I have several questions:

  • who was surveyed?
  • what do they want to do? (Save? For how long? Spend? Spend where?)
  • if most people want USD-pegged value, then why is the total market cap of crypto much larger than the total market cap of stable coins?

I find it plausible that some combination of many possibilities are true:

  • many people around the world prefer USD-pegged SoV and MoE
    • for some regions/situations, non-crypto alternatives (such as just physical dollar bills) are better than crypto dollars
    • for some regions/situations, crypto dollars are a better alternative
  • a significant portion of users prefer non-USD pegged crypto value (consistent with market caps)
  • few people prefer non-USD pegged crypto assets, but they are very wealthy, whereas there are more people who want crypto dollars, but in aggregate they are less wealthy (consistent with market caps)

I don’t know which of these is true. And where it is true, I’m not sure which populations we’re talking about.

Additionally, different populations have different preferences and needs (based on anecdotes I’ve heard, not rigorous research).

For example, maybe a significant portion of both South Koreans and Venezuelans want private SoV which is not USD-pegged. Is this because they want speculative upside, or because they fear sudden USD devaluation?

Ok, now if you are building a product for those two different populations, you should prioritize different features and go-to-market strategies, because the two cultures are very different. It may be that South Korean users have a strong preference for an “official corporate wallet” that has a rich interface with many options that is advertised via paid ads on Kakao or Naver and has explicit regulatory clarity, while it may be that LATAM users prefer a simple interface created by non-profits that are advertised through word-of-mouth by friends with less emphasis on regulatory concerns. If those assumptions are accurate, then Zcash would have greater adoption if there are two very distinct wallet products catered to the specific preferences of the two populations. The “next step” which would have the biggest payoff in terms of adoption-per-effort is likely to be very different for those two distinct user populations. Also, how big are the populations? Would either wallet product approach work well in India? Does India have 10x the potential users as LATM + South Korea combined? If so, then maybe the “next step” for Indian adoption would be worth 10x the payoff of either South Korea or LATAM.

How can we decide among all of these opportunities?

We can decide by having more rigorous research about the opportunities to inform our discussions and decision making.

Let me turn this conversation around. If we do not do user research, then what should we prioritize, and how should we make that decision, and how can we persuade each other as to the best course of action?


I think this is a shared responsibility. If a project was already initiated before downsizing occurred, it seems counterproductive to discard it. Regarding priorities, we’re all multitasking to some extent. Engaging in this dialogue, for example, is surely important, but so is ensuring ongoing projects reach fruition even if they were fallout of the downsize.

Drawing from the Zerocash whitepaper, Zcash appears to be conceptualized as a privacy-focused version of Bitcoin. The journey since its inception shows scaling challenges, similar to what Bitcoin faced, prompting a shift in narratives. While Bitcoin is now seen more as a store of value, there’s some ambiguity around Zcash’s current position – is it a private digital cash, a store of value, or both?

As a technology, my approach is rooted in building and adapting based on user feedback and market trends. It’s essential to balance strategic thinking with practical execution. While deep contemplation is invaluable, it risks losing sight of practical, on-the-ground user experiences and immediate needs.

My insights are drawn from direct observations and experiences with Zcash, contrasting its intended promises against the lived reality of its implementation and performance.

Given Zcash’s origins and primary operational base, it’s been largely approached through an English-speaking lens. That said, global expansion is beneficial, but perhaps it gains more traction once the initial market is more firmly established and served.

Prioritizing privacy seems paramount given Zcash’s foundational promise. First, resolving any functional blockades (like the ‘emergency mode’), second, addressing issues around transparent pools, and third, enhancing hardware support for comprehensive privacy functionality. Regarding its identity crisis – Zcash needs clarity, whether as private cash or a store of value. A coherent vision will help guide subsequent improvements and innovations.

That’s perfectly okay; differing perspectives drive constructive discourse. I appreciate the opportunity to share my viewpoint, and it’s not about universal agreement.

People often learn through media, personal networks, or by receiving cryptocurrencies as gifts. It’s a social and experiential learning curve, similar to traditional money.

Notably absent from the list is XMR (Monero), which seems to have attracted many who initially showed interest in Zcash, likely due to their shared emphasis on privacy.

Overall, I genuinely value the work you and others contribute to this project. However, I believe there’s a ton of low-hanging fruit that could significantly enhance the user experience for the existing community. Tackling these initial, more straightforward issues that I mentioned from the 3 examples above, seems logical before diving into more complex endeavors like a PoS transition or other extensive modifications. And ultimately, I don’t think user research is going to help on this front since the community has expressed these pain points already.

I’d be in favor of this grant after those have been addressed (and ideally when the price of ZEC is much higher).

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my opinion as to why its obvious and why divergent opinions

  1. Zcash markets itself as a currency for “day to day transactions”.
    a) Uncommon sense. Who wants to accept a currency with the risk you can lose 50% or more of your purchasing power very quickly? Any currency for day to day transactions needs to be stable. ZEC is not stable. Its a fact.
    b) Ideology. Many people in this community are anti fiat. So they really dont care what is better for day to day transactions. They want something different. And they really dont want to do anything that helps the USD or any fiat.
    c) Hope. Zcash has no fundamental underpinning for anyone to objectively derive a value. Its all based on promotion at this point. So many people want to “promote” it as opposed to building something of real value. (an aside, Bitcoin has managed to apparently do it. But, no one here knows the long term plan thay may eventually show what is being priced into the BTC price. The market sees something in the future for BTC that is not clear. We dont have that same market trust)
    d) Vested interest. In my opinion, most people on the forum get paid to come up with ideas. So they come up with ideas they can implement because they dont make money to come up with ideas other people must implement. This is the “negative feedback loop”. The ideas tend to be community, marketing, and fairly simple, with no real payback if measured by transaction volume.
    e) Control. We have continued in fighting over centralized block rewards. The money is not tied to creating more ZEC transactions. We have around 10 TXN per block. We need 1,000s. But we have no objective way to measure performance. When there is no measurement system, its much easier to have diverging opinions because there is no accountability.

No, I not publish. But I did share a fairly long back and forth between me and one of my developers on this forum. My surveys are unique to me. I ask the developers I hire what they want (USD or BTC) mainly to see if the ZEC use case make sense. Now they dont know what Zcash is or privacy so I ask them to accept BTC. They dont want Bitcoin when I offer it. Why? They say its too volatile. Interestingly, that is what the developers at Zcash implicitly say and the grant recipients, which is why the Foundation needs to hedge into fiat (and possibly ECC to pay people). I would expect 100% or more of ZEC developers who actually need the money to pay their bills and not already wealthy dont want ZEC, they want USD or local fiat. When you target these emerging markets, you are targeting people who are not wealthy. They cant afford to lose 5% in a day. So isn’t it common sense ZEC is too risky for them?

Who was surveyed? About 7 people. Software developers. Plus, I know hundreds of people who would not accept ZEC, BTC, or any crypto as payment for wages goods or services or use them for day to day transactions. If you follow AMP protocol, they have done a lot of work on what retailers want. This is a great source of information for you! Retails want fiat and they want it instantly! AMP protocol has done all the leg work here. Their solution is to let users pay in crypto, but their protocol instantly converts it to fiat and deposits it into a retailers bank. Amazing solution and it works.

You are confusing market cap with transaction volume. You are not counting the velocity of money. Money turns over many times during the year. Recent estimates is stablecoin transaction volume was around 11trillion in 2022. Stablecoins will dominate day to day transactions. We are barely in the first inning. All paper money will go digital.

the USD is the worlds reserve currency. I pay people in China, India, Ukraine, Pakistan, and others. Not one of them asks for anything other than USD. Now, it could be biased. But, not one asks for or wants Bitcoin. It just makes sense that if we want to leverage the Zcash blockchain to bring privacy to the most people, you target the most used currency first and then work down.

This one of the the biggest flaws in the current organizational thinking in my view. You want to pick the winners and losers. So you are selling a highly volitliy crypto coin to people who dont have the wealth to accept the risk. So, you inadvertently end up hurting the people you want to help.

Can we not try to pick winners and losers and try to bring privacy based currency solutions to the market? We need to have a metric for Transaction Volume and not Wealthy/Poor. You start with the currency that is most used in the world. Just as important the USD is an “English speaking” currency. Yet people all over the world want it. People care about stability and store of value. Languange is not really all that important. Create a currency people can trust. Isnt our goal privacy? So adding privacy to the USD is the best place to start because we need scale first to bring cost down.

User research is great when the goal is to find the truth. When the goal is to validate preexisting ideology and views about “who we should be helping” and who we should not be helping, then the survey becomes a fraud. Im not saying this survey would be a fraud. But I do know for sure this community does not seem to believe in creating wealth. Especially if its going to help wealthy people. So thats a bad place to be for Zcash because your target market is really wealthy people becase as I stated before, poor people can not accept the risk inherent in ZEC. The best way to bring privacy to poor people is a stable coin and if they happen to have some extra money they can buy ZEC to build wealth if the community ever decides creating wealth is a goal.

Most people are interested in Zcash for privacy. So that is the common theme. I propose the ECC/Foundation set the mission. And if people dont like it they sell.

  1. Zcash is a payment network designed to protect user privacy. Zcash mission is to bring privacy to all by offering a suite of privacy based digital currencies. ZEC is the first peer to peer crypto coin created by Zcash with a 21m fixed coin supply. The purpose of the 21m coin supply is to protect ZEC holders from excessive money printing by governments around the world. ZEC intends to offer more privacy based digital currencies in the future.
  2. Zcash funding currently comes from receiving a share of tokens mined up until 21M coins are created. Zcash is committed to creating an economic ecosystem that is not dependent on coin issuance such as a gas/fee based ecosystem. We view the 21m cap on ZEC as sacrosanct and vow to never increase the 21m cap (can we trust you if you are even letting this discussion go on re the 21m cap. First its 21m, then its 25m, then its 1 billion. Block rewards to fund is bad business in the long run).
  3. Zcash is committed to creating an open and fully decentralized platform and ecosystem where third parties can create currency solutions without permission. Third party developers who create applications on top of the Zcash blockchain will pay gas to Zcash and will also keep a share of the gas/fees based on their respective transaction volume.
  4. Zcash will create a crowdsourcing platform to allow the Zcash community to directly fund projects in which they have a specific interest in seeing funded.
  5. Zcash will implement a governance system in which ZEC holders will vote for ECC/Foundation/ZCG board to order to govern the Zcash ecosystem.

And if your version is different than above, just put it in crystal clear writing so you can start to develop trust and attract the right holders to buy and own ZEC. I think under any scenario, people need to believe you are a fiduciary for ZEC holders (giving away core technology for free was a mistake you guys hopefully have learned from).


The evidence is everywhere. You just need to look,

How stablecoins are accelerating dollarization in the Global South—and why financial inclusion needs Web3 solutions | Fortune Crypto

Why Brazilians Are Turning to Stablecoins Like Tether (coindesk.com)

Pick a country and I believe it will be the same story. The proof is in the transaction volume (not market caps).

Im not arguing for not having ZEC, Im arguing we need both to get the scale and develop trust. And with scale ZEC could potentially have utility.

The growth in USD stablecoins all over the world should be proof that people will choose stability first. And stability plus privacy would “probably” be better. But, privacy without stability is a loser when targeting day to day transactions. People are running from fiats that are not stable. And if ZEC holders believed you would not increase the 21m cap and move away from issuance funded development, you might be able to get their trust when combined with a vision for bringing privacy to all. Collateralize, Digitize, Privatize…It will work with anything. Its just missing the platform.

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And here it is! While our community fights over block rewards, Bitcoin is innovating and expanding its block chain for real world cases. It makes Bitcoin stronger, not weaker by getting into stablecoins.

Lightning Labs Rolls Out Taproot Assets Mainnet Alpha - Bitcoin Magazine - Bitcoin News, Articles and Expert Insights

This is exactly what I mean when I say the market is pricing things into Bitcoin that we may not see. They have built trust that they will innovate and expand making Bitcoin stronger and more diverse and available to all. Bitcoin targeting stablecoins, gold, they will do it all…Something I have been promoting for Zcash for a long time now.


Exactly. The evidence is out in the open and very obvious. Have a look at active wallet counts, transaction values, transaction counts, coin valuation trends, DeFi/ NFT TVL, etc etc of well established 2014-2016 era projects.

The successful equation appears to be whatever these projects have been up to: Litecoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Monero, arguably Ethereum Classic & Bitcoin Cash (this list is without even getting into all of the post 2018 altcoin projects that have also grossly outperformed Zcash, with an even shorter timeline)

The most common shared trait is that their native coins all have obvious upward valuation trends. Sure people who bought near the 2017 or 2021 tops have suffered losses, but over the long timeframe any disciplined buyers are sitting on comfortable gains today (even as we continue to stagnate through a bear market). The coin’s ability to sustain value is the necessary pre-condition for any users to then evolve into transactors (whether spending or accepting the coins). Zcash ZEC has not been able to sustain value, which is why so few users have ever evolved into transactors, instead they become discouraged sellers who aren’t retained in the ecosystem.

Ethereum and ETH classic serve users with stablecoins and Defi. The others are Bitcoin/ Bitcoin-like value transaction networks.

If ZEC cannot preserve and grow user value, then it will never succeed because Store (and growth) of Value is the predominant user aspiration in crypto. Its a romantic dream to be on the chase to pick the right demographics/ regions, and cater a boutique ZEC use case for them… its illogical and wasteful.

As JGX has reiterated many times, if we are taking Zcash serious it needs to have a clearly defined narrative. Zcash coins are rare, optionally private digital assets that have the chance to provide Bitcoin like returns in the future. The other Zcash network feature should be a private, permissionless, fast, free Z-stablecoin money layer (first operating as a 1:1 USD peg, and potentially in the future adding additional fiats). Zcash wallets should work and be simple, allowing for storage or transaction with ZEC or Z-stablecoins.

There needs to be no vision quest, conducting intimate user interviews with a tiny and arbitrary selection of current Zcashers from now. It is irrational to try and pull future directions from our current user base - they’re niche, they’re biased, and clearly they are not representative of the ~average individual from the crypto native or crypto adjacent demographics. These efforts have been happening at ECC for years, and the results (poor) already speak for themselves.


I’m pretty sure @nathan-at-least knows all of this – or at least is aware it exists. Ultimately, his responses in this thread have only served as a recommendation/support for @peacemonger 's grant.