Description of Problem or Opportunity
Zcash’s strong privacy values make it the ideal blockchain to power encrypted messaging applications of the future. However, no mobile applications exist for private messaging within the Zcash ecosystem.
Although NightHawk Wallet, ZECwallet and Unstoppable can be used to send/receive messages, these apps weren’t designed with messaging in mind.
Permissionless private messaging is a disruptive idea that could increase shielded adoption and expand the utility of Zcash. We’ve teased the idea on Twitter and many people have expressed interest.
Zemo is a messaging app powered by the Zcash blockchain. It’s the first Zcash mobile app created specifically for private messaging. It’s permissionless, open-source, decentralized, end-to-end encrypted, and fully portable – your keys, your messages.
There are two primary use-cases for Zemo:
Shielded Messaging: Leading messaging platforms own and store user messages in centralized servers. Zemo users own their messages and store them on the Zcash blockchain.
Monetizable Inbox: Those with large audiences can share their z-addr or Zemo handle publicly and earn Zcash via inbound messages.
We’ll release an Android and iOS app that include: threaded conversations, user profiles, new message indicators, payments, fast syncing, and intuitive UI. We’ll also create a landing page at zemo.app
We’ll be expanding the librustzcash server to include messaging capabilities. Our Rust server will pull in tx data from litewalletd and store it client-side in a SQLite database. Our React Native application will connect to the SQLite database via websockets to display messages in real-time.
We’ll use code from zecwallet-lite and other repos for the server/app where needed. We may use blazesync to provide fast syncing. We’re also exploring ZIP304.
The UI/UX design of Zemo will happen in-house. We’ll share early Figma prototypes with the community for feedback.
To ensure there is interoperability between Zcash messaging apps, we’ll coordinate with the community and ECC to ensure our approach is suitable for other messaging applications to build upon.
How big of a problem would it be to not solve this problem?
Messaging is an important area to explore to increase shielded adoption. It takes advantage of the unique properties of the Zcash blockchain while offering more utility to the community.
We may need to make UX sacrifices in the initial release. For example: push notifications. Getting the mobile app to rescan the blockchain while the app is inactive is challenging, especially on iOS.
If messaging turns out to be a popular use-case for Zcash, we run the risk of flooding the blockchain with micropayments. If layer 1 does not scale well enough, micropayment transactions on Zcash may be priced out due to rising fees.
Upon completion, a user can send/receive private messages, view threaded conversations, send payments, and use Zemo as their monetizable inbox.
Schedule and Milestones
Our team is available to start working on Zemo on Sept 1st. We estimate v1 of the project will take 6 months to complete. Please see milestones for more details.
We’ve estimated Zemo will take 6 months to design, develop, test and deploy. The cost to build v1 of Zemo is $294,000. The funds will primarily be used to pay the salaries of our 4 senior team members. We’ve structured our milestones as monthly payouts to ensure each team member can cover their living expenses.
- Staff: $48,000 x 6 months = $288,000
- Misc: $1,000 x 6 months = $6,000 (services, domains, unforeseen expenses, etc.)
Each team member will be working full-time (est. 160hrs per month * 4 team member = 640hrs per month). $48,000 / 640hrs = $75 hr.
Our senior team has 20 years experience shipping Bitcoin, Zcash, and other crypto applications. All 4 of us have worked professionally on blockchain projects funded by world-class investors. We specialize in creating decentralized mobile applications that are intuitive and easy to use.