ZURE (Zcash User Research & Engagement) - Discussion

zcash blockchain is a privacy payment tech.

zec is a wealth storage tech and volatile asset.

you are getting confused. people who go to work and get paid for their labor are not looking for gains. they just don’t want losses. It’s exactly the opposite of a casino. It’s these types of arguements that help propagate the zec is fiat for day to day transactions failed vision.

it is you who are not listening to users. users want DeFi; SOV and zcash privacy tech. while we argue (and stagnate), ethereum and the others are listening to users and helping the world transition to the blockchain.

You don’t know who they are, what they are looking for, or what they want. General statements about imaginary groups of people are just loose individual assumptions. It might be tempting, but you cannot speak for “people.” User research is about analyzing actual user behaviors and listening to people that speak for themselves. Your Zcash usage patterns are far more interesting to me than your assumptions about other Zcash users.

It doesn’t exactly seem like a stretch to assume that people who use ZEC would rather not lose money in the process of doing so…how much of a priority stability/wealth preservation is could be debatable but downward volatility is a huge disincentive from taking part in the ecosystem even for day-to-day private payments. There is a reason savvy people all over the world transact in USD/EUR/BTC even given the privacy risks.

Another fair assumption as @tloriato also pointed out is that the ZURE respondent pool is a heavily biased sample that skews towards users/innovators with a financial risk tolerance that vastly exceeds that of the much larger population who will need to engage with ZCASH for it to remain a viable project. Maybe motivated by curiosity or idealism. It’s great to have those folks and they are much appreciated, but for the ZCASH project to thrive we need to recruit users who just want a reasonable way to transact and store value privately without losing their shirts.


i can see what’s happening in the world. i am watching who users are choosing. its very obvious. etheriem is targeting the same users as we are presuming we are still trying to reach billions of people. i don’t need a poll to see who users, and developers, and pretty much everyone else is choosing.

my bet is you are largely polling and listening to grant recipients who are not our target market.

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Alright, so what’s the plan? :slight_smile:

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Thank you @peacemonger for great results and hardwork. Any plans to gather some feedback once Zashi is out?

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  1. stop telling people zec is a currency for day transactions, tell them its private digital gold. when we tell people to accept zec in exchange for labor we lose them as users. people expect gold to have volatility and know its for saving over the long run.

  2. create a DeFi ecosystem. programmability and user defined assets, we can create stablecoins for day to day private transactions. we may have to enable privacy lite for people who don’t want anyone to see transactions; but will accept local goverment compliance just like everyone else including ethereom and all the other competitors.

  3. stop funding the zec is fiat for day to day transactions vision and reallocate money to DeFi vision.

  4. implement a gas/fee similar to ethereum. this opens up development and i believe will fully decentralize development. then development can really explode with a open system.

  5. improve governance and replace consensus with coin weighted voting


I broadly agree but just want to emphasize:

Give the masses a reason to want to use and accept ZEC in some form as payment. Transactional privacy is in a vacuum a great product but not if the trade-off is the potential, even likelihood, of financial losses at each step of the process.

Shielded Stablecoins (and I don’t dispute that getting that up and running will be a complex, costly and risky endeavor) are the most likely killer app. HTTPS now reigns supreme over HTTP because adding that “S” is invisible most of the time and confers improved security. No friction for the user. Eventually when the value proposition of a ZK L1 becomes clear, the stablecoins may well become a relic - but not until we first dramatically expand the network of users, which means making something close to a promise that they won’t be lighting money on fire for the privilege of engaging.


Thank you. Yes, definitely.


Understanding risk is the key; as defined by the assets volatility. Currency is supposed to have the least amount of risk or volatility of any asset or investment.

  1. Currency/Stablecoins - Ultra Low Risk
  2. Government Risk free bonds
  3. Gold - This is were we hope we can get ZEC to be placed on the risk sprectrum. This is where BTC is headed. And it BTC may end up being less risky than gold.
  4. High grade corporate bonds
  5. High Yield Bonds
  6. Most Commodities
  7. Stocks - High Risk
  8. ZEC - Ultra High Risk – off the charts risky today; something needs to change. Does it really make sense to market and tell people to trade your labor for ZEC when its this risky? DeFi and stablecoins and marketing ZEC as digital gold should help move ZEC from a highly risky asset to become less risky as the blockchain gain in utility.

ZEC has the volatility materially greater than stocks and is not acceptable as a currency for which 90%+ of the population can accept as payment for labor. It could take decades to have the volitility of gold, and it wont ever have the volatility of a currency. So, IF we are targeting billions of people for day to day transactions and want people to exchange labor for a privacy coin, it has to be a collateral backed stablecoin. Otherwise, the volatility will be too high. We need to change the marketing strategy and vision.

I dont think stablecoins will ever become a relic, I think the way they (or even fiat) are collateralized will become the relic. We are watching it happen in real time where government bonds are being tokenized into stablecoins and users create and use their own collateral for a user defined stablecoin. (EG 1 and 2 above are being merged to become Tether et al; and BTC is moving to become a collateral like gold as well).

A currency that is going to be used by billions of people needs to be stable, its that simple. We have the ability to make it happen; Qedit and the Foundation are both ready from the sound of it.


In crypto this is not bi-directional. First comes price, then comes adoption.

(Unless you can show a single example of the opposite)

This conversation also owes itself to the theme of de-adoption or abandonment, whatever term you like the most. Does price cause people to leave for good? Yes, and there are hundreds examples of this… in fact, I’d suggest that all projects that are irrelevant to the usage/ adoption context, have seen their value destroyed along the way.

Amen to this. We’ve got to pitch the SoV narrative.

We’ve seen the failure of pitching ZEC as private digital fiat over the past years. The outcome speaks for itself.

The deceptive action among buyers is that they collectively believe in NGU technology :wink: You make a good point here though… affecting upward value trends is not an easy task. For Zcash specifically here, we really only have the Halving to look forward to, it will cut the supply for sale in half. A few other long shots come to mind that could also change the supply/ demand balance of now - speculative Namada airdrop buying spree, Brave wallet support, Binance de-monitoring, a new exchange listing or two (?) Maya, maybe Robinhood or Crypto dot com


People need to believe that the asset has NGU technology!
(hint: they google the price chart and then make assumptions from that point forward)

Who should have been polled?

I’d assert that the best poll for the Zcash project would have been to get feedback from 10,000 users of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Dogecoin. We should be gathering feedback from crypto natives using popular crypto networks. Speaking to existing Zcash users about Zcash was designed to create a lot of confirmation bias :frowning:

With the ideal situation (infinite time/ money), we’d be best served to gather feedback from everyone not using Zcash today. They are who we ought to understand better, we’d like to know why privacy isn’t on their radar. With those insights we could begin to figure out how it is that we built such an awesome protocol/ apps, yet nobody is flocking in to use it!

I get what you mean here, I think. Do you mean to be saying lack of volatility? (USD or gold, compared to ZEC)


What would be a good reason for you to use/accept ZEC as payment?

Some do, yes. Some don’t.

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Please do! I would love to see more SoV proponents pitch Zcash to friends and family. Unfortunately, they tend to see that as financial advice, which is a non-starter for most people I talk to. Today, the SoV narrative doesn’t fit the price performance. Private payments, on the other hand, don’t run into the same barrier. It’s a product that serves a need. “If you need to send a private payment, use Zcash,” is a much easier thing to say. No matter what the markets are doing, the privacy of Zcash payments can’t be beat. There are users interested in that. For some Zcashers, it’s the main reason to hold ZEC.


What I don’t understand about this logic, is the implication that the payments receiver then turns around and instantly sells the ZEC received into their local fiat(?) Or are you finding that ZEC payments receivers take the coins they get and Zodl them for long time periods(?)

To me, that is a use case that doesn’t scale because it creates a point-of-transaction tax obligation. (Maybe I’m over estimating how individuals think about tax obligations; I know there is a strong anti-tax undercurrent among crypto natives)

As a Zcash maximalist, there is no way that I would want to accept ZEC on a daily basis in payments if that also meant I needed to sell those ZEC into fiat at the end of every day/ week/ even month.

In your polling of users, was there any theme about complexities that are created by using ZEC for day to day payments? Perhaps not day to day, what about Zcashers who might only be using ZEC for payments once or twice a month?

I’ve on-boarded many long term Zodlers through word of mouth. I find that people who understand that altcoins are speculative investments are interested in ZEC because it shares many traits with BTC, but the coins are valued so much lower. Granted of course, everyone thinks I’m an idiot now because I lead them into the worst performing altcoin in history :expressionless: but again, they all knew what they were getting into. Eventually us SoV Zcashers will have a good year, ZEC can’t go down forever.

This is a valid point, mainly, imo, because the privacy properties derive from “shielded at rest”, not shielded transactions. So you can’t really get transactional privacy if you aren’t willing to hold for at least some time.

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True, but it’s not binary as some seem to think. And the privacy properties change in a fully shielded economy. :wink:

We need to be able to both store and use ZEC. The coins want to move! I think what’s especially interesting about @peacemonger’s research is that people who move the coins think more highly of the project than those who simply store them and hope that they’ll be able to sell them for more fiat one day. They recommend ZEC to more people and get them into more people’s hands, which has the potential to create a network effect.


Couldn’t that just mean that the group to which you refer (people that quickly transact in ZEC, rather than see it as an investment or seek to use it as a long term store of value) are the least likely to be concerned about or adversely effected by persistent downward volatility?

In other words what we’re seeing from ZURE isn’t necessarily data pointing towards the healthiest, most helpful, or most promising use cases growth-wise. Rather it’s a descriptive snapshot of current users/use cases that haven’t been pushed away or shaken out and represents a very small and possibly nearly maxed out pool that can’t really be expanded on in any big way. Primarily appealing to this group could be a major contributor to why ZCASH is struggling the way it has been. There may also be a lack of response from other sorts of users because they’ve left, or are feeling too chafed to spend time answering these surveys…

I don’t know that that’s the case, but it seems very plausible to me and I haven’t really seen any evidence to the contrary.

As an aside, designing a study that answers complicated questions in a meaningful way is ridiculously hard IME. Hence in part the chronic nailbiting about bad polling and the replication crises in various fields of science…


Yes, it could. I’m not arguing the veracity of the research, the polling, or all the 1:1 interviews as scientific research projects. But these represent real Zcashers, most of whom don’t believe live on this forum. It’s not hypothetical. I don’t have time for theory. I find the information useful.

ECC is building full-stack capabilities alongside others in the community, to enable power users to do more. Their feedback and what they do with the software as we progress will also help. As a long-time Zcash user, I also published the stack I want to see, and we’ll market validate over time.

I’m all ears if you or others conduct and submit other related research and user testimonies. We need more of it.


I have submitted some of my own polling in the past based on my direct experience. Not sure if you saw it. But I have paid people in China, Pakistan, India, Ukraine. I offered to let them accept, ZEC, BTC, or anything else…None of them want anything except USD. I pushed them fairly hard to take BTC because I really wanted to see if they would accept what I considered a volatile crypto, and BTC was something they all understood–> I really wanted to get them to accept it. So my bias was to pay in BTC. Why wouldn’t they take it? In their own words, “it’s too volatile”. It wasn’t because BTC was transparent, and not because they didn’t know what it was. People who are basically living paycheck to paycheck (95% of the world) want stability. Money for day to day transactions needs to be risk free. Is that really a controversial thing to say? To test this, all you have to do is hire someone on Upwork or some other global site and ask them if you can pay in ZEC/BTC/Euro/USD or whatever you want. See what real people selling their services will accept…

I own stocks, bonds, real estate, and even commodities like physical gold and silver in the past. ZEC is more like a commodity/gold. I would never consider fractionalizing an investment to pay for day to day goods or services. If you owned IBM stock and a merchant said you could pay in IBM shares or cash, I would expect you would pay in cash. You bought IBM in order to see it increase in value; to protect and grow your wealth. The day I sell assets/investment to pay for day to day expenses, is the day I am in trouble (EG my income is less than my expenses). And I would never consider accepting an investment like stocks, bonds real estate, or gold etc as payment for my services. I need stable fiat to pay for day to day expenses and with the excess earnings I buy productive assets (in the case of ZEC its a wild speculation).

I think the poll is merely a snapshot of today for a sample of Zcashers. Im not convinced at all the sample is representative of the target market for Zcash. So it really has no predictive power. I hope I am wrong about ECC using this poll as a basis to continue down the same path we have been on because I was hoping for a reboot…But it is what it is. I do appreciate the transparency you provide, and the roadmap you posted does have DeFi out there in the future, which is also nice to see (although we saw it 4 years ago as well and the future has never come). With that, I’ve pretty much said all I can say on the viability of ZEC being a replacement for fiat. So, it really is up to you to either fund the ZEC is fiat for day to day transactions vision or a DeFi vision.