ZEC Co-Founder Zooko Wilcox Responds to New Zcash Dev Fund Discussions

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The Zcash Founders Reward, which funds development and operations in the privacy project’s ecosystem through a ZEC block reward issuance, is set to end next fall.

Now, Zcash co-founder and Electric Coin Company (ECC) chief executive officer Zooko Wilcox has made a public entreaty responding to the wider Zcash community’s recent considerations to extend the Zcash Dev Fund beyond October 2020.


His ask? For those community members to prepare to steer Zcash through a pivotal evolutionary period.

Since 2016, the temporary Zcash block reward system — which is set to pay out 20 percent of the 10.5 million ZEC issued in the project’s first four years — has proven pivotal in helping the Zcash project mature through its adolescence.

In response to the 2018 cryptoeconomy bear market, more funding was put toward Zcash ecosystem development as of June 2019 when a dilution agreement ECC negotiated with the firm’s founders activated. However, funding will still dry up next fall if the Zcash community decides to let it.

In the aforementioned letter published on Medium this week, Wilcox outlined how that community decision could play out and how the ECC could support the process.

“I Can’t Make This Decision For the Community”

Wilcox said there were a few choices, namely “sending 100% of new issuance to the miners, creating a new Dev Fund using a portion of new issuance, or other alternatives.”

The computer security specialist said the ECC could advise the community of its options, implement its consensus decisions via software upgrades, help manage the Zcash trademarks, and, of course, essentially be re-hired for its support work if a new block reward agreement is decided upon.

To that last point, Wilcox wrote:

“As long as ECC still exists, and as long as you — the Zcash community — offer us the kind of funding necessary to do this job, we’re offering to take the job. We love Zcash, we’ve dedicated our lives to it, and we have the best track record in the industry.”

Alas, it now comes down to Zcash’s various stakeholders as to whether that offer is taken up. Wilcox said a “community decision prodecure” was forthcoming from the Zcash Foundation.

“Whether this particular community decision goes the way that I hope or not, I will always be grateful to you all for making Zcash real,” Wilcox concluded.

To Avoid Dev Fund Renewal, Ycash Went Its Own Way

Ycash, the so-called “friendly fork” of Zcash, was specifically forked off from its source on the basis of avoiding a Zcash Dev Fund renewal.

Led by Howard Loo, the project was announced back in the spring as a way to assert on principle that such development funding has run its course. At the time, Loo said:

“We are also launching Ycash to uphold a promise – that the Zcash Founders Reward would be forever capped at 2.1 million coins – that we fear will come under increasing pressure between now and the expiration of the Founders Reward in October 2020.”

Ycash officially split from Zcash on July 18th. Relations between the fledging Ycash community and Zcash’s supporters have seemed far from tense, though Ycash is now live and competing with the considerably more entrenched Zcash in the wild.

Ethereum Community Also Recently Debated Block Reward Funding

In late July, discussions flared in the Ethereum ecosystem around Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) 2025. The EIP called for inflationary funding that would have added 0.0055 ether to Ethereum block rewards for 18 months.

Per the proposal, the raised funds would have been used to help fund “Ethereum 1.0” development efforts. Yet in short order many influential Ethereum stakeholders criticized the idea as too radical and too late in Ethereum’s lifespan to be appropriate.

“It’s important to set a precedent that block rewards cannot be captured,” EthHub co-creator Conner argued during the ensuing debates. “It’s an insanely slippery slope.”


William M. Peaster is a professional writer and editor who specializes in the Ethereum, Dai, and Bitcoin beats in the cryptoeconomy. He's appeared in Blockonomi, Binance Academy, Bitsonline, and more. He enjoys tracking smart contracts, DAOs, dApps, and the Lightning Network. He's learning Solidity, too! Contact him on Telegram at @wmpeaster

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