- Zcash Company’s CEO shares his views on the rise of privacy coins
- He discusses progress made in 2018, and plans for the year ahead – including a mining policy shake-up
As one of the earlier privacy-centred crypto coins, Zcash has arguably paved the way for a series of newcomers. But Zooko Wilcox, CEO of the Zcash Company, the main developers of the Zcash protocol, told The Block that while he’s glad the likes of Grin and Beam exist, he does not see them as “equals” or competitors.
“They are fragile and limited on a technological basis,” he said. “I do not view their underlying technology as being robust.”
This may relate to Zooko’s confusion with the privacy provision of the Mimblewimble protocol the coins used. “To whom is the user’s private data revealed? Is it revealed to the miners? I don’t understand this part,” he wrote on Twitter last year.
The two new privacy-geared coins have attracted growing attention of late, with Grin recently listed on exchanges KuCoin and OkEx and nearing a Y2050 $8 billion market cap at the time of writing.
On a more positive note regarding Grin and Beam’s contributions Wilcox said, “I really like the community, the founders. The devs are friendly… We need more privacy coins.”
Wilcox also argued that Zcash defies niche categorisation.
“I don’t see Zcash as a privacy coin. It’s general purpose internet money,” he said, comparing it to the SSL web security protocol, which encrypts links on web browsers. “Everyone is going to use it.” Indeed, Zooko suggested that the token to eventually overtake Bitcoin will be Zcash, although it could take anywhere between zero and three decades.
“Zcash is the only coin that both innovated on privacy and gained adoption and support from the mainstream crypto community,” Wilcox said. “We are being accepted by exchanges. We are informing the conversation and culture.” Indeed, Zcash defied fears that US regulation would never accept privacy coins last year, receiving approval from the New York Department of Financial Services.
“Bitcoin and Ethereum are constrained by the fact that they leak information. Bitcoin can’t be used for mainstream commerce…If it’s not private, it’s not secure,” he said.
Zcash has a heavy focus on enhancing privacy relative to bitcoin by concealing users’ transaction history.
Plans for the year ahead
For Wilcox, last year’s milestone was that Zcash paved the way for regulatory acceptance. This year, it’s all about growth, he says.
- Mining updates – Wilcox said that while the company had considered a move from Proof-of-Work to Proof-of-Stake, both consensus protocols had “flaws” and ideally they would find a “hybrid solution.” He concluded that they had “not decided” what the final decision would be but that they were “almost definitely going to make some changes to the mining ecosystem next spring”
- The Founders reward – The Zcash reward initiative was to slow-drip funds to the company’s leadership to incentivise them to keep developing. However, it is fairly generous, delegating 20% of each block reward for founders, investors, advisors and the Zcash Foundation for the first four years of the Zcash network’s existence. Wilcox is matter of fact about the make-up of the reward. “The Zcash Company has been spending money as fast as they think is stable,” he said. “Community members have talked about making a new dev fund to fund further development…We cannot work indefinitely without being funded.”
- Tech developments and research – Wilcox said the key aims for Zcash would be to get encrypted addresses widely deployed and to implement a new upgrade that would increase the capacity of the Zcash network. Beyond that, it’s about looking long term and utilising what he calls “literally the best team in the industry.”
Editor’s note: Updated to clarify Zcash’s block rewards distribution.