2018 Zcash Marketing: Year in Review

This article is the first in a three-part series about Zcash marketing. Stay tuned for a future post about how we see the market evolving and another which will outline our 2019 marketing approach.

In June of this year, the Zcash Company leadership met to set strategic priorities. We communicated a proposed roadmap and subsequently distilled our strategic priorities into three areas:

  1. Drive adoption while maintaining quality
  2. Invest in our team
  3. Increase openness and collaboration

In spite of a challenging 2018 for the cryptocurrency market, the Zcash Company remained focused, and the team successfully delivered its first two network upgrades, Overwinter and Sapling. These releases included significant cryptographic breakthroughs that are laying the foundation for broad adoption of Zcash. In parallel, the Zcash Company formalized a go-to-market (GTM) team to thoughtfully and intentionally drive awareness and adoption. These were some of the highlights.

Drive adoption while maintaining quality

The Zcash Company formalized a global GTM approach for 2019 (watch for that post in early January). We clarified our mission to “Empower everyone with economic freedom and opportunity.” In support of our mission, we launched a new brand, website and video to make the story more accessible to more people. The response has been great, as we’ve seen an increase in page views per session and longer visits, as well as a lower bounce rate. The homepage garnered more than a million views, blog posts saw almost 400 thousand hits and the download page was visited just under 250 thousand times.

Driving adoption was a key theme for the year, and we spent considerable time and effort pursuing exchange and wallet adoption through Zcash Company-delivered education, regulatory support and engineering. This led to 25 additional listings in 13 countries, including two of the most respected and heavily-regulated exchanges in the world: Gemini (with approval from NYDFS) and Coinbase. It has been a common misconception that regulated exchanges cannot support Zcash. That proved to be false. It is now a common misconception that regulated exchanges cannot support shielded addresses. That will also prove to be false.

Other notable Zcash additions included Circle Invest, Bitgo and Kingdom Trust. All of this adoption was organic (it is our policy to not pay any listing fees); and it was possible because of our strong reputation for delivery, a common belief in our mission, and relationships built over time. We also saw the number of wallets supporting Zcash increase, including Exodus and Guarda. A number of over-the-counter (OTC) trading desks added Zcash, as well, including Cumberland, Galaxy and Circle. We’re told Zcash is now a top-five coin in trade volume on these desks.

Invest in the team

The GTM team was formalized this year and is focused on marketing (awareness, education, user adoption, public relations and market strategy) and business development (third-party adoption and enablement). I’d like to introduce the team.

  • Paige is our user education lead and is focused on documentation, user support and driving community efforts in cooperation with the Zcash Foundation.
  • Zirui is responsible for business development in Asia and the US, driving adoption with exchanges and wallet providers.
  • Brad joined the company in late February and serves as our developer relations manager, ensuring our ecosystem partners are supported.
  • Elise started with us in September as our communications manager and handles our communications, social media, content and PR, among other things.
  • Ryan leads web development and translation management and recently rebuilt the z.cash website in partnership with our design firm, Adjy.
  • I (Josh) joined at the end of May and serve as our vp of marketing and business development.

Increase openness and collaboration

We increased our efforts to connect, communicate and collaborate with our community this year. We provided regular content through a number of forums. This included engagement through our Twitter account (72.5k followers), the production of 60 blog posts, weekly updates on the forum, semi annual AMAs, Blockfolio Signal updates and participation in the Proof of Work Newsletter. We also launched a video series called “Perspectives,” featuring Zcash Company team members, founding scientists and industry thought leaders on various topics.

In addition to digital mediums, we actively engaged the community in person by attending and speaking at 54 events in over 10 different countries throughout the year. These events included meetups and large conferences; some were focused on cryptography and others on regulatory policy. We also co-organized and drove a significant amount of content for the first Zcash conference, Zcon0.

Zcash Company CTO Nathan Wilcox leading a workshop at Zcon0

Securing trademarks for Zcash was another area of focus. The trademark currently includes both the name “Zcash” as well as the Zcash logo and is currently registered or pending registration in the United States, European Union and approximately 10 other jurisdictions. Additionally, the word “ZEC” is now protected in some locations. It is our intent to fully publish trademark information in the first quarter of 2019.

The year was not without significant headwinds. In addition to the downward price pressure, we saw negative press in Japan following the Coincheck hack in January. This led to a knee-jerk reaction by regulators and then exchanges in Japan to ban “privacy coins,” including Zcash, from exchanges. We recognize and are ready for significant ongoing education and engagement to help combat false narratives and fear in Japan, the US and other jurisdictions.

Zcash is uniquely positioned to become the de-facto digital money and, through our ongoing collective efforts, we are well-positioned to see our mission of “empowering everyone with economic freedom and opportunity” realized in the coming years.

The next update in this three part series will detail how the market is evolving as it relates to our work here at Zcash Company. Look for that post just after the first of the year. Thank you for all your support and best wishes for the holidays and the new year!

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