In the future, thanks to a revolutionary set of technologies — built on the principles of fair access and decentralization — humanity will experience greater freedom and security than at any point in history. Each individual will enjoy self-sovereignty, and collaboration and creativity will be at an all-time high.
In 30 years, there will be fewer centralized gatekeepers to decide who can participate in society. There will be fewer king makers to determine who wins and who loses.
In this era — the Golden Age of freedom and self-expression — education and opportunity will be accessible to everyone, innovation will thrive, privacy will be normal and expected, and the people (and governments) of the world will agree that a vibrant society depends on respecting and upholding human dignity, security, and consent.
This is ECC’s vision for the future; and for our part, we will empower economic freedom for billions with a fair, open currency, accessible to every person on the Internet.
Today is Zcash’s birthday. Launched on Oct. 28, 2016, Zcash was the first project of any kind to successfully use zero-knowledge proofs. Earlier this year, Electric Coin Co. (ECC) implemented Halo — a new and improved zero-knowledge proving system — to remove reliance on complex setup ceremonies.
The efficiencies built into this upgrade made possible — for the first time ever — private, trustless digital cash payments on mobile phones. Halo is now being tested in other projects for its privacy and scalability benefits; and in a partnership with Protocol Labs, Filecoin Foundation, and Ethereum Foundation, ECC is collaborating with these teams to unlock recursion in Halo and explore how the technology might be used in the respective ecosystems. (Also, there’s a multi-million-dollar pool for developers and teams who are interested in adding utility for the Filecoin and Zcash chains.)
Next year, in 2023, ECC will release a fully-supported commercial mobile wallet in the iOS and Android app stores with the rationale that Zcash adoption will grow when (1) the user experience is excellent — easy and fast — and (2) users are given compelling features and capabilities that support a growing number of use cases. This is aligned with our North Star, a commitment to help build a world-class user experience for ZEC, the Zcash token.
In 2023, we’ll also make a formal recommendation to move Zcash from proof of work to proof of stake. This is ultimately a Zcash community decision, but we believe the benefits far outweigh the risks, and we are looking forward to the discussion.
There’s so much more to be excited about, such as a posterity fund proposal, ongoing third-party work on Zcash shielded assets, a Rust-language Zcash node being built by the Zcash Foundation, continuing decentralization and development funding with the recent formation and momentum of the Zcash Community Grants organization, and some impressive Zcash partnership announcements on the horizon.
We’ve only just begun.
ECC’s 30-year plan
Empowering billions of people around the world with economic freedom is a monumental task, and it will require many mission-aligned people and teams to commit to it. Starting with a 30-year goal in mind, ECC has worked backwards to conceive a path for our contribution toward achieving it. There are increasingly more strategies and contributions to Zcash from across the ecosystem, and we look forward to collaborating to realize our collective vision of the future.
For obvious reasons, the roadmap is more detailed in the near future.
2052: Zcash for billions
In the year 2052, every person on the Internet will have the ability to obtain and use Zcash according to their own preferences. Economic freedom requires private digital cash that is equitable, available, permissionless, privacy protecting, and resilient; and we (not just ECC, but many Zcash community contributors) are laser-focused on building the absolute best solution. We’ve come a long way since 2016, but the technology will have to evolve, starting today, to scale to billions of users.
This, of course, is not the end goal. It’s a milestone. We envision Zcash as a critical component to economic freedom for generations to come.
2032: Deliver a world-class UX for ZEC
ECC will have delivered a world-class user experience for ZEC (the Zcash token) — a fair and open currency within a framework that protects freedom, dignity, consent, and security.
Success criteria for 2032
- Using ZEC across ECC and third-party applications is so easy users don’t have to think about it. It is at least as easy to use ZEC as it was to share photos and videos in 2022 world-class apps, such as Tik Tok or WhatsApp.
- ZEC users: The number of actual human users — people who have purchased, sold, sent or received ZEC in the previous 24 months — is 1 billion across the globe.
- Zcash is a top-five cryptocurrency by market cap.
- Sentiment: Zcash users are likely to recommend Zcash to a friend or colleague. This is measured in a Net Promoter Score (NPS). For Zcash, the NPS is ≥ 50 every year.
- Decentralization: Because decentralization is important to user security, censorship-resistance, and project longevity, at least 10 long-term, viable organizations are now focused on Zcash.
2025: Proof of stake and interoperability
Three years from now, we will have delivered an ECC-built and -supported mobile wallet on top of an interoperable Zcash protocol that leverages a proof-of-stake consensus. Features in incremental wallet releases will be based on Zcash user feedback, industry feedback, and market research. The wallet will support core PoS and interop use cases.
Zcash will have transitioned from a proof-of-work to a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism. There will be strong support for Zcash interoperability and broad access to ZEC across DeFi and CeFi. At this point, we expect strong demand for Zcash/ZEC among the “early majority.”
Success criteria for 2025
- ZEC users: The number of users has doubled from the previous 16-month period, and the ECC wallet is seeing 1 million monthly active users.
- Zcash is a top-10 cryptocurrency by market cap.
- Sentiment: The Zcash Net Promoter Score (NPS) is ≥ 50 every year.
- Decentralization: At least five long-term, viable organizations are focused on Zcash.
Late 2023: UX foundations
By the close of 2023, the ECC mobile wallet will be available in the iOS and Android app stores with network-level privacy and instant sync — providing speed, convenience, and greater access. This is critical for a world-class UX for ZEC and lays the foundation for growing ZEC users.
Deliver an open-source wallet that is available on Apple and Android stores and well supported by ECC; improve the ZEC UX including network privacy and instant sync; improve the Zcash tech stack (wallet, SDK, lightwalletd, protocol) sufficient to double users by the end of 2025.
Success criteria for 2023
- Users: The number of users has doubled from the previous year.
- Sentiment: The Zcash Net Promoter Score (NPS) has been ≥ 50 for the last 12 months.
- Decentralization: At least four long-term, viable organizations are focused on Zcash.
The next four months: Establish new baseline
ECC’s No. 1 priority at the moment is updating the Zcash protocol and our wallet SDKs to help third-party providers fix wallet syncing issues. An increased on-chain transaction load has resulted in unacceptable sync times for many everyday users, and ecosystem partners are also affected. We are focused — across teams — on alleviating these issues as soon as possible, so Zcash users have an experience they expect and deserve. Our immediate objectives are centered on working with third-party wallets that are built on the ECC SDKs (Edge, Nighthawk, and Unstoppable) to:
- Ensure users can spend their funds (funds that are already synced when they open their wallet)
- Ensure users can receive and spend new incoming funds at a rate of a month’s worth of transactions in one hour
- Implement updates which provide users clarity on syncing progress
- Ensure none of those wallets are impacted by frequent crashes or inconsistent behavior (such as failing to display some already synced transactions), nor do they require work-around behaviors due to the ECC SDK
Other success criteria for this period
- ECC teams agree on the definition or proxy for global ZEC user counts.
- Research and engineering have defined and communicated a revised three-year roadmap inclusive of user growth objectives, proof of stake, and interoperability.
Prioritization and achieving objectives
To deliver on all this important work, ECC has laid out a process that mandates our leadership meets every four months to revisit strategy and roadmap, evaluating data for the current period and reviewing waypoints. Functional owners (for example Steven Smith in Engineering) will be responsible for functional roadmaps that are aligned with the strategic roadmap and for determining where they need cross-team support. Each success criteria will be owned by an assigned functional owner to track and determine how we (all of ECC) can align to best meet the objective.
Empowering economic freedom
“Zcash for billions” is a change-the-world vision. Maybe that’s cliché, but today, too many people are forced to use discriminatory, poorly managed, and insecure centralized entities to store and transfer money digitally. Too many people are forced to live within fiat systems that are managed by governments that don’t have their constituents’ best interests at heart. Most cryptocurrencies do not provide adequate privacy and security protections for most use cases, and they expose users to surveillance which can lead to exploitation, manipulation, and seizure.
Today, billions of people in the world do not have access to a fair and open currency or supporting financial services. We build and support Zcash to drive greater economic freedom and opportunity for everyone.